With the Caribbean cruising season soon upon us, Puerto Rico is taking steps to attract more visitors. Therefore, you may see representatives from the island’s Department of Economic Development and Commerce (DDEC) at the Monaco Yacht Show next week. You will see them at other major upcoming boat shows, too. Puerto Rico is promoting itself as a destination for megayachts.
Overall, Manuel A Laboy Rivera, the DDEC secretary, wants to diversify the island economy. Already, yachts have been visiting Puerto Rico for several years. In fact, 20 of the world’s largest yachts—Eclipse among them—have called on the island on a regular basis, according to the DDEC. Some anchor out, as they do throughout the Caribbean and additional popular cruising areas. Still others used the briefly operational Port Caribe in San Juan, whose lease ended in 2017, as well as four further marinas still operating. The Yacht Club Marina at Palmas del Mar, for instance, is purposely designed for megayachts to 200 feet (61 meters).
The DDEC’s goal is ambitious. “We aspire to surpass in the next years the estimated 327 visits of megayachts to about 500 visits,” Laboy says.
According to Laboy, the DDEC will do this by speaking directly with megayacht management firms at the Monaco Yacht Show, FLIBS, and other events. Of course, Puerto Rico is promoting itself as a destination for megayachts directly to owners and their other advisers, too. Some of the education involves the history, shops, and restaurants of San Juan. The fort of El Morro (above) is certainly among the highlights. Other tourism opportunities, of course, include the El Yunque National Forest. It’s the only tropical rain forest in the United States’ national forest system. Culebra and Vieques, a.k.a. the Spanish Virgin Islands, are yet other attractions.
Additionally attractive, for Americans, Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory. Therefore, no passport is required if you’re traveling from the mainland.
Yacht Club Marina at Palmas del Mar theyachtclubmarina.com
Monaco Yacht Show monacoyachtshow.com/en