Puerto Rico – Country Rating | Info.

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Flag of Puerto RicoThe Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico is a dependent of the USA but retains commonwealth status. San Juan is the capital. Other important cities are Ponce, Caguas, Mayaguez and Arecibo. Smaller islands belonging to Puerto Rico include Culebra, Vieques and Mona. Much of Puerto Rico is mountainous with coastal lowlands. The longest river is the Grande de Arecibo.

Puerto Rico has a tropical climate although it is cooler at higher elevations.

Environment
Protected areas in Puerto Rico include Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Preserve, Pinones Natural Reserve and the Guanica Dry Forest Reserve (a UNESCO International Biosphere Reserve).

Puerto Rico’s Caribbean National Forest is the only tropical rainforest in the US National Parks service. “El Yunque”, as it is known, is home to many species of birds including the Puerto Rican Parrot, one of the world’s rarest birds.

The island of Mona, fifty miles off Puerto Rico, is also a protected area. The island is known for a unique type of iguana that grows to four feet in length. Mona Island is under the management of the US National Park Service and the Puerto Rican Natural Resources Department.

Architecture
There are around four hundred buildings of historic importance in Old San Juan dating back to the time of Spanish rule (1493-1898).

The San Juan National Historic Site is on the World Heritage List; structures include forts, walled fortifications, a mansion built for the first governor of Puerto Rico, and the Cathedral of San Juan.

Today, San Juan is a modern city with the usual high-rise buildings associated with a dynamic economy and a healthy tourist industry.

In 2002 the University of Puerto Rice was awarded a prize for the design of a solar-powered house. Many people in Puerto Rico already use solar power for heating water but the design incorporated a solar electric system as well as a solar hot water system.

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