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micePLACES.com The Magazine
JUN/JUL 2012
SPOT
LIGHT
PUERTO RICO
The Big Dish
The Arecibo Observatory
is the largest radio
telescope ever
constructed. The
main collecting dish is
305 meters/1,000 feet
in diameter, (the
Superdome in New
Orleans is 680 feet in
diameter; the Colosseum
in Rome is just over
600 feet). Constructed
inside the depression left by a giant sinkhole, the dish surface is made
up of 38,778 perforated aluminum panels supported by a mesh of
steel cables. The Arecibo telescope was completed in November of
1963 and has made frequent appearances in motion pictures and TV
shows, such as the climax of the James Bond movie
GoldenEye.
The
Ángel Ramos Foundation Visitor Center features interactive exhibits
and displays about the operations of the radio telescope, astronomy
and atmospheric science. It is normally open Wednesday-Sunday, with
additional opening hours on many holidays and school breaks.
Web:
History & Hostelry
Nestled in the heart of Old San Juan, Hotel El Convento is a masterpiece of
Spanish architecture and design. As the first Carmelite Convent in the Americas, it
housed the nuns for 252 years until closing a few days before Christmas in 1903.
Vacant for a decade, the abandoned building served as a retail store, a dance hall,
and, for the next 40 years, a flophouse without running water, sanitary facilities,
or electricity. Opened on Jan. 27, 1962 as El Convento Hotel, the hotel is an oasis
of soaring colonial interiors and lush courtyards. It offers 58 luxury rooms, four
restaurants and seven meeting rooms that can handle groups from 10 to 300.
Web:
A Relaxing Day on the Water
The islet trio of Icacos, Lobos and Ratones off the coast of Fajardo
presents some of the best snorkeling in Puerto Rico. For one, the
journey is half the fun. Most tours include two stops at popular
snorkeling spots, virtually guaranteeing you a chance to see your share
of marine life. From Fajardo’s marinas, you can visit the islands via
catamaran, motorboat or even sailboat. From party boat to leisurely
voyage, they each offer a different experience. Most tour companies
that offer trips to Icacos, Lobos and Ratones provide all the snorkeling
gear you need, along with refreshments.
The Old City Walls
Visit the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, one of the most famous
sights in Puerto Rico. It stands 140 ft above sea level, offering
exquisite views over the bay of San Juan and the Atlantic Ocean.
Brilliantly designed with outposts, barracks, dungeons and a
labyrinth of tunnels, El Morro was only captured once in its long
history. This marvel of military engineering has dutifully protected
the island since the 16
th
Century. Both a UNESCO World
Heritage Site and National Historic Site, visitors can still wander
around the fort while catching a glimpse of local activities. When
your group has had its relaxing fill of sun and ocean views, the
park is available for an outdoor meeting or group gathering.
Phone:
+1 787 729 6777
Natural Light
Give your group a once-in-a-lifetime
experience at night at Vieques Biobay.
Microscopic organisms in the water
cause the water in the bay to light up
brilliantly at night – an amazing sight!
Puerto Rico is one of the only places in
the world where this phenomenon occurs
regularly each night, so don’t miss this
opportunity. Tours are available by kayak,
and for those who really want to get a
closer look at these uniquely lit waters,
snorkeling is also available.
Web: