Relax in “El Valle de los Flamboyanes”

A journey east of San Juan for about two hours will have you arrive at Peñuelas, a small town in Puerto Rico. The town is located on the southern coast of the island and is bordered by the exquisite blue waters of the Caribbean Sea. Peñuelas is home to almost 30 000 people and it covers approximately 114 square kilometers of land. The municipality is divided into 12 wards with Peñuelas Pueblo serving as the administrative center of the city.

Locally, Peñuelas is known as ‘El Valle de los Flamboyanes’ which means ‘valley of the flamboyant trees’. True to its name, the valley is filled with beautiful trees that are kept alive and healthy by the Guayanes, Macana and Tallaboa rivers which run through the area. These beautiful surroundings have proved to inspire a number of writers, including Lorenzo A. Balazquiede and Luis Diaz Hernandez – both of which hail from this small city. Peñuelas was founded by Diego de Alvarado in 1793 and one can only imagine how different this town must have looked back in the early days. Today the town must be quite a bit bigger than it originally was. In order to get from one place to the next, most residents either walk or make use of public bus services.

If you are thinking of visiting Peñuelas in Puerto Rico, you will be glad to know that there are at least a few interesting attractions worth visiting. The Convento Caverns are a good place to start, while the Charco de Soplaera water pool is the perfect place to refresh body and mind. The Guilarte Forest makes for the most spectacular forest walks and the Don Angel Pacheco Monument and the Unknown Soldier Monument will have you pondering over the lives of these remarkable people. Peñuelas also hosts three annual events – the Guiro National Fiesta in May, the Patron Celebrations festival in March and the Vuelta Cyclista – which is a popular bicycle tour. Why not visit this great little town and discover its tranquil way of life for yourself? It’s a fantastic place to unwind and spend a short holiday and should not be overlooked.

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