When you think about it, Puerto Rico is the perfect destination for athletes of all ages and levels. The island has more than its share of sports and recreation, but for those who like to combine their love of sport with a Caribbean vacation, Puerto Rico might become your home away from home.
From world-championship golf to Iron Man races to a friendly swim across the bay in honor of a special athlete, there are sporting events throughout the island, and throughout the year, that bring sports enthusiasts from all over the world to Puerto Rico's shores. Here are just a few events that you may want want to circle on your calendar.
I've spoken at length about how underrated Puerto Rico is as a golfing destination. From the famed East Course in Dorado to the PGA's Puerto Rico Open, the caliber of the greens here is world-class, and the choice of setting practically unbeatable. Where else can you choose the Caribbean or Atlantic Ocean, the spectacular El Yunque Rainforest, or rugged karst cliffs as a backdrop to your game?
And if you want to play with other top-ranked amateurs, you'll have plenty of opportunities. The Golf Channel Amateur Tour has a number of events on the calendar in Puerto Rico.
2. Triathlons, Marathons and other -thons
Runners and Iron Men, choose your course. If you want to run in the sun without undergoing something as extreme as a marathon, try the World's Best 10K race in San Juan. If you want a bigger challenge, check out the Iron Man 70.3 , which is comprised of a 1.2-mile swim in the Condado Lagoon, a 56-mile bike through Dorado to the hilly, northern part of the island, and a 13.1-mile run finishing up the race. And then there's the Puerto Rico marathon and half marathon to round out your running options.
For those of you who want to stick to biking, without all the running and swimming of the Iron Man getting in the way, let me introduce you to La Vuelta, a unique challenge for endurance athletes. The group race takes you on a tour around the entire island, a four-day, 400-mile odyssey on two wheels. You can choose to ride at 15-20 mph, 20-25 mph or 25 mph+, making this noncompetitive event available to a range of athletes.
4. Surfing & Boarding
Puerto Rico's awesome breaks have attracted surfers from around the globe for decades, from the amateurs to the world's top pros (and, if you want to count extreme amateurs, then you can throw me in the mix too). Check out the Professional Surfing Association of Puerto Rico website for event news and updates.
Another useful resource is the Puerto Rico Surfing Federation, which also lists events for stand-up paddleboarding and bodyboarding. And finally, if you're into kiteboarding and paddling (and I certainly am), check to see if the island is hosting another Puerto Rico Kiteboarding & Paddle Cup.
5. Fishing & Sailing
Fishermen can attest to this better than I can, but Puerto Rico's waters have attracted anglers for a long time. In fact, one of the island's biggest fishing events, the International Billfish Tournament, marks its 60th year in 2013.
Sailing and fishing events are held year-round in Puerto Rico. The Club Nautico de San Juan hosts the San Juan International Regatta, and the Palmas del Mar Marina hosts an annual sailing tournament of its own.
6. For the rest of us
You don't have to be an athlete to enjoy playing sports in Puerto Rico. Trust me; if I can go surfing, kayaking, kiteboarding, caving, rappelling, zip-lining, hiking and diving on this island, anyone can! Choose the sport you love, or try something new. I speak from experience when I say you'll have a blast in Puerto Rico.