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Sports in Puerto Rico: Where to Play, What to Watch, and When to Go.

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A tropical island with ideal weather, diverse geography, ocean and sea water, Puerto Rico naturally is a paradise for athletes and fans of a variety of sports. Here's a rundown of what you can play and watch around the island, throughout the year.

1. Baseball

Photo © Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
The skinny

Baseball is one of the most popular sports on the island, with homegrown stars (Carlos Beltrán, Roberto Alomar, Roberto Clemente, and more) and its own league (the Liga Profesional de Beisbol).

Where to go
Baseball is played all over Puerto Rico, but the most well-known park is the Hiram Birthorn Stadium in Hato Rey, San Juan.

The season
Puerto Rican baseball runs from November to January. Games are held Monday to Saturday at 7:30, Sundays at 4 in Carolina and 6 in Santurce. Sure, it's not the Major League, but the great Roberto Clemente came from these roots, and Hank Aaron and Reggie Jackson once played here.

Special events
There is a seasonal final in January, and San Juan will host a round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

2. Boxing

Photo © Al Bello/Getty Images
The skinny

In Puerto Rico, boxing has a storied legacy that began in 1899. This island has produced some of the sport's all-time greats, including Hall of Famers Carlos Ortiz, José "Chegui" Torres, Edwin "El Chapo" Rosario, and more recent icons Hector Camacho, Felix "Tito" Trinidad, and Miguel “Junito” Cotto, to name just a few. There are currently seven Puerto Ricans in the Boxing Hall of Fame, a staggering number for the size of the island and testament to its boxing tradition.

Where to go
The Coliseo de Puerto Rico, or Coliseum, is host to the biggest showdowns and tickets in the sport.

The season
No specific season.

Special events
Check the website of the Coliseo for upcoming fights.

3. Cock-Fighting

The skinny

This is an iffy one. Opinions vary greatly as to whether cockfighting should even be allowed in Puerto Rico, and its cruelty to animals is no minor detail. But it has been a tradition on the island for a long time, and it has its proponents. It is most popular in the interior, but there is one famous venue in Isla Verde that continues to draw weekly crowds. Rather than draw moral conclusions, I'll list the details here and move on. But if you have something to say about it, start a discussion in my forum. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Where to go
Club Gallístico de Puerto Rico
787-791-1557
6600 Isla Verde Avenue, Isla Verde, Carolina

The season
No specific season, the Club Gallístico hosts fights every Saturday beginning at 2 pm.

4. Equestrian

Photo © Tropical Trail Rides

The skinny

The Spanish brought several things to the New World, including horses. In particular, they brought Paso Fino horses to Puerto Rico, a breed much prized for its elegance and smooth gait, which provides a remarkably smooth ride. This makes Paso Finos a joy to learn on as well as show off, and there are competitions, trails, and stables around the island.

Where to go
Here are just a few places where you can hop in the saddle:

The season
Year-round.

Special events
Mother's Day and Father's Day is celebrated with a Paso Fino Competition in Vieques.

5. Golf

Photo © Puerto Rico Tourism Company
The skinny

Puerto Rico offers many temptations to the avid golfer: a diverse landscape that offers stunning ocean views, verdant slopes, and lush flora; championship courses designed by some of the biggest names in the business; and the credibility of its recent addition to the PGA circuit. The Puerto Rico Open was inaugurated in 2008. Finally, there's this handy golf portal that lists just about everything the golfer needs to tee off around the island.

Where to go
Check out my list of where to play around Puerto Rico.

The season
Year-round.

Special events
The PGA Puerto Rico Open is the biggest tournament on the island, held annually in March. The Puerto Rico Golf Association also hosts a tournament each year.

6. Hang Gliding

Photo © Clay Humphrey
The skinny

This round-up says it all about hang gliding in Puerto Rico. Team Spirit will take you high above the treetops of El Yunque, giving you breathtaking birdseye views of the island while you float on thermal wind currents.

Where to go
Team Spirit flies from Cubuy. Call 787-850-0508 or email tshg@coqui.net for more information or to book an excursion.

The season
Year-round, weather permitting.

Special events
None.

7. Kayaking

Photo © Puerto Rico Tourism Company

The skinny

Kayaking is a popular avctivity all over Puerto Rico and can be enjoyed in a variety of settings: bioluminescent lagoons, mangrove forests, lakes encircled by mountains, and the splendor of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Hotels in Vieques, Culebra and along the coast frequently have kayaks available for guests, and several companies offer tours or rentals.

Where to go
Virtually all over the island, but here are a few useful contacts:

The season
Year-round.

Special events
None.

8. Rappelling, Canyoning and Caving

Photo © Aventuras Tierra Adentro
The skinny

There's one company that stands out above the rest for its adventure tourism programs; even other tour guides nod respectfully in their direction and say, "yup, they're the best." They, in this case, is Aventuras Tierra Adentro, and they should be the first people you call if the idea of leaping across chasms, rappelling down mountains, exploring subterranean rivers, and zip-lining over thousand-foot drops is your idea of a good time. (Check out my adventure tourism photo gallery to give you an idea of what to expect.)

Where to go
Aventuras arranges all the details, including pick-ups and meeting points. Excursions explore the area above and below the El Yunque rainforest.

The season
Year-round.

Special events
None.

9. Running and Hiking

Photo © Legends of Puerto Rico

The skinny

Puerto Rico offers trails and tracks along beaches, through forests, and in its verdant parks.

Where to go

  • Hikers will love the trails that snake through El Yunque and the milder treks through the Guánica Dry Forest. Eco Action Tours and Legends of Puerto Rico organize tours to both.
  • Runners should check this handy list of routes around the island. San Juan also has many parks with jogging/running tracks, including Parque Barbosa (Ocean Park), Parque Lineal Enrique Marti Coll, and Parque Luis Muñoz Marín (Hato Rey), and the Botanical Garden (Río Piedras).

The season
Year-round.

Special events
The World's Best 10-K Race kicks off in San Juan in February/March; it's the largest participatory sport on the island.

10. Sailing

Photo © Zain Deane

The skinny

The sailing capital of Puerto Rico is Fajardo, but you can also learn how to sail and attend regattas in San Juan, Rincón, and Culebra. Note: This section doesn't cover charters and tours.

Where to go

The season
Year-round.

Special events
The biggest event on the island is the Club Náutico's International Regatta.

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