Exploring Enchanting US Territories
US Territories are some of best adventures you should engage in your lifetime. Many Americans would be hard pressed to locate Puerto Rico, Guam or the US Virgin Islands on a map.
These exotic, colorful destinations are heavy in multi-cultural history and offer a range of travel experiences. Best of all, you can visit without a passport.
Puerto Rico One of the Adventurous US Territories
The enchanting Caribbean island of Puerto Rico is a whirlwind of tropical beaches, rich culture, and natural wonders. The nickname “Isla del Encanto,” or the Island of Enchantment, is more than just a cute slogan.
Whether you’re strolling the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, snorkeling among colorful marine life, or kayaking in a glowing blue-green lagoon, your trip to this tropical paradise will leave you with unforgettable memories.
As a US territory (some locals will tell you it’s a colony) and not a state, travelers to Puerto Rico can explore without the need for a passport. This means you can save time and money by avoiding the long lines at the airports.
The island’s diverse landscape and unique history have given rise to a distinctly Puerto Rican culture. The island is a fusion of Spanish, African, and Taino Indian influences that have come together to create a one-of-a-kind destination.
Almost every weekend on the island is full of cultural events and festivals that celebrate Puerto Rican traditions. For example, the week-long celebration of Three Kings Day draws visitors from across the world.
The most famous festival is the annual San Sebastian Festival, a 10-day extravaganza in Old San Juan with live music performances, crafts stalls, and a parade with colorful floats down Calle del Cristo.
Situated in the Western Pacific, Guam is a tropical paradise that outdoor adventurers and beach lovers will love for its stunning white-sand beaches and plethora of ocean sports.
But this island has also been a crossroads in other ways, and its cultural heritage is evident in everything from the traditional chants that echo throughout the capital of Hagatna to the diverse dishes that fill local kitchens.
Sample Spanish-influenced cuisines and pick up a souvenir at the Chamorro Village Night Market. Or, plan a visit during the Agana Heights Coconut Festival to indulge in the local favorite: coconut oil, soaps, wooden carvings and toys.
The lush landscape of Guam offers scenic hiking opportunities, too. Take on the challenging 3.5-mile trek to Ritidian Point to soak up panoramic views of the island’s rainforest-covered mountains and rugged coastline.
For something more laid-back, head to Gun Beach to admire the secluded cove’s steep reef sides and cable trenches, or go diving at Apra Harbour to explore the WWI-era German cruiser SMS Cormoran II and Japanese freighter Tokai Maru, both of which lie in the deep waters off of Guam’s coast.
Getting around the island is easy with the numerous taxis and public transit systems found in Hagatna and Tumon. However, renting a car is recommended for the ultimate freedom to explore the remote villages and natural beauty of Guam.
American Samoa, an Enchanting Part of US Territories
White sand, turquoise waters and an American flag lofted by tropical winds—it’s the perfect recipe for a postcard-worthy vacation. But these stunning beaches and islands are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the US territories. They offer a unique flavor of multi-cultural history that many mainland Americans don’t even know about. Plus, you can visit these island treasures without a passport.
Located halfway between Hawaii and New Zealand, American Samoa offers the best of all worlds with pristine beaches, lush rainforest, a stunning national park, and rich cultural heritage. In the heart of American Samoa’s capital, Pago Pago, is a picturesque cathedral built in 1832.
The city also offers a farmers’ market and countless local eateries. If you’re feeling adventurous, check out the National Park of American Samoa for a day of hiking. But be sure to pack a picnic to enjoy at one of the numerous scenic overlooks on the island.
If you’re visiting between August and November, keep your eyes peeled for a spectacular sighting of southern humpback whales. And if you’re looking for an authentic Samoan experience, don’t miss a fiafia performance.
The Virgin Islands
The Virgin Islands are a tropical paradise that draws visitors for weeklong stays and as ports-of-call on cruise adventures. This Caribbean archipelago is renowned for its sparkling beaches, spectacular snorkeling and diving opportunities, and exquisite rainforests.
History buffs can learn about the USVI’s unique blend of Caribbean and American influences in its museums, churches, and fortresses. They can also explore the island’s sugar plantations and rum distilleries, some of which were built by enslaved Africans.