There was no explanation whatsoever for that golf ball thumping to earth by my feet. I like to think that one of those great pings being emitted over at Arecibo had seen a response, that someone out in the great ­beyond had chosen to drop a golf ball from the heavens.

I had come to Puerto Rico for a paradigm shift in how I viewed the place, to be stunned and amazed. And so, in several previously unlikely ways, I was.
If You Go

Puerto Rico’s main hub is the city of San Juan, located in the island’s northeast region. My journey began there. I stayed at the Embassy Suites Dorado del Mar Beach and Golf Resort (787-796-6125), 45 minutes west of San Juan in the beachfront community of Dorado. To reach the Radiotelescopio de Arecibo (787-878-2612), follow Highway 22 to Route 129, and follow the signs. Operating hours are Wednesday through Friday, noon to four p.m.; Saturday, Sunday, and holidays, nine a.m. to four p.m. The new visitor center hosts an interactive exhibit for all ages and a 20-minute movie about the observatory. The Rio Camuy Caverns (787-898-3100) are just a short drive from the ­observatory. Operating hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. If you’re up for more adventure, Puerto Rico has many fine tour operators that cover activities ranging from horseback riding to kayaking. AdvenTours ( offers excursions for those who enjoy cultural history, outdoor sports, mountain biking, jungle trekking, and stargazing. Legends of Puerto Rico (, Aqua Frenzy­ Kayaks (, and Aquatica Dive and Bike Adventours ( also offer a complete range of outdoor activities.