Photos: Picturesque Puerto Rico

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  1. Eye on the word

    The Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in San Juan is a 16th century citadel. It was designed to keep seaborne enemies of out San Juan (thus the gun turret pictured). In 1983, the United Nations declared "El Morro" a World Heritage site. Today, it is Puerto Rico's best known fortress, with more than two million visitors a year. (Francisco Turnes / FeaturePics.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Hidden beauty

    Isabela is a coastal city in Puerto Rico whose main industries include tourism due to it's classic and secluded surfing beaches, panoramic views, rainforest, rivers, caves archaeological sites and more. (ervphotos / FeaturePics.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. A beacon of the times

    The Punta Higuero Lighthouse in Ricon, situated on POint Juguero, was built in 1892 by the Spanish and rebuilt in 1922 by the U.S. Coast Guard after a 1918 tsunami hit the coast of Puerto Rico that also damaged the structure. The lighthouse still works and employs an unmanned 26,000-candlepower rotatintg beacon. The beaches around the Punta Higuero Lighthouse are also popular surfing destinations, and visitors converge in the area to see the annual migration of humpback whales. (fotoamateur / FeaturePics.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Buried in history

    The Cementerio de San Juan (San Juan Cemetery), located between El Morro and the cliffs above the Atlantic of Old San Juan, is known for being one of the most picturesque burial grounds. The cemetery is also noted for its elaborate tombstones and the neoclassical chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene, which dates to the 19th century. Many of Puerto Rico's earliest colonists are buried here. (tank bmb / FeaturePics.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. Staying afloat

    Tourism is a big component of Puerto Rico's economy, and supplies about $1.8 billion annually, with millions of visitors visiting the island. It is estimated that about a third of the tourists come on cruise ships. (Ritu / FeaturePics.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Traveling back in time

    A church stands on the grounds of La Fortaleza in Old San Juan, the original capital city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. The old city is a historic district of seven square blocks made up of ancient buildings and colonial homes, massive stone walls and vast fortifications, sunny parks and cobblestoned streets. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Withstanding time

    Old San Juan in Puerto Rico is the oldest settlement within the territory of the U.S., and spans just seven square blocks. Here, the La Fortaleza (the governor's mansion), a part of the old city wall and a gate are pictured. (tank bmb / FeaturePics.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Historical colors

    Colorful homes line the cobblestoned streets in Old San Juan, the original capital city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Popular pastime

    Locals often gather at the many plazas of Old San Juan to chat and play dominoes. (Joe Raedle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Room with a view

    In Old San Juan, one of the oldest cities in the Americas, embellished balcony doors, such as the one pictured, are not unusual in the city that dates back to 1521. Most buildings are more than 150 years old and are evidence of the Spanish architectural heritage. (capricornis / FeaturePics.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Natural beauty

    The El Yunque National Forest is the sole rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System, according to the park's Web site, and is relatively small at 28,000 acres. It features a year-round tropical climate and immense biodiversity. About 600,000 tourists each year enjoy all that the forest has to offer, including wildlife, waterfalls, hiking and camping opportunities, and more. (ervphotos / FeaturePics.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Guiding light

    A 19th century lighthouse -- called the Los Morrillos -- sits atop a towering cliff that overlooks the waters of Cabo Rojo, located at the southwestern tip of Puerto Rico. The cliffs around the lighthouse drop more than 200 feet into the ocean. The lighthouse was originally built in 1882 to guide ships from the Caribbean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. Today, the lighthouse is completely automated, and a renovation cleared the interior of everything of historical significance. (ervphotos / FeaturePics.com) Back to slideshow navigation
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updated 7/23/2008 11:40:12 AM ET 2008-07-23T15:40:12

Book by: ASAP
Travel by: January 2009

The deal
Though shoveling the sidewalk, digging out the car and wearing four layers of clothes may seem unfathomably far in the future — it is only July, after all — it’s not too soon to start planning your winter escape. In fact, you can reap savings as great as 72 percent by booking now for Caribbean cruises kicking off in January. The toughest decision will be which route to take. Of course, with discounts of more than half the brochure price, maybe you won’t have to choose!

72 percent off Carnival rates to eastern Caribbean
With tropical ports of call in Puerto Rico, St. Thomas and St. Maarten, the seven-night Carnival Liberty voyage we found on Orbitz is a real steal. Rates, based on inside cabin occupancy, now start at only $469. That’s a serious discount off rack prices of $1,669 — in fact; you will save up to 72 percent! The Liberty sets out for the Eastern Caribbean twice in January 2009. Departure is round trip from Miami and the itinerary includes three days at sea.

A week in the Western Caribbean from $559
If you’re holding out for a weeklong Western Caribbean excursion with deep savings, don’t let the Carnival Legend pass you by. With three sail dates in January, you have multiple opportunities to take advantage of discounts that go up to 68 percent. Interior cabin accommodations, normally priced at $1,769, are going for a mere $559. The seven-day itinerary includes Grand Cayman, Mexico, Belize, and Bay Islands (Honduras), before returning to port in Florida’s Tampa.

Save 54 percent off Southern Caribbean sailing
Looking for a family-friendly freestyle cruise? We spotted a nine-night Southern Caribbean bargain with Norwegian Cruise Line. Rates on the Norwegian Jewel start as low as $799 for inside staterooms. That’s $980 off brochure prices! Setting sail from Miami on January 9 and 23, 2009, the ship will make stops in the Dominican Republic, Tortola (British Virgin Isles), Antigua, Barbados, and St. Lucia. Three days at sea are also thrown in.

The dollars
The quotes are per person, based on double occupancy and cover port charges, on-board meals, entertainment and some beverages. Taxes, gratuities, alcohol, off-board expenditures and other fees are not included.

The catch
Additional expenses, including airfare to your port of departure, will add up quickly.

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