Daily Daydream: Isla De Mona, Puerto Rico

No passport or visa is required for this destination, one of a group of three islands nicknamed The Galapagos Islands of the Caribbean. Isla De Mona is the ideal warm-weather retreat, as it has temperatures between 80 to 90 degrees year-round. This protected, uninhabited island is about seven miles by four miles, perfect for exploring in a day.

So why does this island draw comparisons to the famous Galapagos? Most likely for it's unique topography, which features high cliffs, caves, and mangrove forest. Like the Galapagos, Isla De Mona is also home to many endangered species, including sea turtles, red-footed boobies (to rival the Galapagos' blue-footed variety), and the Mona Iguana. The Iguana grows to four feet long, and is found nowhere else in the entire world. Isla De Mona also has world-class snorkeling, with many colorful coral reefs, and visibility of up to 150 feet.

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Where is it? About 40 miles west of Puerto Rico's main island. Most people visit Mona Island via boat from either the main island, or from the slightly closer Dominican Republic (about 38 miles away). Nearby international airports include Puerto Rico's Rafael Hernández Marín International (check prices) and the Dominican Republic's Punta Cana (check prices).

Where to stay? The only way to stay on the island is to camp, and there are strict rules to follow. Campers must bring all food, drinking water, and camping equipment. Showers and bathrooms are available at the Playa Sardinera campground.

What else should I know? Since the island is protected to for environmental preservation, only 100 visitors are allowed at a time.

Who's it for? Adventurers, Eco-travelers, snorklers, hikers, cavers.

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