To find the real Puerto Rico - the one that shopping malls and condos have yet to reach - head for the towns and villages of the Cordillera Central, or Central Mountains. Bisected by the Ruta Panoramica (Scenic Route), the mountains provide a relaxing getaway with an atmosphere so unlike the coast that it feels like an entirely different island. The Ruta Panorámica is a driving adventure covering more than a hundred miles of countryside, including coffee plantations, old jíbaro country and four forests: Carite, Toro Negro, Guilarte, and Maricao. Along the route are valleys, canyons, wide-open terraces, and views of the Atlantic and the Caribbean. Visitors who don't have time to do the whole Ruta Panorámica might consider a driving tour starting out from San Juan to the San Cristobal canyon in Aibonito, returning via Barranquitas - easily doable in a day if you start out early. Or take a few days to enjoy secluded swimming holes, hiking trails, a cloud forest, and the hospitality of the mountain locals. This guide tells you everything about the region: where to stay and eat, what to see and do, how to get around, the history and culture, the fiestas and the cuisine.
As someone who has lived on the island for more than a dozen years, I found the book to be insightful and accurate. I was able to glean some additional ideas for possible adventures and having such information about the topography, history, culture, plants, etc. all in one place makes this book a great resource. I don’t know that the title is entirely fitting as I thought the book would be specifically about the central mountain range of Puerto Rico, however they clearly spent much time exploring there. I also feel, as having read the book in 2018, it could stand to be updated and revamped. Overall though, I think it is worth a purchase, as it is insightful, both for anyone moving to or vacationing in Puerto Rico.