As the temperature drops in the Northern Hemisphere, a certain flight impulse takes hold in travelers' hearts. So, to help facilitate your escape, we offer a dozen of the world's best island destinations—from tropical to temperate, and classic to unexpected.
Famed for beautiful beaches and verdant rain forests, Puerto Rico also boasts a founding history that predates the Mayflower by more than a century. The capital, San Juan, was a military outpost for 16th-century conquistadores, who underscored the island’s strategic importance by building Castillo San Felipe del Morro, more commonly known as El Morro. Where the architecture of San Juan is usually associated with elegant, pastel-hued colonial buildings, El Morro is all muscle, a massive hunk of brown stone looming over San Juan Bay. There are other historic sites nearby—the City Wall, San Juan Cathedral—but it’s out here on the promontory that you get a feel for this city’s sense of itself and its former role as “Guardian of the New World.”