The Best Destinations for Travel Nurses: San Juan Puerto Rico
If you’re in the middle of cold, wet, and sloppy winter, I’ll bet you’re dreaming of a warm getaway. Picture yourself on a beautiful tropical beach in the dead of winter, sipping on a pina colada with your toes buried in warm sand. If you’re a traveling nurse and your idea of wintry paradise does not include scraping ice from your windshield before work, an assignment in Puerto Rico might be just the ticket.
Located on the coast of a beautiful tropical island, San Juan is a modern city loaded with old-world charm. The history of the oldest U.S. city* is rooted in rich and colorful culture. On his second voyage in 1493, Christopher Columbus originally named the island “San Juan Bautista” to honor St. John the Baptist. Ponce de León came along and founded a city, which he named Puerto Rico (Rich Port) in 1521. Sometime later, the name of the city and the name of the island were exchanged. The long history creates an intriguing mix of old and new in the city. Modern office buildings give way unexpectedly to centuries-old dwellings, and throngs of tourists waving smartphones and digital cameras provide a startling contrast to colorfully painted ancient constructions.
*St. Augustine, FL, is the oldest city in continental United States.
Things to do
The city is dominated by a 16th-century fort, El Morro (Castillo de San Felipe del Morro) , a six story citadel filled with tunnels, dungeons, barracks, outposts and ramps. The imposing fortress was overcome only once, when the Earl of Cumberland attacked unexpectedly from the land side. The walk through history is well worth the $3 price of admission, and the ocean views from the fort are nothing short of spectacular.
To further explore Puerto Rican history, art, and culture, visit the San Juan Museum of Art and History. It began life as a market in 1855, and was rebuilt in 1979 as a cultural center, featuring native art and music. Concerts and festivals are held there throughout the year.
For a shopping experience, it’s hard to beat the 300 retailers located in the Plaza las Americas, a modern mall graced with elegant architecture and everything you’d expect to find at a mainland mall.
And then there are the beaches. Miles and miles of fine white sand, blue skies and bluer water, gentle waves and an endlessly breathtaking ocean view. It’s warm all year round, so taking a travel assignment in Puerto Rico from January – March gives a whole new meaning to the winter blues.
San Juan boasts many modern medical facilities, and one of the nicest is the Doctor’s Center Hospital, which has three area locations. With a diet center, a cancer center, a cardiovascular lab, a nuclear medicine facility and several other specialized care wings, the hospital provides the kind of quality care your patients expect and deserve.
The best thing about being a travel nurse is the opportunity to experience new things, and the wealth of culture and history, the delicious cuisine, and the tropical setting makes Puerto Rico a great choice…especially in the winter.