A few communities suffer from "yacht overload," but most "offer local flavor" and low-scale tourism.
Here is a representative sampling of additional anonymous comments from the panelists. They are not necessarily the views of the National Geographic Society:
"Puerto Rico's west coast is still very local and authentic. Aside from Rincón, which has long been an expat surfer colony, the island's culture remains intact here. Environmentally, the beaches are pleasant, though some are not well maintained. Tourism here is still at the small-scale level. There are few large chain hotels and casinos. Built heritage is in ok condition and tourist spots are for the most part well cared for."
"The destination offers a local flavor, pace, and setting that is comfortable. When driving, the vistas can be beautiful. There are few areas of environmental concern."
"Sound and pleasant beaches with well scaled, locally owned tourism development. Authentic local culture is accessible. Planning needed to retain character."
2014 Traveler Photo Contest
See all the winning images from the 2014 Traveler Photo Contest.