Christopher Columbus is believed to have first disembarked on the island of Puerto Rico  at Bahía de Guánica in 1493. At that time, Guánica was the indigenous capital of the island, led by the culture’s most powerful Taíno Indian, Cacique Agüeybaná. Guánica also played a role in the Spanish-American War when it was fired on by the USS Gloucester and surrendered to U.S. troops in 1898.
Guánica is so completely different from the rest of Puerto Rico that you’d think you were on a whole other island. The flat, dry, desertlike landscape is so unusual, in fact, that a large part of the municipality has been designated a United Nations Biosphere Reserve in an effort to preserve and study its unique environment. Called Bosque Estatal de Guánica , the 10,000-acre reserve contains hiking trails, caves, beaches, and the ruins of a Spanish fort, among other sights. There are also great snorkeling and diving along its coast.
Guánica also has a burgeoning tourism infrastructure featuring several interesting accommodations varying from a quaint, funky B&B to an all-luxury resort.