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24 Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico & Places to Visit

Vacations in Puerto Rico are usually filled with beautiful beaches, calm waters, natural wonders, and essentially everything else that nature lovers seek. Does that sound like your kind of trip?

Visiting Puerto Rico is unlike visiting most other Caribbean islands. It’s a piece of Latin America that is relatively safe and packed with tourist attractions that go beyond white sand and beach bars.

Of course, Puerto Ricans will tell you that they do, in fact, have the best beaches in the entire Caribbean Sea – and you might agree!

If you are overwhelmed by all of the Puerto Rico things to do on the internet, you aren’t alone. This is a large island full of tropical rainforests, bioluminescent bays, coral reefs and marine life, and much more. Every tourist in Puerto Rico should venture out of Old San Juan to get the full experience.

If you’re planning to visit Puerto Rico, take a look at our list below of some of the best things to do in this US territory. There are countless destinations in Puerto Rico itself, so you may end up planning more than one trip!

Guided LED Night Kayak Excursion in Condado Lagoon Puerto Rico
1. Guided LED Night Kayak Excursion in Condado Lagoon, Puerto Rico Top Recommendation

Take a guided tour through the Condado Lagoon on one of the clear bottom night kayaks and see Puerto Rico in a whole new way! The night kayak excursion is perfect for all ages, from young teens to adult. The trip begins with a safety briefing, where you'll learn about the basic paddle strokes, proper body positioning, and how to maneuver your kayak. Then get ready for an amazing experience as you glide under the stars while seeing all the city lights of San Juan.

Puerto Rico El Yunque Rainforest Waterfalls Half Day Tour
2. Puerto Rico: El Yunque Rainforest & Waterfalls Half-Day Tour

Puerto Rico is a beautiful tropical city filled with friendly locals, incredible scenery, and endless opportunities. Although it is a small island, you can explore different areas to experience the natural beauty at its finest. If you are looking for a fun way to experience nature in a beautiful tropical location, then book this tour!

Puerto Rico The Beast Zipline at Toro Verde Adventure Park
3. Puerto Rico: The Beast Zipline at Toro Verde Adventure Park

The Beast Zipline is one of the world's longest single-run ziplines. Fly through the jungle in Puerto Rico on this exhilarating experience and see the awe-inspiring views below. You'll feel an adrenaline rush as you reach speeds of up to 60 mph from a height of more than 380m, before coming back down to land safely at Toro Verde Adventure Park.


  • Most significant landmark – Old San Juan
  • Best park – El Yunque National Forest
  • Best free activity – La Cueva del Indio Marine Reserve
  • Best activity for kids – Swimming & Snorkeling at Carolina Beach, Isla Verde
  • Best activity for adults – Rio Camuy Caves
  • Best food – Local Cuisine on the Pork Highway
  • Best nightlife – BRAVA at the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel
  • Best all-around accommodationWyndham Palmas Beach & Golf Resort

Best & Fun Things to do in Puerto Rico

If you’re wondering what to do in Puerto Rico, we’ve got you covered – from the Atlantic Ocean to the Caribbean Sea. Take a look below at some of the top attractions in Puerto Rico.

1. Old San Juan

Houses in Old San Juan

Let’s start with Puerto Rico’s oldest settlement and one of its capital’s most popular neighborhoods; Old San Juan, or Viejo San Juan in Spanish. Old San Juan is at the tip of a tiny island north of the Port of San Juan, connected by a bridge to the rest of Puerto Rico.

Old San Juan is known for its cobblestone streets, local shops, and fantastic cuisine. Its oldest buildings date back to the 16th Century, and a stroll through these streets quickly reflects the rich history of the island that began there.

The San Juan City Walls surround the neighborhood and are still in a very good state of preservation. In fact, San Juan is the only city in the United States to continue to preserve its colonial defensive system.

Visitors love to take pictures of the colorful houses that line the streets. Another highlight is the San Juan Cathedral, which is the oldest in the United States and the second-oldest in the Americas. It is also the final resting place of the famous Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon.

To make the best of Old San Juan, stroll through it, stopping for tasty Caribbean food, cocktails, and photos as you, please.

If you want to get extra history and see it from a local’s perspective, take a sunset walking tour with a guide. You can also do a sunset cruise around Old San Juan – and no one will argue with doing the Caribbean by boat!

2. El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque National Forest Skyline

One of Puerto Rico’s most well-known natural attractions is the famous El Yunque National Rainforest. This 29,000-acre preserve is the only tropical rainforest in the National Forest System, making it a huge bucket list item for many American nature lovers.

The El Yunque National Rainforest lies in the mountains just southeast of San Juan on the island’s eastern end. A drive of about 30 minutes from the main roads takes you into the preserve’s heart, as you pass thousands of ferns, palm trees, and waterfalls on either side.

There are countless hiking trails to all kinds of wonders in the rainforest. Favorites include waterfalls like La Mina Falls, viewpoints like El Yunque Peak Tower, and ruins like Torre Britton.

To visit El Yunque on your own, you will want to rent a car. Don’t forget to purchase entry tickets from the National Forest Service’s website to show to the park rangers when you arrive, as they control capacity inside.

There are also plenty of excursions to El Yunque, like this half-day tour with you swimming under waterfalls in a tropical rainforest. You can also go directly from San Juan on excursions that start and end there, like this hiking and waterfall trekking adventure.

See Related: Puerto Rico vs Dominican Republic: What is Better to Visit?

3. Mosquito Bay

Mosquito Bay Sunset
image by Edgar Torres is licensed under CC BY 3.0

For one of the wildest experiences in Puerto Rico, you have to actually get off of Puerto Rico and head over to the small island off its east coast called Vieques. There, you’ll find the magnificent Mosquito Bay.

Don’t think the name Mosquito Bay sounds very pleasant?

This quiet cove is recognized by Guinness World Records as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world! When the sun goes down, the water literally lights up in electric blue as you swim, kayak, or boat through it.

Bioluminescent bays have this effect due to tiny phytoplanktons that produce light when they are agitated. Don’t worry; you aren’t harming them, nor will they harm you – they light up when they get touched!

So, many visitors like to paddle out in a kayak after dark to see this incredible phenomenon and get some amazing photos. Even just sitting on the beach is great as the calm waves hitting the sand light up in blue. During the daytime, the beach is enjoyable as well, and seeing sea turtles is not uncommon.

Many visitors just make a day trip out of Vieques, but many like to spend the night just to see Mosquito Bay light up. You can take an electric catamaran tour if you prefer to just ride along or jump on a kayak tour to paddle yourself.

See Related: Warm Places to Visit in US in Winter

4. Flamenco Beach

Flamenco Beach Scenery
image by Angel Xavier Viera is licensed under CC BY-ND 2.0

Moving up to the other small island off of Puerto Rico’s east coast, Culebra, we find one of the most tranquil and picturesque beaches of the island chain: Flamenco Beach. Puerto Ricans choose to come to Playa Flamenco for their beach days, so you can be sure that it is one of the best.

The island of Culebra is far less populated than its larger neighbors, including Vieques, making crowds much less of a problem here. Flamenco Beach is set in its northwest, away from the main town, like your own private Caribbean paradise.

White sand and incredible snorkeling await at this beautiful beach that only a handful of tourists make it to on their trip. If you decide to put it on your itinerary, make sure you have supplies like sunscreen and a beach umbrella before leaving Puerto Rico.

If you’re going to make a day trip on your own, you will need to take the ferry from Ceiba to Culebra. There is a passenger version or a cargo ship that can take vehicles, but first, ensure your rental car is allowed to leave Puerto Rico.

If you prefer to not worry about all of the logistics, you can take a kayaking and snorkeling tour around Culebra with time at Flamenco Beach. The tour starts and ends at the ferry port in Ceiba, and you just need to arrive ready for a good time.

5. El Morro

El Morro

Standing guard at the tip of Old San Juan, the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, or simply El Morro, is one of the most prominent features of San Juan. This 16th-century walled fort is special enough to be managed by the National Park Service and has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

El Morro is one of the most popular San Juan, Puerto Rico, things to do because of its rich past and historical significance. It was ordered to be built by King Felipe II of Spain in 1539 during the age of the conquistador explorers. The colonists needed a fortification to control access to the all-important harbor of San Juan.

Over the course of the next several hundred years, El Morro would be the subject of attacks and attempted takeovers by the English, the Dutch, and even the Americans. Its sturdy walls and architecture have mostly withstood it all, and at the entrance of San Juan Bay still sits a majestic piece of the 1500s.

Visitors can climb the fortifications, visit the guard points, and check out the sea-facing cannons of El Morro today to admire the importance of this place. An even better way to take in all the history is to take a guided walking tour of the fort and Old San Juan together.

See Related: When is the Best Time to Travel to Puerto Rico?

6. Sun Bay

Sun Bay Scenery
image by Playerest is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Whether you have some time on Vieques before or after a night at a bioluminescent bay or if you’ve decided to spend a few days there, Sun Bay is an excellent choice for a relaxing beach without big crowds. Sun Bay is located next to the village of Esperanza and just down the road from Mosquito Bay.

Here, you’ll find a long and wide cove with golden sand and coconut trees lining the shore. The road leading to the beach sort of merges with the sand eventually, allowing beachgoers to park close and easily if they have the right type of vehicle.

Despite having all the facilities of a public beach, such as lifeguards, showers, and even a snack bar, Sun Bay never gets too busy to be enjoyed.

The water is usually quite calm, the snorkeling is very good, and coconut trees provide natural shade. Just be very careful not to set up your towel under any coconuts – they do fall, and they are dangerous!

There are a few other smaller and more secluded cove beaches a short distance away by hike for those who don’t feel like relaxing the whole day. The village of Esperanza can also be reached on foot if the snack bar is missing something or you want to do some shopping.

7. La Coca Falls

Tourists at La Coca Falls
image by Joe Shlabotnik is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

If you’ve got waterfalls in mind for your trip to Puerto Rico, you’ve come to the right island. One of the most popular to visit, thanks to its easy accessibility, is La Coca Falls, within the El Yunque National Forest.

Interestingly, you won’t find a marker for La Coca Falls on Google Maps. That does make the falls seem more off the beaten path; however, the truth is, you can’t really miss them. This cascade is directly next to the main road going through El Yunque, Route 191, about halfway into the park.

Depending on the season you visit, the falls may take on a different appearance. When it’s been drier in the forest, there may be a few dozen smaller streams of water running down the wide rock lining the drop. But in the wetter season, those streams can turn into a full wall of water.

No matter when you see it, the falls are a beautiful sight. It’s an over 80-foot drop along its rock wall background surrounded by ferns and other jungle plants that makes the whole thing look like a scene from Jurassic Park.

See Related: Best Boundary Waters Waterfalls You Need to Visit

8. Rio Camuy Caves

Rio Camuy Caves
image by ukdamian is licensed under CC BY-NC 2.0

Venturing into the mountains of northwestern Puerto Rico may bring you to the Rio Camuy Caves, also known as the Camuy River Cave Park. This wild network of caverns was carved out by the Camuy River, the third-largest underground river in the world.

The caves were only recently “discovered” in 1958, although archaeologists have found evidence that Puerto Rico’s indigenous people had been exploring the caverns hundreds of years ago.

While experts believe there are over 1,000 caves total, just about 220 of them and 10 miles of caverns have been mapped thus far.

It’s exciting to think that you are exploring an underground wonder still mostly unknown to humans. The Puerto Rico National Park Service manages the site and provides informational walking tours into the caves. It’s a little over an hour’s drive from San Juan but well worth the trip.

Keep in mind that this excursion requires a fair bit of inclined hiking, and surfaces are very slippery inside. You will need decent hiking shoes for this. Once inside, you’ll be standing in a sinkhole over 10 stories deep with views that cameras simply cannot capture.

9. Scuba Diving

Puerto Rico Scuba Diving
image by GetYourGuide

Are you a PADI-certified scuba diver? If so, a dive is probably already on your mind for visiting Puerto Rico. The island is surrounded by coral reefs and marine life the Caribbean is famed for.

Large portions of the sea around Puerto Rico are marine preserves, making the conditions just perfect for divers. You’ll see colorful exotic fish, sea turtles, rays, lobsters, and all kinds of reefs. There are walls and ledges, caverns, grooves, and sand channels just waiting to reveal what lives within.

You can find dive centers all around Puerto Rico, Vieques, and Culebra, but many visitors like to dive on the east side. There are numerous reefs, underwater formations, and a marine preserve just off the coast, providing a ton of options.

If you are certified and ready, you’ll definitely want to book a two-tank reef dive from Puerto del Rey Marina.

See Related: Best Scuba Travel Insurance Options for Divers

10. Seven Seas Beach

Seven Seas Beach Aerial View

Speaking of Fajardo and the wonderfully clear waters on its coast, there’s a fantastic beach in the area as well: Seven Seas Beach. This long, sandy cove is at the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico.

The water here is nice, clear, and calm, making this beach a favorite for activities like paddle boarding and snorkeling, but also for spending a lazy day floating and swimming. There are also some nice walking trails to some other secluded beaches on the coast and along a natural lagoon.

If laying under a palm tree is on your mind, there are plenty of shady spots along the sand here as well. Bathrooms and showers are available at this beach but note that as it’s a managed service, there is a charge to use them.

See Related: The Ultimate 5 Days in Mexico City Itinerary

11. Toro Verde Adventure Park

Toro Verde Adventure Park

For some adrenaline-inducing fun in the jungle, there’s the Toro Verde Adventure Park, high in the mountains of central Puerto Rico.

A drive of just over an hour from San Juan will bring you to this wilderness adventure course that became even more famous after Jimmy Fallon filmed an episode of his show from the park.

Toro Verde is a network of ziplines, suspension bridges, cable bikes, and other fun ways to get around the trees and jungles. This area of Puerto Rico has some of the most beautiful mountain views and greenery, and there are few better ways to take it in than from above.

The biggest hits at Toro Verde are their ziplines. One favorite is called The Beast, which will have you flying 1.5 kilometers across the treetops! And if you’re up for that, you will definitely want to try The Monster, running for 2.5 kilometers – that’s over a mile and a half, one of the longest ziplines in the world!

To go to the park, you need to have a reservation based on which activities you’d like to do. You can do just The Beast, just The Monster, just cable biking, or a combo ticket of them all.

See Related: World Nomads Insurance Review: Is it Worth it?

12. Isla Verde

Isla Verde Aerial Scenery
image is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

Think of Isla Verde as Puerto Rico’s Waikiki. This is the touristic neighborhood of San Juan, just next to the airport and east of Old San Juan, where many of the large resorts are located along a beautiful beach.

Even if your accommodation in Puerto Rico isn’t in Isla Verde, it’s still worth a visit. The beach is long and wide with calm, shallow water. There’s also a nice marine reserve of reef just offshore, making for some great snorkeling, and toys like paddle boards and kayaks can be rented on the sand.

Beyond the beach, you’ll find plenty of entertainment, restaurants, and necessities along the main strip in Isla Verde.

Dining options range from true, authentic Puerto Rican food to familiar favorites from home. Several hotels, such as the Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort and the Ritz-Carlton San Juan, have casinos for those who want to try their luck in the islands.

One of the activities that people like to try most in Puerto Rico is surfing, and board rentals with lessons are available right there in Isla Verde. Even if you’ve never done it before, this is one of the best beaches to try it at, thanks to its small waves and sandy bottom!

13. Vieques National Wildlife Refuge

Vieques National Wildlife Refuge Aerial View
image by USFWS Headquarters is licensed under CC BY 2.0

As mentioned, the little island of Vieques has much more to offer than just its glow-in-the-dark bays. Just take a look at the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, which is one of the most ecologically diverse places in the entire Caribbean.

The refuge takes up basically the entire eastern half of Vieques, along with a bit of the west coast, for a total of almost 18,000 acres.

This protected area is quite sparsely populated and developed. It leaves plenty of space for wild animals and plant life to thrive and creates an awesome environment for the responsible visitor.

Some of the scenes found here are pristine beaches, dry forests, coastal lagoons, mangrove wetlands, and more.

That last one is where the beautiful manatees of the Caribbean live, and if you’ve ever had the experience of seeing one in Florida before, then you know how special it is to see this gentle giant in the wild.

On the land, you can find brown pelicans, a species of freshwater turtle, and even wild horses! The inhabitants of this place are happy to share their beautiful home with you, as long as you pick up after yourself and don’t disturb them.

See Related: Best Travel Backpacks | Efficient Carry-On Options

14. Laguna Grande

Laguna Grande Kayak Tour
image by Viator

If you’ve got limited time in Puerto Rico and can’t make it over to Vieques, don’t worry – the main island has its own bioluminescent bay at Laguna Grande. While it hasn’t broken any records like Mosquito Bay, it is still a great place to see the famous light-up organisms at night.

This lagoon is located in Fajardo and is just next to the previously-mentioned Seven Seas Beach. Just an hour from San Juan, it makes for an easy nighttime activity even if you have to return to your hotel in the city.

Therefore, you can find plenty of kayak adventures from San Juan that will bring you door-to-door conveniently.

Many visitors with time constraints like to put a night on the lagoon after a day in El Yunque National Forest. With a combo tour like this, you’ll see two of Puerto Rico’s most famous natural wonders in a single day.

15. La Cueva del Indio Marine Reserve

La Cueva del Indio Marine Reserve Aerial View

For some amazing sea cliffs with ancient history, head over to La Cueva del Indio on the north shore of Puerto Rico. This natural attraction is located near the town of Arecibo, about halfway between San Juan and the west coast.

Jagged rock formations line the sea here, creating craters, caves, natural arches, and steep drops to the water below. Within the caves, you can still see petroglyphs, or ancient cave wall art, created by the indigenous peoples of the island hundreds of years ago.

To access these caves, visitors must climb some steep climbs on rough surfaces that even require using a ladder at one point. If you visit Cueva del Indio, you will definitely want to wear proper shoes and watch the children closely.

Even if you don’t decide to descend into the caves, there are still amazing views to be had and other interesting geological formations to see from the surface. One of the most photographed is a massive arch over the sea below. Be careful here as well, though – the drops are steep, and the ground is uneven!

See Related: How to Find Cheap Flights

16. Playa Sucia

Playa Sucia Scenery
image by Oscalito is licensed under CC BY 2.0

If you’re looking to get away from the city of San Juan for a really secluded beach, the hidden gem of Playa Sucia should be perfect.

Don’t let the name fool you: while Playa Sucia means Dirty Beach in Spanish, this is one of the cleanest, white-sand, blue-water beaches you’ll find on this island. Maybe the name is meant to keep it a local secret?

The beach sits on the southeastern tip of Puerto Rico on the end of a long peninsula. You’ll drive past some salt flats to get to the red-cliffed area called Cabo Rojo, which perfectly shelters Playa Sucia.

Once there, you’ll be greeted with a relatively small, half-moon-shaped bay with powdery sand and turquoise water.

There are a few trees that can provide some shade, but this is one beach that you may want to pack an umbrella for. There also aren’t many food options on this side of the salt marshes, so snacks and bottled water are important to bring as well.

If you need a break from the sand and the waves, there are many small trails leading to the area of the red cliffs surrounding the cove.

You can even find spots to jump in and cool off along the way. Just be careful not to dive if you don’t know the depth – this is a remote part of Puerto Rico where help can take some time to arrive.

17. Try Local Cuisine on the Pork Highway

Pork Highway
image by Nimrod Bar is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

If you’re a pork person, it’s your dream come true. Yes, there’s a pork highway in Puerto Rico! And even if pork isn’t for you, there are still plenty of tasty local dishes that can be found in this little town famous for its food.

The town is called Cayey, and the specific neighborhood of the pork highway is Guavate. Located in a rural, mountainous area between San Juan and the southern coast, you can be sure that you are getting the real stuff out here.

The pork highway is Route 184 in Guavate and is called la Ruta del Lechón in Spanish. A lechón is a full, roasted pig cooked over coals or an open flame. It is a favorite among Puerto Ricans, who even declared it a gastronomic heritage symbol. You can find chicken cooked in the same style if pork isn’t for you.

The pork highway is famous for its lechoneras, or lechón restaurants. These very special places have you order cafeteria style for your whole group, with the chef cutting pieces of pork off to order. You’ll get your sides, beers, and/or cocktails and eat at any open table you can see, often with others.

The delicious local food combined with a good drink and live Puerto Rican music makes you really feel like you belong on a Caribbean island. Don’t pass up the chance to try this local delicacy!

See Related: Weird, Bizarre Foods from Around the World

18. Castillo San Cristóbal

Castillo San Cristóbal Scenery

When first the English and then the Dutch attacked Puerto Rico, the El Morro fort sustained damage, and the Spanish knew they needed to update their defenses.

They enlisted world-class architects to come to Puerto Rico in the early 1600s and begin construction on Castillo San Cristóbal, just to the east of El Morro.

San Cristóbal refortified the walls of San Juan, created all-new defense systems such as dry moats and tunnels, and possessed rainwater-capturing technology that is still in use at the fort today.

After 150 years of construction, it became the largest fortification that the Spanish built in the New World and still holds that title today.

The National Park Service manages San Cristóbal, and it is a wonderful stop in Old San Juan, especially when paired with El Morro.

Visitors can visit the lookout decks, cannon positions, and even the dungeon, where an unknown prisoner was held for 20 years for murder without any sunlight. There is also a small movie about the fort shown in English and Spanish.

Book a Castillo San Cristóbal architectural tour now.

19. Los Morrillos Lighthouse

Front of Los Morrillos Lighthouse
image by Gillfoto is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

If there’s a lighthouse, then there must be a view, right? You’ll definitely find a couple of nice ones at Los Morrillos Lighthouse, at the southeastern tip of Puerto Rico on Cabo Rojo. This lighthouse is very close to the aforementioned Sucia Beach.

The lighthouse is a historic one, having first been lit in 1882 for the purpose of guiding ships through the passage between the Caribbean Sea and the beginning of the greater Atlantic Ocean.

There is an uninhabited island called Isla de Mona sitting about halfway to the Dominican Republic but also plenty of rocks and shallows dangerous to captains.

The Los Morrillos Lighthouse was automated in 1967 and is today on the National Register of Historic Places. Historical or not, everyone can appreciate the beautiful vistas from its clifftop.

The limestone plunges around 200 feet to the ocean below in a landscape that may remind you of the Algarve in Portugal.

In the other direction, you’ll see beautiful white sand beaches and salt flats along the Puerto Rican countryside. Be sure to bring some shoes if you want to walk some of the short trails around the area.

See Related: Best Mancation Destinations Around the World

20. Horseback Riding in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Horseback Riding
image by Antonio’s Galeria is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Riding a horse is a very fun experience, especially when exploring some beautiful natural scenery. There are plenty of places around Puerto Rico where you can go horseback riding to explore jungles or beaches.

The Carabalí Rainforest Park is one of them, at their location in the forest just outside of El Yunque. On their Rainforest Park Horseback Tour, you’ll ride along a crystal-clear river and past surreal jungle plants. The tour can be one or two hours and is suitable for all skill levels.

On their Beach Horseback Tour, you’ll take the horses towards the ocean and ride along the sand. This tour takes you off the beaten path, where you may not be able to go on foot, and both you and your horse will appreciate the ocean breeze.

21. Rincon Surf Spots

Rincon Surf Spot

You probably already know that Puerto Rico has a reputation as a surfer’s paradise in the Caribbean. And while we’ve already mentioned that you can try surfing small waves on Isla Verde’s Carolina Beach, the more experienced surfers will be dying to catch a wave at Rincon.

Rincon is on the west coast of Puerto Rico in a much more rural area than San Juan, where you’ll find many more surfer lodges than luxury resorts. A short paddle from the sand will bring you to some of the cleanest, most consistent breaks in the Caribbean that surfers from all over the world come to ride.

Even if you aren’t a surfer yourself, many spectators enjoy sitting on the beach and watching skilled surfers rip back and forth along the bumps.

The town of Rincon is enjoyable for any professional beach bum as it’s full of surf shops and little cafes. It reminds some people of the North Shore of Hawaii but Latin American-style.

If Rincon is your main destination and you are carrying surfboards to Puerto Rico, you can actually avoid San Juan and fly directly to the west side via Aguadilla Airport, which has direct flights from a few major US cities. Even if you aren’t packing your board, it’s not hard to find a rental in Rincon.

See Related: Best Island to Visit in Hawaii: What’s Best for You?

22. Mar Chiquita

Mar Chiquita Aerial View

Puerto Rico is full of beautiful beaches, but this one looks like it is too good to be naturally made. Mar Chiquita is a natural, crescent-shaped cove almost completely sheltered by rocks, creating a swimming pool-like environment created by the sea.

You can find it right in the middle of Puerto Rico’s north shore, close to the town of Manatí. It’s a bit of a drive through the countryside, but once there, you will be greeted by very warm water and a whole ecosystem of life underwater. This is generally a very safe beach for swimming thanks to its protection from the open sea, but it’s a good idea to wear water shoes to protect against sharp rocks and reefs.

Just down the road, you can find some more natural attractions of Manatí. The Natural Pools of Manatí are tide pools created by the rocks on the shore and are fun to soak in when the waves aren’t too big. There’s also La Poza de las Mujeres, another protected cove with soft sand and warm water for swimming.

23. Casa Bacardí Rum Distillery

Casa Bacardí and Skyline
image by Management/TripAdvisor

When in Rome, do as the Romans do, they say. So when in the Caribbean, drink plenty of rum!

Did you know the famous rum Brand Bacardi comes from Puerto Rico?

Bacardi was actually a Cuban company by birth, but in the 1960s nearly fell apart when the Cuban government illegally took control of it without buying it.

The family behind it was lucky enough to be able to move operations to other parts of the Caribbean and allow the famous spirits brand to continue to grow to worldwide prestige.

Today, the Puerto Rico location is the largest rum distillery in the world! The rum in your piña colada likely came from their Cataño location. Fans of this famous libation will no doubt enjoy a tour of the facility.

With reservations, you can enjoy their Historical Tour, Rum Tasting Tour, or Mixology Class. The distillery is not far from San Juan, and taxis and Ubers are encouraged. You can even take a ferry from across the San Juan harbor.

24. The Mall of San Juan

Front of Los Morrillos Lighthouse
image by Moebiusuibeom-en is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Last but not least, let’s face it, many vacationers like to shop before they head home. Whether it’s a rainy day or you don’t mind trading a few beach hours for some retail therapy, The Mall of San Juan should have plenty of options.

The mall is just on the other side of the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge, connecting the Isla Verde and airport area with the south side of the San José Lagoon. It’s an easy taxi or Uber ride from the main resort areas of the city or even a quick stop before your flight.

You’ll find familiar options such as Zara, Hollister, and H&M, along with some local boutiques selling more difficult-to-find things from Puerto Rico. There’s plenty of dining with a ton of Puerto Rican and Latin American food, plus places to get sweets like Krispy Kreme.

See Related: The Ultimate Summer Trip Packing List

Where to Stay in Puerto Rico

Now that you know what to see in Puerto Rico, you might be wondering where to stay. There are plenty of beautiful resorts all over the island, as well as budget options and vacation rentals.

Best Budget Hotels in Puerto Rico

Hostel H1 Miramar

Hostel H1 Miramar
image by

Address: 668 Calle Suau, Miramar, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00907

If you are on a really tight budget, a hostel in San Juan might be the right choice. Hostel H1 Miramar has free wifi and air-conditioned dormitories within easy reach of Old San Juan.

Villa Marsana

Villa Marsana
image by

Address: 32 Cardona Street #115 Km. 19.4, Aguada, Puerto Rico 00602

For those who don’t need the city of San Juan and prefer to be on the waves of the west coast, Villa Marsana may be just the surf shack you need. It’s a two-minute walk to the beach, and the famous surf breaks of Rincon are just down the road.

See Related: Beautiful 7 Star Hotels from Around the World

Best Western Plus Condado Palm Inn

Best Western Plus Condado Palm Inn
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Address: 55 Condado Avenue, San Juan, PR 00908

If you want the sights of San Juan at your doorstep, beautiful Condado Beach just steps away, and amenities of comfort without totally breaking the bank, this Best Western Plus property fits the bill.

You even have the chance for an ocean view room without paying the price of the mega-resorts in the same neighborhood.

Best Mid-Range Hotels in Puerto Rico

Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort

Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort Pool
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Address: 7012 Boca de Cangrejos Avenue, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00979

If you’re looking for something affordable but with extra amenities in the famous Isla Verde resort neighborhood, the Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort is a good bet. You’ll get tidy and well-equipped rooms, a fantastic pool, and Marriott Bonvoy points each night.

Wyndham Palmas Beach & Golf Resort

Wyndham Palmas Beach & Golf Resort Pool
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Address: 170 Candelero Drive Palmas del Mar, Humacao, Puerto Rico 00791

The Wyndham Palmas Beach & Golf Resort is perfect for both families and couples, with its adults-only infinity pool and kid-friendly pool with a lazy river. Its East Coast location provides easy access to beautiful beaches, El Yunque National Forest, and day trips to the smaller islands.

See Related: Hotel vs Motel vs Inn: What’s the Difference?

Embassy Suites by Hilton Dorado del Mar Beach Resort

Embassy Suites by Hilton Dorado del Mar Beach Resort Pool
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Address: 201 Dorado Del Mar Boulevard, Dorado, PR 00646

Dorado is another tourist district in Puerto Rico just west of San Juan on the beach. I enjoyed my stay in Puerto Rico in Dorado, and this Embassy Suites Resort provides a beautiful resort environment near amazing beaches, shopping, and restaurants.

Best Luxury Hotels in Puerto Rico

Fairmont El San Juan Hotel

Fairmont El San Juan Hotel
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Address: 6063 Isla Verde Avenue, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00979

The Fairmont brand is always a good choice, and for a bit of luxury in the famous Isla Verde neighborhood, their El San Juan Hotel will not disappoint. It sits on 15 acres of beachfront land, hosts San Juan’s famous BRAVA nightclub, and contains plenty of shopping outlets.

Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort

Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort Room
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Address: 1150 Caribe Avenue, Ponce, Puerto Rico 00716

Some visitors like the quieter coasts of southern Puerto Rico, where you can find the Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort in one of Puerto Rico’s other major cities. Guests enjoy the ocean view rooms, golf course, and casino access at this Hilton resort.

See Related: Different Types of Hotel Rooms

St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort

St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort Aerial View
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Address: State Road 187 Kilometer 4.2, Rio Grande, PR 00745

This St. Regis has everything you could want in a luxury resort: direct beach access, a golf course, a spa, pools, a tennis school, and a water sports center. You won’t be missing much despite being in a remote spot slightly east of San Juan, enjoying all this five-diamond luxury resort has to offer.

Best Vacation Rentals in Puerto Rico

Naranja Dulce – Beautiful Apartment

Naranja Dulce Interior
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Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Sometimes, you just need a bit of extra space, whether you’re with your family or not. A vacation rental like the Naranja Dulce is perfect if you need a separate living space, kitchen, and central location right in Old San Juan.

See Related: Proven Ways to Get Free Hotels Rooms

Vieques Island House with Caribbean Views & Pool

Vieques Island House
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Vieques, Puerto Rico

Traveling to the outer islands of Puerto Rico is highly recommended, but you may find limited lodging options. A vacation rental like this one can be as luxurious as a beach resort with barbecue space and your own private pool.


Do you need a passport to visit Puerto Rico?

If you are a US citizen, you do not need a passport to visit Puerto Rico (or the US Virgin Islands) as they are US territories. Be sure to bring along a REAL ID-compliant driver’s license to pass through airport security just like you would at home.

Is Puerto Rico safe to visit?

Yes, Puerto Rico is considered a relatively safe place for tourists. Like anywhere else, Puerto Rico has its fair share of crime, and you should be careful to lock your car, not leave valuables on the beach, and stay in groups after dark.

But, you won’t find the security situation as dangerous as in some other Caribbean islands like the Dominican Republic or Haiti.

What are some places to visit in Puerto Rico with kids?

There are plenty of activities in Puerto Rico suitable for families, like snorkeling, kayaking, and hiking the easier trails of the El Yunque National Forest. Kids also like to see the bioluminescent bays where they can make the water glow in the dark!

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