Puerto Rico Travel Guide: Travel Tips for Visiting

Panorama of La Perla in old San Juan, Puerto Rico
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Welcome to our Puerto Rico travel guide, where we’ll share the best tips for visiting this stunning Caribbean paradise. From exploring the island’s diverse landscapes to indulging in its rich culture, you’ll find everything you need to plan your perfect getaway.

We’ll first get into places to visit and then cover how to get around, where to stay, and tips for planning your trip.

Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico

1. Explore Old San Juan

Panorama of La Perla in old San Juan, Puerto Rico
christian / Adobe Stock

Old San Juan is the historic heart of Puerto Rico’s capital city and a must-visit destination. This UNESCO World Heritage Site is a true gem with its narrow cobblestone streets, colorful colonial buildings, and vibrant atmosphere. Some of the highlights include:

  • Castillo San Felipe del Morro: A 16th-century fortress with stunning ocean views
  • La Fortaleza: The oldest executive mansion in the Americas, still in use
  • San Juan Cathedral: An impressive church housing the tomb of Ponce de León
  • Paseo de la Princesa: A scenic waterfront promenade perfect for a stroll

2. Hike in El Yunque National Forest

Waterfall hidden in El Yunque Rainforest on Puerto Rico
Ryan / Adobe Stock

As the only tropical rainforest in the United States, El Yunque National Forest is a unique and breathtaking destination.

Numerous trails for all skill levels lead you to stunning waterfalls, panoramic viewpoints, and lush vegetation. Don’t forget to pack a rain jacket, as the forest is known for its frequent showers!

3. Relax on World-Class Beaches

Exotic carribean shore of Puerto Rico Flamenco beach
PhotoSpirit / Adobe Stock

When you visit Puerto Rico, lounging on pristine beaches is a must. The island boasts various beautiful beaches, from secluded coves to lively shorelines. Some of the best beaches include:

  • Flamenco Beach on Culebra Island: Known for its turquoise waters and powdery white sand
  • Playa La Chiva on Vieques Island: A picturesque beach with crystal-clear water
  • Luquillo Beach: A popular beach near San Juan with calm waters and plenty of amenities

4. Discover the Bioluminescent Bays

A beautiful view of rocky and bioluminescent seashore at night in Puerto Rico
Wirestock Creators / Shutterstock

Puerto Rico has three bioluminescent bays where the waters glow with magical blue light at night. The best places to experience this natural phenomenon are Mosquito Bay on Vieques Island and Laguna Grande in Fajardo. Book a guided kayak tour for a truly unforgettable experience.

5. Savor the Local Cuisine

Stomach and plantain meal with Puerto Rico flag on plate
stockphotofan1 / Shutterstock

One of the best ways to immerse yourself in Puerto Rican culture is through its delicious cuisine. From traditional dishes like mofongo (mashed plantains) and lechón (roast pork) to tasty street food like alcapurrias (stuffed fritters), your taste buds will be in for a treat.

Don’t forget to try a refreshing piña colada, the island’s signature cocktail.

Where to stay in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico offers many accommodations to suit all budgets and preferences. Some of the top places to stay include:

How to Get Around in Puerto Rico

Getting around Puerto Rico is relatively easy, with various transportation options available. Renting a car is the most convenient way to explore the island at your own pace. Book a rental car through RentalCars.com to find the best deals and selections.

Public transportation and taxis are available in major cities like San Juan for those who prefer not to drive. However, service can be limited in more remote areas. For island hopping, consider taking a ferry or a short flight to nearby destinations such as Vieques and Culebra.

Travel Tips for Visiting Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a diverse and fascinating destination with a unique blend of cultures, landscapes, and experiences. Keep these travel tips in mind to make the most of your visit:

Learn Some Basic Spanish

Hand holding smart phone with online learn Spanish on screen
maicasaa / Shutterstock

While many Puerto Ricans speak English, knowing basic Spanish phrases will help you communicate with locals and navigate the island more easily. Plus, it’s a great way to show respect for the local culture.

Bring Sunscreen and Bug Spray

Woman applying sunscreen on hands
lesterman / Adobe Stock

Puerto Rico’s tropical climate means plenty of sunshine and occasional insects. Pack sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin, and don’t forget insect repellent, especially if you plan to visit the rainforest or other outdoor attractions.

Get Travel Insurance

Travel insurance application form
279photo / Adobe Stock

Before embarking on your Puerto Rican adventure, consider purchasing travel insurance. It’s always better to be prepared for the unexpected, from medical emergencies to trip cancellations. Check out VisitorsCoverage.com for a range of travel insurance options.

Embrace the Island Time Mentality

Tourists relaxing on a beach in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
Joel Villanueva / Adobe Stock

In Puerto Rico, the pace of life is more relaxed than what you might be used to. Embrace the laid-back attitude and allow yourself to slow down, savor the moment, and truly enjoy your vacation.

Stay Safe and Be Aware of Your Surroundings

Visitors take a break in the Parque las Palomas in Puerto Rico
Mihai O Coman / Shutterstock.com

While Puerto Rico is generally safe for tourists, exercising common sense and being aware of your surroundings is essential. Keep your belongings secure, avoid walking alone at night in unfamiliar areas, and follow any safety guidelines provided by your accommodations or tour operators.

Following these tips and using our Puerto Rico travel guide as a starting point, you’re well on your way to planning an unforgettable Caribbean vacation. Happy travels!

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger

Kyle Kroeger is the Founder and Owner of ViaTravelers.com. He is a full-time traveler and entrepreneur. Kyle started ViaTravelers.com to help travelers experience a fully immersive cultural experience as he did initially living in Italy. He's a converted finance nerd and Excel jockey turned world wanderer (and may try to get lost on purpose). After visiting 12 countries and 13 national parks in a year, he was devoted to creating and telling stories like he'd heard.

Plus, after spending more time on airplanes and packing, he's learned some incredible travel hacks over time as he earned over 1 million Chase Ultimate Rewards points in under a year, helping him maximize experiences as much as possible to discover the true meaning of travel.

He loves listening to local stories from around the world and sharing his experiences traveling the globe. He loves travel so much that he moved from his hometown of Minneapolis to Amsterdam with his small family to travel Europe full-time. Read more about his portfolio of work.

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