Puerto Rico may be a small island, but there are so many things to do! On my trip there, I spent most of my time in San Juan and some other parts of the east coast, but there’s so much I didn’t get to. Known for its beaches, tropical atmosphere, rainforest, coquí frogs, and bioluminescent bays, you’ll never be at a loss for activities here. And your lodging is easily sorted too, for there are a range of options available here - from hotels and vacation rentals to green accommodations in Puerto Rico. Stay in a comfortable accommodation and explore the wonderful sights and sounds of this beautiful island. Check out these top 13 things to do in Puerto Rico.
1. Adventure through the rainforest
El Yunque National Rainforest is a part of the U.S. Park Service and one of the top Puerto Rico attractions. It’s totally free, and one of the cool things about it is that you can drive through it, making stops along the way. There are parking spaces and signs at each landmark and at each trailhead. You can stop to see La Coca waterfall right by the road.
There are thirteen trails, but one of the most popular is Big Tree Trail, which after about a half hour leads to La Mina waterfall; not only is this waterfall a great photo op, but you can swim in its pool! And yes, there are some really big trees. If hiking through a rainforest worries you, have no fear; the trails are really well maintained, with stone pavers and places to stop and rest.
El Yunque National Rainforest
Address: El Yunque National Rainforest, Puerto Rico
Website: El Yunque National Rainforest
2. Take a guided tour of the Bacardí Factory and become a mixologist!
Bacardí offers three different tours—and not just any tours. All tours come with a drink token and a complimentary glass. There’s a historical tour (15 USD), a rum tasting tour (45 USD), and a mixology tour (45 USD).
When I was there, I did the mixology tour, and I can attest it was worth it; the tour included learning Bacardí’s history at the visitor’s center museum, as well as a stop in the distillery to learn how they make their rum. After that, we learned how to make three different Bacardí drinks - all of which we were instructed to drink! - and at the end, each person was given a personalized certificate in Bacardí mixology. After the tour, there’s plenty of time to tour the gift shop - and don’t forget that drink token; depending on when your tour starts, you can enjoy a drink on the pavilion before or after a tour.
Address: Carr. 165 Km. 6.2, Cataño, Puerto Rico
Website: Bacardí Factory
3. Wander the streets of Old San Juan
If you’re wondering what to do in Puerto Rico, then take a leisurely stroll through Old San Juan, one of the most historic areas of the island. Cobblestone streets, a rainbow of buildings, trolleys, beaches. You can take in the awe of the Catedral de San Juan Bautista, then wander down to the San Juan Gate and walk by the water. You could do some shopping—or browse an artisan fair on cruise ship day—then have some lunch in the Plaza de Armas or Colón Plaza. There are museums galore, and of course, there are the forts. Both National Historic Sites, Castillo San Cristóbal and El Morro are open for tours, regulated by the U.S. Park Service. You can get a ticket for 5 USD at either one, and that ticket gets you into both forts; if you’re interested in their history, San Cristóbal also has a short historical documentary viewing at the main entrance.
Castillo San Cristóbal and El Morro
Addresses: El Morro: 501 Calle Norzagaray, 00901 San Juan, Puerto Rico; San Cristóbal: Calle Norzagaray, 00901 San Juan, Puerto Rico, across from Colón Plaza
Website: San Juan National Historic Sites
Website: San Cristóbal info
Website: El Morro info
4. Take an excursion in Fajardo
Fajardo is on the east coast of the island, about an hour from San Juan. It’s a seaside town that also boasts the expansive Las Cabezas Nature Reserve. The only way to see the reserve is through their tours, which you can book on their website or by phone; they offer all different kinds of tours during the day, as well as a bioluminescent bay tour at night.
The tour I took was the reserve and lighthouse tour, which is 12 USD and included a trolley ride that stopped at sites like a boardwalk through the mangrove swamp, an exclusive beach called Rocky Beach, and the historic lighthouse (El Faro). You get a tour of the lighthouse that includes learning a little about bioluminescence in a dark room (where you’ll get to hold a bag full of glowing blue bioluminescent organisms) and a lighthouse deck view of the reserve. Their gates don’t open until a half hour before each tour.
Las Cabezas Nature Reserve
Address: Carr # 987, 00738 Fajardo, Puerto Rico
5. Visit the island of Vieques
Vieques is a small island just off Puerto Rico’s East coast, most well-known for its fabulous beaches and the Mosquito Bay bioluminescent bay. It is one of the top places to visit in Puerto Rico. Take a ferry from Fajardo and make a day of it; collect sea glass on the beach, explore a historical archaeological site, Navy bunker, lighthouse, the Spanish fort, El Fortin, and sugar plantation ruins, then kayak through the world’s brightest bioluminescent bay. In fact, you might want to make a couple days of it.
Isla de Vieques
Address: Vieques, Puerto Rico
Website: Isla de Vieques
6. Hike up to the window cave
La Cueva Ventana, or the Window Cave, is a popular and unique cave hike attraction in Puerto Rico famous for its stunning views. For 19 USD, guides take you through a 45-minute hike through the caves and talk about the ecology and history of the caves and the Taino Indians. At the end of the hike is the “window,” a gaping hole in the mountain overlooking the Rio Grande de Arecibo. I definitely wish I’d gotten around to this!
Address: PR 10 Km. 75, Hato Viejo, 00612 Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Website: Cueva Ventana
Website: Cueva Ventana tour information
7. Spend the day in Ponce
Ponce is located on the southwest side of Puerto Rico. As the island’s second largest city, it has plenty of unique activities and sites, such as Castillo Serralles, Hacienda Buena Vista and other historic houses, La Guancha Paseo Tablado (the boardwalk), Parque de Bombas, the lighthouse on Caja de Muertos, a handful of museums (such as the art museum or the museum of Puerto Rican music), yearly festivals, and more.
Ponce, Puerto Rico
Address: Ponce, Puerto Rico
Website: Ponce, Puerto Rico
JungleQui Zipline Park at El Yunque National Forest. The only Zip line Park located at the Rainforest! Book now at www.junglequipr.com 787-500-7555 email@example.comPosted by JungleQui Zipline Park at El Yunque Rainforest on Saturday, 27 May 2017
Maybe you’ve hiked through El Yunque before and want to try something new, or maybe you just want to be able to say you went zip lining in the rainforest; maybe it’s neither of those things, but any reason is a good reason to try this. Ziplining through the rainforest canopy in El Yunque National Rainforest is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico. There are a few tour companies that will take you through El Yunque’s zip line course, including Viator’s zip line canopy tour. They’ll take you from San Juan to the rainforest and provide you with four hours of zip line fun on 9 different zip lines, and even a suspension bridge, then they’ll drop you off at your hotel.
Zipline Canopy Eco-Adventure
Address: El Yunque National Rainforest, Puerto Rico
As the name suggests, Condado Lagoon is a shallow body of water flowing between two popular localities of San Juan in Puerto Rico. And one of the most unique things to do in Condado Lagoon is to go on an LED night kayaking tour. Replicating the experience of bioluminescent bays of Puerto Rico, this night kayak tour features clear-bottom kayaks lit up by LED lights. Guided by skilled instructors, you will enjoy a kayaking experience that offers views of the city along with views of marine life underneath your kayak.
LED Night Kayak - Condado Lagoon Guided Excursion
Duration: 1 hour
One of the most pleasant and enjoyable things to do in Puerto Rico is to go horseback riding. In the northeastern corner of Puerto Rico, where the municipality of Carolina is located, a private ranch offers horseback riding experiences to visitors. Ride a fine Paso Fino horse, according to your skill level, and explore the lush riding trails nearby. Enjoy beautiful nature views and learn about the history of the horses at the ranch. End your trip at a local bar atop a hill.
Horseback Riding Tour in Carolina
Duration: 1 day 2 hours
Another fantastic experience offered in Puerto Rico is an ATV adventure tour. Leave behind the hustle and bustle of San Juan and explore the lush countryside while riding an ATV. Both novices and experienced riders can go for this tour. After receiving your instructions, mount your ATV and explore the beautiful landscapes that feature forests, lakes, mountains, and more. San Juan ATV Adventure Tour is certainly a unique way of seeing the island.
San Juan ATV Adventure Tour
Duration: 3 hours 30 minutes
Flyboarding is a fun activity to try in Puerto Rico. No prior experience is required for this activity since an instructor will be available on hand to guide you. Flyboarding involves a jet-propelled board that hovers a few feet about the surface of the water and is a great way to enjoy panoramic views of the area. A detailed orientation session, mandatory lifejackets and the presence of a guide will ensure a safe flyboarding experience for you.
Flyboarding Experience in Luquillo Beach
Duration: 30 minutes
Culebra is a small island off the coast of the main island of Puerto Rico. It is home to many popular beaches like Tamarindo Beach and Flamenco Beach that are perfect for swimming, snorkeling or just relaxing. Take a high-speed catamaran cruise to the island and spend the day in the water, enjoying a buffet lunch, sipping on pina coladas or simply sunbathing. The soft sandy beaches and crystal clear waters of Culebra will surely entice you.
Culebra Day Trip by Catamaran from Fajardo
Duration: 6 hours
You're on island time
Puerto Rico is a truly unique place to visit; you can easily immerse yourself in island life. Enjoy the culture, the activities, the beaches, the history, and so much more. It’s one place I definitely wouldn’t mind going back to.
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