Here we are! You made it to PUERTO RICO!!!! Get ready for amazing food, drinks, people, fun, music, dancing, nature in this spectacular beautiful Caribbean island! But where to go in Puerto Rico! Sure you know San Juan and you know there is surfing and rum… it is the Caribbean after all. But what else?
This island is small but it isn’t lacking for history, places to visit and things to do. We are about to cover Puerto Rico in great detail and provide you with a list of where to go and why. This way you don’t spend all your time in San Juan, missing the mountains, colonial towns, nature reserves and other hidden gems this island holds.
Metro region of Puerto Rico
Chances are, this is where you will start your Puerto Rican adventure. This is also possibly where most tourists spend all their time. To be fair, San Juan is enticing and the metro region has a lot of offer – but we are going to take you ALL over.
Cobbled streets, castles, forts… if it wasn’t for the sweet Caribbean vibes you could be mistaken for thinking you were in Europe. San Juan was once the crown jewel of the Spanish Empire and you can certainly see the Spanish influence.
San Juan is the historical and cultural centre of Puerto Rico. Embrace the old world feel whilst being surprised by the modern art scene. Enjoy the vibrant nightlife, tasting food, arts and shopping. San Juan will make for a great start and end to your Puerto Rican adventure, but you may never want to leave.
An easy trip outside of San Juan will bring you to Bayamón. Bayamón is famous for its fried pig skin, Chicharrón is known to be the best in Bayamón – this is a local dish you must try! Whilst in Bayamón you should also visit the Bacardi distillery. Visiting Bayamón is also a nice way to see how the locals live. The ones who live and work in Puerto Rico. Rest assured, there is still so much more of the island to see. Let’s get out in nature.
East Region of Puerto Rico
Don’t miss the region of Río Grande! The natural beauty not easily surpassed. Explore the El Yunque National Forest a beautiful rainforest with waterfalls and mountains. Don’t miss the secluded beaches and rugged waterfalls.
Check out Luquillo, thought to be one of the best public beaches in Puerto Rico. A mix of palm trees and forest trees stretch across the beaches golden sands. The beach is flat which makes it perfect to swim in. With a view of the El Yunque Tropical rainforest. An easy 45 minute drive from San Juan or use public buses.
Vieques and Culebra
Visit Vieques for secluded beaches and snorkelling, wild horses roaming the countryside, Mosquito Bay, the bioluminescent bay.
Visit Culebra for its picturesque shores! The sleepy Culebra is different from Vieques but still very beautiful. With less touristy options and less of a buzz, it is a relaxing and beautiful island, perfect for solitude seekers. Visit the dream-like Flamenco beach, tamarindo beach, sit around watching sunsets at punta Melones beach and so much more.
To get to the islands you have two options. You can fly, which is the more expensive option and perhaps a little more fun, flying in a tiny plant. Tickets ranging from $60-$90. The other option is to take the ferry – tickets ranging from $3-$5. There is clearly a bit cost difference but the ferry is also a little more DIY. Boats that make round trips every two hours.
South Puerto Rico
Full of outstanding colonial-era architecture, historic art, the islands best museums and stunning natural beauty. Explore the remote beaches with calm waters.
Ponce is the second-largest city in Puerto Rico. It is rich in heritage, history, culture and architecture. Much of the colonial buildings and history have been preserved. Out of the centre of the city Ponce is like any other city, it has it’s good and bad. Give Ponce enough time to explore its world-class museums like the colonial Seralles Castle, more like a mansion that holds the teachings of the sugar cane and rum industry. The Museo de Arte de Ponce is also impressive for art lovers. Don’t leave pounce without visiting its surrounding beaches and perhaps step out to Pelícano Beach located on the small island of Caja de Muertos. Walk around the city and enjoy the mix of Spanish and American culture. Not to be missed is the Parque de Bombas is a historic firehouse, built-in 1883 and perhaps Puerto Ricos most noteable landmark. After a tough day walking around, eating amazing food and taking it all in stopover at the Coamo hot springs. History says the indigenous Taíno believed the hot springs to have magical wellness powers.
West region of Puerto Rico
The west of Puerto Rico is the surfing capital of the Caribbean. It also has the best sunsets to be found. There is no shortage of surf shops and surf schools, as well as laid-back surfer vibes.
Rincón is a surf town with laid back surf vibes. Beaches such as the most popular Sandy beach located near great bars and restaurants as well as accommodation. Maria’s beach is all about the surfing. Waves are high and exciting! This is a great place to surf or watch surfers. Domes Beach is a very popular beach. It’s right near the lighthouse and is popular for both surfing and whale watching.
If surfing is not your thing, check out Tres Palmas Marine Reserve for snorkeling. Filled with beautiful corals, and marine species like Lobsters, dolphins, turtles and more!
The lighthouse makes for a wonderful coastal, scenic walk. And a great park to enjoy a picnic and panoramic sights of the sea and surfers.
Rincon always has an emerging art scene and showcases local culture with small festivals and handicrafts, music, food and more If it is the Caribbean sounds and lively dancing you are craving, check this place out.
Art galleries are another thing to check out. Find that unique item to bring home. The secret garden art gallery and Galeria Exodo displays paintings by local artists. Check out shops like Playa Oeste for smaller local gems
Perfect for snorkeling and diving. Whilst the island itself is off-limits, the marine life, colorful corals and undersea caves are a must-see.
Here you can rent a boat or driver and drive out to one of the many islands in La Parguera. Small islands surround this entire city. Don’t miss the bioluminescent bay at La Parguera. Its the main attraction in this small fishing village. Due to the micro-organisms – Dinoflagellates. These create a striking effect of green and white sparkles which can only be seen at night.
When you have done enough surfing or snorkeling and spent enough time relaxing on the beaches. When you have eaten your body weight in amazing food and rum; its time to get out in nature. Put those walking boots on, discover waterfalls, views, caves! Be brave and be bold! Canyoneering and getting lost in the mountains never hurt anybody!
For a different taste of Puerto Rico, head to the central mountains. Spend 3, maybe 4 days in the area of caves, adventure, nature, waterfalls and hikes. Don’t forget the coffee plantations and the second to known views over the mountains and out to the seas. If you are going to explore this area, the best way to do it is with camping!
Utuado is home to the Caguana indigenous ceremonial park. Most don’t realise the indigenous history that Puerto Rico holds. Utuado is a great place to start to learn and open your mind to this side of the country.
If you have come to the mountains for adventure, you are in the right place. The central mountains of Puerto Rico is famed for its adventure and nature. Utuado is particularly fantastic for save tubing on the river and waterfall jumping, as well as kayaking. The Tanama River National Park is the place to get your adventure water fix.
Nestled in the central mountain range, Ciales is the “town of the brave” Ciales is popular for its coffee plantations, memorable views and cave systems. Due to the world-class cave system, canyoneering and rappelling are very popular.
If caves are not your thing, never mind! You can take a walk in the stunning Tres Picachos state forest and reach some amazing waterfalls such as the Las Delicias Falls, go for a dip in its natural pool. As you continue you will stumble across Las Delicias
Mountainous Orocovis is in the heart of Puerto Rico. It is a popular place for adventure and nature lovers. Canyoneering and camping are very popular, along with hiking, waterfalls and beautiful views.
The Toro Verde Nature Adventure Park is the main attraction with eight zip lines and being the home of the largest zipline in America.
Orocovis being a mountainous region has some amazing scenic views and hiking trails. After hiking around the Toro Negro State Forest, the photogenic Doña Juana Waterfall is easy to access and provides a great stop off for a cool dip in the freshwater below. The Mirador Villalba Orocovis provides some spectacular views over the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean sea.
Named the Galapagos of the Caribbean. A small but beautiful, uninhabited and natural island is not to be missed. However, this island is protected by the Puerto Rican government. You will find no shops, bars and touristy facilities here. You must bring your own food and water and be well prepared. To visit the island, you need permits and you must plan way in advance. Only 100 visitors are allowed to visit at a time. You also must have perfect weather to land and anchor on the island as there is nothing to protect you from the elements.
There are many beautiful beaches and caves opened to the public. This island is perfect for hiking, camping, caving, snorkelling and scuba diving. Enjoy the islands beautiful colorful coral reeds. Marvel at the stars at night away from any street lights and noise. Enjoy the vast array of native wildlife you can’t see anywhere but here. Explore the island and discover ancient carvings created by the Taino Indians who once made the island home.
If you’re looking for unspoiled and pristine Puerto Rico, this is the place.