Top 10 Things To Do In Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is one of the easiest places to get to from the United States as well as one of the most beautiful! Click through to see what you can't miss while visiting the island!

There are A LOT of things to like about Puerto Rico; I honestly do not know why we don’t hear about it more. Most people don’t realize how amazing the destination is, and how easy it is to plan a trip there.  Flights there aren’t that expensive, and with it being an American territory, there are a number of things that make it even more enjoyable if you are coming from the mainland.

First off, if you are coming from the United States you do not need a passport to enter, and it is basically the same as a domestic flight.  Also, most American cell phones still work there without extra charges.  On trips it can be nice to be disconnected from my technology, but being real, on trips it is super nice to still be able to be connected to my technology.  Also, the official currency is the US dollar, so it is nice not having to worry about exchange rates.

Puerto Ricans speak Spanish, but they are accustomed to tourists from the mainland and in most areas the locals have at least a rudimentary understanding of English. The main island isn’t too big, so it isn’t hard explore things on both sides. The Puerto Ricans I met were a perfect blend of laid back island style and playful Latin.

Where to stay:  

Although I have only been to Puerto Rico once, my husband has been there multiple times and stayed in multiple hotels.  When we went we stayed in the Hyatt Place San Juan City Center.  It is located in Condado, San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Condado is a great place to stay as it is super safe, right on the beach, and within walking distance to great restaurants, bars, clubs, etc.

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1. Fort San Felipe del Morro

Fort San Felipe del Morro

  • This huge citadel was built in the 1500’s by the Spanish to protect the Puerto Rican harbor.  Even today it is a huge and imposing edifice on the edge of the promontory.  It is easy to imagine ships coming in and out when touring the Fort.

2. Cueva Ventana (Window Cave)

Window to the world! Puerto Rico is one of the easiest places to get to from the United States. Click through to see what you can't miss while visiting the island!

Cueva Ventana (Window Cave)

  • Exploring caves with exquisite views, yes please!  Accessing these caves is an easy hike off the main road, and they are locaed about half way between San Juan and Aguadilla.  I bet you can guess why they call it the window cave.

Psst: If you’re interested in planning the cheapest trip possible to Puerto Rico, then I created a free cheatsheet for you, which details the top 5 tools we used to plan our trip to Puerto Rico.  Click the image below to download it!

5 tools puerto rico

3. Bioluminescent Bays

Bioluminescent Bays

  • The water just off the coast of certain parts of Puerto Rico literally glow at night.  The microscopic organisms responsible for the blue-green glow light up when there is movement in the water (bays near Fajardo, Lajas, and Vieques are best).  I strongly recommend taking a boat tour to see.  Unfortunately, I missed this phenomenon as we were there during the wrong time in the lunar cycle (can’t be seen during a full moon).

 4. Vieques

Puerto Rico is one of the easiest places to get to from the United States. Click through to see what you can't miss while visiting the island!

 

Vieques

  • If you are looking for an undeveloped tropical island escape you should check out Vieques (but go quick because people are discovering it).  Vieques features endless beaches, but with the charm of homes that don’t feature addresses (just names) and horses, chickens and roosters running wild in the streets.

5. Old San Juan

Puerto Rico is one of the easiest places to get to from the United States. Click through to see what you can't miss while visiting the island!

Old San Juan

  • This is the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico, and it overflows with colonial charm.  The thin cobblestone streets and colorful Spanish architecture make this quaint town perfect.

6. Rain Forest Zip Lines

Zip linning in Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico is one of the easiest places to get to from the United States. Click through to see what you can't miss while visiting the island!Photo: Clark H / Flickr

Rain Forest Zip Lines

  • The rainforests in Puerto Rico are steamy and lush! One of the best ways to get a tour of them is the fly over the top and through on one of the numerous zip lines.  There are many to choose from, and certain tours will even pick you up from your hotel.

7. Condado

Puerto Rico is one of the easiest places to get to from the United States. Click through to see what you can't miss while visiting the island!Photo: Tomás Fano / Flickr

Condado

  • From what I saw this is the busiest tourist district of San Juan.  There are beautiful beaches, lots of shopping, and good restaurants.  Also, this is where you can find the nightlife featuring bars, night clubs, and casinos.

8. Scuba Diving

  • Puerto Rico features numerous dive sites (there are also snorkeling sites, but these often aren’t at the same locations).  There are coral reefs, underwater caves, and an array of sea life for divers of all levels.

9. El Yunque National Forest 

Waterfalls in El Yunque National Forest. Puerto Rico is one of the easiest places to get to from the United States. Click through to see what you can't miss while visiting the island!Photo: anaivette64Todd Van HoosearDanielle Nelson / Flickr

El Yunque National Forest

  • El Yunque is an explorers paradise.  There are tons of beautiful hikes through the rain forest.  The foliage gets so dense that you can easily feel completely isolated, even if there are other hikers just ahead.  Make sure you make it to a few waterfalls, including Juan Diego Falls and La Mina (pictured above).

10. Eat

  •  Puerto Rican food is not like Mexican food! (I’ll admit it, I was the idiot that didn’t know) It is not spicy and is typically not wrapped in tortillas.  The biggest commonality I observed was rice and beans, but most of the best Puerto Rican dishes I sampled featured pork and plantains.  Delicious!

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27 Comments

  • I would love to visit Puerto Rico, looks so pretty. I especially want to see Bioluminescent Bays.

  • Kerri F says:

    Love this post! Puerto Rico is so beautiful.

  • Rachel G says:

    The caves–the shoreline–looks like a gorgeous place to visit!

  • hayli says:

    This looks way fun and super beautiful

  • Natalie says:

    I went to PR a few years ago and fell in LOVE! We did several of the things on this list–we stayed in Condado, visited the El Yunque Rainforest, and ate lots of delicious food. Seeing the bioluminescent bay is still on my bucket list!

  • I loved all these spectacular places! Especially the Window cave looks wonderful. 🙂

  • Great pictures- Puerto Rico is definitely one to add to the list now! Happy travels x

  • Oh my goodness, Puerto Rico looks absolutely spectacular…and so much to do!!

  • This looks awesome! Puerto Rico has been on my travel list for a while now, esp. seeing the bioluminescent bay. Great photos 🙂

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  • Sarah says:

    I’ve always wanted to visit Puerto Rico. Looks like so much fun!!

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  • So wonderful – believe it or not (I’m telling my age now) I was stationed at Roosevelt Roads, Puerto Rico over 30 years ago and met my husband in the Navy there too! Fond memories of great food, great sights, beautiful beaches. Vieques is beautiful – and many trips to Old San Juan and the Rain Forest! Thanks for sharing!

    • Claire Kennedy says:

      Thank you for sharing! That is so cool that you were able to meet your husband there. We are actually headed back to Puerto Rico next month! We are excited!

  • Unfortunate you didn’t include off-the-beaten-path gems from the East Coast, South or even West. Everything you listed here, except for Cueva Ventana (love that place), is what every single tourist does…

    I dare you to rent a car and go off-the-beaten-path! Rincon, Guanica, Ponce, Yabucoa, Humacao are some fine examples.

    -Maria Alexandra: 100% boricua, born and raised

    • Claire Kennedy says:

      That is a great suggestion Maria! You are totally right, sometimes you find the best a country has to offer when you go off the beaten path. Thank you for adding more things to my list the next time we are in Puerto Rico. Also, I checked out your blog and love it!!

    • emily says:

      Yes! The post says she’s only been here once, and didn’t even do everything on the list! We’ve lived here for about 8 months and did all the touristy stuff, there are much better ways to experience Puerto Rico. Everything we have done is safe and fun! Black sand beaches, white sand beaches, kioskos, lechoneras, pinchos, horseback riding, renting your own boat to explore, paddleboarding, sea glass beaches, waterfalls and swimming holes everywhere. It is endless exploration here, and far beyond what you would expect!

  • Maria says:

    I LOVE my island and agree with Maria Alexandra, so many other pkace and things to do. Piñones, Boqueron, Ponce. This is the first year in 15 that I won’t go home for Christmas. 🙁

    • Claire Kennedy says:

      It is so nice to hear what the locals recommend, I will defiently check out your recommendations! Thank you Maria. So sad you won’t be able to go home for Christmas this year. 🙁

  • I’m slightly bummed to see the Flamenco Beach and Culebra didn’t make the list. We stayed there for 5 days and really loved it. Definitely true about El Yunque, La Mina falls was awesome and so was the Mt. Britton Tower hike. We camped there and ended up enduring a flash flood. We loved how different the forest felt from anything that we had back home. Staying overnight was pretty surreal because it started getting dark around 4:30 pm. I don’t know if I’d want to do it again, atleast not at our particular campsite!

    • Claire Kennedy says:

      I had never heard of Flamenco Beach and Culebra. I am glad I read your comment before tomorrow since we are headed back there. I will definitely check those places out. Thanks Alex! 🙂

  • dan says:

    Loved my time in puerto rico, the Bioluminescent bay kayak was def my favorite 🙂

    • Claire Kennedy says:

      That is a good one Dan! When we went for the second time the bay wasn’t as bright. But it can be awesome if you get there at the right time.

  • Allison says:

    We’re going to Puerto Rico in April and I’m so excited! I just wish we had more time to spend there since we’ll only be there for three full days (plus a half day). We’re planning on doing Old San Juan, El Yunque and Vieques, for sure. We’ll see if we can fit anything else in.

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