Best things to to in Puerto Rico on Vacation
Experience the ultimate tropical getaway in Puerto Rico, a breathtaking Caribbean island that is teeming with adventure and excitement. With its turquoise waters, pristine beaches, and vibrant culture, Puerto Rico has become a top destination for travelers from all over the world.
Whether you’re seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, or craving an adventure-filled trip, Puerto Rico has it all. Discover the island’s rich history by visiting the impressive fortresses of Old San Juan or wander through the colorful streets of the island’s small towns. Or, if you’re more of an adrenaline junkie, hit the waves for a thrilling surfing lesson or hike through the lush rainforest in El Yunque National Forest.
We offer the ultimate guide to planning your dream vacation in Puerto Rico. From must-see attractions to off-the-beaten-path experiences, we’ve got you covered. With our comprehensive information about the best travel activities and experiences available on the island, you’ll be able to create the perfect itinerary for your trip. So why wait? Let’s start planning your Puerto Rican adventure to
Things To Do In Puerto Rico - Most Popular Activities
From Fajardo: Full-Day Culebra Islands Catamaran Tour
Embark on a thrilling high-speed catamaran adventure to the Cordillera Islands located just off the shore of Puerto Rico. Setting sail from Fajardo, you'll bask in the warmth of the immaculate Caribbean waters for an entire day.
Vieques: Bioluminescent Bay Boat Tour
Gather with your fellow travelers at Malecon La Esperanza and partake in a guided excursion to the exceptional bioluminescent bay situated on Vieques Island. Witness the awe-inspiring sight of minuscule organisms illuminating the darkness.
Puerto Rico: Helicopter Flights
Take to the skies with a helicopter tour and relish in unmatched aerial vistas of Puerto Rico. Behold the multifaceted splendor of San Juan's metropolitan region, mountain ranges, coastlines, and renowned beaches.
Ceiba, PR: Culebra Snorkel Tour with Ferry Tickets
Prepare to be astounded by the Aquafari Culebra, one of the most remarkable excursions featuring crystal-clear waters, immaculate beaches, and marine creatures. Snorkel with sea turtles in Puerto Rico's ultimate snorkeling haven.
Unique Things to do in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a vibrant destination filled with unique experiences for travelers seeking adventure, relaxation, culture, and history. Here are some of the most unique things to do in Puerto Rico:
- Bioluminescent Bay Kayak Tour – Puerto Rico has three bioluminescent bays that light up at night when microorganisms in the water emit light. Visitors can take a guided kayak tour through the mangroves to see the glowing waters up close.
- Visit Cueva Ventana – Located in Arecibo, Cueva Ventana offers a unique experience of exploring a cave system that overlooks the Río Grande de Arecibo valley. Visitors can hike to the cave and enjoy the breathtaking views from the top.
- Go Island Hopping – Puerto Rico has a variety of smaller islands that are perfect for a day trip. Visitors can take a ferry or private boat to explore islands such as Culebra, Vieques, and Mona.
- Visit the El Yunque Rainforest – El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest System and is a must-visit destination for nature lovers. Visitors can hike through the forest, swim in waterfalls, and learn about the unique ecosystem from a local guide.
- Attend a Local Festival – Puerto Ricans love to celebrate and there are plenty of festivals throughout the year to experience. From the San Sebastian Street Festival to the Ponce Carnival, visitors can immerse themselves in the local culture and traditions.
- Surf in Rincon – Rincon is a popular surf destination in Puerto Rico and is known for its big waves and beautiful beaches. Visitors can take a surf lesson or simply relax on the beach and watch the surfers.
San Juan: El Yunque and Scenic Puerto Rico Instagram Tour
Embark on a thrilling road trip to discover the top destinations in Puerto Rico all in one go. From awe-inspiring scenic vistas perfect for capturing that Instagram-worthy shot.
From San Juan: El Yunque Rainforest and Waterslide Tour
Embark on a day trip from San Juan to discover the wonders of El Yunque National Forest. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the rainforest and experience natural water slides formed by cascading waterfalls over rocks.
From San Juan: El Yunque Forest Off the Beaten Path Tour
Discover the hidden treasures of El Yunque National Forest on a thrilling guided tour. Delight in the sight of cascading waterfalls and meandering rivers as you traverse the lush rainforest.
Ecoadventure Cave Rappel & Ziplining Safari in San Juan, PR
Prepare to be astounded by the Aquafari Culebra, one of the most remarkable excursions featuring crystal-clear waters, immaculate beaches, and marine creatures. Snorkel with sea turtles in Puerto Rico's ultimate snorkeling haven.
Find Popular Activities in Puerto Rico
Don' t miss this in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is one of the richest countries in the world of experiences. Not necessarily riches in wealth, but instead riches of activities. There are so many things to do in Puerto Rico!
From Kayaking the extremely rare and special bioluminescent bays of Puerto Rico to fishing and surfing some of the greatest coastline in the world – there are so many things to do in Puerto Rico.
Our most popular activities are a selection of the absolute best and most unique experiences that Puerto Rico has to offer. Whether you are here in Puerto Rico with the family, with your friends or instead, here on a romantic getaway, there is so many things to do in Puerto Rico.
Book Online Now to make sure you don’t miss out! The popular ones fill up fast!
Things to do in San Juan - Make the most of your time in the capital!
If you are among the 99% of visitors to Puerto Rico every year who fly in via San Juan, then welcome to one of the most vibrant capitals in the world!
What are the best things to do in San Juan?.. Don’t worry, we got you covered!
Book Online Now to make the most of your time in San Juan. Puerto Rico’s capital is such an amazing spot for activities because of its beautiful location on the coast. Whether it is snorkelling, diving, fishing, surfing or perhaps something more cultural such as walking tours or food tours. See our recommendations here!
Bioluminescent Kayaking In Puerto Rico - Extremely rare to Puerto Rico!
Bioluminescent waters are some of planet Earth’s most spectacular wonders. The beauty of bioluminescent water’s are specifically located in Puerto Rico.
There are more bioluminescent bays and waters in Puerto Rico than there are anywhere else in the world! If you are visiting Puerto Rico you cannot leave this magnificent country before you take a tour of the bioluminescent bays. We have selected a range of the best tours and make sure you Book Online Now since these are the most popular things to do in Puerto Rico, they sell out quick.
There are three locations in Puerto Rico where you can find these bioluminescent bays. Find out here which is closest to you!
Snorkeling in San Juan & Puerto Rico
There is so much amazing diving and snorkelling to be had in Puerto Rico. And believe me, we’ve tried almost all of them. Out of all the options though, these are our favourite diving and snorkelling.
Check out all other tours as well in addition to this here.
With some of the finest reefs of the Caribbean, you cannot miss a diving or snorkelling experience when you come to Puerto Rico!
Zipline - one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico!
What is the most exciting thing you can do in the jungle?
Ziplining of course!
This is the greatest zipline in Puerto Rico!.
Book Online Now – this is extremely popular so you don’t want to miss out on your seat!
Fishing Tours & Activities In Puerto Rico & San Juan
If your big on your fishing – then there are few places as fertile to cast a line than Puerto Rico!
Puerto Rico is often referred to by fisherman as ‘The Island Of Enchantment’.
It is no wonder when you do some research into discovering the amazing kind of variety of fish that you can fish for in the beautiful, warm and blue waters of the Caribbean.
And thanks to the glorious Yucatan current – you can cast a line and draw from the depths a range of species from Marlin to Mahi Mahi to Bonefish and Jacks + more around the Puerto Rican coastline.
Book Your Fishing Expedition Now – This is the best fishing operator I found through my time in Puerto Rico – they will sort you out, and you are bound to return with a fridge full of fish!
Puerto Rico's Regions
Explore the different regions in Puerto Rico
About Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is a unique island commonwealth located in the northern part of the Caribbean Sea. It is often referred to as the 51st state of the United States of America due to its close ties with the country. Situated to the east of the Dominican Republic, west of the Virgin Islands, and southeast of Florida, Puerto Rico is the easternmost island in the Greater Antilles chain.
The island is comprised of several administrative parts, including the two small islands of Vieques and Culebra on the east coast and the island of Mona in the west. Despite being smaller in size than some of its neighboring islands in the Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico is still a substantial landmass, measuring 111 miles (179 km) from east to west and 39 miles (63 km) from north to south. Its curious rectangular shape makes it a distinctive landmark in the Caribbean Sea.
The Puerto Ricans or Puertorriqueños
Throughout its history, Puerto Rico has been inhabited by a diverse range of countries and cultures. The indigenous population, which included the Orthoiroid, Saladoid, and Taino, dates back as far as 2,000 to 4,000 years ago. However, following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493, Puerto Rico was colonized by Spain.
Despite facing opposition from other European powers, Puerto Rico remained under Spanish rule for four centuries. During this time, the cultural and demographic landscape of the island underwent significant changes due to the influx of African slaves and colonists from the Canary Islands and Andalusia. Despite playing a secondary role within the Spanish Empire compared to other colonies such as Peru and New Spain, a clear Puerto Rican identity began to emerge at the end of the 19th century, influenced by a blend of indigenous, African, and European elements.
In 1898, following the Spanish-American War, the United States took control of Puerto Rico. Today, Puerto Rico is a unique blend of cultures, with a rich history that has shaped its identity and society.
Is Puerto Rico a part of the USA?
The political status of Puerto Rico can be complex and somewhat confusing. While Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917 and have the freedom to move between the island and mainland as they please, there are some notable differences in terms of political representation.
Puerto Rico does not have senators like the other states of the USA, but they do have representation in the House of Representatives. Additionally, Puerto Ricans may vote in the presidential candidate races for each party, but they are not able to vote in the actual presidential election.
This unique relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States has become politically controversial over the years. Despite this, the majority of Puerto Ricans continue to support lasting ties with the United States, with only a small number advocating for independence. However, a small but persistent minority still advocates for complete freedom from U.S. influence.
The Puerto Rican Climate
Experience the perfect weather year-round on the stunning tropical island of Puerto Rico. With warm temperatures averaging 85°F (29°C) at low altitudes and cool breezes at higher elevations, you can enjoy the best of both worlds.
Puerto Rico has a rainy season from April to November, but don’t let that dampen your spirits. The lush rainforest is at its most vibrant during this time, with breathtaking waterfalls and lush greenery to explore.
The island’s diverse topography also creates unique weather patterns. Mountains can cause significant changes in wind speed and direction, while the coastal areas experience small daily temperature fluctuations. But one thing is consistent: the coastal waters are always warm and inviting, averaging from 75°F (24°C) in February to 85°F (29°C) in August, making it perfect for swimming, surfing, and other water activities.
Does Puerto Rico get Hurricanes?
Experience the power and beauty of nature in Puerto Rico, where tropical storms and hurricanes can impact the island during the Atlantic hurricane season. While the island is no stranger to these natural phenomena, efforts have been made to improve infrastructure and response to ensure the safety and well-being of residents and visitors alike.
On average, a hurricane visits Puerto Rico every seven years, with a quarter of the island’s annual rainfall being attributed to tropical storms. Despite being spared from the majority of the hurricanes during the 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, the island still suffered from heavy rainfall and extensive flooding.
In 2019, Hurricane Dorian marked the third hurricane to hit Puerto Rico in the past three years, testing the island’s infrastructure and the leadership of Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced. Even tropical storms like Karen have the potential to impact Puerto Rico.
Despite the challenges, Puerto Rico remains a resilient and beautiful destination, where the power of nature reminds us of the importance of being prepared and staying safe.
Cultural Life In Puerto Rico
Discover the vibrant and diverse cultural tapestry of Puerto Rico! From the legendary Jíbaro, a beloved and independent hilltop folk hero, to the island’s rich blend of North American, Latin, African, and Caribbean influences, there’s something for everyone.
Despite the devastating impact of European colonization on the indigenous Taino culture, traces of its legacy can still be found in the Spanish language, from words like “hamaca” (hammock) to “cacique” (chief) and “tabaco” (tobacco).
Meanwhile, African influences permeate Puerto Rican food, music, and art, lending a unique flavor and rhythm to the island’s cultural scene. From music festivals and museums to theater performances, Puerto Ricans are proud of their Hispanidad and Spanish customs, while also embracing the economic and social changes brought by their relationship with the United States.
Puerto Rican Economy
Puerto Rico’s past is a fascinating tale of colonialism, trade routes, and a thriving agricultural economy. From its Spanish roots, the island’s economy relied heavily on agriculture, with coffee, sugar, and rum production being the pride and joy of the land. However, when the United States took control of Puerto Rico after the Spanish-American War in 1898, everything changed.
With the help of favorable tax cuts, private enterprise, and a government-sponsored development program, Puerto Rico’s economy transformed from agriculture to manufacturing. Hundreds of US and European manufacturers established operations on the island, producing everything from textiles and processed food to petrochemical products and high-quality goods.
Over time, Puerto Rico’s transportation infrastructure dramatically improved, and its economy shifted once again, this time to services. Although its history is full of twists and turns, Puerto Rico remains a hub of culture and innovation. From its famous coffee and rum to its vibrant arts scene, the island continues to inspire visitors from all over the world.
Tourism in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico boasts some of the most incredible year-round weather and air and sea conditions that attract millions of visitors to its shores each year.
The island’s stunning coastline is studded with an array of accommodations, from luxurious hotels to cozy guesthouses and modern apartments. In the 1990s, a boom in hotel construction took place, spurred on by generous tax incentives and financial support from the island government. Today, between one to two million visitors check into hotels and hostels across Puerto Rico annually, with millions more arriving as cruise ship passengers.
Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation or culture, Puerto Rico has something to offer every traveler. From pristine beaches and lush rainforests to historic landmarks and world-class dining, Puerto Rico is a dream destination that will capture your heart and leave you wanting more.
Travelling to Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico’s transportation infrastructure is a hub of activity, connecting the island to other Caribbean destinations and beyond. The deepwater port in San Juan, one of the busiest in the Caribbean, serves as a gateway to the region for cruise ships, transatlantic shipping, and more. Managed by the Puerto Rico Maritime Authority, the port is a critical hub for the island’s economy.
To navigate the bustling streets of San Juan, visitors can take advantage of the Tren Urbano, a state-of-the-art rapid transit system that has been zipping passengers around the metropolitan area since 2005. And for those looking to explore the island further, there are several airports that offer international and regional flights, including San Juan International Airport, which handles the bulk of the island’s passenger and freight traffic. The former US Air Force base near Aguadilla in the northwest also operates international flights, while smaller airports in Ponce, Mayagüez, and San Juan’s Isla Grande cater to local and regional travelers. Whether by land, sea, or air, Puerto Rico’s transportation network ensures that visitors can easily reach any corner of the island.
Puerto Rican food culture
Puerto Rican cuisine is a fusion of cultures, blending Spanish, African, and Taino culinary traditions to create a truly unique culinary experience. With the arrival of the United States in the late 19th century, American ingredients also made their way into the mix. Today, this mouth-watering cuisine can be found not only on the island but also in many countries around the world.
The cuisine is defined by its diverse and flavorful ingredients, including cereals and legumes, tropical starch tubers, vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood, and fruits. Delicious main dishes include the famous mofongo, arroz con gandules, pastels, alcapurrias, and the ever-popular roast pork, also known as lechón.
For a refreshing drink, try the mavi or piña colada. Desserts are also a highlight, featuring delectable treats such as flan, arroz con dulce, piraguas, brazo gitanos, tembleque, polvorones, and dulce de leche.
Whether you’re a foodie or simply looking to try something new, Puerto Rican cuisine is a must-try for its rich flavors, unique ingredients, and cultural significance.
Immerse yourself in the mouth-watering world of Puerto Rican cuisine, where traditional dishes are steeped in a rich history of cultural influences. The locals affectionately refer to their cuisine as cocina criolla, which includes a tantalizing mix of African, Spanish, and Taino flavors.
Puerto Rican cuisine has a long and fascinating history, with the first restaurant, La Mallorquina, opening its doors in Old San Juan in 1848. The island’s first cookbook, El Cocinero Puertorriqueño, was published in 1849, and has been a staple in kitchens across Puerto Rico ever since.
The Taino people, who inhabited the island before the arrival of the Spanish, enjoyed a diet rich in tropical roots and tubers, such as yautía and Yuca, from which they made delicious thin bread resembling biscuits. They also used Ajicito or cachucha pepper, slightly warm habanero peppers, recao / culantro, achiote, chilli, new spices, ají caballero, peanuts, guava, pineapple, jicacos, quenepas, lerenes, calabazas, and guanabanas in their cooking. They also grew a variety of beans and some corn, which is not as dominant in cooking as it is on mainland Mesoamerica due to frequent storms that can destroy the crop.
Today, the cuisine of Puerto Rico remains vibrant and diverse, with a range of mouthwatering dishes to choose from. Be sure to try some of the classics like mofongo, arroz con gandules, and roast pork (or lechón), and wash it all down with a refreshing piña colada or mavi. End your meal on a sweet note with delicious desserts like flan, arroz con dulce, and dulce de leche.
European Cooking Influences
Indulge your taste buds with the delectable fusion of flavors in Puerto Rican cuisine. Influenced by the culinary traditions of Europe, Africa, and the native Tainos, it’s no wonder locals call it “cocina criolla”.
Spanish and European influences are evident in Puerto Rican cuisine with the arrival of ingredients such as chickpeas, capers, olives, and spices like oregano and basil. Dairy products, poultry, beef, pork, and lamb were also introduced to the island by European settlers. The method of cooking stews and rice dishes in pots, such as the classic “arroz con gandules” (rice with pigeon peas), is also believed to have originated from Europe.
But the diversity of Puerto Rican cuisine doesn’t stop there. The island’s history of immigration has brought Dutch, French, Italian, and even Chinese influences to the mix. From Africa, Puerto Rico inherited staples like coconuts, okra, and sesame seeds, as well as tropical fruits and vegetables like plantains and bananas.
With such an array of ingredients and cultural influences, it’s no wonder Puerto Rican cuisine offers a mouthwatering variety of dishes, including the beloved “mofongo”, “arroz con gandules”, “pastels”, “alcapurrias”, and “lechón” (roast pork). Don’t forget to try the refreshing “piña colada” or the sweet “arroz con dulce” (sweet rice pudding) for a perfect finish to your meal.
Travelling to Puerto Rico - FAQs
What language do they speak in Puerto Rico?
The official languages of Puerto Rico are Spanish and English. Spanish is the most commonly spoken language.
Is Puerto Rico safe for tourists?
Puerto Rico is generally considered a safe destination for tourists. However, as with any travel destination, it is important to exercise caution and take necessary safety precautions.
What are some popular tourist attractions in Puerto Rico?
Some popular tourist attractions in Puerto Rico include Old San Juan, El Yunque National Forest, Bioluminescent Bay, and the beaches of Vieques and Culebra.
Do I need to know Spanish to travel to Puerto Rico?
While many people in Puerto Rico speak English, knowing some basic Spanish can be helpful for communication.
Do I need a passport to visit Puerto Rico?
No, US citizens do not need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico. However, non-US citizens should check their visa requirements.
What is the currency in Puerto Rico?
The currency used in Puerto Rico is the US dollar.
Is Puerto Rico a part of the United States?
Yes, Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. It is a self-governing commonwealth in association with the United States.