Things To Do In Puerto Rico - Most Popular Activities

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!

Best tourist activities in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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 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

Best snorkelling in 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.

Book Diving Now!

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

puerto rico regions map

Explore the different regions in Puerto Rico

Learn More About Puerto Rico

About Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a self-governing island commonwealth of the West Indies, and as some say, the 51st state of the United States of America. The easternmost island in the Greater Antilles chain is located east of the Dominican Republic,  west of the Virgin Islands and southeast Florida.

In other words, Puerto Rico is in the northern part of the Caribbean Sea. The two small islands on the east coast, Vieques and Culebra, are administrative parts of Puerto Rico, as well as the island of Mona in the west.

Compared to its neighbours in the Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico is one-fifth the size of the Dominican Republic, one-third the size of Haiti and smaller than Jamaica. It is curiously rectangular, stretching 111 miles (179 km) from east to west and 39 miles (63 km) from north to south. 

Learn about Puerto Rico

The Puerto Ricans or Puertorriqueños

Puerto Rico has been inhabited by many different countries and cultures over it’s history and the years. The indigenous population dates back 2,000 to 4,000 years ago. These include Orthoiroid, Saladoid and Taino and then finally Puerto Rico was colonized by Spain after the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493.

Despite opposition from other European powers, but remained Spanish property for another four centuries. The influx of African slaves and colonists, especially from the Canary Islands and Andalusia, has greatly changed the cultural and demographic landscape of the island. Within the Spanish Empire, Puerto Rico played a secondary but strategic role compared to richer colonies such as Peru and New Spain.

At the end of the 19th century, a clear Puerto Rican identity began to emerge, centred around a mixture of indigenous, African and European elements. In 1898, after the Spanish-American War, the United States conquered Puerto Rico.

Is Puerto Rico a part of the USA?

Well, its complicated… Puerto Ricans have been U.S. citizens since 1917, and there is the freedom to move between the island and the mainland as they please.

Puerto Ricans don’t have senators, like the other states of the USA. But they are represented in the house of representatives nonetheless. They may also vote in the presidential candidate races, for each party respectively, but not in the actual presidential election.

Therefore, in short, Puerto Rico is like a US colony. 

Although this relationship will become politically controversial, most Puerto Ricans will remain voters for lasting ties with the United States, with a small number of current polls prevailing over the state. A small but persistent minority advocates freedom.

The Puerto Rican Climate

Puerto Rico can be classified as as a tropical rainforest. Temperatures change from warm to hot throughout the year, averaging 85°F (29°C) at low altitudes and 70°F (21°C) in the mountains.

The eastern winds pass through the island all year round. Puerto Rico has a rainy season from April to November.  Mountains can also cause large changes in local wind speed and direction due to their hidden and canal effects, which increase the winds strength.

Changes in daily weather temperatures are small in the plains and coastal areas. The temperature in the south is usually a few degrees higher than in the north and the temperature in the central inner mountains is always colder than in other parts of the island.

Coastal water temperatures throughout the year are around 75°F (24°C) in February to 85°F (29°C) in August, making the waters very pleasant to swim in. 

Does Puerto Rico get Hurricanes?

Puerto Rico does experience hurricanes during the Atlantic hurricane season, as is the rest of the Caribbean and the North Atlantic does as well. On average, a quarter of its annual rainfall is due to tropical storms, which are more prevalent in La Niño than El Niño. 

On average, a hurricane appears around the island every seven years. During the busy 2017 Atlantic hurricane season, Puerto Rico was saved from a majority of the hurricanes, but not all. Regardless. all hurricanes caused heavy rainfall and extensive flooding caused severe damage, including electrical power cuts.

Hurricane Dorian was the third hurricane in the last three years to hit Puerto Rico in 2019. The improving infrastructure of the 2017 storm, such as the new Governor Wanda Vázquez Garced, is being tested for a potential humanitarian crisis. Tropical Storm Karen will have effects in 2019 in Puerto Rico as well.

Puerto Rico image

Cultural Life In Puerto Rico

The worshipped and idealised folk hero of Puerto Rico is none other than the great Jíbaro, a rustic independent hilltop, whose position in the local song and story is comparable to that of a gaucho in Argentina.

Puerto Rico’s modern cultural life is a combination of North American and Latin, African and Caribbean forms, as seen in many island dances, music, art, literature and games.

The culture of Colombian Taino, which was largely destroyed by European colonizers, had a limited impact on Puerto Rican life and can be seen mainly in the use of certain language expressions and words used in the Spanish language. Examples include hamaca (“hammock”), cacique (“tree”) and tabaco (“tobacco”).

African influences can be seen in food, music and art. Music festivals, museums in Ponce and San Juan, and theater performances stimulate Hispanidad as well as Spanish customs. Puerto Ricans are working to preserve Latin heritage, while welcoming the economic and social changes in the United States, which is causing a cultural problem that has always been the subject of political debate.

Puerto Rican Economy

Puerto Rico’s economy, now based on services and manufacturing, was dominated by agriculture until the middle of the 20th century. During Spanish colonial rule, the island was largely abandoned due to limited mineral resources. However, the port of San Juan developed as an important connection to the Spanish sea trade routes and large fortifications were built there. When the United States occupied Puerto Rico after the Spanish-American War in 1898, it even took control of a poor island, whose inhabitants were mostly engaged in the small-scale production of coffee and sugar cane.

Similar to Puerto Rico’s northern neighbour, Cuba, Puerto Rico is the land of agreeable toxins. Coffee, sugar and rum.

Major US markets. opened up to sugar as North American companies replaced and expanded many sugar cane operations on the island. In the decades after World War II, factories replaced and demolished farms as a driving force in Puerto Rico’s economy, inspired by a government-sponsored economic and social development program. After the government failed to increase employment in cooperative farms and labor-intensive industries, tactics changed and dramatically improved the island’s transportation infrastructure while supporting private enterprise.

Low wages, favorable tax cuts (notably Section 936 of the Internal Revenue Code, enacted by the U.S. Congress in 1976, which exempts mainland businesses from federal income tax earnings in Puerto Rico) and the government supports start-up costs. hundreds of manufacturers from the United States (and some from Europe) to set up operations in Puerto Rico. Initially, these factories mainly produced textiles, processed food, footwear, clothing, ceramics, tobacco and wood products, but in the 1960s they also began to produce petrochemical products and other high-quality products.

Puerto Rico house
Puerto Rico Drawing of a beach

Tourism in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has become a great holiday destination thanks to amazing year-round weather, air and sea conditions.

The coast of the island is dotted with hotels, guesthouses and apartment construction. In the 1990s, progress was made in building a new hotel, thanks in part to tax incentives and financial assistance from the island government. Every year, one to two million visitors register in hotels and hostels in Puerto Rico, and millions more cruise ship passengers stop by and check-in each year as well.

Travelling to Puerto Rico

Many visitors flying to San Juan will travel to other islands aboard large cruise ships based in the city’s deepwater port, one of the lower ports in the Caribbean. The city is also a major trading port for transatlantic and regional shipping. The port ‘s activities are controlled by the Puerto Rico Maritime Authority, which was privatized by the government in 1995.

The island has a comprehensive and efficient system of dikes. Heavy traffic in and around San Juan. San Juan’s metropolitan high-speed transportation system, the Tren Urbano (city train), which has been operating since 2005, serves the city and its suburbs, as well as parts of the neighboring cities of Guaynabo and Bayamón.

San Juan International Airport, located 5 miles (8 km) outside the city, handles most passenger and freight traffic. Near Aguadilla in the northwest, another airport (formerly a US Air Force base) also operates international flights. Local and regional air transportation is available to Ponce and Mayagüez and to the smaller Isla Grande Airport in San Juan.

Puerto Rican food culture

Puerto Rican cuisine has its roots in the traditions and culinary practices of Europe (Spain), Africa and the original Tainos. At the end of the 19th century, Puerto Rican cuisine was strongly influenced by the United States in the ingredients used in its preparation.

Puerto Rican cuisine extends beyond the island and can be found in many countries outside the archipelago. The main ingredients include cereals and legumes, vegetables and herbs, tropical starch tubers, vegetables, meat and poultry, seafood and crustaceans and fruits. Main dishes include mofongo, arroz con gandules, pastels, alcapurrias and roast pork (or lechón).

Drinks include mavi and piña colada. Desserts include flan, arroz con dulce (sweet rice pudding), piraguas, brazo gitanos, tembleque, polvorones and dulce de leche.

Indigenous Cuisine

The locals call their cooking cocina criolla. Traditional Puerto Rican cuisine was well established in the late 19th century. In 1848, the first La Mallorquina restaurant was opened in Old San Juan. El Cocinero Puertorriqueño, the island’s first cookbook, was published in 1849. 

The Taíno diet includes many tropical roots and tubers, such as yautía (taro) and especially Yuca (manioc), from which manioc thin bread resembling biscuits is made. Ajicito or cachucha pepper, slightly warm habanero peppers, recao / culantro (prickly leaf), achiote (annatto), chilli, new spices, ají caballero (the hottest chilli originating from Puerto Rico), peanuts, guava, pineapple, jicacos (cocoplum), quenepas (mamoncillo), lerenes (Guinea rosehip root), calabazas (tropical gourd) and guanabanas (soursops) are Taino foods. Taino also grows a variety of beans and a little corn / maize, but corn is not as dominant in cooking as people who live on mainland Mesoamerica. This is due to the frequent storms that occur in Puerto Rico, which destroy the corn crop and leave behind many protected crops such as conucos (piles of yucca that grow proportionately).

European Cooking Influences

Spanish / European influences can also be seen in Puerto Rican cuisine.

Wheat, chickpeas, capers, olives, onions, garlic, rice, coriander, oregano, basil, sugar cane, citrus, eggplant, chicken, salted cod, beef, pork, lamb, dairy products and various fruits, herbs and spices. to Puerto Rico from Spain. The tradition of cooking complex stews and rice dishes in pots such as rice and beans is also considered to be of European origin (as in Italian, Spanish and Britain). The first Dutch, French, Italian and Chinese immigrants influenced not only culture but also Puerto Rican cuisine. These very different traditions come together to form La Cocina Criolla.

Coconuts, coffee (imported by Arabs and Corsos to Yauco from Kafa in Ethiopia), okra, pits, oregano brujo, sesame seeds, gandules, bananas, plantain, pearl, other vegetables and fruits, everything. to Puerto Rico from Africa.

Enjoy Puerto Rico