Puerto Rico is an American territory, located just a few hours away from Miami by plane. Visitors to the island can take advantage of its many attractions, such as stunning beaches, El Morro, Calle del Cristo, and El Yunque jungle.
Tourists can also explore the nearby islands of Vieques and Culebra for a more secluded experience. Sadly, the island has been hit by several natural disasters in recent years, including Hurricane Maria in 2017 and a series of earthquakes in 2019-2020.
Despite this, it is safe to travel to the island and your visit will help in its recovery efforts. Experience its natural beauty, culture, and cuisine and make memories that will last a lifetime.
The island has a unique relationship with the US, existing as a Commonwealth since 1952, making it especially attractive to Americans looking for a passport-free holiday.
Some of the best things to do in Puerto Rico include exploring Old San Juan, visiting the El Yunque National Forest, swimming at Flamenco Beach, snorkeling at Palomino Island, kayaking in the Bioluminescent Bay, touring the Bacardi rum factory, and eating traditional Puerto Rican cuisine such as mofongo and arroz con gandules.
Whether you’re looking for adventure, history, or relaxation, Puerto Rico has something for everyone.
32 Best things to do in Puerto Rico
1. Old San Juan
Viejo San Juan is a bustling city with a vibrant culture and historic architecture. Founded in the 16th century, it is home to iconic attractions such as El Morro, Calle del Cristo, and Castillo San Cristóbal.
With cobblestone streets, street vendors and restaurants, as well as buzzing nightlife with many bars, there is plenty to do day or night. To get the best experience, many visitors recommend getting there early in the morning before the crowds arrive.
There is also a free trolley that takes visitors around the city, although it runs infrequently. No matter what time of day you choose to go, Viejo San Juan is sure to provide an unforgettable experience.
2. Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay (Vieques)
Mosquito Bay is one of the best things to do and see in Puerto Rico because it is the world’s brightest bioluminescent bay.
Located on the south side of the Puerto Rican island of Vieques, it is home to a large population of microscopic organisms called dinoflagellates that create a stunningly beautiful bioluminescent light show.
When the bay is disturbed, the dinoflagellates emit bright blue-green light that has been likened to an underwater aurora borealis.
Mosquito Bay was severely damaged by Hurricane Maria in 2017, but the ecosystem is slowly being restored and the bioluminescence is back.
To see the most impressive display, visit on a night with no or little moonlight and make sure to select a tour that uses kayaks instead of motor boats. Additionally, don’t wear bug spray with DEET, as it can kill the dinoflagellates.
A visit to Mosquito Bay is an unforgettable experience that will leave you awestruck. Vieques is east of Puerto Rico’s main island. Reach it by ferry or small plane. While in Vieques, you can take kayak tours of the bay, with clear-bottom kayaks.
3. El Morro (El Castillo San Felipe del Morro)
El Morro, also known as Castillo San Felipe del Morro, is one of the best things to see in Puerto Rico because it is an iconic fortification built by the Spanish in the Americas.
Built between 1539 and 1790, this 6 level fortress was constructed atop a high promontory that overlooks the San Juan Bay’s entrance, to protect the island from sea-based attackers. It still has some of its original cannons pointing out to the ocean.
It has witnessed many battles & invasions, including Sir Francis Drake’s attack and the US Navy’s bombardment of San Juan, yet it has never been defeated.
In 1898, the Spanish-American War resulted in the island being transferred from Spain to the United States. Inside the citadel are barracks, dungeons, storerooms and the oldest lighthouse on the island, built in 1846.
El Morro was used as a military base during both World Wars before being handed over to the National Park Service in 1961 to become a museum.
4. Flamenco Beach
Flamenco Beach on Culebra is often recognized as the most beautiful in Puerto Rico. It is a favorite beach for families, snorkelers, and travelers seeking a remote spot because it has a long stretch of white sand, crystal clear waters, and stunning vistas.
Facilities like showers, bathrooms, and refreshment kiosks are available, and visitors can rent chairs and umbrellas for $5 to $10. Camping is also permitted, though visitors must bring their own gear or rent a tent.
Accessing the beach can be tricky, however, with flights and ferries available from Ceiba, San Juan, and other locations. Once there, the entry fee is $2 per person, plus $5 for parking.
With its beauty and amenities, Flamenco Beach is a must-see for all Puerto Rico visitors.
5. El Yunque National Forest
El Yunque National Forest is one of the best things to do and see in Puerto Rico for nature-lovers because it is a beautiful and diverse rainforest situated in the rugged Sierra de Luquillo, around 50 km southeast of San Juan.
It is the only tropical forest in the US National Forest System, and is home to 240 species of trees and plants, 26 of which are found nowhere else.
It also contains rare wildlife, including the endangered Puerto Rican Parrot. The forest is a wildlife refuge and no hunting is allowed. Must-sees include the La Coca Waterfall and Yokahú Tower, which offers panoramic views.
Navigation is fairly easy with signage, but those with mobility issues should proceed with caution. El Yunque is one of the most visited attractions in Puerto Rico, with about 600,000 visitors a year.
6. Castillo de San Cristóbal
San Juan’s fortification system was expanded after attacks by the English in 1598 and the Dutch in 1625. Castillo San Cristóbal, the largest fortress in the Americas, was built to protect the city from land attacks from the east.
It took over 150 years to complete and followed the Vauban-style fortress principles with a deep dry moat and tunnels for safe movement of troops, supplies, and weapons.
The fort’s main plaza was the heart of the fort and 11 casemates surrounded it, serving as gun ports, officers’ quarters, and storage areas.
The fort was designed to catch and store rainwater, and the cisterns under the plaza held 800,000 gallons of water.
The dungeon shows original drawings by an unknown prisoner and there are additions from the US Army during WWII, including a 1942 bunker which serves as the Visitors’ Center. Castillo de San Cristóbal is a masterpiece of 18th century military engineering and innovation.
7. Calle del Cristo
If you’re looking for a shopping experience, Old San Juan’s Calle del Cristo is the spot to go. Along the cobblestone street, you can find restaurants, art galleries, boutiques and local crafts and artisan shops.
Even if you’re not shopping, the street is still worth a visit to admire its old churches, unique architecture and two famous chapels, San Juan Bautista Cathedral and Capilla de Cristo.
Don’t forget to stop by Pigeons Park to feed the birds and take some photos. El Morro fort is also located near the north end of the street. Be sure to check store and restaurant hours before visiting as they may vary.
Prepare to spend some money and get ready to explore the beauty of Old San Juan.
8. Sun Bay (Vieques)
The stunning Sun Bay on the island of Vieques is one of the best things to do and see in Puerto Rico to take in the tranquil view and chalky white sands.
Facilities such as lifeguards, showers, bathrooms and a little food stand are available, and the town of Esperanza is just a short walk away.
Sun Bay is relatively uncrowded and has plenty of space to spread out, and is ideal for families thanks to the calm waves. Unfortunately, the waters are not ideal for snorkeling due to the lack of sea life.
The beach is free to access, but there is a fee for parking, and the facilities are open Wednesday – Sunday from 8:30 am until 5 pm.
9. Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico is a cultural institution located in the Santurce neighborhood. It houses an extensive collection of artwork from the 17th century to the present day, all celebrating Puerto Rican culture.
The museum offers rotating exhibitions and guided tours daily. It’s easy to navigate, wheelchair accessible, and has a gift shop to support local artisans.
10. Condado Beach
Condado Beach is one of the best things to do in the San Juan neighborhood for sun-lovers. With its prime location near many luxury hotels and resorts, it’s the perfect spot for beach-goers who want to be close to the action.
However, its strong tide makes it unsuitable for young swimmers, so families may want to opt for one of the government-run balnearios instead.
Condado Beach is free to access and open daily, but beach chairs and umbrellas can be rented.
11. Carolina Beach (Balneario de Carolina)
Carolina Beach is a popular public beach located near the Isla Verde resort district in the metro area. Known for its white sand and warm water, the beach is great for families, with a lifeguard and paramedics on duty and a volleyball court and playground.
However, it can get busy on weekends and visitors may hear noise from overhead airplanes due to its proximity to the airport.
The beach is free to visit, but there is a small fee for parking, and it is open from 8 am to 5 pm Tuesday through Sunday.
12. Crash Boat Beach
Crash Boat Beach is a stunning beach located in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico. It is a favorite spot for locals, who come to enjoy fishing, swimming, snorkeling, surfing and other water sports.
The old military port still has some wreckage infrastructure, making it a great spot for diving. The center of the beach is calmer, with food kiosks, palm trees and clear waters.
The northern end is shallower and a great place to swim. On the west end, surfers will find great waves. Businesses sell water sport equipment, and there is a designated parking lot.
Access to the beach is free, though there is a fee to park in the lot. It takes around two hours to drive from San Juan, following route 22, 2, 107 and 458.
13. Luquillo Beach (Balneario de Luquillo)
If you’re looking for an amazing beach experience in Puerto Rico, Luquillo Beach, also known as Monserrate Balneario, is the perfect spot.
It’s the most photographed beach on the mainland, featuring a long crescent shaped beach lined with palms. It’s one of the Blue Flag beaches of Puerto Rico, open 9am-5:30pm (except Sept-March, when it’s closed M-T).
The waters are calm, making it a great spot for families, and you can even camp with a permit. Facilities include showers and restrooms, and parking is available for $4.
You can visit the El Yunque rainforest in the morning, eat lunch at the roadside kiosks, and spend the afternoon at the beach. While Luquillo is stunning, even more impressive beaches can be found on the islands of Vieques and Culebra.
14. Rum Tours
Puerto Rico is known as the Rum Capital of the World, producing 70% of all the rum sold in the US. The island’s rum-making heritage dates back to the 16th century when sugar cane was brought from Hispaniola.
Now, rum production is big business, contributing over $300 million to Puerto Rico’s economy and creating hundreds of jobs.
To explore the island’s rich rum culture, visitors can go on distillery tours, take mixology classes, or visit Casa Bacardi Puerto Rico or San Juan Artisan Distillers.
La Casita de Rones offers rum-based cocktails and souvenirs while the Puerto Rico Rum Journey app provides an easy way to book rum tours, experiences, and events.
It’s a great way to experience Puerto Rico’s rum-making heritage and learn more about this iconic spirit.
15. Cueva Ventana
Cueva Ventana is a stunning outdoor adventure in Puerto Rico that offers a chance to explore a limestone cave, view stone engravings and pre-Columbian petroglyphs, and catch a glimpse of a gorgeous landscape from its namesake opening.
There are guided tours given by biologists and the cost is around $19 for visitors and $10 for Puerto Rico residents. It is located in Arecibo and tickets can be purchased online for a slight discount.
The cave is open daily from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., with tours departing every 90 minutes. Visitors should arrive 30 minutes prior to their tour and make sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing.
16. Carabalí Rainforest Park
Carabalí Rainforest Park in Luquillo is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico because it offers an array of outdoor activities including horseback riding, mountain biking, go-karting and ATV trails.
The horseback riding tour includes a swim in the Mameyes River, while the mountain bike tour also has a similar stop. ATV adventures take riders through challenging terrain and the go-kart speed ride offers single and double go-karts.
After a day of outdoor fun, visitors can relax and enjoy refreshments at the Carabalí Bar & Grill Restaurant and the Bamboo Lounge.
17. Parque de Bombas
The Parque de Bombas in Ponce, was originally designed as a pavilion for the 1882 Exhibition Trade Fair by Maximo de Meana y Guridi. It was later converted into a firehouse, which served the city until 1990.
Parque de Bombas literally translates to Pumps Park and is now a museum dedicated to firefighting.
Its striking black and red facade echoes the official colors of Ponce, making it one of the most photographed buildings in the city. It is located in Plaza Las Delicias.
18. Coffee Farm Tours
If you’re a coffee lover, you won’t want to miss the opportunity to visit some of Puerto Rico’s beautiful coffee plantations in the mountain region.
From Hacienda Munoz in San Lorenzo to Hacienda Buena Vista in Ponce, Hacienda 3 Picachos in Jayuya, and Hacienda Lealtad, the former coffee producing hub is full of amazing sights & delicious local fares.
You can learn about the history of coffee in Puerto Rico, admire the stunning views, and sample some of the best coffee the island has to offer.
19. Rio Camuy Cave Park
The Camuy River Cave Park in Puerto Rico is a fascinating destination for nature lovers. Spanning 268 acres, the park includes a network of 220 caves and 17 entrances carved out by the third-largest underground river in the world, the Río Camuy.
Visitors can explore these caves by taking guided tours, and enjoy various amenities such as picnic pavilions, play areas, walking trails, a restaurant and a souvenir shop.
Audio guides are available in both English and Spanish. Admission is charged and availability may vary, so it’s best to call ahead to confirm hours.
With its stunning underground landscapes, the Camuy River Cave Park is a must-see for anyone looking to experience the beauty of Puerto Rico.
Pinones is a must-visit for locals and tourists alike. Here, you can enjoy delicious Puerto Rican cuisine from several roadside food kiosks and restaurants, as well as the 11 km nature trail known as the Pinones Boardwalk.
You can rent bikes or kayaks at COPI, just after the Boca de Cangrejos bridge, or nearby Isla Verde. Along the trail, you can also relax at one of the many beaches or sample some traditional local food. Don’t miss out on this incredible experience!
21. Gilligan’s Island
Gilligan’s Island is a paradise for snorkelers, with its crystal clear waters and abundant fish and coral. If you’re new to snorkeling or want to introduce your kids to it, this is the perfect spot.
With a healthy mangrove system and calm currents, you can easily float or swim along the beach. Don’t forget to bring your own snorkeling gear or rent/buy it in Guanica or nearby towns.
22. Cabo Rojo
Cabo Rojo is a beautiful city located in the southwest corner of Puerto Rico, surrounded by miles and miles of beaches.
It is here that the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge, Punta Guaniquilla Reserve and the historic Cabo Rojo Lighthouse can be found.
Joyuda Beach is the most popular beach destination, a mile of white sand bordered by clear water perfect for swimming and lounging.
Those interested in local history and art can visit Museo de Los Proceres and San José Church, both offering free admission and spectacular views.
With so much to explore, Cabo Rojo is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Puerto Rico.
23. Toro Verde Adventure Park
Toro Verde Adventure Park is one of the adventure things to do and see in Puerto Rico! Located in the mountains of Orocovis, this ecological park offers unforgettable ziplining experiences on two of the world’s longest zip lines – The Beast and The Monster.
Along with ziplining, visitors can explore the park’s suspension bridges, mountain views, and ride the world’s longest cable bike circuit.
Plus, the Toro Verde Restaurant offers local cuisine with a gourmet twist. Make sure to book your reservation in advance to guarantee your spot and get ready to fly through the air with the birds!
24. La Pared
La Pared Beach in Luquillo, is a must-visit for any surfer. With its exciting waves almost all year round, it’s a top destination for competitions.
Great for swimming and sunbathing, there’s also a narrow stretch of sand with palm trees that’s perfect for relaxing. Further east is The Wall where surfers can take full advantage of the waves.
The beautiful orange sand beach is free to park and there’s an additional cost corner lot. Whether you’re an experienced surfer or a family looking to have fun, La Pared is the place to be.
25. Coamo Hot Springs
Tucked away in the lush hills of Coamo, the Coamo Thermal Baths offer a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of city life. With two pools, a spa, a gift shop, and a café, the thermal baths provide an opportunity to relax and rejuvenate.
Legend has it that these thermal springs are even the renowned Fountain of Youth, sought by Juan Ponce de León! Upon arriving, visitors pay an entry fee and can store their possessions in lockers. There are two pools, the warm pool and the hot pool.
The hot pool is particularly relaxing and soothing, with a tingling sensation filling the body. For further relaxation, visitors can take advantage of the in-house spa services such as hot stone massage and bamboo therapy, starting from just $1 per minute.
After the thermal baths, visitors can enjoy a delicious Puerto Rican meal in the nearby restaurants. With its tranquil atmosphere, relaxing pools, and therapeutic spa services, Coamo Thermal Baths are the perfect place to experience the healing powers of nature.
26. Heladeria Lares
Heladeria Lares is a family-run ice cream store located on the main town square in Lares, Puerto Rico. It was opened in 1968 by Salvador Barreto, and still uses the same family recipes.
On any given day, customers can choose from 45-50 unique and delicious flavors, including some very unusual ones like cod fish, rice & beans, garlic, sweet potato, and corn.
The store also features photographs, historical newspapers and articles about the town. Prices are reasonable, with customers able to get two scoops for about $3.50.
It is open Monday-Friday from 10am-5pm and Saturday-Sunday from 9 am-6 pm.
27. La Cara del Indio
Cara del Indio is an incredible carving along the highway on Isabela’s west coast. It is a tribute to the Taino leader Cacique Mabodamaca, who defended his people from Spanish colonists.
The nearby beach, Porta del Sol, is a popular attraction. Additionally, Isabela is renowned for its surfing beaches including Jobos and Middles, which were even used for the Corona Extra Pro Surf Circuit.
28. Guanica Sunflower Field
Visiting Finca El Girasol in Guanica is a great way to spend a few hours. The sunflower farm gives visitors the chance to appreciate the beauty of the sunflowers swaying in the breeze, watch the bees pollinate and of course capture some instagram worthy photos.
Finca El Girasol is open from 9 am – 5 pm daily. While in the area, visitors can also explore the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse, Guanica Dry Forest, and La Paguera.
29. Vieques National Wildlife Refuge
Vieques is an amazing island that offers visitors an opportunity to explore the remote eastern half, which is a designated wildlife refuge. From beaches, to hiking and bird watching, there are so many activities to choose from.
If you’re looking to explore, it’s best to go with a knowledgeable guide to ensure you get the most out of your trip. Snorkeling is a popular activity, and you can rent equipment in Esperanza, before heading to the beaches of the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge.
No matter what you choose to do, Vieques offers something for everyone.
30. Desecheo National Wildlife Refuge
Desecheo is an uninhabited island off the west coast of Puerto Rico, managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. The area is off-limits to visitors due to its past as a bombing practice site.
Those wishing to visit the area can do so by chartering a private boat or by taking a dive trip with Taino Divers. On the dive trip, the staff are friendly and knowledgeable and the boat is comfortable and well-equipped.
The 45 minute journey to the island is usually calm, and upon arrival, divers receive a briefing on the dive site before getting ready to explore the vibrant reefs.
31. Plaza Las Americas
If you’re looking to treat yourself to a shopping spree, then a visit to Plaza Las Américas is a must. Located in Puerto Rico, this is the Caribbean’s largest indoor mall, boasting over 300 stores, many of which are American brands.
For those looking for a bite to eat, the food court offers more than 40 different dining options. With so much to do & see, Plaza Las Américas is the perfect spot for a shopping adventure.
32. Castillo Serralles
If you’re in Ponce, a visit to the Serralles Castle should be on your list. Built in the 1930s, the mansion is still beautifully maintained with original furniture and décor.
Guided tours in both Spanish and English will tell you about the family’s history, sugar production, and rum distillation.
The grounds feature terraces, pools, and topiary, with views of the city. The family still produces and imports rum, and even offers a rum tour. Restrooms, a gift shop, wine cellar, and snack bar are also available.
During the Christmas season, the castle is decorated with extra lights, perfect for weddings or other special occasions.
Frequently Asked Questions
What not to miss when visiting Puerto Rico?
When visiting Puerto Rico, don’t miss El Yunque National Forest, Bioluminescent Bay, Old San Juan, and the beaches in Rincon. Explore the island’s rich culture by trying traditional dishes like mofongo and arroz con gandules. Visit the famous Bacardi Rum Factory for a tour and tasting. Hike in El Yunque and kayak in Bioluminescent Bay to appreciate the island’s natural beauty.
Is Puerto Rico safe?
Puerto Rico is generally considered safe, with crime rates similar to major US cities. However, visitors should exercise caution in tourist areas and take typical safety precautions such as staying aware of their surroundings and avoiding walking alone at night.
Are 4 days enough in Puerto Rico?
Four days may not be enough time to fully experience Puerto Rico, but it can be enough to see its main attractions such as Old San Juan, El Yunque National Forest, and one of its beautiful beaches. Plan your itinerary wisely to make the most of your time.
How many days in Puerto Rico is enough?
The number of days needed to visit Puerto Rico depends on individual interests and activities planned. A week allows for relaxation and exploration, but 2-3 weeks can fully immerse in the island’s culture and nature.
What are the unique things to do in Puerto Rico?
Some fun & unique things to do in Puerto Rico include exploring the El Yunque National Forest, kayaking on Condado Lagoon, taking a food tour in Old San Juan, relaxing like a local in La Parguera, and exploring Mona Island.
What are the best things to do in Puerto Rico for couples?
Couples can enjoy romantic walks on beautiful beaches, visit historic sites such as El Morro and San Cristobal fortresses, hike in the lush El Yunque rainforest, taste delicious local cuisine and drinks, or indulge in water activities like snorkeling and kayaking in Bio Bay.
What are the best things to do in Puerto Rico with kids?
Discover Puerto Rico’s natural beauty and rich cultural heritage with kids by visiting El Yunque National Forest, touring Old San Juan, and snorkeling in the crystal clear waters of La Parguera. Enjoy family-friendly activities and create lasting memories.
What are the best things to do in Puerto Rico at night?
Puerto Rico has a vibrant nightlife with options ranging from clubbing in San Juan’s hotspots to experiencing local music and dance at outdoor festivals. You can also dine at world-renowned restaurants and watch live performances at theaters and casinos.
What are the cheap things to do in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico offers many budget-friendly activities such as hiking in El Yunque National Forest, visiting San Juan’s historic forts, exploring the bioluminescent bays, and trying local street food. Enjoy the island’s natural beauty and rich culture without breaking the bank.
What are the best adventurous things to do in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico offers a range of adventurous activities such as hiking in El Yunque National Forest, exploring underground caves at Rio Camuy Cave Park, kayaking through Bioluminescent Bay, and surfing in Rincon. Experience the island’s natural beauty and adrenaline rush.
So there you have it, the best things to do in Puerto Rico for your next trip. If you enjoyed my post, please leave a comment below.