Reserve your Spot - El Yunque National Rainforest Top Tour (Official Park)
Puerto Rico… The Island of Enchantment… The Land of a Thousand Blessings…
We are fortunate to have all the beauty of Puerto Rico year-round, we’ve come up with a great list of things to do, places to visit, and vacation itinerary ideas to make your planning easier. It is an honor to share the best of Puerto Rico and help you plan an unforgettable stay. We travel around the island often to keep this guide updated, and we speak to travelers in order to put together an objective, useful, fun, and inspiring guide. We don’t build our guides for search engines, we build them for YOU, since 2004. We take pride in responsibly recommending places we would take our own family… places and activities that are safe, memorable, and worth your valuable vacation time and hard-earned money.
Using this Guide
- We begin with the Very Best Things to Do, Excursions, and Most Interesting Places
- We then continue with more great attractions divided by region to make planning easier.
- At the bottom of the page, we have included an easy-to-use map with places listed to help you plan your visit.
Start exploring Puerto Rico below… Enjoy your online journey, and thanks for trusting us to help you plan your stay.
The 30 Best Things to Do & Places to Visit in Puerto Rico
- Walk, See, Taste & Dance in Old San Juan
- Spend a Day at Flamenco Beach
- Explore the Enchanting Rainforest of El Yunque
- Swim or Go Kayakin on Bioluminescent Waters
- Visit Five Century Old Castles at San Juan National Historic Site
- Marvel at the Spectacular Camuy River Cave Park
- Visit Casa Bacardi Distillery
- Escape to a Secluded Island or Cay in Puerto Rico
- Go Snorkeling in Puerto Rico
- Take a Hike in the Breathtaking Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge
- Family Fun & Adventure at Hacienda Campo Rico
- Go Swimming with Sea Turtles
- Explore the Amazing Caves of Puerto Rico
- Go on an Off-Road 0r Oceanside ATV Adventure in Puerto Rico
- Go Day or Night Kayaking on the Manatee Estuary of Laguna del Condado in San Juan
- Dare to Zipline The Monster, The Longest Zipline in America, or Fly Over Green Canopies in the Rainforest
- Go Horseback Riding on Secluded Beaches & Colorful Trails of Puerto Rico
- Visit The Pink Salt Flats in Cabo Rojo
- Relax in Puerto Rico’s Natural Pools
- Have an Unforgettable Day at La Parguera Nature Reserve
- Sail the Romantic & Historic Bahia de San Juan (San Juan Bay)
- Learn to Snorkel & Scuba Dive in Puerto Rico
- Go Beach Hopping to Vieques for a Day
- Visit Los Morrillos Lighthouse – The Most Scenic Spot on the Island
- Watch the Sunset in Puerto Rico
- Experience the Vibrant Culture of Puerto Rico
- Eat Pork, Shop & Dance at Guavate
- Visit a City Square & Join Locals in Cultural Celebrations
- Visit an Art Museum
- Take Colorful Vacation Photos by Art Murals in Puerto Rico
21 More Interesting Places to Visit in Puerto Rico
- El Yunque National Rainforest
- Laguna Grande – Bioluminescent Lagoon
- Icacos Cay
- Cordillera Reef Nature Reserve
- Las Cabezas de San Juan Reserve
- La Parguera Nature Reserve
- Gilligan’s Island
- Cascadas Gozalandia
- Los Morrillos Lighthouse
- Natural Pools of Isabela
- Las Salinas
- Guajataca Tunnel, River & Beach
- Plaza de Colon
- Punta Higuero Lighthouse Park
- Guanica State Forest
- Plaza Las Delicias & Ponce Historical District
- Hacienda de Cafe Pomarosa
- Centro Ceremonial Indigena Tibes
- Museo Castillo Serralles (Museum)
- Bahia de Jobos Nature Reserve
- Caja de Muertos Island
- Hacienda Buena Vista
Puerto Rico is an island full of beauty, wonder, history, and rich in culture. For its size, one may think it was unfairly blessed with a list of natural marvels, making Puerto Rico one of the most exciting destinations in the Caribbean. The great thing about Puerto Rico is its size, at only 100 x 35 miles, you don’t have to travel far from your hotel, plus is safe to explore. From historic UNESCO sites, a tropical rainforest, bioluminescent bays, romantic European architecture, dreamy offshore secluded islands, charming towns, waterfalls, elegant lighthouses… and so much more… Puerto Rico truly has it all. If you don’t want to worry about logistics, you’ll find that hospitality shines in our tour guides adding to the experience.
Most of the tourists arrive at the San Juan International Airport, the majority will choose a hotel in the capital city and nearby tourist districts. Some of the most impressive sights are in the capital city of San Juan, however, those wanting to experience the true magic of Puerto Rico should check out our list of places beyond the city. We’ve had long conversations with thousands of visitors, the ones truly enchanted by the island venture out of the tourist hot spots, mingle with locals, and experience the true spirit of the island. We have included a variety of activities, places, and experiences to show you the enchantment of this beautiful island, its vibrant culture, and its interesting history.
Best Things to Do, Excursions & Experiences in Puerto Rico
Old San Juan is the best place to start your vacation, the cultural epicenter of Puerto Rico, an open living museum that houses over 500 historic buildings. As you walk around Old San Juan you can tour five-century-old castles, churches, relaxed squares, restored buildings turned into interesting shops, excellent restaurants, and casual cafes. Old San Juan is constantly changing, offering something new and interesting to repeat visitors. Relax, ditch the map, take in the sights, sit at a square and have a cup of coffee, forget dieting and try traditional foods, dance to the music playing, and enjoy the company of your party… that’s what Old San Juan is all about. You can certainly explore on your own, but if you wish to get the most out of your visit, there are many wonderful tours in Old San Juan, and then explore more of your own.
Featured Tour: Winner of Traveler’s Choice Best of the Best – #4 in 2022 & #3 in 2020 on Top 10 Experiences in the Caribbean – Flavors of Old San Juan Food Tour – Small group tour – Walk around the streets of Old San Juan and sample the best traditional dishes of Puerto Rico. It is the perfect tour to get acquainted with the historic city and get to know the culture.
On your own: If you’re short on time and you’ve never been to Old San Juan, be sure to visit at least one of the forts, then walk the streets and simply do what catches your eye, that’s how you find YOUR special place in Old San Juan.
Time Needed in Old San Juan: At least one full day, but a two-night stay in San Juan is perfect to explore the best of the history, culture, and romance of the city.
+ Recommended Attractions in Old San Juan
+ Map of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Places mentioned in this guide. For more, see full map of Places to Visit in Old San Juan
Top Rated Old San Juan Tours
Simple Perfection… As soon as arrive at Flamenco Beach, you’ll understand why it is one of the most glorified beaches in the world.
Flamenco Beach is located on the sleepy island of Culebra, located off the east coast of Puerto Rico. Be sure to make the day trip to Culebra, or better yet, split your vacation by spending a few nights there and you’ll have bragging rights to visiting one of the best beaches on the planet.
Getting to Culebra: The most convenient way to spend a day in Culebra is by booking a catamaran cruise ahead online. If you wish to spend more than a day in Culebra, taking a short flight from San Juan Airport is the most convenient way. You may also drive to Ceiba Airport for a shorter and more budget-friendly flight. If you’re traveling with a group, the most budget-friendly option is to drive or take a transfer to the Ceiba Ferry and spend the day in Culebra. The map below shows airport locations, ferry terminals, and marinas in Fajardo where some tours depart, as well as the best-rated hotels nearby.
+ Map of Flamenco Beach & Nearby Airports, Ferry Terminal & Places to Stay
Top Rated Tours to Culebra Puerto Rico
El Yunque National Rainforest, one of the world’s natural wonders is within your reach. El Yunque National Rainforest is one of the reasons this island is called The Island of Enchantment, the forest captivates and transports visitors to more ancient times, free of development, cement structures, and stressors of everyday life. Cool, clean crisp air, sights of lush green canopies of giant ferns and ancient trees, and bursts of colors from flower petals adorning the rainforest… the sounds of birds, coquis singing, and splashing of waterfalls in the distance… the feel of cool fresh water from waterfalls that Taino Natives considered sacred. This is El Yunque.. a place to get lost in unadulterated beauty to renew body and mind… From easy hikes to more challenging and adventurous excursions, there’s something for everyone in El Yunque, and enthusiastic and professional tour guides are happy to show you with pride their beloved rainforest in Puerto Rico. You may also explore on your own if you have more time to plan your visit, visitor’s center will help you with a map and information.
+ Planning your Visit - Getting to El Yunque & itinerary Ideas
Getting to El Yunque: The rainforest in the town of Rio Grande, in the eastern region of Puerto Rico. Driving Distance from San Juan is 45 minutes. You must make a reservation in order to enter the park if you’re driving there. The most popular and hassle-free way to visit is by booking a tour that takes care of all logistics. See our guide for planning your visit and best tours.
Itinerary / Vacation Ideas: A wonderful day trip is going to El Yunque and later going to Luquillo Beach, the most popular beach on the east coast. In Luquillo, you can eat traditional fritters and great drinks at the beach kiosk or nearby famous Luquillo Kiosks.
+ Map - El Yunque National Rainforest & Nearby Hotels
Top Rated Tours to El Yunque National Rainforest
La Parguera Bioluminescent Bay Day Trip
This world-wonder has been included by many travel experts as one of the “things to do before you die”, and one of the most romantic experiences in nature. You may have seen bioluminescence in scenes of movies such as Avatar and Nim’s Island… it does look like magic on the water. You can experience bioluminescence by kayak, boat, and in one location where you can jump in and swim in the glowing waters. Laguna Grande, located in the town of Fajardo is the most convenient option for visitors staying in the San Juan, Isla Verde, and east region of the island.
Mosquito Bay is located in Vieques and is the brightest in the world, but you must stay overnight on the island. On the west coast of the island, there is a bioluminescent bay in La Parguera, the only one allowing swimming, it is also the one with the least crowds. We published the first extensive guide on the bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico, and we have been to all of them. Please read our guide before you book a tour so you can plan the best experience and avoid disappointments.
+ Map - Bioluminescent Bays & Lagoon & Nearby Hotels
While in San Juan, you can’t miss the San Juan National Historic Site, which includes two of the most spectacular landmarks in Puerto Rico, the forts of Castillo San Cristóbal & Castillo San Felipe del Morro.
- Castillo San Felipe del Morro (known as El Morro) is one of the most beloved landmarks on the island rich in history, where many cultural events are held. Most Puerto Ricans have fond memories of flying a kite on the lawn, a must-do while here.
- Castillo San Cristobal is the largest of the two, a lot of fun for kids as they tour the tunnels, the views are spectacular.
If you wish to tour both forts, you can follow our Calle Norzagaray Walking Tour.
Time to visit San Juan National Historic Site (Both forts) – At a relaxed pace, you can tour both forts and walk along Calle Norzagaray in a full morning/afternoon. You’ll need about 1.5 hours at each fort.
+ Map - San Juan National Historic Site - San Juan, Puerto Rico
Top Rated Tour to Camuy River Cave Park
Camuy River Cave Park is the most impressive natural wonder in the northern region of Puerto Rico. This cave is very family-friendly and does not require hiking. It is one of the world’s largest cave networks. Take a peak at what awaits at Camuy River Cave Park… we promise you it has a wow factor not possible to capture in photos.
+ Map - Camuy River Cave Park - Camuy, Puerto Rico
Casa Bacardi is the largest premium rum distillery in the world. We recommend a Rum Tasting Tour, after the experience, you’ll be sipping on rum neat, some of Bacardi’s finest rums are too delicious to mix. A general tour includes the history of Casa Bacardi, the distillery process, and a welcome cocktail. Casa Bacardi also offers a fun Mixology Tour. For something really special to take home, only at Casa Bacardi Gift Shop, you can purchase Bacardi Casa Special Reserve, which you’ll be personally pouring into a bottle straight from the barrel.
+ Map - Casa Bacardi Distillery - Cataño, Puerto Rico
Top Rated Bacardi Distillery Tours
If you dream of escaping to a secluded island where you can pretend to get away from the modern world and be transported to a place, Puerto Rico can fulfill those dreams. Puerto Rico is an archipelago, with several secluded islands and cays where you can sail away, take a fun catamaran excursion, or have a more intimate private boat charter.
Among the most visited islands is Cayo Icacos, a secluded cay surrounded by turquoise waters teeming with fish, you may find yourself swimming along with dolphins often seen here. If you want a place where fewer visitors go head to Piñeros Island with Janise Sailing Charters, a five-star charter with an excellent reputation. If you’re on the west coast, head to La Parguera to swim on the crystal clear waters of Caracoles and Mata La Gata, not far is Gilligan’s Island in Guanica. If you wish to escape for longer than a day, we invite you to spend a few days in Culebra or Vieques, like most visitors, it will be very hard to go on a beach vacation anywhere else after.
There are other places where you can sail away to a secluded island, be sure to check our sailing in Puerto Rico guide.
+ Map of Islands to Visit in Puerto Rico
With hundreds of beaches of course Puerto Rico has great snorkeling… If you have a longer vacation you can rent a car and bring your own snorkel gear to visit the best snorkeling spots. If you only have a few days in Puerto Rico, we encourage you to allow one of the passionate tour guides in Puerto Rico to take you on a wonderful snorkeling excursion. We are happy to make your planning easier, we were the first to create an in-depth guide to all the best snorkeling beaches in Puerto Rico, complete with top-rated snorkeling charters.
Whether you’re celebrating your honeymoon, traveling with the whole family, or entertaining a group of business travelers, Hacienda Campo Rico is a great spot to visit offering fun ATV / Can-Am Off-Road Experiences, horseback riding in Paso Fino Horses and ziplining in a 2,300-acre Hacienda. For those staying in the San Juan / Metro area, you won’t have to spend much traveling, Hacienda Campo Rico is a short drive from Isla Verde in the town of Carolina.
+ Map of Hacienda Campo Rico - Carolina, Puerto Rico
This activity is among the best things to do in Puerto Rico, and we hope you make the trip to the west coast to experience this amazing place.
This is one of the best day trips you can take in Puerto Rico, and practically free, all you need is a car rental to get here. Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge is the most scenic spot on the island, located on the very corner of the southwest of the island in the town of Cabo Rojo.
The Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge is an eco-traveler paradise offering 4 attractions; hiking along nature trails with scenic vistas, Las Salinas / The Salt Flats, and La Playuela Beach, one the prettiest beach coves on the island. After visiting Los Morrillos Lighthouse, hike along the limestone cliffs with breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea. A few minutes into the hike, you’ll get to Puente de Piedra (Stone Bridge / Arch) one of the most photographed places, in the vicinity, you’ll admire beautiful rock formations and caves where Roberto Cofresi, the real pirate of the Caribbean that as legend tells, used to hide his treasures.
More things to do while here: After exploring, head to Boqueron for dinner and great sunset. If you still have some energy, head to Lajas to swim on bioluminescent bay waters at La Parguera. Yup, this will be a day full of beauty, adventure, and magic… Bring the whole family, this itinerary can be done relaxed and does not require strenuous activity.
+ Map - Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge - Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
Being on a beach is a great experience, but putting your head down where noise is canceled and your senses are introduced to a new world where sea turtles gracefully glide in tempered waters… are among the experiences that make Caribbean life so enviable. You may think that you have to go to a secluded, out-of-the-way beach in order to swim with sea turtles, but you’ll be happy to know that there are a handful of beaches where you have a pretty good chance of seeing them.
Tamarindo Grande Beach in Culebra is the best spot in Puerto Rico to swim with sea turtles, a protected cove with calm water offering easy access to the snorkeling site where you can observe them swim over and play on grass beds. If you are staying in Culebra you can book this tour. This beautiful beach is a popular spot for kayaking, you can paddle out to Luis Pena Marine Reserve where you can snorkel on the reefs, the scenery is breathtaking and the sand is covered in polished pebbles. If you’re staying in San Juan or the east region you’ll have to drive to the Ceiba ferry terminal to get to Culebra, this tour includes the ferry tickets.
+ Map of Best Beaches to Swim with Sea Turtles in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has some amazing caves to explore such as the world-famous Camuy River Cave Park, the popular Cueva del Indio, to gorgeous beach caves. For the more adventurous, Puerto Rico has a variety of caves requiring more challenging hikes, cave tubbing, and rappelling.
See our guide to caves in Puerto Rico to plan a wonderful adventure.
There are many experiences we don’t want you to miss… and off-roading is one of them, is part of the island life. Go on an off-road jeep adventure on dirt roads only locals know… leading to secluded beaches, scenic overlooks, and natural treasures on the mountainside. If you don’t want to get away from the Puerto Rican coastline… just minutes from San Juan and Isla Verde, there are fun Can-Am Off-Road tours available to rugged beaches without crowds. Hacienda Campo Rico, just 10 minutes from San Juan and Isla Verde, is a great place offering ATV / Can-Am off-road tours, horseback riding, and ziplining.
Most Popular Experience at Condado Lagoon
The Condado Lagoon is one of the most beloved places for residents and visitors with scenic views of the city yet surrounded by mangroves. Laguna del Condado is the best place in San Juan to kayak, ride a water bicycle or paddleboard (SUP) over clear water where one may encounter a friendly manatee swimming by. LED Night kayaking is one of the most popular activities at Laguna del Condado, resembling the bioluminescent bay.
The lagoon has become a popular spot for romantic couples to surprise their loved ones with a floating picnic, you may be witness to engagement proposals while on a tour. The water of the Condado Lagoon is calm, making it a safe activity for families. If you don’t wish to be on the water, take a walk along the Condado Lagoon, with scenic walking and bicycle path.
+ Map - Laguna del Condado (Condado Lagoon) - San Juan, Puerto Rico
Top Rated Combination Zipline Tour w/ Pick Up in San Juan
If you’re seeking an adrenaline rush and wish to experience the green lush side of Puerto Rico free like a bird, ziplining is the best way to do it. If you’re a zipline lover or this is your first time, there are various adventure parks offering unforgettable zipline experiences tough to match elsewhere in the world.
For years, The Monster in Toro Verde Park held the record for the longest zipline cable in the world (Jebel Jais Flight has the current title). The Monster is currently the longest in the Americas, the ride is 7,234 feet long, or 28 football fields, and about 1,200 feet high, get ready to reach a flight speed of up to 152.8km/h.
You can also choose from zipline adventures in El Yunque Rainforest combined with relaxing hikes. See our ziplining guide with popular zipline parks with detailed information so you can make the best choice that meets your challenge desire and budget.
You’ll swim, relax, and snorkel on the beaches of Puerto Rico… but one of the most romantic ways of seeing the coastline is by horseback. Unlike many Caribbean destinations with coastlines dotted with resorts, you’ll find naturally landscaped beaches as nature intended free of development, the perfect environment to go horseback riding.
Tours & Places to Go Horseback Riding in Puerto Rico
- If you’re staying on the west coast, you’ll be happy since the best horseback riding tour in Puerto Rico is in Isabela, the coastline is spectacular.
- If you’re in vacationing in San Juan or Isla Verde, just minutes from the city you can go horseback riding at Hacienda Campo Rico.
- If you’re staying in Rio Grande or the east coast, you can go horseback riding on the beach with Carabali, a well-known reputable tour company.
Don’t leave the west coast, without spending at least a full morning or afternoon at Los Morrillos Peninsula inside the Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge. This place feels like you’re in a faraway place, the topography is like nowhere else in Puerto Rico. Your first stop in Cabo Rojo will be at the observation tower of Las Salinas (The Salt Flats), here you’ll be able to get a bird’s eye view of the various ecosystems in the area. As you an abandoned hotel on the right, park along the road and walk into the salt flats, you can see them from the road but seeing them up close is a fantastic experience for your sight sense. You’ll see hiking trails along the salt flats, it is a popular cycling trail for locals. Get back in the car and head over to Los Morrillow Lighthouse, the best is yet to come.
+ Map - Las Salinas (Salt Flats) - Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
Relax in calm waters to the mesmerizing sights and sounds of the Atlantic waves… this is one of our favorite ways to totally relax on the island. Where there is strong surf, there’s no calm water, but in Puerto Rico, we have some very special places where you can sit on the soft sandy bottom and you can watch the surf crash into coral walls creating a non-stop wave show… The breeze is salty, the waves go so high they seem to blend in with the clouds, and the sounds of the crashing waves quiet any stressful thoughts. These places attract beach lovers that wish to get away from the crowds and during busy beach days, attract families with toddlers so they can play safely in shallow waters. Most of the time, you’ll be sharing these natural pools with a few couples or families.
+ Map of Our Favorite Natural Pools in Puerto Rico
The great fond memories we hold of La Parguera growing up, we can re-live today. This seaside fishing village has managed to retain the casual, low-key ambiance with the warmth and charm that makes the west coast of the island the best destination for travelers that wish to experience the island life. La Parguera is in the town of Lajas and attracts sea lovers, scuba divers, sailors, eco-travelers, and foodies.
During the day, you enjoy the water under the sun. At the end of the afternoon, head back to the village to eat dinner at local prices. After eating, head back to the water and jump into the water to swim in the bioluminescent water. The Bioluminescent bay in La Parguera is the only one where you are allowed to swim.
+ Map - La Parguera Bioluminescent Bay & Offshore Keys
A romantic way of seeing Old San Juan is aboard a sailboat, especially during sunset. As the sailboat turns around the San Juan Bay, you’ll get to see the most spectacular views of the walled city, and sights of the most impressive UNESCO landmarks that protected the city; La Fortaleza, and Castillo San Felipe del Morro. Enjoy the experience with complimentary drinks. The cruise is by East Island Excursions, one of the most reputable tour companies in Puerto Rico.
+ Map - San Juan Bay - San Juan, Puerto Rico
Top Rated San Juan Bay Sailing Charters
While in Puerto Rico, we courage you to be adventurous and take lessons to discover the joys of snorkeling and scuba diving, a skill you can take and continue to perfect on every Caribbean vacation. One of the most rewarding pleasures of being on an island is having the opportunity to go snorkeling and scuba diving all year round in warm turquoise waters teeming with fish, and for the more adventurous going deep into breathtaking colorful diving sites.
If you’re staying in San Juan, you’ll be happy to know that one of the best beaches to learn snorkeling and scuba diving is right in the city, the amazing Escambron. If you’re staying on the east coast, you can book snorkeling lessons in Fajardo. If you’re staying on the west coast, Guanica is a secret scuba diving destination and the best on the island. In Rincon, the most popular beach destination in the west, you can book one of the most highly-rated scuba diving lessons.
Go Off-Road on a Jeep Adventure
Vieques must be the best beach-hopping destination in the Caribbean. The island is only 21 x 5 miles making it easy to explore many beaches without wasting precious vacation time driving. Driving is a fun adventure on its own, with no highways or street lights, just narrow dirt roads surrounded by lush flora with views of the Caribbean pulling you toward its shores. Once in Vieques, you’ll be in awe at how many beach coves there are to explore, each with its own personality, impossible to say which is best. If you’re short on time, head to the Wildlife Refuge on the south side, where the calmest and clearest water beaches are hidden. If you only have a day in Vieques, you can walk from Esperanza Beach to Sun Bay.
Top Rated Vieques Tours & Transfer from San Juan
Los Morrillos Lighthouse is located in Cabo Rojo, in the southwest corner of Puerto Rico. Visitors will enjoy touring the lighthouse, but a visit to Los Morrillos is only part of a number of activities you can do at the natural reserve. From the cliffs enjoy sweeping views of the Caribbean Sea, migratory and endemic birds flying over the Salt Flats, the stunning beach cove of La Playuela, and views of the lush green mountains extending out to the town of Lajas. A short hike down from the lighthouse will take you to Puente de Piedra (Natural Bridge), one of the most photographed scenic spots.
+ Map - Los Morrillos Lighthouse - Cabo Rojo, Puerto RIco
For sunset lovers, Puerto Rico will satisfy your soul’s desire to end the day watching the sun go down on the Caribbean Sea. We are happy to share the best places to watch the sunset in Puerto Rico sure to wow you. Best places to watch a gorgeous sunset? On the west coast of Puerto Rico, head to Rincon for the beaches and stay until the end of the day for the sunset. The beaches of Domes, Balneario de Rincon, and Punta Higuero Lighthouse are great spots. Further south, the town of Cabo Rojo is wonderful at sunset, the very best spot is Balneario de Boqueron. Other great spots are the beaches of Combate and Buye. In San Juan, sunsets at San Juan Bay are mesmerizing as the sun sets behind Isla de Cabras and gives the city walls a golden glow. The best spot to watch is from the grounds of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Paseo de La Princesa and then there’s the ultimate experience of sailing at sunset.
+ Map - Best Places to Watch the Sunset in Puerto Rico
While you’re visiting Old San Juan, the epicenter of culture, you’ll have plenty of opportunities to enjoy the vibrant culture of Puerto Rico. From learning to dance salsa and plena, attending fun events, visiting a distillery, and tasting the best cuisine, San Juan is a great starting point to immerse yourself in the culture that is often called the happiest in the world. If you’re short of time, we highly recommend a guided tour with the perfect combination of sightseeing, food, and culture with a knowledgeable and friendly guide.
Top Rated Cultural Tours
Puerto Ricans love pork, it is served in just about every major festivity, especially Christmas. Up in the cool breezy mountainside town of Cayey, you’ll find a spot called Guavate, a famous place for delicious pig roasts. You’ll be driving past many restaurants competing for the title of best pork on the island. The best time to go is on the weekends, where you’ll find a lively crowd, live music, and dancing in some establishments. A good indicator of the best places to eat pork is the crowds. You can get there by renting a car or booking a tour with a knowledgeable guide, tours include more interesting places in the itinerary.
+ Map - Guavate, Puerto Rico
To observe the best architecture and European charm of Puerto Rico, visitors ought to visit a plaza (square), considered the center of each municipality. At the plazas, you’ll find a Catholic church, the Alcaldia (Mayor’s Government Office), local shops, cafes, and small restaurants typically serving traditional Puerto Rican food. The best part of visiting a plaza is seeing locals just sitting down and speaking to friends over a cup of coffee. Be sure to stop by the table of dominos where abuelitos (grandpas) enjoy the most beloved game, dominos, they’re happy to chat and show off their game.
Our favorite plazas are Plaza de Armas in Old San Juan, Plaza Colon in Mayaguez (west region), Plaza Las Delicias in Ponce (south region), Plaza de Colon in Guayama (east region), one of the most elegant on the island (pictured above), Plaza Santo Domingo in San German (southwest region), and the plaza in the town of Dorado, one of the few remaining plazas with traditional Spanish design.
+ Map - Best Plazas (Squares) to Visit in Puerto Rico
Top Museums in Puerto Rico
- Museo de Arte de Ponce – Museo de Arte de Ponce is the most prestigious art museum in Puerto Rico, and one of the most well-known across the Caribbean. The museum is located in the southern region of the island in the town of Ponce. You’ve probably seen the breathtaking painting “Flaming June”, the Museum of Art in Ponce is its home. You’ll also be able to admire the works of Francisco Oller and Jose Campeche.
- Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico – This museum is located in the capital city of San Juan, it is among the best art museums on the island. The museum features permanent artwork from the 17th century to changing exhibits featuring today’s contemporary artists. Walk through 24 galleries, a romantic elegant garden, and the kids can enjoy a craft area.
- Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico – This museum of contemporary art is also located in San Juan.
- Museo de Las Americas – San Juan, Puerto Rico
+ Map - Top Museums to Visit in Puerto Rico
If you love taking photographs to share on social media, visiting places with spectacular art murals may be on your top things to-do list while in Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican people, often called the happiest people in the world, certainly love color… one of the best ways to get to know their culture is through art murals you’ll find throughout the island. While many cities have a graffiti problem, in Puerto Rico art murals are a form of bringing joy and hope to a town and giving local artists an opportunity to shine. Through art murals, Puerto Ricans show their love for the island, its culture, traditions, people, and history.
From mosaic tile art walkways in San Juan to colorful wall murals, to entire old neighborhoods turned into a colorful canvas… art lovers will have interesting places to go sightseeing, and most are located in historic districts safe for walking. See recommended places for tourists to visit.
+ Map of Places to Go Sightseeing Art Murals in Puerto Rico
Take a walk back into history by visiting the magnificent fortifications of Castillo San Cristobal & Castillo San Felipe del Morro, build over five centuries ago to defend Puerto Rico’s beautiful city. The history is intriguing and the entire family will be engaged as they walk through tunnels, barracks, dungeons, and more. The views from the forts are breathtaking with the Atlantic Ocean, and San Juan Bay in the background. These historic landmarks are UNESCO World Heritage Sites, a must-visit while in Puerto Rico.
Which fort is best to visit? If you had to choose one fort, we love Castillo San Felipe del Morro, it is smaller, but mightly, the views are fantastic and the green law is part of the experience. If you or someone in your group has mobility concerns, Castillo San San Cristobal is easier to navigate with fewer steps.
Exploring The Forts: You can explore on your own, and inquire about guided tours when purchasing entry tickets. If you wish to have a tour of Old San Juan that includes a fort visit, this tour is making visitors happy with a great itinerary.
+ Map - San Juan National Historic Site - San Juan, Puerto Rico
A walking tour of Old San Juan ought to begin at Paseo de la Princesa, 19th-century walkways outside the city walls along the San Juan Bay. Walkthrough gardens, let your children play on the playground along the historic city walls, shop for unique authentic souvenirs sold by local artists, have a refreshing piragua or cup of Mavi, walk into the historic La Princesa building, take a picture on the elegant Raices fountain. Typically during weekends and holidays, there is live music, so be sure to stop and dance. Paseo de la Princesa has been referred to as “One of the most scenic walkways in the world”, so hold hands with your loved one, pause for a kiss, and head towards the La Puerta de San Juan (San Juan Gate) to begin your walking tour of the Old City.
+ Map - Paseo de La Princesa - San Juan, Puerto Rico
Laguna Grande and the bioluminescent bay of Puerto Rico lure travelers from all over the globe wishing to experience the magical phenomenon. This protected lagoon, surrounded by mangroves is the perfect environment for dinoflagellates, the microscopic organisms that glow when there’s movement. Laguna Grande is one of the most accessible bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico, located in the municipality of Fajardo on the east coast of the island. The best way to experience the bioluminescent lagoon is by kayak. If you’re not comfortable with kayaking, there are a few boat tours available leaving from Las Croabas in Fajardo. Before you get excited about booking a tour, we strongly recommend you read thoroughly our guide to bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico, in order to plan the best experience.
+ Map - Laguna Grande - Bioluminescent Bay in Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Cayo Icacos (Icacos Cay), part of Cordillera Reef Reserve is among the most popular offshore excursions in Puerto Rico, satisfying that wanderlust for that secluded island tropical experience. Lay on the sand without the need of dreaming, because you’re already there… on a cay surrounded by nothing else but the Caribbean Sea. Enjoy the warmth of the sun, jump in crystal clear turquoise waters… float, swim, and snorkel… experience the enchantment of Puerto Rico. The experience begins as soon as you begin to sail away from the shores of the main island, as you admire the coastline and the lighthouse at the top of Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve from the best viewpoint.
Choose from various wonderful experiences to visit Icacos from luxurious private sailing charters, fun catamaran trips, or small group boat tours. Tours leave from Fajardo, and various tours offer to pick up in hotels and resorts in San Juan / Isla Verde and east coast resort communities.
+ Map - Cayo Icacos - Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Cordillera Reef Nature Reserve is a small archipelago of islands, islets, and cays that capture tropical dreams, you may have seen the tiny island of Palominito on the last scene of Pirates of the Caribbean. (See Video Pop Up) The “Cordillera Reef” is 1.5 miles off the eastern coast of the municipality of Fajardo. The archipelago extends for 18 nautical miles, starting at Las Cabezas de San Juan all the way to Culebra. Popular excursions go to Cayo Icacos, Palomino, and Palominitos.
The most romantic and luxurious way to enjoy and appreciate these offshore treasures is by sailing, there are a few sailing tour charters that will plan an unforgettable experience.
+ Map - Cordillera Reef Nature Reserve - Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Top Rated Private Charters to Cordillera Keys
Las Cabezas de San Juan is a nature reserve comprised of 434 acres preserved by the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico; it is made up of mangroves, the bioluminescent lagoon of Laguna Grande, the historic lighthouse Faro De Las Cabezas De San Juan, a dry forest, and the gorgeous Playa Rocosa. At the top of the lighthouse, you’ll enjoy magnificent views of the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico.
+ Map - Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve - Fajardo, Puerto Rico
Reserve your spot on a private Gilligan's Island tour
Back in the early 2000’s barely anyone knew about this gorgeous place, not even residents of Puerto Rico… we’ve always loved exploring the island, and when we experienced it, we shared it with the world… today it is one of the most beloved places in Puerto Rico.
Cayo Aurora (Gilligan’s Island) a tiny little paradise absolutely adored by families with small children and honeymooners wishing for a dreamy quiet spot in the winter months. Although this is not the same island featured on the famous “Gilligan’s Island” show, it’s so pretty, it should be featured in a paradise-themed movie. The formal name of this cay is Cayo Aurora, the waters are among the clearest on the west coast of Puerto Rico. Giligan’s Island is a giant pool with shallow waters lined by mangrove trees, a perfect environment for schools of fish to flourish and play.
Small children can see the fish around their feet or simply put their heads down in the water… parents will rejoice at the children’s reactions. Get here early in the morning for the best conditions, bugs tend to come in the early afternoon, so bring bug spray if you plan on being here in the afternoon. After enjoying Gilligan’s, stop by Copamarina Resort for a nice lunch or dinner, some drinks and sunset.
+ Map - Gilligan's Island / Cayo Aurora - Guanica, Puerto Rico
Cascadas Gozalandia… nestled in the mountains of San Sebastian, about a 45-minute drive from Aguadilla and an hour from Rincon. Take a break from the salty waters and blue colors of the coastline and experience the refreshing agua dulces (sweet/fresh waters) in the green mountains of San Sebastian. If you’re vacationing on the west coast, and you’re unable to visit El Yunque, although a miniature in comparison to the rainforest, you’ll be enchanted with a short hike into the lush forest with two waterfalls with basins to refresh the soul.
+ Map - Cascadas Gozalandia - San Sebastian, Puerto Rico
Crystal clear water, romantic ambiance without crowds… No other travel guide has included the tidal pools of Isabela on their list of “Things to Do & Places to Visit”, To be honest, it is hard to share them, we wish we could keep them nice and quiet to ourselves. Our favorite natural pools are Pozo de Teodoro, Posita Sardinera & Poza de Las Golondrinas. Most of the tidal pools are visited by a few local families, during the week they’re typically empty and the vibe is total bliss. There are no facilities, and two require some walking, keeping them uncrowded and more pristine. They don’t look like much from a distance, but once you stand in front of them and take a dip, you may not wish to leave. The water is very clear, there’s a constant flow of clean cool water coming in from the ocean, and a rock wall protects the pools. The pools are shallow, keeping parts of the pool nice and warm, and the flowing water nice and cool… is a total pleasure to all your senses. The rocks and boulders inside the pools become playgrounds for schools of colorful fish, little toddlers can safely snorkel and be amazed by the natural aquarium. The sights and sounds of the waves are mesmerizing. These pools have all the conditions for a high dose of SEAtherapy.
The best time to visit is from early fall until late spring, the pools have more water. During summer months, there are more crowds on weekends with families, and some of the tidal pools may be empty or too shallow for swimming.
+ Map - Natural Pools of Isabela, Puerto Rico
The Guajataca Tunnel Park is one of the most scenic locations on the west coast of the island, starting from the moment you see it from the highway. A walk along Guajataca Beach is wonderful for those that enjoy admiring natural landscapes. The waves are melodic, boulders create spots to relax and admire the view. On the sand, there are hundreds of palm trees where you can find your own spot to hang a hammock and enjoy the pleasures of island life.
+ Map - Guajataca Tunnel - Isabela, Puerto Rico
The plaza of Mayaguez is one of the most elegant plazas on the island. During Christmas, don’t miss visiting Plaza de Colon, the Christmas decorations are spectacular, the best and most festive on the island, it’s a party almost daily, especially on weekends, with live music, food, crafts, and activities for weeks before and after Christmas Day. As you’ve heard, Puerto Rico celebrates the longest Christmas in the world, Mayaguez goes all out for the festivities attracting visitors from all over the island.
+ Map - Plaza de Colon - Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Rincon, home to the best surfing beaches in Puerto Rico and arguably the most stunning sunsets on the island (they’re great in Cabo Rojo too. If you’re passing Rincon, we invite you to make a stop at Punta Higueros Lighthouse Park. Here you can enjoy sweeping vistas of where the Caribbean Sea meets the Atlantic Ocean, during heavy a surge, you can see the force of the bodies of water colliding. From January to March, best in February, Punta Higueros Lighthouse Park is the best spot to watch humpback whales (see video 📹) in Puerto Rico. Stay a little longer and drive a bit further to Domes Beach, bring a beach towel or lounge chair to watch surfers and the stunning golden sunsets of Rincon.
+ Map - Punta Higuero Lighthouse - Rincon, Puerto Rico
The crown jewel of Guanica is The Guánica State Forest & Biosphere Reserve, often referred to as the best example of a dry forest in the world. In 1981, the forest was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. At the Guanica State Forest, you can spend days hiking the numerous trails leading to scenic spots, caves, and secluded beaches. The Guanica State Forest has the largest population of birds on the island. It is very important to know that you u must hydrate well the night before hiking and bring a lot of water and healthy snacks for your hike as it gets very hot.
The best time to visit is during the winter months when the weather is cooler. Bring bug spray as well to repel mosquitos, especially on the interior hiking trails of the forest.
+ Map - Guánica State Forest & Biosphere Reserve - Guanica, Puerto Rico
Ponce is the most visited town in the south region with a number of interesting places to visit. Visitors will enjoy walking around the main square to admire the architecture, visit museums, and historic sites. During weekends visitors may find cultural events celebrated at the Plaza de Las Delicias. The best place to start is by taking a stroll around the plaza of Ponce. Ponce did suffer damage from the earthquakes in 2020, and since then many buildings are being restored.
+ Map - Plaza Las Delicias - Ponce, Puerto Rico
If you’re a coffee-lover, make a call to make a reservation and head up to the mountains for a tour of a charming Hacienda with passionate coffee growers. Learn about the island’s coffee history, coffee production on their plantation, and a wonderful coffee tasting at the end. Their coffee is delicious and best of all you will be able to grab a bag of fresh coffee to take home.
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Tours are from Tuesday – Saturday from 11 am – 1 pm. Be sure to call and make a reservation in advance to secure a spot.
- Tel: 787-844-3541
- Cost of Tour: $20 per p/p / Children (10 and under) – $10. (Prices subject to change)
+ Map - Hacienda de Café Pomarosa - Ponce, Puerto Rico
Centro Ceremonial Indígena Tibes is the oldest Antillian Indigenous ceremonial complex. The flooding of Hurricane Eloisa in 1975, uncovered a great archeological treasure in Ponce of great significance to the Antilles. If you are traveling with children, it is educational and fun. As you walk around you can have the kids look for petroglyphs on the rocks. This is a great place to visit in conjunction with Museo de Arte de Ponce.
+ Map - Centro Ceremonial Indígena Tibes - Ponce, Puerto Rico
Top Rated Taino Cultural Tours
Castillo Serralles, a 4 story mansion built in early 1930, was designed with an elegant Spanish revival style. The mansion was built by Juan Serrales, son of Juan Serralles, founder of Destileria Serralles (Serralles Distillery), which was the family’s headquarters for 70 years. Today the mansion belongs to the Municipality of Ponce, and houses a museum where you can learn about the sugar industry in Puerto Rico and the making of rum. You’ll also get a guided tour of the elegant mansion. You can walk around the gardens on your own. As you drive around town you can see Castillo Serralles sitting at the top of the hill next to La Cruceta overlooking the center city of Ponce.
+ Map - Castillo Serralles - Ponce, Puerto Rico
In the southeast coastal towns of Salinas & Guayama, visitors can sail to explore Bahia de Jobos (Jobos Bay). Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve consists of mangroves, coral reefs, seagrass beds, mudflats, and evergreen littoral forests. Bahia de Jobos is a rich natural educational resource for students and researchers on the island. Locals love exploring the cays and snorkeling the coral reefs by kayak or boat. Visitors can book a sailing trip to explore the cays.
+ Map - Bahia de Jobos - Guayama, Puerto Rico
Bahia de Jobos Nature Reserve Tours
Caja de Muertos Island, is an inhabited island off the coast of the city of Ponce. Caja de Muertos offers visitors Playa Pelicano, one of the prettiest beaches in Puerto Rico, an interpretive hiking trail that leads to lighthouse ruins with spectacular views of the island. There are no facilities on the island, but the experience and beauty is the reason why it is kept pristine and undeveloped.
+ Map - Caja de Muertos - Ponce, Puerto Rico
Head up to the mountainside of Ponce and visit Hacienda Buena Vista, there you can enjoy a guided tour of what used to be one of the most important coffee plantations in Puerto Rico. Hacienda Buena Vista was built in the mid-19th century. Visitors can learn about the methods of coffee production back in the 1800s. The plantation was purchased from the Vives family in 1984 by The Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico. Hacienda Buena Vista is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Visit ParalaNaturaleza for more information.
+ Hacienda Buena Vista - Ponce, Puerto Rico
Cueva del Indio & The Seven Arches is spectacular and so scenic it was one of the filming locations of Pirates of the Caribbean. If you want a place with a wow factor, this is a natural wonder you don’t want to miss. Cueva del Indio (Indian’s Cave) is a very important archeological treasure of historical value in Puerto Rico. The cave contains a large number of petroglyphs drawn by Taino aboriginals that date back to the 1400s or earlier. At this location you can take a walk on the cliffs to observe the breathtaking Seven Arches, seven beautifully arches crafted by wind and the sea. This tour made it to the coveted list of Top Adventure Experiences in the World – 2021 by TripAdvisor’s Traveler’s Choice. Cueva del Indio was also a filming location of scenes of Perfect Getaway, Runner Runner, and Treasure Island.
+ Map - Cueva del Indio - Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Temporarily Closed – Hike through the forest, explore caves, and caverns, and end the adventure at the breathtaking Cueva Ventana “Cave Window” with gorgeous views of the green valley. You can drive on your own and purchase tickets or book a tour that will take care of all the details.
+ Map - Cueva Ventana - Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Arecibo Observatory was the largest radio telescope in the world until a few years ago when a bigger one was built in China. Sadly, the telescope collapsed on December 1, 2022. The telescope was nestled in the gorgeous karst region in the town of Arecibo, you’ll drive up high into the mountains until you get to one of the most important scientific structures in the world. In March of this year 2022, the Arecibo Observatory re-opened its doors to those who wish to visit the Museum & Visitor Center.
Fun Fact: If you’re a James Bond fan, you’ll be thrilled, a scene was filmed here. Another Hollywood hit also filmed a scene from the movie Contact, see the clips on the attractions page.
+ Map - Arecibo Observatory - Arecibo, Puerto Rico