Puerto Rico Travel Guide ⎮ Tourism Guide to East Coast

Best Things to Do & Top Places to Visit - East Region of Puerto Rico

Home to El Yunque National Rainforest, Laguna Grande Bioluminescent Lagoon, Luquillo Beach & Offshore Islands

5 Star Icacos Puerto Rico Tour

The east coast of Puerto Rico is a popular tourist region, offering the best resort choices and four of the top activities in Puerto Rico.  This guide covers all the reasons why you may consider staying on the East Coast, but we’ll also cover the reasons why you may want to choose to stay on another region of the island.  Please take some time to read this guide so you can make an informed decision; it is our goal that you have a wonderful time in Puerto Rico and avoid disappointments. 

Travel to the East Coast Region of Puerto Rico

Flying Here – The best and most convenient option is flying to the San Juan Airport, offering the most daily flight and choice of airlines (about 45 minutes away).

Driving from San Juan to the east coast hotels and attractions is easy.  There are major highways from San Juan to the east coast towns.  Google Maps App works very well in Puerto Rico (just get ready for the really long highway names that Siri can’t pronounce well).  We suggest you give yourself at least 30 minutes extra to get to places during work traffic hours. 

Highlights of the East & Need to Know Facts

Beyond San Juan, the east coast is Puerto Rico’s second most popular tourist region, offering a wealth of world-class attractions, beachfront resorts, and vacation rentals.  Our guide is your trusted companion, aiding you in selecting the best towns for your stay and unforgettable experiences sure to get you to fall in love with Puerto Rico.

+ Accommodations Summary

The East Coast offers luxury beachfront golf resorts and budget-friendly vacation rentals.  The resort communities are in the towns of Rio Grande, Fajardo, and Humacao.  See the top resorts on the east coast region

+ Activities & Places to Visit Summary

The East Coast serves as the gateway to remarkable natural wonders. 

  • Top Attractions – Must-visit attractions include the globally acclaimed El Yunque National Rainforest, a magical bioluminescent lagoon, and nature reserves
  • Beaches – Two of the best and most popular beaches in Puerto Rico are on the East Coast; with a car rental, we’ll show you other beaches you may enjoy exploring. 
  • Offshore Islands and Cays – The East Coast offers the dreamy offshore keys of La Cordillera Nature Reserve, such as Icacos Cay, with gorgeous turquoise waters.  From Fajardo, embark on an array of extraordinary boat tours that lead to the stunning Flamenco Beach in Culebra.  You can take the ferry from nearby Ceiba to Vieques and Culebra and explore on your own for the day.  

See Guide for Best Things to Do, Places to Visit & Top Rated Excursions on the East Coast

+ Do you need a car rental to explore the East Coast?

 Yes & No

  • No, if your time is limited to a long weekend, it may not be worth it to book a car rental.  You can book ahead the best tours to top attractions such as El Yunque National Rainforest, Laguna Grande bioluminescent lagoon, and Icacos Cay and Culebra.
  • Yes, if you wish to visit the best beaches around the coastline, do activities at your own pace and save money.  No worries, our guide will help you sort it all out; please stick around and trust that this guide will take you through the steps to plan a great vacation.

+ Do you need to book tours to explore the East Coast?

Most of the places you can visit on your own with a car rental; some places we recommend you book a tour for safety reasons, not crime but physical safety.  For some places, you’ll have to book a tour due to accessibility such as Laguna Grande Bioluminescent  Lagoon and Icacos Cay.   We cover those details below under each attraction/activity.

Best Towns to Stay on East Region of Puerto Rico

Towns on the Northeast 

Rio Grande

  • Main Attractions – Home to El Yunque National Rainforest, if you wish to hike the trails and really explore the rainforest, Rio Grande and Luquillo are the best towns to stay for easy access.
  • Places to Stay – Rio Grande has four wonderful resorts on the beach with golf courses (see below).

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Golf & Beach Resort

Best places to stay on the beach - Rio Grande Puerto Rico

Booking.com

Fajardo

  • Main Attractions – Fajardo is the home to the Laguna Grande, the bioluminescent lagoon, one of the top five natural wonders of Puerto Rico.  Icacos, a secluded cay, and a popular attraction is about 15 minutes off the coast of Fajardo and the point of departure for most charters.  There’s one nice beach bay and other beaches to explore inside a nature reserve.

El Conquistador Resort

El Conquistador Resort - Fajardo, Puerto Rico

  • Best Places to Stay in Fajardo –  Fajardo offers one of the island’s most iconic and beloved resorts, El Conquistador.  Nestled on a cliff overlooking the Cordillera Reserve Keys, guests have exclusive access to Palomino Island and a fun waterpark for the kids and the young at heart.  There are also plenty of vacation rentals to choose from.

Luquillo

  • Main Attractions – Home to the famous Luquillo Beach as well as other great beaches.  Luquillo Beach has calm waters, and a couple of beaches popular for  surfers.  In Luquillo, you can have fun at the family-friendly Carabali Rainforest Adventure Park; they offer ATV / Off-Road Tours and horseback riding, among other activities.  Luquillo is also known for the Kioskos de Luquillo (Luquillo Kiosks), a very popular spot for locals and visitors right next to Luquillo Beach, with many places to eat traditional Puerto Rican food and small shops with souvenirs.

Fairfield by Marriott Luquillo Beach

Fairfield by Marriott Luquillo Beach - Luquillo,  Puerto Rico

Towns on the Southeast

Humacao

  • Main Attractions – Most attractions are about 45 minutes away, so be prepared to drive.  The beaches near Humacao are not the best for visitors all year round.
  • Best Places to Stay – This town lures travelers who choose to stay at Palmas del Mar, a beautiful gated community where you can rent condos and villas.  There’s also Wyndham Palmas Beach & Golf Resort.

Resorts on the East Coast

Puerto Rico

St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico 

St Regis Bahia Beach - Best places to stay in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Booking.com

El Conquistador Resort

Fajardo, Puerto Rico

El Conquistador Resort - Fajardo - Best Resorts on the East Coast of Puerto Rico

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Golf & Beach Resort

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Best places to stay on the beach - Rio Grande Puerto Rico

Booking.com

Margaritaville Vacation Club by Wyndham

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico 

Margaritaville Vacation Club By Wyndham - Best places to stay on the beach in Puerto Rico

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Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Places to Stay at Beach in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

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Map - Best Resorts, Beaches & Places to Visit

East Region of Puerto Rico

Playa Colora - Beaches on the east coast of Puerto Rico

Punta Tuna Beach - Maunabo - Best Places to Visit in East Region of Puerto Rico

Best beaches on the east coast of Puerto Rico