Best places to visit in PUERTO RICO
Are you planning a trip to Puerto Rico and wondering what are the best places to visit in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico is an archipelago in the Caribbean Sea and a self-governing commonwealth in association with the U.S.
Despite the fact that Puerto Rico is small, there is no shortage of places to see and things to do in Puerto Rico. Lush mountains, gorgeous beaches, breathtaking waterfalls, remote villages, impressive caves and so much more. Sounds like a place you would want a visit?
But what exactly to see in Puerto Rico?
To help you with the task of planning we’ve created this list of some of the best places to visit in Puerto Rico.
7 best places to visit in Puerto Rico
San Juan & Old San Juan
Old San Juan (Viejo San Juan) is a historic district in San Juan, the capital and most populous municipality in Puerto Rico.
Old San Juan is the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
All the fortifications and defensive walls of Old San Juan were built between the 16th and 20th centuries to protect the city and the Bay of San Juan.
Spanning 500 years of history, this old neighbourhood is full of historical wonders.
There are plenty of amazing historical places to visit in Old San Juan.
- La Fortaleza — the official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico.
- Castillo San Felipe del Morro — the core fortified area and one of Puerto Rico’s leading tourist attractions.
- Castillo de San Cristóbal — one of the largest fortresses built in the Americas.
- San Juan de la Cruz (El Cañuelo) — a fort built on built on Isla de Cabras.
- Casa BACARDÍ — a world-famous rum distillery offering historical tours. By the way, Puerto Rico is considered the rum capital of the world.
What else? Do not miss Condado, a trendy and luxurious beach district, and Condado Beach, one of the most popular beaches in San Juan.
Explore Santurce, a lively, artistic neighbourhood that boasts an abundance of murals and street art.
El Yunque National Forest
El Yunque is a forest located on the slopes of the Sierra de Luquillo mountains. It is the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Forest System.
Featuring beautiful grassy landscapes with a mountainous backdrop, El Yunque National Forest is one of the best places to visit in Puerto Rico.
It is a cool, mountainous, and subtropical rainforest, offering many hiking trails. In El Yunque you’ll also find many waterfalls with natural pools beneath them
If you are visiting the national forest, do not miss Luquillo Beach — a beautiful beach just 9 km away.
Bioluminescent bays of Puerto Rico
Bioluminescence is the production and emission of light by a living organism such as plankton. It’s a chemical reaction that happens in an organism’s body.
This biological terminology is indeed very boring, but the actual natural phenomenon is jaw-dropping.
This phenomenon is visible during the night when the sea lights up just like the sky — with thousands, even millions, of little stars.
Bioluminescence can be witnessed only in several places in the world, and 3 of these places are located in Puerto Rico. These are the Mosquito Bay, Laguna Grande and La Parguera.
The Mosquito Bay is the most popular of these 3 bays, and also the brightest one. In fact, it is considered the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. It contains up to 700 000 marine plankton per 4.5 litres of water, which is a lot.
Culebra, an island off the east coast of Puerto Rico, is truly a gem!
It boasts one of the most beautiful beaches on the planet — Flamenco Beach. It has been recognised as one of the world’s best beaches by multiple travel magazines.
Flamenco Beach is a long crescent of white sand and clear turquoise water backed by lush green hills.
One of the best things to do on Culebra Island, besides relaxing on the beach, is to go on a snorkelling trip.
Cayo Icacos is a small, uninhabited island off the coast of Fajardo. It is a part of the Cordillera Keys Nature Reserve.
Cayo Icacos has a beautiful unspoiled beach. Thanks to its diverse and abundant underwater life, the island is a popular snorkelling and tourist destination.
Ponce is Puerto Rico’s second-largest city.
Known for its colonial architecture and rich history, Ponce is a popular tourist destination and one of the best places to visit in Puerto Rico.
The most famous landmark in Ponce is Parque de Bombas. With its distinctive red and black facade, it stands out from the rest of the buildings and is the symbol of the city.
What else? Do visit Castillo Serrallés — a local museum set in a beautiful mansion.
Explore the beautiful Plaza Las Delicias — the main plaza of the city. It is known for its fountains and the various historical monuments it houses.
Cueva Ventana is a large cave situated atop a karst limestone cliff in Arecibo.
The iconic window-like opening overlooks the lush surroundings of Río Grande de Arecibo valley. The cave boasts pre-Columbian Taíno (island’s indigenous inhabitants) petroglyphs and stone engravings.
There’s an easy, guided 1 kilometre moderately trafficked trail that starts near Calichoza. Hiking to Cueva Ventana is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico travel tips
- It is a U.S. commonwealth and is heavily influenced by the United States.
- Puerto Rico follows the Mainland US entry requirements. So, just like with the U.S., citizens of many European countries don’t need a visa to travel to Puerto Rico but are required to obtain an electronic authorisation (ESTA).
- Puerto Rico uses the same electrical outlets as the United States — of type A and B. The standard voltage is 120 V. Buy a travel adapter and converter to safely use your electronics.
- The US Dollar is the official currency of Puerto Rico.
- Both Spanish and English are the official languages of Puerto Rico. While English is widely used in touristy areas, people in many areas of the island don’t really speak English. This is why we suggest you download an offline dictionary and learn some basic phrases in Spanish.
- Renting a car is the most efficient way to get around in Puerto Rico.
- Travelling by público (a public minibus) is another option. It’s cheap but slow and rather uncomfortable.
- The high season is from December to April. If you are travelling during this season, pack something a bit warmer (like a jacket, hoodie and jeans), as it may get cool in the evenings.
- The shoulder season (from mid-April to June) is also a good time to visit Puerto Rico.
- The rainy season spans between June and November.