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Things to do in Puerto Rico

Things to do in  Puerto Rico

Welcome to Puerto Rico

Often dubbed the Isle of Enchantment, Puerto Rico—flanked by the Dominican Republic to the west and the Virgin Islands to the east—is characterized by bone-white beaches, lush jungle, and a rich indigenous past and present. Whether you want to lounge on the sands, get to grips with the fraught history of this Caribbean archipelago, or hike through dense rain forest, there's something to suit you in Puerto Rico, a destination which boasts multifaceted appeal and provides a wealth of activities for foodies, history buffs, and thrill seekers alike. San Juan, the Caribbean island's capital, teems with cultural vibrancy. Take a walking tour of Old San Juan, replete with colorful facades and lookout points, and home to La Fortaleza, built in 1533. History buffs also won't want to miss San Juan National Historic Site and San Juan Bay, both full of monuments. San Juan also serves as a convenient gateway to El Yunque National Forest, a biodiverse expanse of tropical rainforest boasting La Coca Falls, the reef-protected Luquillo Beach, and the Bacardi rum distillery. The bioluminescent bay in Vieques, an island off the mainland, offers one of the brightest displays of bioluminescence in the world—opt for a kayaking tour for an up-close display. For exceptional snorkeling, take a boat tour of Culebra, another island off the coast, with stops at Flamenco Beach; try the Cayo Luis Pena Nature Reserve from Fajardo; or go ziplining, horseback riding, or hiking through the lush jungle surrounding San Juan.

Top 15 attractions in Puerto Rico

Laguna Grande

During the day, Laguna Grande in Fajardo looks like other bays along the tropical Puerto Rican coastline. But come nightfall the bioluminescent lagoon glows fluorescent, thanks to pyrodinium bahamense, microscopic plankton that thrive in its shallow Caribbean waters and glow when disturbed.More

El Yunque National Park

The El Yunque National Park is the only tropical rain forest under the protection of the US Forest Service, as well as the largest nature reserve in densely populated Puerto Rico. Situated in the mist-wreathed Luquillo Mountains—where year-round precipitation ensures lush, green landscapes and a healthy diversity of animal life—El Yunque is home to the rare Puerto Rican parrot and the Coqui frog, whose distinctive croak provides El Yunque's soundtrack.More

San Juan Gate (Puerta de San Juan)

Named in honor of Saint John the Baptist, San Juan Gate (Puerta de San Juan) was originally one of five doorways to the city used to protect its streets from invaders and each gate has its own unique function. Today, this towering red and white entryway that’s tucked into the city’s surrounding stonewall offers a truly magical way to enter and explore Puerto Rico’s capital city.Travelers who pass through this historic entrance will find energetic vendors selling traditional snacks and ice-cold piragua along walkways heading towards the historic old town. Ancient trees stretch high into the sky and provide cool shade for lovers on romantic strolls. Narrow cobblestone streets lined with restored Spanish colonial homes and ornate balconies add to the charm of this favorite San Juan attraction.More

Old San Juan

The cobblestone streets of Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan, lined with brightly colored Spanish colonial houses, lend themselves to aimless yet inspired wandering—but don’t let yourself pass by the neighborhood’s key attractions. From the UNESCO World Heritage-listed forts of Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro) and Castillo San Cristobal to restaurants serving plates of aromatic rice and fried plantains, Old San Juan charms travelers at every turn.More

Icacos Island (Cayo Icacos)

A small, uninhabited island located just a 15-minute boat ride from the Puerto Rican town of Fajardo, Icacos Island (Cayo Icacos) is part of Cordillera Keys Nature Reserve (Reserva Natural los Cayos de la Cordillera). Its white-sand shores, pristine waters, and colorful reefs make it a popular day-trip destination for snorkeling and diving.More


A beautiful boardwalk, picturesque beaches and an impressive local food scene are just part of what makes a visit to Pinones the perfect escape for gringos in search of a truly Puerto Rican experience. Travelers can rent bikes and cruise along the scenic coast, or head off road on a ride through the diverse ecosystems that line paths leading to shallow shores. Whether it’s sky-high palm trees or low lying sea brush the range of accessible plant life is astounding.Travelers also love the wide variety of traditional island fare, like alcapuria, papa rellenas and pinchos, all served alongside strong, cold cocktails. A number of kiosks on the beach offer these local dishes, made fresh to order, making Pinones one of the best food destinations in Puerto Rico.More

San Juan Cathedral (Catedral de San Juan Bautista)

Built in 1521, San Juan Cathedral(Catedral de San Juan Bautista) is one of the highlights of Old San Juan. The second-oldest cathedral in the Americas, this landmark in the heart of Old San Juan has an impressive array of religious and historical artifacts. The church is still operational, with services held throughout the week.More

Cueva del Indio

Stationed high above the Puerto Rican countryside, these beautiful caves are one of Arecibo’s most popular destinations and offer a unique taste of Taino cultural history, too. While the hike to the top is somewhat technical, amazing views and ancient pre-Columbian rock paintings and carvings make it worth the challenge.More

Culebra Island

What this sleepy island lacks in big resorts and golf courses, it makes up for with its white sand beaches, vibrant coral reefs, and relaxed atmosphere. Flamenco Beach, a highlight of the island, is frequently recognized as one of the best beaches in the world. More

Bioluminescent Bay (Mosquito Bay)

Bioluminescent Bay (aka Mosquito Bay or Puerto Mosquito) is one of Puerto Rico’s three bioluminescent bays, located on the island of Vieques. A popular destination for nighttime boat tours, this bay is by far the brightest. The water is illuminated by dinoflagellates called Pyrodinium bahamense, tiny microorganisms that glow when touched.More

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Just north of Old San Juan, within the San Juan National Historic Site, stands 16th-century Castillo San Felipe del Morro. The fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the northwestern tip of the islet of San Juan, kept watch over the Atlantic and protected Old San Juan and the Bay of San Juan from incoming enemies for centuries.More

Luquillo Beach

Puerto Rico’s Luquillo Beach (Playa Luquillo), also known as Balneario Monserrate, is a tranquil crescent famed for its coconut palm trees and long stretch of powdery white sand. Considered one of the island’s best public beaches, the calm waters here are perfect for swimming, wading, kayaking, and other water sports.More

La Fortaleza (The Fortress)

The blue-and-white Santa Catalina Palace (Palacio de Santa Catalina), otherwise known as La Fortaleza (The Fortress), is the official residence of the governor of Puerto Rico. Situated in Old San Juan, the UNESCO World Heritage Site occupies a spot that was long one of the most contested strategic positions in the Caribbean.More

Paseo de la Princesa

Located just outside the city walls south of Old San Juan, the Paseo de la Princesa is one of the most pleasant and popular walks in the city. Dating back to 1853, the lovely pedestrian promenade is lined with trees, antique street lamps, benches, gardens, sculptures, and fountains, and offers wonderful views of San Juan Bay.More

Bacardi Rum Factory (Casa Bacardi)

The Bacardi Rum Factory (Casa Bacardi) is entwined with the history of the Caribbean itself, and the factory’s new visitor center traces the company’s early roots as a small distillery in Cuba through American Prohibition, the Cuban Revolution, and beyond. Today, Bacardi is a well-known brand with a global presence, and its factory in Puerto Rico is the largest premium rum distillery in the world.More

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Recent reviews from experiences in Puerto Rico

A must to tour
Estoria_T, Mar 2023
Let a Local Show You Puerto Rico with Visit to El Yunque
highly recommend if this your first time to visit Puerto Rico
Amazing excursion!
Laurell_K, Mar 2023
Swim at La Parguera Bio Bay Boat and Hot Springs Tour from San Juan
The hot springs were so relaxing - would have liked to have a little bit more time there.
Nicholas_B, Mar 2023
Sunset and Bio Bay La Parguera
La Parguera is the best place to see the bio bay.
Brian was a great guide....
BARBARA_B, Feb 2023
Casual One Puerto Rico: El Yunque Rainforest, Waterslide, Beach, Dine, and Shop
The waterfall slide was fun and the beach was great.
Loved It!
Stephen_C, Feb 2023
Let a Local Show You Puerto Rico with Visit to El Yunque
Our trip to the rain forest and the waterfall showed us the beauty of Puerto Rico.
Lakisha_D, Jan 2023
Flavors of San Juan Food Tour
But I will say the most memorable part of the tour was our tour guide Fabian he was so knowledgeable and made this a wonderful experience I will make sure to recommend this tour to my family and friends when planning to visit Puerto Rico.
Local knowledge!
Jeremy_B, Jan 2023
Old San Juan City WALKING TOUR
He was also kind enough to share some restaurant recommendations, and suggestions for a few other activities to check out while I was in Puerto Rico.
Papi Chulo was the best!...
Antonio_C, Jan 2023
Casual One Puerto Rico- El Yunque Rainforest, Waterslide, Beach, Dine, and Shop
I enjoyed the multiple stops to see different parts of Puerto Rico.
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All about Puerto Rico

When to visit

Sunny days and happy hours are seemingly endless in Spain’s Puerto Rico. December through March is heaven for winter sun-lovers, while the summer is popular with beach-seeking families and younger travelers. Meanwhile, the shoulder months of April and November see temperatures, crowds, and prices dwindle.

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People Also Ask

What is Puerto Rico known for?

A territory of the US, the island of Puerto Rico is known for its beautiful beaches, colorful colonial architecture and historic sites in Old San Juan, and a diverse landscape of rugged mountains, lush rain forests, caves, and bioluminescent bays. It’s also the birthplace of the piña colada and has a rich cultural, dining, and music scene.

What is the #1 attraction in Puerto Rico?

Old San Juan is the number one attraction in Puerto Rico. It’s home to colorful colonial architecture, blue cobblestone streets, historic cathedrals, and the UNESCO-listed San Juan National Historic Site, which includes the San Cristobal and El Morro forts, most of the old city walls. It also boasts a festive dining and music scene.

What activities do people in Puerto Rico do?

Puerto Rico offers lots of activities for different interests. Cultural activities include exploring Old San Juan, food and rum tasting, and dancing to salsa and bachata. Water activities include snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing, sport fishing, sailing, and kayaking the bioluminescent bays. Land-based activities include golf, horseback riding, jungle trekking, waterfall hiking, caving, and ziplining.

Where should I visit in Puerto Rico?

For culture, history, food, and music, head to San Juan or Ponce. For beaches, relaxation, and water activities, there are many options, including Vieques, Culebra, and Rincon. Head to the central mountains for caverns and coffee plantations. For nature and active adventures, visit El Yunque National Park, the Rio Camuy caves, and the bioluminescent bays.

What should I not miss in Puerto Rico?

For culture and history, don’t miss Old San Juan’s historic sites, museums, food, and music. Nature and adventure lovers will want to experience the rainforest and waterfalls of El Yunque, bioluminescent bays, and beaches in Rincon or Vieques. Foodies should be sure to taste local food and drink, such as mofongo and piña coladas.

Is Puerto Rico part of USA?

Puerto Rico has been a US territory since 1898. Puerto Ricans are US citizens who can move freely around the US and are subject to its legal system, but do not have voting representation in Congress and cannot vote for US presidents. Puerto Rico has its own government, though the US’s control board can overrule it.


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