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Things to do in San Juan

Things to do in  San Juan

Welcome to San Juan

Island lovers, nature enthusiasts, and history buffs alike flock to San Juan’s tropical rain forest, turquoise waters, and 16th-century Spanish colonial historic district—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Puerto Rican capital’s proximity to El Yunque National Forest makes it easy to escape into the lush wilderness, hiking to waterfalls or soaring through the air on a zipline. If you only have time for only one epic adventure, make it a kayaking tour of Laguna Grande, where you can marvel at the natural phenomenon of millions of bioluminescent microorganisms glowing in the water after dark. And don't miss a visit to the Casa Bacardi rum distillery.

Top 15 attractions in San Juan

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

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

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

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

San Juan Bay

San Juan Bay sits in the heart of the city of San Juan, with plenty of sites, neighborhoods, and attractions along its shores. The most iconic spots are the pair of fortresses that face each other at the bay’s mouth. On the eastern side sits El Morro, and across the way, the Islas de Cabras National Park boasts the San Juan de la Cruz Fort.More

Castillo San Cristobal

Standing guard at Old San Juan’s eastern gate is Castillo San Cristóbal. Built to protect San Juan against land attacks, the ancient Spanish fort is now part of the San Juan National Historic Site. It is the largest Spanish fortification built in the New World and offers spectacular views of the bay and nearby Castillo San Felipe del Morro.More

Chapel of Christ (Capilla del Cristo)

The Chapel of Christ (Capilla del Cristo) is a small, 18th-century sanctuary tucked away at the end of a pedestrian street in a corner of the old walled city of San Juan. Built to commemorate what believers say was a miracle, the chapel has become a place to pray and leave offerings, which decorate the walls.More

Flamenco Beach (Playa Flamenco)

Forested white-sand beaches and sapphire-blue water make Flamenco Beach (Playa Flamenco) as picturesque as a Caribbean postcard. Hidden away on the island of Culebra, just off the coast of Puerto Rico, Flamenco is a hot spot for water adventures. With its colorful aquatic life, beachside bars serving up cocktails, and flamingo-filled lagoons, this strip of sand provides an ideal day trip for those looking to go beyond the bustle of San Juan.More

Palomino Island

Palomino Island (Isla Palominos) is a tiny tropical escape boasting clear Caribbean water, white-sand beaches, and a balmy breeze. With not much to do except explore the island’s coral reefs, seagrass beds, and craggy coastline, visitors come to Palomino Island—located east of Puerto Rico—for the ultimate in peace and relaxation.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in San Juan

How to Spend 2 Days in San Juan

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Recent reviews from experiences in San Juan

Jose is wonderful and...
Charla_G, Mar 2023
Old San Juan Segway PT tour 10:30am and 1pm or Segway Kickscooter Tour 4pm
The scooters were easy to ride for a first timer, they go fast if you are looking for a speed adventure, it was fast paced, enjoyable, Old San Juan is beautiful and it was a great way to see the historic city.
Old San Juan is gorgeous
Richard_W, Mar 2023
Explore Old San Juan Walking Tour
There was so much to see and so much to learn about Old San Juan.
Our tour guide, Andi, was...
Jenny_E, Mar 2023
Flavors of San Juan Food Tour
A great way to see and experience Old San Juan.
You won’t regret it
Marcus_M, Feb 2023
San Juan Catamaran Sunset Sail with Drinks Included
They also gave recommendations of other things to see and do while here.
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.
Informative and beautiful.
kathryneray, Feb 2023
Old San Juan Walking Tour
He spoke very good English.
An interesting and informative tour!
marie_f, Jan 2023
Puerto Rico's Lifestyle and Culture Tour
We got to see areas of Puerto Rico outside of Old San Juan.
Great was to see San Juan...
Tarryn_F, Jan 2023
Old San Juan Walking Tour
Great was to see San Juan and understand the history and culture.
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All about San Juan

When to visit

Winter in San Juan means warm temperatures, dry weather, and tons of events including the Puerto Rico Heritage Artisans Fair and San Sebastián Street Festival. Be sure to book ahead if you want to enjoy Puerto Rico’s peak season, when snowbirds flock to the island. Crowds typically die down by April, but pleasant weather remains, making spring a great alternative.

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People Also Ask

What is San Juan best known for?

San Juan is the capital city of Puerto Rico, with soft sand beaches, cultural attractions, and a laid-back, lively vibe. It's a popular tourist destination and a common cruise ship stop. Much of Puerto Rico’s rum is produced here, and the city is one of the most important Caribbean ports.

What activities do people do in Puerto Rico?

With its landscape of lush mountains and picturesque waterfalls, Puerto Rico attracts travelers drawn to natural attractions, such as the El Yunque tropical rainforest. In Old San Juan, tour colorful Spanish colonial buildings, museums, historic forts, and more. Stop by Casa Bacardi for a guided tour followed by a rum tasting.

Do you need a passport to go to San Juan Islands?

It depends. US citizens visiting from mainland destinations do not need passports to enter Puerto Rico since it's an unincorporated US territory. Instead, use a government-issued photo ID like a driver's license or a birth certificate. Visitors from other countries, including Canada, need a valid passport to land in Puerto Rico.

What should I not miss in Old San Juan?

Don't miss the streets of Old San Juan, in the heart of the capital city. They offer a glimpse into the past, with historic forts and Spanish colonial architecture. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city combines history with contemporary Puerto Rican culture. Many of the old buildings are home to attractions.

What do locals do for fun in Puerto Rico?

Don't miss the streets of Old San Juan, in the heart of the capital city. They offer a glimpse into the past, with historic forts and Spanish colonial architecture. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city combines history with contemporary Puerto Rican culture. Many of the old buildings are home to attractions.

Is San Juan dangerous for tourists?

No. Most neighborhoods in San Juan are safe during the day, but some become dodgy at night. Travelers are advised to avoid walking and instead take a taxi to their destination in the evening. Locals recommend following the usual travel precautions: Don't walk alone at night and avoid unsavory neighborhoods.


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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
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