The Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico

I spent a week in Puerto Rico in the fall and it was an amazing vacation. The perfect blend of relaxation and exploring. I spent time at the beach, in town and the rainforest. If you’re looking for a good escape, Puerto Rico is an easy destination from the U.S. All the perks of not leaving the country while still visiting a new culture and scenery. Below you’ll find a good place to start on things to do and places to stay. Feel free to comment below or reach out via twitter or email if you have any questions or need more things to do in Puerto Rico.

I visited the island back in 2013 and a lot of things have changed, especially since Hurricane Maria hit the island in 2017. The island is still an amazing place to explore, so I’ve come back and updated this post. While some of my favorite spots are no longer open I researched to find you some similar spots to enjoy. Hopefully, I’ll get a back to head back to the island soon to find even more.

On top of these tips below, my favorite resource for my trip to Puerto Rico was Fodor’s guide. For me it was a must get!

You’ll find my favorite things to do in Puerto Rico on the map and more details below. To select categories click on the top left icon.

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WHERE TO REST YOUR HEAD

San Juan Beaches

Numero Uno

1 Calle Santa Ana, Ocean Park, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00911

Another great B&B and this one is right on the sand. A great spot to relax and either start or end your trip. It’s a cab ride from the airport. There are towels, beach lounges and umbrellas for the beach so you don’t have to pack anything. To top it all off, they will serve you drinks and food on the beach. Their restaurant Pamela’s is also delicious. Affordable with nights in the offseason as low as $100. Why it was my favorite beach getaway here.

Old San Juan

CasaTripGoGo (Old San Juan)

263 Calle San Francisco, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico

If you’re looking for something simple and right in Old San Juan this is a great option. It’s a hostel style place where you can book a private room for as little as $35. You can be right in the middle of Old San Juan to explore the best of the city.

Fortaleza Suites Old San Juan 

315 Calle Fortaleza, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico

Good with basic but want to have a private bathroom? Then this is a perfect spot. They offer rooms under $100 and are right in the middle of Old San Juan. Plus the chance to stay in a classic building is part of what makes an Old San Juan adventure.

Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel 

100 Calle Brumbaugh, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico

Want to stay in Old San Juan but want a little more luxury? A Sheraton might sound a little unadventurous but being right on the Bay makes it view a great option. Right in central Old San Juan you’ll be able to explore the historical city and then come back to curl up in a cozy bed.

Hotel El Convento

100 Calle del Cristo, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico

Now, if you’re looking for some luxury and a historical building look no further than Hotel El Convento. You have a chance to stay in this remodeled 350 year old building right in the heart of Old San Juan. On top of that, they have two sister properties on the beach where you have access to their beach clubs.

Near El Yunque

Rainforest Inn

019 Cam Caribe, Río Grande, Puerto Rico, 00745

Where to stay, eat and explore in Puerto Rico. Tips on the best things to do and activities to try in Puerto Rico.

Staying up in the rainforest right by El Yunque was one of my favorite experiences on the island. It felt more like getting away from the world than almost anywhere I’ve been yet. I also loved more than anything listening to the song of the coqui frog all night. While I stayed at El Escondido Guest House which was nearby, it’s unfortunately been closed after the impact from the hurricane.

North Coast

Melia Coco Beach Resort

200 Coco Beach Blvd. Highway 955-I, Río Grande, Puerto Rico 00745

This was a last minute book for us and was well worth it. Check them out on Priceline Express Deals. After a handful of days running around the island, its was great to stay at a resort that was beautiful with a Vegas style pool and great views of the ocean. I’ll admit it we enjoyed the room, t.v. and room service after an awesome day of exploring. Mid-week and in off season we booked a room for $90 plus resort fee. Note this resort has a new name but still the same beautiful location. It is also an all inclusive now which can be a great way to kick back and relax for awhile.


Traveling to Puerto Rico Soon?

Above are a few of my favorite places to stay in the Puerto Rico.
Learn more about and book more fantastic hotels in Puerto Rico on Priceline and TripAdvisor.


My Favorite Eats

Old San Juan

Pirilo

207 Calle Tanca, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico

Now you might not think of pizza in Puerto Rico but this place will change you mind. They had your traditional pizzas as well as ones with a Puerto Rican twist. The empanadas were a great starter, the pizza is full of flavor and we had a great bottle of wine. Upstairs is a good looking bar as well.

Caficultura

401 San Francisco San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901

The best breakfast we had in Puerto Rico including the best coffee. We loved the cortadito, a small espresso drink. Also the quesito, a cheesy pastry. One morning we had a full breakfast which was just as good and necessary after a night out on the town.

San Juan Beaches

Pamela’s

1 Calle Santa Ana, Ocean Park, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00911

We liked this place so much we ate hear two nights in a row and even if you don’t stay at Numero Uno, where it is located, it is worth dinner. You also get to eat dinner on the sand which is a big perk. They serve food with an island flavor twist and the fish and meats were all delicious. The waiters were friendly and the drinks flavorful. If you swing by for lunch you can even be served on the lounge chairs on the beach.

Kasalta

1966 Calle McLeary, San Juan, 00911, Puerto Rico

A great breakfast or lunch spot where that you will find filled with locals. The coffee was rich and the pastries were to die for. More quesitos for us! A short walk from Numero Uno.

North Coast

Luquillo Kiosks

PR 3, Luquillo, Puerto Rico 00773

One thing not to pass on while in Puerto Rico is the street food. It is top notch. The Luquilli Kiosks are a great place to find some ranging from traditional Puerto Rican rice & bean and empanadas to pizza and other foods.

Fajardo

La Estacion

Carr. 987 km. 4, Las Croabas, Fajardo, PR

Where to stay, eat and explore in Puerto Rico. Tips on the best things to do and activities to try in Puerto Rico.

Some of the best food we ate in Puerto Rico. One of the can’t miss things to do in Puerto Rico is trying Mofongo. And if you want to give this Puerto Rican plantains dish a try, this is the place to do it. They have traditional Puerto Rican food with an elevated flair. The burger is also delicious. On top of all that they also made the best Piña Colada we had on the trip. This is a must do if you head to the North East of the island.

Bistro Del Mar at Las Croabas

Rt. 987 Km. 5, Las Croabas, Fajardo, PR 00738

Fajardo had our two favorite places to eat. Bistro Del Mar is a food stand but don’t let that fool you, its the most complex flavors and exquisite execution we came across. We had the ceviche with coconut rice and stuffed avocado with mahi-mahi and salmon. It all melted in your mouth. It is one of the stands you’ll find where the tours take off for the bioluminescent bays so stop by after your tour.

The Best Places to Grab a Drink

Old San Juan

Mezzanine at the St. Germain

156 Sol St. Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901

Where to stay, eat and explore in Puerto Rico. Tips on the best things to do and activities to try in Puerto Rico.

Another one of our favorite spots in we found in Puerto Rico. It’s a laid back cafe like bar. The environment fits perfectly with the Old San Juan buildings. The cocktails are an elevated version of the island favorites and the appetizers were scrumptious. A great spot for happy hour before heading to dinner or for a quiet spot to chat with drinks after dinner. We also absolutely loved the staff here.

La Factoria

148 Calle San Sebastiasn, Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901

If you’re looking to head out on the town but not necessarily hit a club this is a great place to stop. They have different rooms with different vibes from your typical bar, a wine bar and a club. The drinks were tasty and it wasn’t too packed.

Activities and Adventures to Try

Old San Juan
Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo de San Cristóbal
Where to stay, eat and explore in Puerto Rico. Tips on the best things to do and activities to try in Puerto Rico.

The forts of San Juan are a must do. Especially El Morro. We explored it in the rain and had fun running around all the nooks and crannies. They are full of history, beautiful views and a real feel of what once was. El Morro is a must and you get entry into both with your ticket so swing by San Cristóbal before you leave Old San Juan.

Museo de Las Americas

To escape the rain we popped into this museum and with a $3 entry fee it was well worth it. The history exhibits were similar to what you can find elsewhere but they also have Puerto Rican artists highlighted and we greatly enjoyed getting to explore a little more of the culture.

Shopping on Calle Cristo and Calle San Francisco

We found our best shopping in Old San Juan and I’d recommend if you are looking for quality souvenirs or gifts to bring home to do a good chunk of your shopping here.  On Calle Cristo you will find designer stores and outlets, as well as your typical souvenir shops. On Calle San Francisco you will find more artisans and crafts from the island.

San Juan Beaches

Ocean Park Beach

Just between the airport and Old San Juan includes a variety of beaches. We ended up at Ocean Park Beach and loved it. It might not have been the crystal clear beach you can find elsewhere around the island but it was still beautiful and had nice waves. Not on at surfing level but fun for bodysurfing. Much more than we found elsewhere.

North Coast

El Yunque National Forest

Where to stay, eat and explore in Puerto Rico. Tips on the best things to do and activities to try in Puerto Rico.

A trip to Puerto Rico isn’t complete without a visit to El Yunque the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. You can rent a car or there are tours to visit. Driving through the main road is beautiful but you want to get out of your vehicle as well. There are a variety of viewpoints to stop with and hikes of all lengths and skill levels. I’d recommend at least doing the walk down to La Miña waterfall. Here you can take an easy hike if you take the trail from the Big Tree stop. The hike coming from higher down the route is more tough. Make sure to pack yourself a swimsuit and towel to go swimming at the waterfall at the end of the hike.

Playa Luquillo

The first beach we visited on the island. It’s one of the “government approved” beaches meaning it has restrooms, lifeguards (in season) and food service at the beach. It also requires a level of water quality, safety, and cleanliness of the beach. This beach was easy to get to from San Juan, had beautiful views, and tasty street food.

Fajardo / Off the East Coast

Catamaran Trip to Icacos Island

Where to stay, eat and explore in Puerto Rico. Tips on the best things to do and activities to try in Puerto Rico.

Our favorite excursion of the trip. We took a catamaran from Fajardo out to Icacos which was about an hour and a half ride to hang out on the beach and go snorkeling on the reef. It was beautiful from the second we got on the boat. We enjoyed a nice lunch and drinks included in the trip. Snorkeling on the reef was breathtaking with tons of different fish to explore. There are a variety of companies and we went with East Island Excursions and have nothing to complain about. Helpful staff and everything was effortless. The trip was $75 a person.

Bioluminescent Bay Tour

Another must do on the island. There are five bioluminescent bays in the world and three of them are in Puerto Rico. The only way to describe them is out of this world. You kayak out to the bay and the closer you get the more you see the water glow every time there is movement. It’s because of the tiny plankton is the water. Even the fish glow as the swim away from your kayak. Also, tandem kayaking is a great team building adventure, we laughed a lot. There are a variety of tour companies, but we loved Pure Adventures. The guides were great and their tour times are slightly off from the other groups. This was great since when we got into the bay we were the only ones in there while the rest of the tours started to arrive as we left.

Culebra Island

Where to stay, eat and explore in Puerto Rico. Tips on the best things to do and activities to try in Puerto Rico.

The ferry now takes off from Ceiba where you can head to Culebra. We got up early and to the ferry ride over to the island. It was about and hour and a half ride and only $4.50 for the round trip. Once we got to the island there are shuttles that for $3 will take you to Playa Flamenco, ranked one of the world’s five most beautiful beaches. The water is crystal clear at even 20 feet deep. We also took a snorkeling trip over to Playa Tamarindo and took a tour where we snorkeled with stingrays and sea turtles. It was a perfect day.

For more detail on outdoor adventures take a look here. 

For more of the best beaches in Puerto Rico, visit this post. 

For more information about Puerto Rico check out these great books on Amazon including Fodor Travel’s Puerto Rico, Lonely Planet’s Puerto Rico, and Frommer’s Easy Guide to Puerto Rico.

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