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.
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.
WHERE TO REST YOUR HEAD
El Escondido Guest House (Up in El Yunque)
Hato Puerco, Canóvanas 00745, Puerto Rico
If you stay anywhere in Puerto Rico you have to stay here. It is an escape to paradise tucked up in the hills of the rainforest. It’s a great little bed & breakfast that is a perfect way to escape from the city life and has some of the best views you’ll ever see. The three guys who run it are very friendly as well as knowledgeable of the area. Affordable with nights in the off season $80-100. More on the guest house.
Numero Uno (San Juan Beaches)
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 off season as low as $100. Why it was my favorite beach getaway here.
Gran Melia Puerto Rico Golf Resort (North Coast)
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.
Posada San Francisco (Old San Juan)
405 Cll San Francisco, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico
I keep describing this place as a hostel for grown ups. It was clean, quiet and definitely nice enough. The staff was very friendly. It also had a great location in Old San Juan. While it wasn’t anything fancy it is worth staying in Old San Juan for only $55 a night.
Traveling to Puerto Rico Soon?
My Favorite Eats
Old San Juan
201 Fortaleza Street, 00901 San Juan, 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
Carr. 987 km. 4, Las Croabas, Fajardo, PR
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.
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
156 Sol St. Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
We picked staying in Fajardo with the goal of exploring and Culebra Island is one of the key places we wanted to go and it was well worth it. 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.