Discover the 15 Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico – a charming Caribbean island with endless natural beauty, rich culture, history, and delectable cuisine, is love at first sight for anyone visiting here. From its lush rainforests and mesmerizing beaches to the mouthwatering local cuisine and colorful colonial cities, there’s something for everyone. Whether you seek adventure, history, shopping, or beach bumming, here are the best things to do in Puerto Rico.

Awe-inspiring Things to Do in Puerto Rico

1. Explore Old San Juan

Ask any Puerto Rican what you can do in Puerto Rico, and you’ll hear almost right away – visit Old San Juan. This historic district is a charming colonial city that dates back to the 16th century.

You can spend hours wandering on the narrow cobblestone streets, admiring the architecture, and soaking up the true Puerto Rican essence. 

The historical forts, brightly colored houses, and Spanish-style buildings will take you back 500 years in time (metaphorically speaking, of course).

Lunch on your mind? This part of town is packed with restaurants and street vendors to satisfy your cravings. And if your feet get tired, you can hop on a free trolley that operates through this part of town (although it runs infrequently).

Don’t miss out:

  • Walk beneath the vibrant canopy of pink kites in Umbrella Street found on Fortaleza Street. This street had hanging colorful umbrellas earlier.
  • Visit the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista – the oldest cathedral in the United States.

2. Relax on the Beaches

Take your pick from almost 300 beaches in Puerto Rico to spend a lazy day sunbathing or engaging in water sports. Enjoy the beaches of Isla Verde, Condado, or Luquillo, among others, each unique in its own way.

Whether you prefer beaches with exciting nightlife, secluded coves, or facilities for water activities, there’s something for everyone here. While some beaches have all the amenities that make for a perfect family visit, others have nothing but untouched natural beauty.

Despite the vast choice of beaches in Puerto Rico, the sparkling aquamarine water and flawless white sand are common among all the beaches. 

Don’t miss out:

  • Condado Beach is lined with hotels, resorts, and beach bars. It’s also ground zero for water sports.
  • Luquillo Beach, with reef-protected calm waves, is perfect for kids to go swimming.

3. Go Snorkeling or Scuba Diving

All that natural beauty in Puerto Rico makes it perfect for scuba diving and snorkeling. The plethora of underwater caves and reefs house a wide range of marine life, including sea turtles and colorful fish.

Puerto Rico is an archipelago with more than 100 islands, islets, and cays; there’s an abundance of places you can go diving or snorkeling. You can definitely tick that off your bucket list after your visit here.

Don’t miss out:

  • Crash Boat Beach, with clear waters and vibrant aquatic life, is perfect for snorkeling and scuba diving. If you’re a daredevil, there’s a pier from where you can jump into the water.
  • Kayak or take a private water taxi to Gilligan’s Island for a unique snorkeling experience.

4. Visit El Morro and San Cristobal Forts

If you’re a history or architecture buff, you simply mustn’t miss visiting the two most impressive historical landmarks in Old San Juan – El Morro and San Cristobal Forts.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro) is a 16th-century fortress in Old San Juan overlooking the ocean. Perched on the northwestern tip of Old San Juan, it’s divided into six levels, complete with dungeons, barracks, storerooms, towers, and ramps.

On the other hand, Saint Christopher’s Castle (Castillo San Cristobal) is a relatively younger fort and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The U.S. National Park Service operates this castle fortress.

You can get into both these forts for an entrance fee of $10.

Don’t miss out:

  • Take in the beautiful, picture-perfect views of Old San Juan and the ocean from atop these forts.

5. Explore the Rio Camuy Cave Park

Parque Nacional de las Cavernas del Rio Camuy is a series of underground limestone caves carved by the world’s third-largest underground river.

Located on the island’s northwestern side, more than 220 caverns spread across ten miles, with 17 known entrances. You’re bound to be captivated by the impressive stalagmites, stalactites, and sinkholes in these limestone caves.

While most of the park’s caverns aren’t open to visitors, you can still catch a glimpse of Puerto Rico’s best hidden natural wonder at the entrance.

Don’t miss out:

  • Make it a family visit, with the kids, to Rio Camuy Cave Park. It’s a three-mile walk for a roundtrip. While there used to be trolley tours earlier, they’re discontinued now.

6. Go on a Sunset Sail

Are you on a romantic getaway? There’s nothing like a sunset sail in Puerto Rico to make it all the more special.

The serene feeling of spending time over calm waters is unlike any other.

The changing hues of red, orange, and yellow over the ocean at sunset make for a sight to behold. And if you were planning to ‘pop the question,’ this is the perfect setting!

Don’t miss out:

7. Hike in El Yunque National Forest

If you’re the outdoorsy, adventurous kind, explore El Yunque National Forest, U.S. National Forest System’s only tropical rainforest. It’s the perfect place for hiking and waterfall adventures.

This lush rainforest covers most of Puerto Rico’s eastern half and is a paradise for nature lovers. It’s also home to a wide variety of plants and animals, including the rare Coqui frog and Puerto Rican parrot. Bird-watchers will be absolutely delighted here.

Don’t miss out:

  • Don Pepe, a restaurant just outside the entrance, offers scrumptious food to satiate your hunger.

8. Enjoy the Local Cuisine

Puerto Rican cuisine is an extraordinary fusion of Spanish, African, and indigenous Taino influences.

To truly experience Puerto Rican cuisine, taste traditional dishes like mofongo, a dish made with mashed plantains and served with meat or seafood. There’s also arroz con grandules, a rice dish with pork and pigeon peas.

Most local restaurants and food stands throughout the island offer these dishes and more.

Don’t miss out:

  • Casa Bavaria, in the mountains of Morovis – a restaurant/beer garden.
  • Chef’s Creations, in Ponce, with its smoky scent of the wood-fired range.

9. Visit the Bioluminescent Bay

When in Puerto Rico, you mustn’t miss witnessing the magical bioluminescent glow in Mosquito Bay at night. It’s the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world.

To catch this unique natural wonder, you must take a ferry from Puerto Rico’s main island to Vieques Island.

You can take a bioluminescent bay tour to see glowing plankton light up the water at night. Hop onto a clear-bottomed kayak tour, and for the best results, visit during the new moon.

Home to millions of tiny organisms called dinoflagellates, they emit a bright blue light, creating an almost magical effect on the water when disturbed. Just run your hand through the water and see the magic happen.

Don’t miss out:

  • The other bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico – Laguna Grande in Fajardo and La Parguera in Lajas.

10. Visit the Museum of Art

The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico is a museum for adults and kids. Interestingly, this was once a hospital, later restored in 1995 to a museum.

Located in the Santurce neighborhood, the museum houses more than 1,000 artworks created by Puerto Ricans. With 24 exhibition galleries housed across two wings, art lovers can easily spend a day here.

Some works date back to the 17th century; you’ll find paintings, sculptures, and installations, but the rotating exhibitions are the highlight.

The museum also features an interactive art room and garden to delight kids.

Don’t miss out:

  • The stained-glass piece by Eric Tables in the east wing called “Taino Rising Sun.”

11. Hop Over to T-Mobile District

Puerto Rico’s premiere entertainment destination, Distrito T-Mobile, combines the best in music, art, destination dining, and technology into an ever-evolving complex.

This entertainment and retail district complex in the Isla Grande neighborhood has everything a tourist would want – from modern concert halls and exquisite Puerto Rican cuisine to a VIP cinema hall and zip lining. 

The highlight is the big plaza with LED screens where people can socialize.

Don’t miss out:

  • The ultramodern Coca-Cola Music Hall – a multi-level venue with a bar on each floor.

12. Visit Culebra Island

Take a day trip to Culebra Island for pristine beaches and excellent snorkeling opportunities. This laid-back island is most famous for Flamenco Beach, consistently ranked among the best beaches in the world.

The picturesque landscape of white sand and turquoise waters is perfect for families, snorkelers, and those looking for a remote yet aesthetic spot. Amenities and tranquility in one place are among the many allures here.

Don’t miss out:

  • The west end of the beach has old military tanks, a highlight of the beach.

13. Tour the Casa Bacardi

When in the “rum capital of the world” (Puerto Rico), indulge in some rum (or rum tasting).

Puerto Rico is home to the world’s largest premium rum distillery, Casa Bacardi. You can take their rum-tasting tour or a mixology class. There’s even a kid-friendly historical tour here.

Don’t miss out:

  • You can find rarer local specialties when you visit in person.

14. Explore the Pink Salt Lakes

The western part of the main island has Pink Salt Lakes in Cabo Rojo. These are popular for their unique color and are found inside the Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge.

The distinct cotton-candy pink color of Las Salinas comes from a combination of bacteria, algae, salt, and water. However, depending on the day and weather, the color may range from cloudy white to bright pink to reddish brown.

Don’t miss out:

  • Click some fantastic Instagram-worthy snaps here. 

15. Visit Toro Verde Adventure Park

Get your adrenaline pumping with a ride on the longest zipline in America. The Toro Verde Adventure Park’s Monster zipline is the main attraction, with other activities like zipline bicycles and climbing towers.

The beautiful landscapes here will leave you breathless, and the extreme sports will let you experience nature unlike anything else.

Don’t miss out:

  • The Toro Roller, at a height of 60 feet, is suitable for kids and adults.

Summing It Up

There you have it! The 15 best things to do in Puerto Rico to soak up the history, culture, nature, and adventure will also keep you occupied whether you’re visiting for a few days or many.

You’ll be longing for more of Puerto Rico when it’s time to leave.

Jude Uchella

Jude Uchella is a passionate research writer whose work has been published on many reputable platforms, including MSN, Wealth of Geeks, and more! He prioritizes research, writes comprehensively, and only shares factual and helpful content. He is a reader’s delight!

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