25 Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico: Places to Visit In 2022
Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island and US territory with a rich and turbulent history, a spectacular and diverse landscape of mountains, caves, islands, coral reefs and waterfalls, and many historic structures.
The beautiful and historic San Juan is the capital and the delight of history buffs who enjoy its charming colonial architecture and ancient fortresses that actively defended the island from invaders.
The El Yunque tropical rainforest is fascinating, with unique plants thriving in hot and humid conditions. Hundreds of islands, large and small, are surrounded by magnificent sandy beaches and coral reefs teeming with life. Please note that certain attractions remain closed after Hurricane Maria.
1. Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo de San Cristóbal
Spanish engineers built two castles to protect San Juan from attacks: Castillo San Felipe del Morro, saving the city from the sea, and Castillo San Cristóbal to defend it from the land. Castillo San Felipe del Morro, or El Morro, is a six-story fort built on a high promontory, watching out for anyone coming from the ocean.
It was completed in 1787 and was attacked in 1595 and again in 1598 by the Dutch in 1625 and the US Navy in 1898.
Today, its 60-foot high walls and old canyons make it a great destination when you want to take a trip back in time, and the walls offer a spectacular view of the ocean. Castillo San Cristóbal was completed in 1790 at the east gate of the walled city.
It covers 27 acres, the Spanish’s largest fort in the New World. The defence and its sentry boxes are well-preserved and fun to explore. Don’t miss seeing Devil’s Sentry Box, from which, as legends say, soldiers used to disappear mysteriously.
Address: Norzagaray Street | Old San Juan, San Juan 00901, Puerto Rico
2. The El Yunque Rainforest
El Yunque National Rainforest, one of the few rainforests in the US, is located in northeastern Puerto Rico, high on the Sierra de Luquillo Mountains. It covers 28,000 acres of land.
The highest peak, El Toro, rises 3,494 feet above sea level. Rain and humidity create a lush, dense jungle rich in tropical species and diverse ecosystems, including a unique dwarf forest.
El Yunque is a popular tourist spot. An excellent hiking trail allows visitors to enjoy waterfalls, dense foliage, rivers and cliffs, and the petroglyphs of the Taino Indians. Two observation towers offer spectacular views. There are lodging opportunities on the edge of the rainforest, but not on it.
Address: Carolina, Puerto Rico | 65664556, El Yunque National Forest 00979, Puerto Rico
3. Puerto Rico Tourism Office
Regardless of your age and interests, the Puerto Rico tour desk has specially chosen well-trained guides and the most exciting tours for you. They combine detailed information about the places you’ll visit with a focus on safety, supporting local small businesses, and caring for the environment.
You can choose from the wide range of tours, from the “Off the beaten path” hiking trail in the El Yunque rainforest and kayaking in Bio Bay to exploring the caves and fishing with a harpoon. If you are interested in history, the tour of Old San Juan will enchant you. For the adrenaline junkies, there are several zip line tours over the jungle canopy, paragliding or jungle hikes.
Address: Kiosk number 1 Plaza Colon, San Juan00901, Puerto Rico
4. Museum of Art of Ponce (Ponce)
One of the best art museums in Puerto Rico, the Museo de Arte de Ponce. The museum was established by philanthropist, industrialist, and art collector Luis A. Ferre in 1959 and moved into its current building in 1965.
The magnificent structure on Avenida Las Américas has 14 hexagonal galleries filled with natural light, two gardens and a large amphitheatre. The museum’s front yard features Roy Lichtenstein’s 90-meter tall aluminium sculpture Brushstrokes in Flight and is considered “the largest work of public art in Latin America.”
Address: Avenida 2325 Las Americas, Ponce 00717, Puerto Rico
5. Culebrita Island (Culebra)
Isla Culebrita is a small uninhabited coral island one kilometre long off the coast of Isla Culebra in Puerto Rico. The entire island is a nature reserve and can be accessed by boat from Culebra.
The island has six magnificent sandy beaches. Playa Tortuga is famous for turtles’ breeding and feeding place, and people can be seen swimming with these gentle giants.
There are large tide pools on the east side of the island that many people use as bathtubs. They are rich in marine life caught at low tide. There are two small shallow lagoons on the island’s west side and the Culebrita reef on the south coast, which are excellent for diving and snorkelling.
The island is home to 97 plants, 32 birds, four reptiles, and two mammals. The oldest lighthouse in the Caribbean is in Culebrita.
6. Sailing and snorkelling excursions Erin Go Bragh (Fajardo)
Imagine sailing in the calm waters of the Caribbean on the way to a beautiful uninhabited island where the only sound you hear is tropical palm trees swaying in the breeze and waves lapping on the golden sand beach. If you want your trip to Puerto Rico to be truly memorable, take one of the snorkelling or sailing trips with Erin Go Bragh.
They organize customized small-group day trips aboard their 50-foot Gulfstar Ketch, Erin Go Bragh III, and Moody 45-foot Tanto Amor sailboat. They have several different sailing trips. Your day charter starts around 10 am and returns around 4 pm. You will be taken to one of the islands: Palominos, Lobos, Icacos or Palominos.
Once there, they anchor, and you can snorkel, swim, take a walk on the beach, and enjoy a delicious barbecue lunch and drinks. After lunch, the boat will take you to a second snorkelling site before returning to port. They provide all snorkelling gear, even kid-sized.
Address: Puerto Del Rey Marina, Fajardo 00738, Puerto Rico
7. Culebra Island Adventures (Culebra)
Culebra Island Adventures specializes in snorkelling and kayaking tours on Culebra, Puerto Rico, one of the most pristine destinations in the Caribbean. This local family company will take you snorkelling with turtles and rays, explore the underwater magic of coral reefs, and spot colourful fish in their world.
They provide certified professional tour guides who are also certified, divers. The trip from Fajardo to Culebra takes about an hour and fifteen minutes, and you will spend about three hours having fun in Culebra.
Halfway through your adventure, you will be offered a light snack and snack. They also have an hour-long tour of Tamarindo Beach, where you can swim with green turtles and rays and enjoy the beauty of the reef rich in marine life.
Address: Posada del Coronel, Call 2 # 31, General Delivery, Culebra, PR 00775
8. Kayak Puerto Rico (Fajardo), Puerto Rico
There is a lot to see in Puerto Rico on land and in the water, and you can easily miss some extraordinary places unless you have excellent guides to show you.
If you like spending time on the water and enjoying kayaking, let Kayaking Puerto Rico take you to the pearls of the country, such as Seven Seas Bay, which is located in the northeast corner of the island.
There is also a spectacular and protected snorkelling area with abundant marine life or the bioluminescent Laguna Grande. You can combine kayaking and snorkelling with your Aquafari Culebra trip, or you can have fun on land and water hiking through the El Yunque rainforest and kayaking in Fajardo’s Bio Bay.
They provide all the equipment, instructions, a light snack, and the best guides and instructors you’ll find anywhere.
Address: Rt. 987 Km. 5 Las Croabas, Fajardo, PR 00738
9. Puerto Rico Points of Interest: Bioluminescent Bay
One of the most romantic places in the magnificent waters of the Puerto Rican Caribbean is Puerto Mosquito Bio Bay, hidden on the island of Vieques, where the mysterious green light called bioluminescence created by microorganisms will captivate you.
The bay is a particular environment with unique conditions necessary for small animals to thrive. An overnight trip with Island Adventures Biobay will be the highlight of your visit to Puerto Rico.
Your highly trained guides will explain the bay’s unique and fragile ecology and the plants, animals, and mangroves that live in this fascinating world.
After an interpretive lecture on board the ship, they will stop where the bioluminescence is high and allow you to enjoy the spectacle created by nature. Island Adventures Biobay Boat Tour, the Luminosa II electric double motor pontoon glides slowly and silently through the sparkling waters of Puerto Mosquito Bay.
Address: Laguna Grande | Las Croabas, Fajardo, Puerto Rico
10. Window Cave (Arecibo), Puerto Rico
Cueva Ventana or Cave Window is a fascinating cave carved by nature on top of a limestone cliff overlooking the picturesque valley of the Rio Grande de Arecibo.
It is accessible from a narrow path next to a Puma service station on the PR-10 highway. The most exciting feature of this exciting cave is a large window in the cave wall that opens onto a spectacular view of the valley below.
Cueva Ventana Tours offers expert guides and biologists who provide interesting information on cave dwellers such as insects, bats, and snakes. They will also point out the plants that survive in the cave environment, some near extinction, and share an exciting history of the local Taino Indians with visitors.
Tours last about an hour, and your guides will pick you up from your hotel in San Juan and take you to the cave in comfortable, air-conditioned buses.
Address: Highway PR10, KM 75 | Next to the Puma gas station, Arecibo 00612, Puerto Rico
11. Los Morrillos Light (Cabo Rojo)
Cabo Rojo’s Los Morrillos Lighthouse, or Los Morrillos Light, is located in the extreme southwest of Puerto Rico in Cabo Rojo.
The Spanish built the lighthouse in 1882 to aid ships passing through the treacherous Mona Passage from the Caribbean Sea to the Atlantic Ocean. The lighthouse is perched on a white lime cliff surrounded by salt-water marshes.
There is a 200-foot drop from the cliffs where the lighthouse is located into the ocean below. The lighthouse was renovated in 2002. It is original simple; unadorned architecture has been preserved, while the structure returned to its original condition and was painted in its actual grey colour with white trim. It is open to the public as a museum.
12. Places to Visit in Puerto Rico: Aguadilla
Aguadilla is a charming little coastal town in northwestern Puerto Rico between Aguada, Moca and Isabela and the Atlantic Ocean. Luis de Córdoba founded Aguadilla in 1775, and it is a popular tourist destination famous for its 16 magnificent beaches.
The most popular is Crash Boat Beach, ideal for surfing and other water sports, located north of Aguadilla. Aguadilla has the only skating rink in the Caribbean, several golf courses, the Las Cascadas water theme park with fun attractions and a lazy river, the historic Punta Borinquen lighthouse built in 1889, Punta Borinquen tennis courts and beautiful walks to horse through the surrounding jungle.
13. Carabali Rainforest Park (Luquillo)
Carabal? Rainforest Park is a 600-acre ranch in a lush tropical jungle nestled between the El Yunque National Forest and the Atlantic Ocean. It is a great adventure destination that combines action with the magnificent tropical jungle full of life.
You can ride a horse through the El Yunque National Forest, admire the unique ecosystem with rare plants and animals, and swim in the Mameyes River, or you can take your horse to the beach.
You can zoom through the woods, jump over streams and climb hills on a 650cc four-track, or hit the jungle trails on a mountain bike. And when you return from your adventure, you can enjoy one of several excellent restaurants, bars, or wineries.
Address: Puerto Rico 992, Luquillo, 00773, Puerto Rico
14. The Castillo Serralles Museum (Ponce)
The Museo Castillo Serrall or Museo del Castillo de Serrell is located in Ponce, Puerto Rico, in the magnificent four-story colonial revival building built in 1930 for Destileria Serralles’ owner of the largest rum distilleries in Puerto Rico.
The museum has a permanent exhibition that shows the history of the sugarcane production and rum industries in the area and the country, demonstrating its impact on the economy of Puerto Rico.
There are also several galleries with changeable temporary exhibits. The museum, which opened in 1991, is surrounded by a 2.5-acre lot and is now one of several attractions. Others include an observation tower, a Japanese garden, and a butterfly garden.
Address: 17 Calle El Vigia | Ponce 00730-2926, Puerto Rico
15. Arecibo Observatory (Arecibo)
Located in Arecibo, Puerto Rico, the Arecibo Observatory was the world’s largest radio telescope from 1963 when it was completed until 2016. The observatory is the facility of the National Center for Astronomy and Ionosphere and is operated by various agencies under the National Science Foundation.
The observatory has a 1,000-foot radio telescope and serves as a venue for radio astronomy, radar astronomy, and atmospheric science research.
There are self-guided tours of the observatory – there are 3,500-square-foot exhibits. Tour guides assist when requested. The 20-year movie, Beyond the Big Dreams plays in the auditorium.
It covers the work and discoveries that have taken place at the Arecibo Observatory. You can also visit the observation deck to view the telescope.
Address: HC-3 CAJA 53995, Arecibo 00612, Puerto Rico
16. Flamenco Beach (Culebra), Puerto Rico
Voted one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Flamenco Beach on the island of Culebra in Puerto Rico attracts thousands of tourists with its warm shallow blue waters, fine white powder sand, excellent diving and snorkelling and a mile of beautiful sandy shoreline that runs along the wide protected horseshoe-shaped bay.
The beach has lifeguards and small food stalls with beach chairs, umbrellas, snacks, food, diving, and snorkelling equipment. The beach is easily accessible from the town of Dewey, where the ferry lands. There is a well-organized campsite at the entrance to the beach.
Address: Route 251, Puerto Rico
17. Blue Beach-La Chiva (Vieques Island)
For six decades, the island of Vieques was a bombing and proving ground for the navy. After a series of protests, the army left the island in 2003, and part of the island previously occupied by the military was proclaimed a national wildlife refuge.
One of the most beautiful beaches on the island, Blue Beach (as the navy called it), recovered its original name La Chiva, but some keys to La Chiva are still off-limits due to abandoned ammunition.
The wide sandy beach runs the length of the Blue Bay, and is lovely for long walks, snorkelling, sunbathing, swimming, kayaking, and diving. The sheltered waters are calm and warm, perfect for children. The best snorkelling is next to the rocky areas and near the minor key.
18. Caracas Beach Antigua Red Beach
On the south side of the island of Vieques in Puerto Rico, Playa Caracas is a beautiful, wide sandy beach with fine white coral sand that stays cool underfoot, even when the sun is at its strongest. Water changes colour as it gets more profound and is a photographer and painter’s dream.
The gentle waves protected by the broad bay make the beach perfectly safe for children. There are a few pavilions for family picnics and volleyball nets.
The beach is surrounded by magnificent tropical vegetation and palm trees that offer shady areas. The beach is part of the nature reserve and was previously on the Navy Proving Grounds, known as Red Beach.
19. La Cueva del Indio (Arecibo)
Located on the outskirts of charming Arecibo, La Cueva del Indio, one of the oldest colonial cities in Puerto Rico, is a spectacular cave cut in limestone rock by thousands of years of rain and wind.
The most exciting features in the caves are the petroglyphs left behind by the Taino Indians long before Columbus arrived in Puerto Rico.
The petroglyphs are believed to have been part of the religious ceremonies held in the caves, and they are incredibly well preserved. The hike from the busy road to the caves is short but treacherous – the exposed limestone becomes slippery, and the drop from the trail to the cave below is 25 feet.
The cave ceiling is open to the sky, so there is enough light to see petroglyphs from above. There is also a staircase that leads to the cave. Once you get to the caves, the view that stretches out to the ocean and the beaches is spectacular. Take a walk and see the spectacular cliffs, arches, and a natural bridge.
Address: Arecibo 00612, Puerto Rico
20. Playa Sucia (La Playuela) – (Cabo Rojo)
La Playuela is located in Cabo Rojo, in the extreme southwest of Puerto Rico. It is a true Caribbean paradise in a vast, crescent-shaped bay that is sheltered, secluded, and large enough to offer a spot for solo swimming or snorkelling.
The landscape around the beach is magnificent: on the one hand, the turquoise waters of the Caribbean are transparent and on the other, lush tropical vegetation that offers a pleasant shade from the intense sun.
You can see the lighthouse perched on top of the cliff and the line of seagrass at the end of the beach. The sand is fine and sometimes makes the water look a bit cloudy. There are many trails around the coast to explore and birdwatch.
Address: Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
21. Icacos Island (Fajardo)
Cayo Icacos is a small uninhabited island off the coast of Fajardo, a small town on the east coast of Puerto Rico. It is part of the Cordillera Keys Nature Reserve and can be reached from Fajardo in a fifteen-minute water taxi ride.
Magnificent healthy reefs supporting abundant marine life surround the island, making the snorkelling and diving out of this world. The island’s beach is made of fine coral sand, perfect for long walks.
You can also explore inland as the island is covered in lush vegetation. The island and its fantastic beach are very popular with locals and tourists, so expect it to be crowded on the weekends.
22. Palomino Island
Isla Palomino is a small private island on the east coast of Puerto Rico, near Las Croabas, Fajardo. Most of the island is occupied by El Conquistador Hotel & Casino. This luxurious 100-acre resort has a ferry that takes guests to the island.
In addition to presenting a wonderful sandy beach surrounded by majestic palm trees and crystal clear Caribbean waters, the resort offers a variety of activities such as horseback riding, windsurfing, jet skis, kayaking and snorkelling and diving in the surrounding reef.
You don’t have to stay at the resort to enjoy the island and its amenities; They offer a day pass that provides access to most of its offerings.
Address: 1000 El Conquistador Plz Ctr, San Juan 00976-6448, Puerto Rico
23. Tamarindo Beach (Culebra)
For a good reason, Tamarindo Beach is one of the most popular beaches in Culebra and is famous for its fantastic beaches. Protected by the minor Cayo Luis Peña key, the water is calm and perfect for kayaking, snorkelling and fun for children.
Hardly a day goes by when divers don’t see green turtles and manta rays gliding through the bay, and the coral reefs are healthy and teeming with marine life.
The coastline is unique, with a mix of golden sand and wide trails of colourful smooth pebbles and coral stones pushed to shore by waves. Kids enjoy collecting colourful rocks, but keep an eye on them as the water gets much deeper near the beach. There are no lifeguards on site, so do not snorkel or swim alone.
Address: West End of the island, Puerto Rico
24. Zoni Beach (Culebra)
Of all the beaches in Culebra, Zoni is one you must go to if you want to spend some time alone. The long, vast expanse of fine sand is perfect for long walks, or you can hang your hammock between two leaning palm trees and read a book in the shade while the gentle sound of surf soothes you.
The landscape is impressive. The water changes its colour from pale green to deep blue as it gets more profound, and the shoreline becomes more rugged and rocky towards the end of the beach.
Zoni Beach/Playa Soni is a nesting site for leatherbacks and hawksbill turtles, so you may be able to see these gentle giants laying eggs between April and June. Stay away and don’t disturb them; They return yearly to the same place. Some volunteers mark the sites so that they are not concerned.
Address: East end of PR 250, Puerto Rico
25. Parque de Bombas (Ponce)
This striking red and white building on Plaza de las Delicias in downtown Ponce always attracts the attention of tourists and is the pride of the locals. The Gothic wooden structure with Moorish influence was designed by Maximo Meana and was built as the main pavilion for the 1882 Ponce World Fair.
After the fair ended in 1885, the building became Ponce’s official fire station, Parque de Bombas de Ponce, and served the city faithfully for more than 100.
Today, it is a museum that honours the Ponce firefighters and displays various artefacts used by the fire brigade to fight the famous 1882 and 1883 fires and some other historically significant artefacts.
Address: Plaza de las Delicias, Ponce, Puerto Rico
Frequently Asked Questions: Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico
What should you avoid in Puerto Rico?
In Puerto Rico visitors should avoid wandering mindlessly, staying in sketchy places, leaving their belongings unattended in beaches or restaurants, and going outside tourist areas without a guide if they aren’t familiar with the area they’re visiting.
Is Puerto Rico cheap to visit?
Puerto Rico isn’t a cheap destination in comparison with other Caribbean islands, but solo travelers can spend a week in San Juan for $700, and couples for $1,200. Budget travelers can save even more by cooking their meals or traveling in the low season.
What is the best time to visit Puerto Rico?
The best time to visit Puerto Rico is from mid-April to June, right after the busy winter season and just before the rainy summer. Spring weather is also very pleasant, barely escaping the mid-80s on most days.
Is Puerto Rico safe in 2022?
Although Puerto Rico is generally a safe destination the CDC has assigned the island a travel advisory due to the coronavirus pandemic. They give Puerto Rico a Level 3 Warning, which advises Americans to avoid nonessential travel.
What part of Puerto Rico should I visit?
San Juan – Overall Best Place to Stay in Puerto Rico. San Juan is the buzzing capital of Puerto Rico packed with culture, nightlife, and historical highlights. It’s the place to be if you want to experience the best reggaeton on the island.
Where is the bluest water in Puerto Rico?
Where is the clearest water in Puerto Rico? The beaches with the clearest waters in Puerto Rico include Tortuga Beach in Culebrita, Playa Pelícano in Caja de Muerto, Playa Caracas in Vieques, Cayo Aurora, Icacos Beach, Tortuga Beach in Culebra, and Desecheo.
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