Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island and unincorporated US territory, located 1,600 kilometers southeast of Florida. The island spans just over 9,000 square kilometers, making it easy to explore in a short amount of time. Its capital, San Juan, offers incredible historical architecture, while its stunning beaches and dense forests are home to unique natural beauty.
San Juan is located just 15 minutes from Puerto Rico’s airport. It’s a colorful, colonial city, with quaint cobbled streets. You can easily explore the capital by foot, making it perfect for a walking tour. Stop off at historical sights in Old San Juan, such as the El Morro Castle, the largest fort built by Spanish forces in the New World.
|San Juan is a colorful, colonial city, with quaint cobbled streets.
Stroll around its green grounds and be amazed by its enormous walls and old cannons. San Juan also has a vibrant art scene, with plenty of galleries exhibiting fine, modern, and Caribbean art. The city hosts multiple annual festivals — most of which take place in December and January — when San Juan comes alive with parades, dance, and colorful costumes.
Many tiny islands off the Puerto Rico coast are well-worth visiting. The eleven-kilometer-long island and nature reserve of Culebra, for example, has plenty of stunning sandy stretches. Take to Flamingo Beach or Playa Tortuga for the best diving opportunities. The latter is particularly well-known for the sea turtles that breed in its sand. Check out the East of the island for large tidal pools, and the West for two shallow lagoons.
|Playa Tortuga is well-known for its diving opportunities and the sea turtles that breed in its sand.
Another island option is Isla de Vieques, which is home to one of Puerto Rico’s three bioluminescent bays. Visit after dark to see the sea light up in magical colors from the organisms that live beneath its surface. In the day time, you can stroll along its gorgeous beaches, such as Blue Beach or Playa Caracas.
|Isla de Vieques is home to one of Puerto Rico’s three bioluminescent bays.|
You don’t have to leave the mainland to have a beach day. Check out the charming, northwestern coastal town of Aguadilla for 16 wonderful beaches. One of the best is Crash Boat Beach, which is popular among surfers and other watersports enthusiasts.
|The town of Aguadilla is home to 16 wonderful beaches.
The town is also home to Survival Beach, with unique rock formations, making it a great spot for challenging walks. Alternatively, head to the Southwest for Playa Sucia. This crescent-shaped bay has beautiful turquoise waters and is surrounded by lush, tropical greenery.
The Bacardi Rum Factory, located in the town of Cataño, produces over 100,000 bottles of rum every day. Take a tour to learn about the history of the company and rum production, and taste five different types of this delicious spirit.
|The Bacardi Rum Factory produces over 100,000 bottles of rum every day.
More interested in beer? Check out one of the island’s up-and-coming craft beer breweries, such as Ocean Lab Brewery. If you want a non-alcoholic beverage, take a trip to one of the island’s coffee plantations, located in the western Toro Negro mountain range, for tours and tastings. Alternatively take part in an informative coffee workshop in San Juan.
One of Puerto Rico’s must-sees is the El Yunque Rainforest. Spanning over 100 square kilometers, this forest is home to a huge array of tropical plants and wildlife, including the Puerto Rican parrot.
|El Yunque Rainforest is home to a huge array of tropical plants and wildlife.
If you love heights, take to one of the forest’s many ziplines, or hike up to its 1,200-meter-high peak, El Toro. More gorgeous greenery can be found in the Aguirre State Forest. Stroll along the mangrove forest’s many walking paths to spot various bird species and small salt water lagoons.
After exploring Puerto Rico’s parks, don’t miss out on its caves. The Camuy Caves, for example, are located 180 meters underground, making them one of the largest subterranean cave systems in the world. Alternatively, head to the town of Arecibo to see the stunning El Cueva del Indio. This limestone cave is home to some of the best-preserved Taino Indian petroglyphs in the world.
|Visit Arecibo to see the stunning El Cueva del Indio.
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Went to visit family and wound up doing a lot more. Definitely will be going back again because there’s still so much we missed!
Puerto Rico features amazing beaches and beautiful nature. Great for everyone who's looking for a place to relax.