I recently visited Puerto Rico for 48 hours as a departure for a southern Caribbean cruise. This US territory is an easy place for US Citizens to travel. Most of the people I ran into spoke English. US residents can enter passport-free, and it uses US dollars- very convenient.
Here is a list of things I either did or want to return to do:
- Watch a sunrise over the Caribbean Sea.
- Visit a historic Spanish fort or two from the days when Puerto Rico was a colony of Spain. In old San Juan, you find the Castillo de San Cristóbal and San Felipe del Morro Fortress. One entrance fee buys you a ticket to either and is valid for one week.
- Take the free trolley that will transport you between the two forts or through the town.
- While you are in the Castillo de San Cristóbal, take a ranger-led Tunnel Tour.
- Take a walk through Old San Juan window shopping using Calle San Francisco.
- People watch and eat some local fruit ice cream (helado) in Plaza Colón.
- Tour the gorgeous San Juan Capital Building, just outside the walls of Old San Juan.
- Catch a show in the Tapia Theater, the US oldest permanent theater.
- Eat some delicious alcapurrias, a fried yucca fritter stuffed with ground beef.
- Visit the white sand beaches of Isla Verde, near the San Juan airport, said to be the prettiest on the island.
- Have dinner on the beach. We ate at Oceana in the Condado area. The perfect start to a vacation.
- Try mofongo, macerated plantain or yucca, topped with your choice of meat and sauces. I enjoyed most the plantain with local conch in a garlic butter sauce.
- In Old San Juan, keep an eye out for the feral cats who are ancestors to cats brought in by the colonial Spaniards.
- Check out the Catedral de San Juan Bautista, or Cathedral of John the Baptist, a large Spanish colonial catholic church.
- Visit the grave of Ponce de Leon in the Catedral de San Juan Bautista.
- Try some pork (cerdo), the best I have had in the world.
- Spend some time enjoying the Condado, San Juan’s hotel zone’s soft sandy beaches on the Caribbean Sea.
- Visit Carolina Beach, one of San Juan’s public beaches.
- I am a little crazy about caves- Read about La Cueva del Indio on Passports and Plates.
- Visit San Juan’s hipster area and street art in Santurce.
- Watch a sunset over Bio Bay or the Atlantic Ocean.
- Take a boat tour to snorkel a reef or uninhabited island.
- Admire Old San Juan’s walls and San Juan Bay while walking on El Paseo del Morro.
- Take a picture under the Banyon Tree on El Paseo del Morro.
- Spend an hour looking at all the angles of Raíces Fountain, which tells the history of Puerto Rico through sculpture.
- Bring your family to Puerto Rico’s calmest waters at Sun Bay, Vieques.
- Browse the artisan’s stalls of the Paseo de la Princesa.
- Walk through San Juan Gate through which Spanish dignitaries would enter the city of Old San Juan.
- Surf at one of the best surf spots in the world between October and April at Rincon, where the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea meet.
- Spend a couple of days at the fantastic Waldorf-Astoria El Conquistador Resort, which includes admission to its private Palomino Island.
- Hang out with local iguanas.
- Take a horseback ride on a beach.
- Eat amazing red beans and rice with filled with sumptuous pieces of pork.
- Peruse the Museo de Arte de Ponce full of European, Puerto Rican, African, and American art from as far back as the 14th century.
- Kayak among the bioluminescence in Bio Bay, Fajardo.
- Swim with the glowing plankton in Puerto Mosquito.
- SCUBA dive off Culebra Island.
- Hike El Yunque, the only National US Park that contains a rain forest.
- Go zip-lining.
- View the birds and butterflies at La Maquesa Forest Park in Guaynabo.
- Hang out with the locals in the La Parguera Biobay as they dance and eat among the food trucks by the ocean side.
- Explore coffee farms around Ponce.
- Take a bike ride among the mangroves at Piñones.
- Flamenco Beach in Culebra is named the second most beautiful beach in the world, so definitely worth a visit!
- Explore the caves at Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy.
- Or for the more adventurous spelunk in the Cueva Ventana, or window cave.
- The food is Puerto Rico is unique. Consider taking a food tour to try it all!
Be sure to read A Walk Through Old San Juan for more about my adventures in Puerto Rico or subscribe to get a weekly adventure in your inbox.
8 thoughts on “47 Cool Things to Do in Puerto Rico”
Thanks for the very helpful list!
Glad to help!
PR is a gem that no many people know about it, being an USA colony and using the same currency but at the same time keeping their own identity is unbeatable. The island is full of surprises, its an endless fun paradise. I have been all over the planet but nothing like this little gem.
Thank you so much for sharing your list! I researched the island extensively and you still had places and things to do that I was unaware of. Thanks again! Happy travels.
Have an amazing trip, Allison, and let me know if you find anything I missed or anything that has changed.