Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, is United States territory located in the northeastern Caribbean. It is an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands as Mona, Culebra, and Vieques.
The capital and most populous municipality is San Juan. The territory does not observe daylight saving time, and its official languages are Spanish( which is predominant) and English. The island’s population is approximately 3.5 million. Puerto Rico’s rich history, tropical climate, diverse natural scenery, renowned traditional cuisine, and attractive tax incentives make it a popular destination for visitors from around the world.
Puerto Rico offers an amazing variety of experiences and tourist attractions to suit many tastes, from beautiful beaches to natural rain forests. However, there is also a richness of history and culture to be found nowhere else. Puerto Rico is packed with enough unique attractions and fascinating sights to keep you occupied for weeks.
Explore Puerto Rico’s fascinating cultural and indigenous past in the Old San Juan district in San Juan, the capital city located on the northern coast of Puerto Rico Island. Major historic attractions include El Morro (Castillo San Felipe del Morro) and Fort San Jeronimo (Fortin de San Gerónimo de Baquerón). To learn more about contemporary local culture, visit the Museum of the Americas (Museo de Las Américas)and Museum of Art of Puerto Rico (Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico).
Enjoy traditional cuisine and cocktails at one of the islands many fashionable bars and restaurants. The Ocean Park area offers beachfront dining and a relaxed island atmosphere. Venture further field to try regional street food at Luquillo Beach, where there are dozens of kiosks selling typical snacks, such as pinchos (chicken, pork or shrimp kabobs) and tostones (fried green plantain).
Much of Puerto Rico Island is covered in forest that is excellent for hiking. Explore the network of caves at Rio Camuy Cave Park (Parque de las Cavernas del Rio Camuy), or hike through waterfalls in El Yunque National Forest.
All along the coast you’ll find stunning beaches. Condado Beach and Isla Verde Beach are just minutes from downtown San Juan. The island’s tropical climate means it’s warm enough to dip into the ocean year-round. The tourist peak season is December through April; be aware that hurricanes can crop up the rest of the year.
Puerto Rico is serviced by the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport in San Juan, and can be reached from destinations across the Americas. The public transportation in Puerto Rico is limited to parts of San Juan, so you’ll need to rent a car or travel by taxi if you want to explore the countryside
Many airlines fly to Puerto Rico, a major hub for flights to the Caribbean. Among the airlines servicing San Juan International airport are American, Delta, United, US Airways and Jet Blue.
To reach Culebra or Vieques, you can take a small plane or a ferry. Vieques Air Link flies to Vieques from both the San Juan International airport, as well as from San Juan’s Isla Grande airport. Vieques Air Link flies to Culebra on demand. Air Flamenco flies from Isla Grande airport to Culebra and also to Vieques on demand.
From Fajardo to Vieques, the ferry ride is approximately 45 minutes, and from Fajardo to Culebra, the ferry ride is about 90 minutes.
Suggestions for Tours
Old San Juan
San Juan was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, who called it Ciudad de Puerto Rico (“Rich Port City”). Several historical buildings are located in San Juan; among the most notable are the city’s former defensive forts, Fort San Felipe del Morro, Fort San Cristobal and La Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Americas.
The city still emanates the old-world charm of a Spanish colony centuries later. this begins with a scenic drive into Old San Juan followed by a walking tour of San Cristobal Fort, the largest Spanish fortification ever built, complete with dungeon and sentry outlook posts. Then take a sightseeing drive through the historic architecture of Norzagaray Boulevard and past Quincentennial Plaza, which is located atop the highest hill in Old San Juan.
History, culture and great shopping are present in the second oldest European-established city in the Americas, Old San Juan. While having a great shopping experience you will have the opportunity to appreciate the historic nature of this city’s colonial buildings and narrow streets covered with blue cobblestone. You will find flower-filled plazas, museums, cathedrals, and original centuries-old Spanish fortresses that make Old San Juan a definite stop on your visit to Puerto Rico.
Admire the grand old city’s sights on foot as you shop at some of the finest jewelry boutiques, clothing stores and art galleries the Caribbean have to offer.
San Juan Snorkel
Get a taste of island life during this full-day catamaran cruise and snorkeling trip to a nearby nature reserve, where you’ll explore the tropical isle of Icacos.
El Yunque and Bioluminescence Bay
In El Yunque rainforest and kayak at the island’s famed Bioluminescent Bay. Start your morning with a hike in the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Forest system, enjoying incredible mountain views and an optional waterfall swim to cool off. Then continue with a nighttime kayaking trip to the magical Laguna Grande, a bay on Puerto Rico’s east coast featuring a unique variety of plankton that glow when the water is touched or moved.
This is our list of “musts”, presented in no particular order.
Go Around Old San Juan — either on your own (using some type of guidebook), or on a guided tour. Take your time. There’s no rush to “see it all”.
Try Some Local Food — lechon, mofongo, exotic tropical fruit, rum drinks, …
Experience a Bio Bay — preferably Mosquito Bay on Vieques, or Laguana Grande in Fajardo
Get in Tropical Rain Forest — this usually means El Yunque National Forest,
Enjoy Beach on the Main Island — Balneario Monserrate in Luquillo, because is has good facilities. Or Playa Puerto Nuevo, for a stunning beach not too far from the metro area.
Explore a Cave in the Karst Region — Cueva Ventana , Rio Camuy Caves Park .
Hit a Beach on One of the Other Puerto Rico Islands — Balneario Flamenco on Culebra is probably the one of the prettiest, But Playa Caracas on Vieques is a close second.
Snorkel at Deserted Island
Do an Adventure Tour Zip lines, ATVs, Rappelling, Hang Gliding, Horseback Riding, and more.
We feel that, to really enjoy Puerto Rico to the fullest, you need rent a car. That way, you’ll be free to go out and explore the island, on your on schedule. Though having a GPS (or a smart phone with Google Maps access) is extremely helpful, it’s not required. Make sure that you at least have a good map with you