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Top 10 Must-See and Must-Do Things

Posted on Jul 31st, 2011 by • Updated on Jun 28th, 2014

Playa Puerto Nuevo

We get asked lots of questions through this web site. One of the most frequently asked questions is "What are the must-do activities and must-see places for my visit to Puerto Rico?"

That’s a really difficult question to answer without knowing anything about the person asking the question. The answer is different for each person. Something that is a must do for me might be totally boring for you. And vice versa.

Case in point — Our teenage nephew came to visit recently. He couldn’t understand why we would make him hike to the peak of El Yunque, get up at 4am to go to the beach to look for sea turtle hatchlings, or why he needed to go on another zipline tour. The highlight of his trip was the pizza we had for dinner one night! Go figure!

I feel, pretty strongly, that there is not a one size fits all answer to the "What’s the best?" question. The answer is personal, depending on your likes, dislikes, desires, goals, budget, fears, and physical abilities.

Here is Gwenn & Ray’s Personal Top-10 List for Puerto Rico

This is our list of "musts", presented in no particular order.

  • Wander 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".
  • Sample Some Local Foodlechon, mofongo, exotic tropical fruit, rum drinks, …
  • Experience a Bio Bay — preferably Mosquito Bay on Vieques, or Laguana Grande in Fajardo
  • Hike a Tropical Rain Forest — this usually means El Yunque National Forest, but there are others here, too.
  • Hit a Beach on the Main IslandBalneario 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 RegionCueva Ventana is one of our favorite caves. Rio Camuy Caves Park is good for the less adventurous.
  • Hit a Beach on One of the Other PR IslandsBalneario Flamenco on Culebra is probably the one of the prettiest, But Playa Caracas on Vieques is a close second.
  • Snorkel at at Deserted Island — You can do this on a organized snorkeling excursion, or in a more DIY, self-sufficient fashion.
  • Show Your Mettle on an Adventure Tour — Take one of these adventure tours for something you wouldn’t do back at home — Ziplines, ATVs, Rappelling, Hang Gliding, Horseback Riding, and more.
  • Chillax. After all, you are on Vacation! — Open your mind to cultural differences and new experiences. Slow down. Relax. It will get done when it gets done. Leave your expectations at home. Just let it be.

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 smartphone with Google Maps access) is extremely helpful, it’s not required. Make sure that you at least have a good map with you. But, if you really don’t want to drive yourself around the island, there are plenty of tour companies that can take you to some of the places we mentioned above.

Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid ... then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

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12 comments
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  1. This is a truly professional site– well-researched and detailed information; thoughtful commentary; and obvious expertise. Thank you so much! You saved me endless hours of research for my upcoming trip!

  2. I would like to get a travel brochure from Puerto Rico. i have few friends traveling to the island around July. Thanks Eva

  3. Eva- you would need to contact the PR Tourism Company and they can send you all sorts of brochures. You can call them at 1-800-866-7827
    But I think our webpage has so much more information than anything else.

  4. This is a great ‘to do list’ for Puerto Rico. How long do you think it would take to do all those with limited time? Could you do/see the best bits in 4 days?

  5. Yup- in fact you can do most of them in 4-5 days. Old San Juan has lots of restaurants, you can do a hike in El Yunque, then go to Balneario Monserrate, then do the biobay at night. The Caves and a beach would be one day. A day on an out-island is another. Lots of adventure tours- ranging from just about 1 hr to all day. Need to pick and choose those!

  6. Hi Gwen – Great site, as others have stated, it has saved me a ton of time researching what to do. We will do many of the things you have recommended using our hotel in Old San Juan as our base camp. We are there for 6 days starting 6/15 and looking forward to the trip and celebrating our 30th wedding anniversary! The info on your site made it so easy to plan. I am an avid hiker and run a hiking website with my friend Tony. Our goals are similar to yours, make it easy for our site users to get out and not spend a lot of time planning, we give them most of the info they need. All the best. – Bryce (www.hikingupward.com)

  7. Hi! Love the site, very good information. I am wondering if you can recommend a nice restaurant. We will be staying in Arecibo but will have a car rental and expect to drive around a lot. Its our anniversary and would like a nice place (fine dining or the like). Maybe even somewhere with a view? Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated!

  8. Hello,
    I will be San Juan next week June 16-20 celebrating my birthday I need some Ideas for my trip I want to have fun and do something exciting. Help!!

  9. Sorry- I missed your trips/question. Hope you found some great things to do.

  10. Salitre is on the beachfront in Arecibo, it is nice and close to home.
    But going to OSJ or San Juan is where you will find the “fine dining”, or at the resorts.

  11. Great info, thanks. My family and I, ages 9 through 70, plan a week’s trip in early September 2014. We will stay in San Juan. Will most of these activities be available around that time ?

  12. Yes, everything should be open and available.

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