Puerto Rico is the tropical oasis we escape to just about every winter. I absolutely crave the sunny beaches, latin culture, and laid back lifestyle Puerto Rico has to offer. Because I want everyone to be able to enjoy it as much as we do, I put together this guide to help you have the most amazing time in beautiful Puerto Rico.
For this US territory, Passports are not required, however vaccination cards or a negative covid test are currently required upon entry and will be required at restaurants and attractions.
For all restaurants and outings, plan ahead. Shops and restaurants can be pretty random, and will be closed on various days of the week. Service is generally slow on the island so give yourself time to sit back and relax and don’t let yourself get hangry. Quick is not a thing in Puerto Rico.
Where to Stay and Play:
An upscale beachfront area with high end hotels and restaurants (think Miami vibes!). Condado is close to San Juan and many of the tourist sites. Consider these hotels: Condado Vanderbilt, La Concha Resort, Olive Boutique Hotel
Viejo San Juan:
One of my favorite cities ever! El Morro (an old fortress), restaurants, shopping, blue cobblestone streets, nightlife, the home of the pina colada at Barrachina restaurant, all surrounded by a wide blue ocean makes it a beautiful place to stay and visit. Consider: Sheraton Old San Juan
A central beach town close to the airport. It has a more relaxed, quieter vibe than Condado and San Juan but is just a short drive away from the action. Consider the Fairmont San Juan Hotel and make a stop for brunch at Playa Papaya for some delicious french toast. El Alambique is another amazing restaurant option and worth going to right off the plane any time of day!
THINGS TO DO:
- Hiking at El Yunque National Rainforest – there are some really pretty trails and waterfalls you can actually get into! Don’t forget the bug spray. This is a fun day trip as you can spend hours hiking.
- Luquillo Beach – Luquillo is one of my favorite beaches on the east side of the island. Definitely try the yummy fruit infused ice drinks (“parcha” or passion fruit is my fav) and pina coladas. You can also buy typical Puerto Rican food at the local kiosks such as “pastelitos, puffed pastry filled with sweet or savory fillings.
- Kioskos at Luquillo Beach – All types of food, fun, and a happening ambience, it is literally a street of kiosk restaurants. It’s fun to go in the evening with a mix of locals and tourists. There’s everything from burgers to authentic Puerto Rican food. La Parilla is a great restaurant for lunch or dinner serving seafood and local faire.
- Excursions from Puerto Del Rey – Book a catamaran snorkeling trip and go island hopping! This is typically an all day trip and includes lunch and drinks.
- Trip to Culebra’s famous beach of Flamenco – Flamenco is one of the top beaches in the world. You can take an inexpensive ferry off of Fajardo that lasts about an hour each way or you can take a small plane at Ceiba Airport. My family typically likes to spend a few days at Culebra Beach Villas, basic but functional beachfront villas on Flamenco beach. Don’t forget to take some time to stargaze at night! If you make it to Culebra, make a reservation at Dinghy Dock for a nice dinner on the water.
- Viejo San Juan – Viejo San Juan comes alive on weekends with street vendors down Paseo Princesa on Saturday evenings. It’s the best time to go if you want a more “happening” feel. You can spend hours here, but I would recommend late afternoon when it’s not super hot, 3 or 4 PM. There are literally tons of great restaurants so just yelp whatever you are in the mood for. Options: Pincessa Gastrobar Paseo de la Princesa S/N San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901 (casual or fancy, but great place to sit and eat some churrasco!), Buns Burger Shop in San Juan (delicious hamburgers and fries!)
- Bioluminescent Bay Tour – Experience the famous glowing water through a kayak tour of the Bioluminescent Bay off the island of Vieques. I recommend booking the Fajardo ferry and AirBnB in Vieques for this special tour!