What to Do in Puerto Rico (28 Activities, Attractions & Places You Cannot Miss)

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As one of the largest islands in the Caribbean Sea, Puerto Rico has a lot to offer visitors. From sun-drenched beaches to remote tropical islands and diverse coral reefs, Puerto Rico can be a tropical dream for vacationers.

It’s a place for adventurers, water sports lovers, divers, and beach lovers and every day it’s possible to try new activities or to explore a new and ever more beautiful part of the island. There is truly no shortage of epic things to do in Puerto Rico. 

The island is home to some of the best-preserved forests in the Caribbean and the mountainous, rugged interior of Puerto Rico offers hikers and explorers an interesting escape from the beaches.

Culture lovers will find themselves at home in the cities, with the streets of old San Juan being colorful, historic and vibrant.

Anyone looking for good food or a party need look no further than Puerto Rico either, especially rum lovers, as the island is home to some of the world’s most favorite distilleries, including Bacardi.

There’s a lot of activities and attractions to experience on this Caribbean Island, so to help you plan your holiday, here’s our guide to the best things to do in Puerto Rico.

Don’t leave home without: Lonely Planet Puerto Rico (Travel Guide)

Puerto Rico Highlights Map

HOW TO USE THIS MAP: Above you’ll find a map of our highlights in Puerto Rico. Click on the top left of the map to find separate layers marking the route and points of interest. You can hide and show different layers, or click icons on the map to see the names of places we mention in this travel guide. “Star” the map to save it to your own Google Maps, or open the map in a new window for a larger version.

28 Best Things to do in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a large territory, and as such, there really is something for everyone here. There’s more than just the main island to explore, with several smaller islands within easy reach of Puerto Rico itself.

There are beaches, caves, and mountains to see, but don’t miss out on San Juan, the capital, as this is where the best cultural experiences and historical sights can be found.

1. Check Out San Juan

San Juan

San Juan is the vibrant, colorful and at times chaotic capital and largest city of Puerto Rico. This is the territory’s transport hub, the seat of government and most populated and bustling area.

This is where you can really see Puerto Rican life, the good and bad, and it’s where you will start your holiday on the island.

Sail the calm waters of San Juan Bay at sunset during a 2-hour catamaran cocktail cruise. Watch the island coastline glide by as the sun sinks toward the horizon.

Sip a complimentary rum punch or sparkling wine with your family and friends and listen as your captain points out landmarks like El Morro Fort, the Governor’s Mansion and San Juan Gate. 

If you are looking to experience the historic side of Puerto Rico you must check out these tours:

2. Wander Around Old San Juan

Old San Juan

San Juan is today comprised of many different districts, but the most interesting area for tourists, or at least for those looking to learn more about the history of the city and the people, is Old San Juan.

This is the oldest continually inhabited part of the island and is found separated from the rest of the city, on a small island off the coast.

It’s a wonderful, ramshackle place, full of museums and colonial architecture dating back to the early days of Spanish settlement.

Get a taste for the local flavor and culture of Puerto Rico on this small-group Old San Juan food tour featuring several local eateries.

Join your guide for a culinary exploration of island staples like plantains and sofrito, all with the colorful facades of the city’s oldest neighborhood as your backdrop.

If you are looking for a great walking tour, look no further than this Old San Juan Walking Tour. Explore the colorful buildings and charming streets of Old San Juan in a small group.

Your knowledgeable guide will help you discover the area’s key historic sites and gain new insight into Puerto Rican culture.

3. Go to El Morro

Things to do in Puerto Rico

El Morro is the most important sights to visit within Old San Juan. It’s a vast, stone fortress, that dates far back to the very early 16th century.

It’s the most historically significant building in Puerto Rico and is recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. If you will see just one of the historic attractions in Puerto Rico, make sure it’s El Morro.

Float past hundreds of years of history and picturesque scenery during a 2-hour sunset sailing excursion in Old San Juan Harbor.

As you sail, you’ll enjoy up-close views of Old San Juan sights like El Morro fortress, La Fortaleza, Paseo la Princesa and more, all set aglow by the fading late afternoon light.

If you are not into sailing and are looking for a tour with other activities and more catered to exploring by foot, check out the Old San Juan Half-Day Sightseeing Tour.

Explore the atmospheric streets, amazing architecture and intriguing history of one of the best-preserved Spanish colonial cities in the world on this half-day Old San Juan tour.

Old San Juan is simply stunning from the air, this 3-hour heli tour will give you views of San Juan that normal tourists don’t get to see.

4. Explore El Yunque National Forest

Things to do in Puerto Rico

Found in a large area of the island’s northeast, El Yunque is a beautiful area of the Caribbean rainforest. In fact, it’s the only area of the Caribbean rainforest protected by the US forest service.

There are many beautiful hiking trails, walks, waterfalls and scenery to explore and have fun activities within this exceptional area, and many people will visit Puerto Rico just to see this unique place for themselves.

Spend an adventurous half-day or full-day exploring Puerto’s most incredible natural wonders.

If you are interested in exploring in a small group setting instead of adventuring on your own, discover the natural wonders of El Yunque rainforest on this laid-back half-day exploration from San Juan.

Enjoy a walk to a beautiful waterfall, incredible views and see more than 240 species of plants and animals that call this sub-tropical habitat home. 

If you are looking to experience Puerto Rico’s great outdoors you must check out these tours:

5. Visit the Camuy River Cave Park

Rio Camuy Cave Park, the world's largest subterranean cave networks located in Puerto Rico.

The Camuy River Cave Park showcases to visitors one of the world’s largest subterranean cave networks.

This vast underground cavern stretches far beneath the surface of the island, and it’s possible to visit on guided tours that delve deep into this unique environment.

Get an insider’s look at two of Puerto Rico’s most massive attractions, the Arecibo Observatory and Rio Camuy Caves Park, on this 9-hour day trip from San Juan.

Descend inside a million-year-old cavern (one of the three largest underground river systems in the world) on your Camuy cave tour.

Then prepare for an out-of-this-world visit to the world’s largest radio telescope at Arecibo, a giant concrete bowl wedged in the hills of Puerto Rico’s northern coast.

6. Take a Trip to Vieques Island

Old tank on the beach on Vieques Island in Puerto Rico - Things to do in Puerto Rico

Located just a few miles off the eastern coast, Vieques is Puerto Rico’s second-largest island, although it’s still very much a small affair. It’s a spectacular place and the perfect destination for anyone looking for a quiet break.

Things here are much less developed, and the scenery and the beaches are raw and rustic. There are plenty of lonely stretches of white sand to explore as well as a large, protected wildlife area.

Take a Vieques Island day trip from Puerto Rico to ease the stress of figuring out your own itinerary.

This tour will take you to Fort Conde Marisol (the last fort built by the Spaniards in 1840), where you will learn about the history of Vieques and the impact of the Spanish/Americans on the island.

Then we will venture into the rainforest for a short stroll. After the beach, visit the dramatic Black Sand Beach to stroll along the shore & have close encounters with wild horses. 

Do you love beaches? If so you must check out these top tours:

7. Marvel at Mosquito Bay at Night

Mosquito Bay at Night on Vieques Island

Mosquito Bay is one of the untouched beaches on Vieques Island, but as well as being utterly spectacular, it’s also famous for the rare Bioluminescence that occurs here.

This strange and bright natural phenomenon is caused by organisms in the water. At night, you can see the entire waterfront can be lit up in a bright shade of blue. It’s a wonderful experience that’s found in a few other places around the world. This is truly one of the unique attractions you can see.

You can still enjoy activities here like paddling through the waters of the BioBay, a luminescent bay outside of Vieques, on a nighttime kayaking tour.

With provided kayaking equipment and instruction, simply follow a guide through the florescent waters and learn about this natural phenomenon.

These Bioluminescence tours are simply amazing and must be at the top of your must-do adventure list then visiting Puerto Rico.

8. Sample Some Bacardi Rum

Bacardi Rum in Puerto Rico

No trip to Puerto Rico can be complete without a trip to the local Bacardi Rum factory, which produces thousands of bottles of this internationally famous spirit for export around the world every day.

Raise a glass of the finest Puerto Rican rum during a 90-minute tasting session and distillery tour at San Juan’s world-famous Casa Bacardí.

Taste the diverse styles of rums in the Bacardí family as you sample a range of vintages, including reserve bottles not sold anywhere else.

You’ll also explore the rum-making process on a Bacardí distillery tour.

Interested in learning how to make some classic cocktails with rum? Enjoy a taste of the Caribbean with a 1.5-hour cocktail-making master-class at Casa Bacardí in Cataño, the Puerto Rican home of Bacardí rum. This one of the activities here that rum-lovers would definitely enjoy.

Sip a complimentary welcome cocktail, then learn to make classic cocktails like Cuba Libre, Mojito, and Daiquiri with a demonstration from an expert mixologist.

If your looking for more of a local experience you should check out these local farm tours:

9. Get Historical at the Museo de las Americas

Museum of the Americas' courtyard view, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, USA.

Puerto Rico has a fascinating history, so rather than just visiting for the beaches or the islands, you should take the time to learn more at the excellent Museo de las Americas.

Located in an old colonial-era army barracks in the historic part of San Juan, the museum hopes to promote multiple aspects of Puerto Rican heritage, culture, and history that are often overlooked.

Museo de las Americas has permanent exhibitions on traditional, indigenous folklore, conquest and colonization, and African heritage and history in Puerto Rico.

Looking to experience the historical side of Puerto Rico, check out these top tours:

10. Learn About Local Traditions at El Cemi Museum

Ancient carved figures Piedra Escrita in Jayuya Puerto Rico.

If you want to delve deeper into local culture and folklore, one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico is to visit El Cemi Museum. This unique museum is located in the mountainous town of Jayuya, right in the center of the island.

The museum’s focus is the Cemi, traditional indigenous artifacts said to hold Cemis – or spirits. You can discover more archeological finds in the museum as you learn about the often forgotten indigenous people of Puerto Rico.

Looking to experience the historical side of Puerto Rico, check out these top tours:

11. Visit the Indian Carvings at Cueva del Indio

Aerial view of Cueva del Indio. Rock formation. Hatillo. Puerto Rico.

If you have an interest in pre-Hispanic history, one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico is to visit the ancient Indian rock carvings at Cueva del Indio.

Located along the coast of Arecibo, the cave artwork dates back centuries. It is thought to have been produced by the indigenous Taino people who populated the island before the arrival of Columbus in the 15th century.

Looking to experience the Indian carvings at Cueva del Indio, check out these top tours:

12. Enjoy the Views From La Cueva Ventana

The Views From La Cueva Ventana window in Puerto Rico.

Also found in the Arecibo area is La Cueva Ventana, one of Puerto Rico’s most popular tourist destinations.

The Cave Window is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico; this large cave hewn into the rock face offers unparalleled views over the surrounding countryside.

There are 2-hour trips that allows you to just experience a slice of this amazing area or there are 6-hour trips that allow you to dive deep into this amazing area.

A short hike leads through the fields and up into the rocky hills, where you can enter this enormous cave. La Cueva Ventana is found inland, just off the highway leading from Arecibo.

13. Stargaze at the Arecibo Observatory

Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico.

Also located within the mountainous inland areas of Arecibo is the fascinating Arecibo Observatory. For many years, this was the largest telescope in the world, although it has since been surpassed.

The observatory has worked on many notable astronomical projects, including the SETI project, which searches for signs of alien life!

It’s a stunning sight in itself, and you can learn more about the history of the telescope and its projects at the visitor’s center.

Get an insider’s look at the Arecibo Observatory and Rio Camuy Caves Park, on this 9-hour day trip from San Juan.

14. Sunset Sail in San Juan

Sunset Sail in San Juan

One of the best things to do in Puerto Rico is to join a sunset sailing tour off the coast of San Juan.

Offering superb views over the Old Town of San Juan, as well as the iconic El Morro fortress, you can sit back as you watch the sunset over the Caribbean.

Enjoy a few drinks, some classic rum cocktails, and relax on the water after a long day of sightseeing.

15. Swim at El Charco Azul

El Charco Azul swimming hole - Pond at Patillas, Puerto Rico

One of the best things to do in Puerto Rico if you’re looking for a peaceful escape from the tourist crowds is to take a swim at EL Charco Azul.

This beautiful freshwater swimming hole is a verdant green and turquoise color, and you can jump in for a refreshing dip in the fresh water.

A short hiking trail leads through the forest, along the river, and opens up by this natural swimming hole in the jungle.

If you are looking to experience Puerto Rico’s great outdoors you must check out these tours:

16. Party at Ponce Carnival

Ponce Carnival - Puerto Rico

Puerto Ricans are well known for their love of a good fiesta, and every town and village across the island has its own unique celebrations throughout the year.

One of the best festivals – and one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico! – is held once a year in Ponce, in the south of the island.

Ponce Carnival celebrates the lead up to Ash Wednesday and the start of Lent. It’s a time to let loose and enjoy the festivities before the more somber religious period begins, in the build-up to Easter.

Expect music, street parties, parades, food, and plenty of drinks!

Before the party starts in Puerto Rico we suggest learning how to salsa dance by a local.

17. Visit Beautiful Flamenco Beach

Beautiful scenic Flamenco Beach with white sand and clear blue water on Caribbean island of Isla Culebra in Puerto Rico

No trip to Puerto Rico is ever complete without at least one day spent at the beach. One of the best beaches to visit is located on Culebra Island, just a short ferry ride away from the mainland.

Flamenco Beach is long, beautifully sandy, and drenched in sunshine for most of the year. The shallow water is protected by the bay, offering a perfect, calm area for swimming.

18. Explore Culebra National Wildlife Reserve

Culebra National Wildlife Reserve - one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the USA. Puerto Rico

Flamenco Beach is found bordering the equally spectacular climes of the Culebra National Wildlife Reserve.

This protected area covers coastline, forest, and coral reefs, and it actually has the distinction of being one of the oldest wildlife refuges in the USA.

There are empty beaches to hike to, nesting sea turtles to discover, and miles of outdoor scenery and beautiful vistas waiting to be explored.

Looking to experience Culebra and Flamenco Beach, check out these tours:

19. Isolate at Isla Culebrita

Culebrita, Puerto Rico Culebra Island

If Culebra Island is too big or touristy for you, take a boat trip across to Isla Culebrita, which is just off the coast. Little Culebra is peaceful, quiet, and full of wildlife.

It’s uninhabited by humans, but you can take a day trip here to escape the rest of civilization for at least a few hours!

20. Visit the Coast at Fajardo

A lifeguard post stands in front of a calm turquoise bay at Seven Seas Beach near Fajardo, Puerto Rico

One of the best things to do in Puerto Rico is to spend some time along the coast at Fajardo. This is Puerto Rico’s original beach destination, where you can find laid back resorts, lovely coastline, and plenty of great activities.

Fajardo is a great hub for day trips to the surrounding islands. From here, you can organize tours or take the local ferries across to Culebra Island and the many other Caribbean gems off the coast of Puerto Rico.

Fajardo is simply stunning, check out these popular tours:

21. Visit the Monkeys on Cayo Santiago

Monkeys on Cayo Santiago (Monkey Island) Puerto Rico.

Off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, you can find Cayo Santiago, a small island that is home to a large population of monkeys.

Otherwise known as Monkey Island, Cayo Santiago is completely ruled by the monkeys. Humans aren’t allowed to set foot on the island, only to cruise past in boats and watch the monkeys from afar.

It’s an important place for wildlife research, and a boat trip here will be an educational one.

Looking to experience Monkey Island (Cayo Santiago), check out these tours:

22. Visit Beautiful Cabo Rojo

Cabo Rojo Puerto Rico

You can enjoy the most beautiful coastal regions in Puerto Rico on the southwestern side of the island. Cabo Rojo isn’t as developed as the eastern coast, and it offers you the chance to really get back to nature.

There are several national parks and wildlife refuges, both on and offshore. Hike through the forest, lounge on the beaches, or snorkel the coral reefs.

The only way to experience Cabo Rojo is on these tours:

23. Scuba Dive Shipwrecks in Rincon

Tugboat wreck while Scuba Diving Shipwrecks in Rincon Puerto Rico.

Also on the western shore, you can visit the shipwrecks of Rincon, where snorkeling and scuba diving opportunities abound.

This was a treacherous area of the sea for Spanish galleons and shipping in centuries past, and many found themselves sinking on the coral reefs.

If you are looking to get into the water and go scuba diving in Puerto Rico you must check out these tours:

24. Explore Mayaguez

Architecture detail showing Roman influence with the particular Caribbean touch. University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez Puerto Rico.

Mayaguez is the hub for tourism along the west coast. Exploring this magnificent part of the island is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico.

Mayaguez is home to some intriguing museums and art galleries. It’s an excellent base for getting out along the coast and into the nearby national parks.

If you are looking to experience the historic side of Puerto Rico you must check out these tours:

25. Stroll Through Colonial San German

The Porta Coeli Church in San German, Puerto Rico is the oldest church in the Americas.

To see a different side of western Puerto Rico, take a trip to colonial San German. A visit to this charming provincial town is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico if you’re interested in history.

This was the second town to be founded by the Spaniards after their arrival in the 15th century.

Much of San German – especially the central area – has been remarkably well preserved, with colorful colonial buildings and cobbled streets just begging to be explored.

If you are looking to experience the historic side of Puerto Rico you must check out these tours:

26. Hike in the Rio Abajo State Forest

Rio Abajo State Forest hiking trail in Puerto Rico

If you’re looking for some excellent walking trails, one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico is to hike through the Rio Abaja State Forest. 

This forested area is found in the mountainous interior, offering rugged, challenging, yet rewarding hikes through unspoiled nature.

For the active travelers you need these tours:

27. Hike Guanica State Forest

Playa de Guanica (Gilligan's Island) in Puerto Rico - Guanica State Forest

Another great place for hiking in Puerto Rico is the Guanica State Forest. It’s located along the southern coast of the island. If you’re looking for a more off the beaten track state forest, hiking in Guanica is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico.

For the active travelers you need these tours:

28. Conquer Los Tres Picachos

The view while hiking up Los Tres Pcahos in Puerto Rico - The highest peak.

If you’re looking for an outdoor challenge, one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico is to tackle Los Tres Pcachos, the highest peak on the island.

Rising to just over 1000 meters, there are superb views over the entire island from the summit. It’s a tough, sweaty hike, but the vistas are well worth the struggle to the top!

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Short Guide to Puerto Rico


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About Lina Stock

Lina is an award-winning photographer and writer that has been exploring the world since 2001. She has traveled to 100 countries on all 7 continents. Member: SATW, NATJA, ATTA, ITWA

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1 thought on “What to Do in Puerto Rico (28 Activities, Attractions & Places You Cannot Miss)”

  1. My friends and I are planning to go on a trip to Puerto Rico and try their infamous snorkeling trip service because this will be a great way to spend a nice and exciting vacation. Well, I’m glad that you also shared here the advantage of visiting the San Juan bay where I and my girls can enjoy a 2-hour catamaran cocktail cruise. You’re also right that it would be a great idea to have a glimpse of the early 16th century by visiting the El Morro.


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