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Old Tower Fort in Puerto Rico.

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Aibonito Calle Bandera

Puerto Rico

Scented by slow-roasted pork and sea breezes, colored by swashbuckling history, this sun-washed medley of Spanish and American influences is a fusion of Caribbean delights.

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El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque National Forest is one of Puerto Rico’s crown jewels with nearly 29,000 acres of lush, mountainous terrain scattered with waterfalls, rushing…

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Playa Flamenco

Stretching for a mile around a sheltered, horseshoe-shaped bay, Playa Flamenco (Flamenco Beach) is not only one of Culebra’s best beaches, it also makes a…

palm trees at Playa Tortuga (Turtle Beach) on Isla Culebrita, Puerto Rico

Isla Culebrita

If you need a reason to hire a water taxi, Isla Culebrita (Culebrita Island) is it. This small island, just east of Playa Zoni, is part of the national…

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Bahía Mosquito

Locals claim that the magnificent Bahía Mosquito (Mosquito Bay), a designated wildlife preserve located on the island of Vieques, about 2 miles east of…

Beautiful Gozalandia Waterfall in San Sebastian Puerto Rico at daylight

Central Mountains

Sometimes a little piece of paradise lies in store in the least obvious of locales, and Gozalandia is San Sebastián's: a flurry of dramatic cascades,…

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Cabezas de San Juan Reserva Natural

El Yunque & East Coast

A nodule of land on Puerto Rico’s northeast tip, this Para La Naturaleza–run reserve protects the Laguna Grande bioluminescent bay, rare flora and fauna,…

Puerto Rico, Old San Juan, section of El Morro Fortress

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

A star of Old San Juan, brooding El Morro sits atop a headland, deterring would-be attackers. The 140ft walls (some up to 15ft thick) date to 1539 and it…

travel planner puerto rico

Castillo San Cristóbal

The city's second major fort is one of the largest Spanish-built military installations in the Americas. In its prime, it covered 27 acres with a maze of…

Top picks from our travel experts

The 12 best things to do in puerto rico.

Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes

Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes

The ancient ceremonial center of Tibes is one of the Caribbean's most important archaeological sites, due largely to evidence found here of pre-Taíno…

travel planner puerto rico

Cañón de San Cristóbal

The St Christopher canyon is so unexpected – both in location and appearance – that it takes many a breath away. The deep green chasm seemingly drops out…

La Taberna Lúpulo

La Taberna Lúpulo

This beautiful old corner bar has been updated with Puerto Rico's best selection of artisan beers, including Ocean Lab and Boxlab. Pull up a stool to…

Casa Blanca Museum and Garden (Juan Ponce de Leon's family residence).

Casa Blanca

First constructed in 1521 as a residence for Puerto Rico’s pioneering governor, Juan Ponce de León (who died before he could move in), Casa Blanca is the…

Freshly Harvested Raw Coffee Beans

Hacienda San Pedro

San Pedro is a small working coffee farm with an attached museum and cafe/tasting room where you can get a fascinating insight into the coffee-making…

Isla Verde Beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Playa Isla Verde

With countless tanned bodies lounging or flexing their biceps around the volleyball net, this urban beach basks in its reputation as the Copacabana of…

La Factoría

La Factoría

The so-named Hijos de Borinquen (or Sons of Puerto Rico) has three distinct zones in one shabby-chic space – a cool cocktail lounge, wine bar and swinging…

11 free things to do in Puerto Rico

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Plaza Las Delicias

Within this elegant square you’ll discover Ponce's heart as well as two of the city’s landmark buildings, Parque de Bombas and Catedral Nuestra Señora…

Lifeguard hut, Balneario Boqueron beach, Boqueron, West Coast, Puerto Rico

Balneario Boquerón

Fanning out immediately south of Boquerón town, the Balneario Boquerón arguably ranks among the best public beach facilities in Puerto Rico. The mile-long…

La Princesa

La Princesa

Built against the outside wall of the city, this long, gray and white building, once a jail, now houses the headquarters of the Puerto Rico Tourism…

Playa Ocean Park

Playa Ocean Park

Protected by offshore reefs and caressed by cooling seasonal trade winds, this wide sweep of diamond-dust sand is a favorite of locals. But this…

Side view of bronze statue by the water in Old San Juan.

Plazuela de la Rogativa

This diminutive gem of a square with lovely views over the bay is home to an interesting, stylized bronze sculpture of a former bishop of San Juan and…

View of the San Juan Bay from Paseo de la Princesa.

Paseo de la Princesa

Conjuring up a distinctly European feel, broad Paseo de la Princesa is a 19th-century esplanade just outside the city walls. Lined with antique…

El Moro fort walls on Puerta de San Juan.

Puerta de San Juan

One of the three remaining gates into the old city, the lofty red portal known as the Puerta de San Juan is a popular photo stop. Spanish ships once…

White-washed facade of Cathedral de San Juan.

Catedral de San Juan Bautista

While San Juan's cathedral is smaller and less flamboyant than many Spanish churches, it retains a simple elegance. The first church on this site was…

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Faro de los Morrillos

North Coast

Within the Parque Histórico de Arecibo complex, this lighthouse dates from 1897 and is an excellent example of Spanish neoclassical architecture. There's…

La Fortaleza

La Fortaleza

Guarded iron gates mark the imposing La Fortaleza. Dating from 1533, it's the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the western hemisphere. The…

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The perfect 6-day puerto rico itinerary.

travel planner puerto rico

So, you’re planning a trip to the breathtaking Caribbean Island of Puerto Rico! I’ve got a 6-day Puerto Rico itinerary that’s packed with sandy beaches, flavorful food, rich history, and lush tropical landscapes.

I love Puerto Rico! I’ve visited multiple times, especially when we lived on the East Coast because they had such great direct flights! I took a little mother-son trip to Puerto Rico and a girls trip. It’s a great destination for families and friends.

travel planner puerto rico

Get ready to explore the island’s vibrant culture and natural wonders. Your journey begins in the enchanting Old San Juan. Then you’ll venture into the heart of the island, discovering the wonders of El Yunque National Forest. And that’s just the beginning!

From the best beaches to the captivating beauty of El Yunque and beyond, get ready to experience the very best of Puerto Rico. Below you’ll find my Puerto Rico itinerary, packed with everything you’ll need to know.

travel planner puerto rico

Here’s a quick overview of my Puerto Rico Itinerary

Puerto rico itinerary day 0: arrive in puerto rico, puerto rico itinerary day 1: explore old san juan, puerto rico itinerary day 2: arecibo, isabela, & aguadilla, puerto rico itinerary day 3: el yunque national forest, puerto rico itinerary day 4: luquillo, fajardo & night kayaking.

  • Puerto Rico Itinerary Day 5: Vieques

Puerto Rico Itinerary Day 6: Culebra

Save time and get this easy puerto rico itinerary.

travel planner puerto rico

Don’t have a lot of time to plan? Check out this incredible open-and-go Puerto Rico itinerary that will walk you through your whole trip with expert advice and pro tips!

Things to Know About Puerto Rico

Before European contact, the island was inhabited by the Taíno people. In 1493, Columbus claimed it for Spain, and it became a Spanish colony. The mix of indigenous, Spanish, and African influences laid the foundation for Puerto Rican culture.

In 1898, the US gained control of Puerto Rico after the Spanish-American War. This marked the beginning of a unique relationship. As of 1917, Puerto Ricans are US citizens, but they don’t have full voting representation in Congress. The island’s political status has been a topic of debate, with many advocating for statehood or even independence.

This relationship with the US deeply influences Puerto Rican culture.

English and Spanish are both official languages, and you’ll find a fusion of American and Puerto Rican traditions. You can also see this influence in Puerto Rican food and music.

In recent years, Puerto Rico faced challenges, including the devastating Hurricane Maria in 2017. The storm caused widespread destruction and highlighted issues like disaster response. The recovery process has been ongoing. There are continued efforts to rebuild communities, strengthen infrastructure, and ensure preparedness for future natural disasters.

Today, Puerto Rico is open and ready for visitors! While exploring, remember to respect the island’s history and the strength of its people. Then you’ll have an enlightening and heartwarming experience in Puerto Rico!

travel planner puerto rico

Travel Tips for Visiting Puerto Rico

  • English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas. However, you’ll have a much better experience if you know some basic Spanish phrases and can communicate with locals!
  • The official currency is the US Dollar (USD), so you won’t need to exchange money if you’re coming from the States.
  • Puerto Rico has a tropical climate, so pack lightweight and breathable clothing. Don’t forget reef-safe sunscreen, a hat, and sunglasses to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Stay hydrated, especially in the warm climate. It’s a good idea to drink bottled or purified water. Also, bring insect repellent for the mosquitoes!
  • Tipping is customary in Puerto Rico. In restaurants, it’s customary to tip around 15-20% of the bill. Also, you should consider tipping for services like taxis and tour guides.
  • Puerto Ricans are known for their warmth and friendliness. Politeness and respect are important in interactions. And it’s common to be greeted with a handshake or a kiss on the cheek.
  • Public transportation is limited outside of San Juan. You might want to rent a car if you plan to explore different parts of the island. Just be prepared for traffic in urban areas. And roads can be narrow and winding in rural areas.
  • While Puerto Rico is known for its stunning beaches, not all of them are suitable for swimming. Both the north coast and east coast have more swimming beaches. These areas are generally sheltered from the strong Atlantic currents and waves found on both the west coast and south coast. Only swim in designated areas and be cautious.
  • Puerto Rico uses the same electric outlets as the United States, so you won’t need a converter if you’re coming from there.
  • Be sure to try traditional Puerto Rican dishes like mofongo, arroz con gandules, and all the amazing seafood options! Also, explore local markets or book a food tour for the best experience.

How to Get Around Puerto Rico

When planning your Puerto Rico itinerary, how you get around will depend on a few things. First, think about what you want to do. Also, be honest about how comfortable you are with the different ways to get around!

If you want to avoid renting a car, your best bet is to stay at a resort on the north coast or in San Juan. Puerto Rico has public transportation between the capital and the surrounding towns. But buses and trains are limited outside the metropolitan area.

For exploring the rest of this beautiful island, your best bet is to rent a car! If you’re comfortable with backroads and traffic, you’ll be okay. A rental car is great because you can go at your own pace. Plus, it’s kind of the only way to see many parts of the island.

If you’re renting a car, there are two companies we prefer to use: Rental Cars and Expedia Cars. We have had no issues with them and have been able to find the best prices available.

If you don’t want to drive, you can use taxis or services like Uber and Lyft. They work well in big cities like San Juan. You can walk or rent bikes in Old San Juan. The streets here are safe for exploring and everything is within walking distance!

If you want to visit islands like Vieques or Culebra, there are ferries that will take you there. But you can’t take rental cars off the main island. Guided tours that include transportation are the best option here. You’ll also find places on both islands to rent scooters, mopeds, UTVs, and bicycles.

Where to Stay in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico isn’t very large, but you’d be surprised at how much time you need to see it all! Where you make your base will largely determine your experience. For the sake of this itinerary, we’ll start in Old San Juan.

While there are many wonderful areas to stay in Puerto Rico, you might want to consider one of these 3 popular locales:

travel planner puerto rico

San Juan, the capital, boasts the historic Old San Juan with its cobblestone streets, colorful buildings, and famous forts. Staying here means easy access to historic sites, busy plazas, and a variety of restaurants and shops. We stayed in this hotel, which was a quick taxi ride or about a 20 minute walk to Old Town San Juan and we really loved it. Great beaches, restaurants, pools, and views.

travel planner puerto rico

Condado, located in San Juan, offers a more modern vibe with high-rise hotels along beautiful beaches. It’s a great choice if you want to be near the ocean, trendy bars, and upscale dining options. We stayed in a vacation rental on the beach in Condado and it was great for a lot of beach time.

travel planner puerto rico

Fajardo on the northeast coast is known for its luxury resorts and proximity to natural attractions like El Yunque National Forest and the Bioluminescent Bay. It’s a great base for both relaxing and exploring nature. If you’re looking for a really amazing resort in Puerto Rico, El Conquistador is my favorite !

travel planner puerto rico

Surfers and those seeking a more low-key vacation will discover paradise in Rincon. Renowned for its impressive waves, this coastal town is a surfer’s haven. The fantastic surf conditions make it a prime destination for riding the waves and experiencing laid-back Puerto Rican beach culture. If you want a really unique experience, you can book a container home in Rincon.

What to Do in Puerto Rico in 6 Days

This is why you’re really here: your 6-day Puerto Rico itinerary! Below you’ll see that each day is split up to explore a different region. You could easily adjust this itinerary for Puerto Rico to fit your schedule.

You’ll fly into Puerto Rico that evening so you can start your first full day fresh tomorrow! Most people fly into the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) in Isla Verde, San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico.

After you land, you’ll either pick up your rental car (the kiosk is right outside of the luggage claim) or grab a car service. Then you’ll head to your hotel in San Juan and check in.

travel planner puerto rico

Begin your Puerto Rican journey by stepping onto the charming cobblestone streets of Old San Juan! Dating back to the early 16th century, this is a wonderfully preserved historical district. As you walk through these narrow lanes, you’ll see colorful colonial buildings and stunning balconies that have witnessed the island’s evolution.

Start your Old San Juan itinerary with a classic Puerto Rican breakfast at an iconic eatery like El Meson on Calle San Jose or Café Finca Cialitos on Calle de San Francisco. Just keep in mind that if you’re here on a Sunday morning, there will be a crowd! (This is when everyone comes to the historic old town for breakfast before mass.)

travel planner puerto rico

Next, the highlight of your morning is Castillo San Felipe del Morro. This 16th-century fortress served as a crucial coastal defense and has quite a commanding presence on the coastline. Spend some time exploring its halls and corridors and enjoy panoramic views of the ocean.

travel planner puerto rico

Continue your historical exploration by visiting 17th-century Castillo San Cristobal. One of the largest forts in the Americas, it took over 150 years to complete! Your visit here will provide insight

After a meal and a rest, your exploration of Old San Juan continues with a mix of historical sights and colorful streets! Get lost in all the colors of the colonial houses that line the roads, a visual testament to Puerto Rico’s history.

Take time to appreciate the street art that decorates the iconic Calle Fortaleza and enjoy some shopping if you wish. This popular commercial street is lined with art galleries, gift shops, cafes, restaurants, and more!

A visit to the Plaza de Armas brings you to the heart of Old San Juan. This central square has been a gathering place for centuries, offering a glimpse into local life in a historic setting. Across the street, you can also visit the beautiful San Juan Cathedral, the second oldest cathedral in the Americas. Its historic site features stunning architecture that makes it a must-see.

travel planner puerto rico

Next, don’t miss the chance to see La Fortaleza, an important piece of Puerto Rico’s past. This historic mansion holds the distinction of being the oldest continuously used executive residence in the Western Hemisphere. While you’re here, over to Casa Blanca. Once home to the family of Ponce de León, it’s a fascinating link to the island’s colonial history.

Now you’ve spent almost an entire day immersing yourself in the island’s heritage! These streets and sites reveal the best of Puerto Rico’s past and present, making your visit a memorable experience.

Round out your day in Old San Juan with one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico, trying delicious Puerto Rican food! If you prefer being shown the best local places to eat, you can find lots of great Puerto Rico tours like  this sunset food tour .

travel planner puerto rico

On this one, you’ll meet your guide back in Plaza de Armas and join in on a walking tour and up to 5 stops at local eateries. While you walk, your guide will share interesting facts and historic information about Old San Juan. He’ll guide you to authentic restaurants to try a mix of modern and traditional dishes, as well as rum cocktails!

After your meal, your food tour will end with a relaxing stroll along Paseo de la Princesa, a picturesque promenade lined with trees and historic buildings. It ends at the Raices fountain, a stunning fountain backed by even more breathtaking views of the sunset over the water. What a way to round out your day in Old San Juan!

On the second day of your Puerto Rico itinerary, you’ll spend your time perusing the island’s northwestern shore! Say goodbye to Old San Juan as you begin your morning in Arecibo, which is about 50 miles or an hour west by car.

travel planner puerto rico

Head into Arecibo’s town center to experience authentic Puerto Rico and enjoy some good food. Stroll through its charming streets and visit local shops and authentic eateries. A hidden gem that every visitor should visit is the Centro Cultural de Arecibo (Cultural Center). It’s housed in the historic Casa Luanga in downtown Arecibo.

Then, visit Cueva del Indio nearby. This is a popular coastal cave complex near Arecibo that showcases ancient Taino petroglyphs. For a small fee, you can take guided tours to see the historic etchings and enjoy ocean views. Movie fans will recognize this site from the movie,  Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides !

Another 45-minute drive west along Puerto Rico’s northern coast and you’re in the charming coastal town of Isabela. It’s the perfect place to unwind by the water or explore interesting geological formations along the coast.

travel planner puerto rico

You can spend at Jobos Beach, renowned for its quality surfing conditions and laidback vibe. The best thing about Puerto Rico beaches? The waterfront restaurants and beachside kiosks! You can also enjoy music or rent chairs and surfboards, right off the beach. Or explore the rock formation next to the beach and find Pozo de Jacinto, a striking ocean cavern.

Or you can head to Guajataca Beach, where you can see the historic Guajataca Tunnel. You can explore some old Spanish structures and enjoy beautiful murals here. The beach is sandy and quiet but keep in mind that it’s pretty isolated.

There’s also Shacks Beach on the west side of Isabela, known for its AMAZING shore diving opportunities. This is another popular sandy beach with artisan shops and a few restaurants within walking distance. But the big draw here is massive coral reefs with sea turtles and other marine life waiting to be discovered!

In less than 30 minutes, you’ll be in Aguadilla, another popular beachfront town on the west coast of Puerto Rico. Start the evening off by exploring Aguadilla’s dining scene, known for fresh seafood and local flavors.

travel planner puerto rico

When in Aguadilla, there’s one place that you have to go, and that’s Crash Boat Beach! This beach is famous with locals and visitors alike for its sunsets and relaxed vibe. Enjoy a stroll along the pier or go snorkeling in the calm turquoise waters. You can also explore the beachside bars and food kiosks.

Begin your third day in Puerto Rico with an early start, embarking on an adventure to El Yunque National Forest! As the only tropical rainforest within the U.S. National Forest System, El Yunque promises a unique and invigorating experience.

travel planner puerto rico

The El Portal de El Yunque Visitor Center is about an hour east of San Juan along Road 191. You can book reservations in advance or purchase them here. Arrive early to make the most of your time. From here, your morning will be well spent hiking to one of the many natural pools for a cool dip!

We did a zipline tour in El Yunque and it was a blast for both me and my son. We did this tour .

If it’s open, La Mina Falls is worth the  moderate 1.4-mile out-and-back hike ! This popular trail meanders through the lush tropical rainforest, full of jungle flowers and the occasional glimpse of local wildlife. When you reach La Mina Falls, you can enjoy a swim in the pools below the beautiful falls! (This trail is currently closed with plans to reopen soon.)

travel planner puerto rico

Another popular hike is the  easy .7-mile Angelito Trail  that takes you to the Rio Mameyes and the calm waters of the Las Damas pools. It’s a great way to spend the morning with a short hike through the rainforest to enjoy a swim.

Heading back to the trail, you’ll spend your afternoon in El Yunque exploring different trails and viewpoints in the forest. But first, enjoy delicious local food at a roadside food joint!

Along Road 191 you’ll find different food stands, restaurants, and gift shops where you can pick up souvenirs. Grab some fresh coconut water, hot empanadas, or the best mofongo you’ve ever had.

Back on the road, check out open trails and roadside waterfalls, like the beautiful La Coca Falls, Yokahu Tower, or Juan Diego Falls. If you’re up for another hike, the Torre Mount Britton Trail is rewarding. At the end of the  1.6-mile out-and-back trail , you can climb up into the tower for unbelievable views of the El Yunque National Forest from above!

Heading back to San Juan for the evening, tonight you’ll discover the city’s best nightlife! After freshening up at your hotel in Old San Juan, take a cab to Calle Loiza near the neighborhood of Condado.

Calle Loiza is where you’ll find every kind of restaurant you can think of, including sushi, Korean BBQ, fusion, tapas bars, traditional Puerto Rican food, and more! It’s also where to go for fun bars and cute lounges, as well as local watering holes. And along the way are fast-food joints and some nice street art.

If you prefer a quiet evening in an elevated setting where you can reflect on the beauty you experienced in El Yunque, head to the heart of San Juan’s sleek Condado neighborhood. Along Magdelena Street, you’ll have your pick of rooftop wine bars and high-end restaurants. Or enjoy the chic rooftop bar and lounge scene and fine dining options at the hotels along Condado Beach.

Morning + Afternoon

On the fourth day of your Puerto Rico itinerary, it’s all about the eastern side of the north shore! Leave San Juan before dawn to spend the day at Luquillo Beach, located about an hour away. With its soft sands framed by swaying palm trees, this beach offers the perfect way to start your day in paradise.

travel planner puerto rico

Arrive early to witness the sunrise. Near the shore, calm waters and gentle waves make Luquillo Beach a favorite spot for swimming and water activities. And further out, the waves provide excellent opportunities for surfing, windsurfing, jet skiing, and more!

Take advantage of the beach’s amenities, including rental equipment for water sports like kayaking and paddleboarding. There is a fee for using this public beach, but it’s just a few dollars. You should also carry cash on you for use of the restrooms, which goes towards their maintenance.

You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas or bring your own! When you get hungry, explore the popular food kiosks just off the beach. Known as “kioskos,” these colorful stalls offer a variety of local dishes. The kioskos are also a big reason this beach is popular with visitors to Puerto Rico.

Luquillo Beach offers the perfect mix of palm tree-framed sand, recreational opportunities, and a happy atmosphere. It all sets the tone for a relaxing morning by the sea! Whether you’re seeking water adventures or a peaceful escape, this coastal gem promises an authentic Puerto Rican experience.

After a full day on Luquillo Beach, your next stop is Fajardo on the east coast. Arriving before sunset, you’ll take a  2-hour small group night kayaking tour of the Bioluminescent Bay . This is considered one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico! You’ll get to witness the magical phenomenon of the water glowing at night due to microscopic organisms.

travel planner puerto rico

Meeting your guides just south of the mangrove forest, your group will paddle through a canal and into the bioluminescent bay. Your guides will share interesting facts about the wildlife and flora that make their home in the mangrove forest of Puerto Rico.

Then, as the sun sets and everything gets dark, the enchanting bay comes to life with a blue-green glow! As microscopic organisms are agitated, like when your paddle disturbs the water, the bay lights up, creating an otherworldly display. The experience is nothing short of magical. You can even dip your hand into the water, and watch as the ripples transform with the light!

While visiting Laguna Grande, remember that the ecosystem is delicate. Eco-friendly practices are essential to preserving this natural wonder, such as using reef-safe sunscreen that could harm the organisms. (You can check out  for a good guideline on what makes a sunscreen reef-safe and eco-friendly.)

Puerto Rico Itinerary Day 5: Vieques Island

Note: For many people planning a Puerto Rico itinerary, 4 days is more than enough time to experience everything the main island has to offer. Now you have a good feel of San Juan and the surfer towns of the east coast. You also experienced the north shore beach towns and tropical rainforest of El Yunque!

travel planner puerto rico

However, if you’re able to extend your trip to 6 days, these final 2 days will take you to 2 popular islands off the coast of PR- Vieques and Culebra! If you follow this itinerary, I suggest spending tonight on Vieques.

There is a wide range of accommodations right in the heart of the town of Vieques. Close to the ferry, shops, restaurants, and the beach are hotels and vacation rentals for everyone! The  Sea Gate Hotel  is a great option for both couples and groups of 6. Or book a vacation rental  like Casa Carmen  for a larger group.

Check out of your hotel and catch a ferry or short flight to Vieques, a beautiful island off the coast of Puerto Rico. To reach Vieques from the main island, you can take a short flight from the airport in San Juan or travel by ferry from Ceiba.

Keep in mind that rental cars aren’t allowed off the main island, so return yours today. Once you’re on the island, you’ll need to find a way to get around, as the island is too big to be walkable. There are places to rent UTVs, scooters, and cars. Or you’ll need to depend on local taxis.

travel planner puerto rico

Travel to the island of Vieques. You can get to Vieques by plane for around $60-100 or take a ferry from Ceiba for $3. But you’ll need to take a taxi or rent a car and drive to Ceiba first.

If you want to take a day trip to Vieques, you can book a snorkeling tour to the island here.

travel planner puerto rico

Vieques is known for its serene beaches, untouched coastline, and rugged natural attractions. This afternoon is your chance to explore the lovely and quiet beaches of Vieques!

My favorite beach on Vieques is Sun Bay Beach. You can catch a taxi from the ferry which will take about 15 minutes (they’ll most likely be at the ferry terminal and airport, or you can call Vieques Taxi:  787-741-TAXI), or public vans that say “Vieques y Sus Barrios” (Vieques and her neighborhoods).

You can take one of these vans almost anywhere for around $5. This is one of the most beautiful beaches I’ve ever seen. The water and were perfect. There were the perfect amount of trees to give us some shade. And you will most likely see some wild horses* hanging out on the beach.

* Note: the “wild” horses in Vieques aren’t really wild, but are owned by locals and are allowed to roam freely around the island.

On the south coast, you’ll find isolated white-sand cove beaches like Playa La Plata and Playa La Chiva. Bring your own snorkel gear or just go for a swim in the calm, blue waters. Playa Caracas is another popular white-sand beach where you’ll see a lot of wild horses!

You can also spend your afternoon at the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. Travel its diverse landscapes, from mangrove forests to salt flats, spotting native wildlife and bird species along the way.

The preserve is also home to the historic Fort Count Mirasol, a historic Spanish fort from the 1800s. You can explore the well-preserved structure, which now serves as a museum of the island’s history and cultural heritage.

After you’ve had some beach time, you can walk or taxi over to Esperanza for some lunch. There are several restaurants here along the shore and they usually take turns being open. We ate at Duffy’s and it was amazing. They had incredible fish tacos and house made hummus. Be sure to try the Canoa. I can’t even explain it and I couldn’t find it anywhere else in Puerto Rico, but it was amazing!

As evening descends upon Vieques, you can enjoy dinner in town, sampling more local food. Afterward, continue your evening outdoors.

If you’re interested in stargazing, head south to Playa Grande, where minimal light pollution provides excellent views of the night sky. Vieques is becoming a go-to for astrotourism, offering clear starlit skies because of exceptionally low light pollution in the region.

You won’t find any stargazing tours in Puerto Rico at this time, but you can find plenty of quiet places on the island to enjoy the night sky! Even heading out onto your hotel patio or relaxing at an outdoor restaurant can offer rewarding stargazing experiences on moonless nights.

Vieques is probably most famous for having one of the best bioluminescent bays in the world, Mosquito Bay. Book your bio bay tour for the evening. You may want to check your tour times and ferry/flight times. You may want to consider staying the night in Vieques. You can book the Mosquito Bay kayak tour here .

travel planner puerto rico

Culebra is another tiny island in Puerto Rico that is definitely worth a visit! I fell in love with this place. So much to do on such a small island.

travel planner puerto rico

On the final day of your Puerto Rico itinerary, you’ll check out of your hotel or vacation rental and take a ferry or a short flight to Culebra. The ferry will take you about 3 hours but will cost less. Flights are much more limited and costly, but if you can get one, they only take about 15 minutes.

travel planner puerto rico

I flew to both Vieques and Culebra and they are both fun and short flights. If you are scared of small planes…just know that it’s going to be a very small plane!

This small island is easy to navigate as it’s so small, but I recommend renting a car or a golf cart! We rented a golf cart, which was fine and fun, but we did get stuck in a rain storm, which was not quite as fun! If I had it to do over again, I’d probably rent a jeep.

travel planner puerto rico

Another stunning island known for its incredible beaches, you’ll head straight to Flamenco Beach to spend the day. This beach has often been on “best beaches. inthe world” lists.

You’ll find all kinds of things to do here. Take a leisurely swim in the calm ocean or go snorkeling to see colorful tropical fish and coral reefs. The expansive beach provides ample space for sunbathing. And you can use picnic tables under pavilions and palm trees for shade. There are little stalls as you walk into the beach where you can rent equipment.

If you’re interested in a scenic hike, the trail Flamenco Point rewards you with panoramic vistas of the coastline. Along the way, you can see the historic painted tanks of Flamenco Beach!

travel planner puerto rico

Bring cash for your beach day. There’s a parking fee, and you’ll need cash to use the restrooms as well. Also stock up on food and water before you head to the beach, since there’s not much out here.

Alternatively, you could book a  full-day catamaran tour  to the Culebra islands from Fajardo! This would allow you to see Culebra’s Flamenco Beach and Culebrita Beach on Culebrita without worrying about all the planning and transportation. Just meet your guide at the Puerto Del Rey Marina in Fajardo. This tour includes a buffet lunch and unlimited drinks.

Keep in mind that whether you book a tour or explore Culebra on your own, you’ll need to get transportation back to San Juan from Fajardo.

After such a rewarding last day in Puerto Rico, wrap things up with a farewell dinner back in San Juan! Reminisce about the memorable experiences from your trip while you enjoy a traditional Puerto Rican meal with ocean views before you fly home tonight. You’ll find a variety of beachfront restaurants at Isla Verde Beach and Condado Beach.

FAQ on Planning a Trip to Puerto Rico

How many days do i need in puerto rico.

To experience the highlights, plan a 5-to-7-day itinerary for Puerto Rico. You can explore San Juan, its historic sites, and beautiful beaches. Then you’ll also have time to venture into other regions like El Yunque Rainforest, Vieques, or Culebra for a well-rounded visit.

What is the best month to visit Puerto Rico?

The best months to visit Puerto Rico are from November to April. This is the region’s dry season when the weather is nicest. Peak tourist season falls between December and February. But this is when it’s the most crowded with the highest prices for accommodations. Shoulder months like November and April offer a balance of good weather and fewer crowds.

When should I avoid visiting Puerto Rico?

It’s a good idea to avoid visiting Puerto Rico during the hurricane season. It typically runs from June to November, with peak hurricane activity being in August and September. Puerto Rico has made great strides in recovery and preparedness. But it’s best to plan your visit outside of the hurricane season to ensure a more enjoyable and hassle-free experience.

Is it worth going to Puerto Rico for 3 days?

If you only have 3 days in Puerto Rico, I suggest focusing on San Juan! A 3-day Puerto Rico itinerary would give you time to experience the charm of Old San Juan and enjoy local cuisine. You can also visit historic sites like El Morro Fort and Castillo San Cristobal and relax on the city’s beautiful beaches.

Do you need a car in Puerto Rico?

In urban areas like San Juan, you can walk or use taxis, ridesharing, and public transportation. If you’re staying mainly in touristy spots, you might not need a rental car. But to explore outside of San Juan, you’ll need to rent a car. It’s the only way to visit remote beaches, rainforests, and Puerto Rico’s hidden gems outside of tours with transportation.

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The Perfect Puerto Rico Itinerary

san juan in Puerto Rico

Plan your dream Puerto Rico itinerary with this detailed guide to beautiful beaches, buzzy cities, underground caves and amazing activities.

Looking for your own little slice of paradise? Puerto Rico is a very special Caribbean island, with pristine beaches flanked with palm trees, colourful corals surrounded by kaleidoscopic shoals of fish, and lush rainforest packed with incredible wildlife.

puerto rico mountains

There’s so much to see and do on this beautiful island – the only problem is that you’ll have a hard time fitting everything into your Puerto Rico itinerary!

Whether you like lounging on the beach catching some rays, or racing around on a quad bike, you’ll find plenty of fun activities in Puerto Rico. The island is also steeped in fascinating history, and boasts some excellent museums. Plus, there’s colonial architecture to explore, a vibrant music scene to enjoy and some of the best slow roast pork specialities you’ll ever taste.

However, most people come here to experience the magnificent landscape and idyllic coastline – you could say Puerto Rico is Mother Nature at her best.

san felipe fort san juan

So, are you looking for some Puerto Rico travel advice? Trying to decide what to put on your Puerto Rico itinerary? To help you decide, I’ve rounded up the best things to do in Puerto Rico.

9 Amazing Things to Do In Puerto Rico

1. take a stroll around old san juan.

Old San Juan is one of Puerto Rico’s finest cultural attractions, and there’s no better way to spend an afternoon than by exploring the historic centre of this picturesque district on a walking tour. The vibe today is relaxed and laid back, but this old town has a history of turmoil, which has left its mark on the historic buildings and the ravaged fortress, Castillo San Felipe del Morro.

old san juan, puerto rico

You can hear stories of intrigue, smuggling and revolt as you explore this impressive castle by the sea – one of the most popular things to do in San Juan. It’s also an excellent place to sample some traditional Puerto Rican cuisine.

The sights, sounds and smells of Old San Juan are simply charming, making this a must on any Puerto Rico itinerary.

old san juan, puerto rico

2. Take A Trip To The Deserted Icacos Island  

Lush, green and surrounded by pristine Caribbean waters, Cayo Icacos is a beautiful destination for a day trip. This completely deserted island just off the Fajardo coastline is surrounded by postcard-perfect shimmering turquoise waters and lush reefs, offering some of the best snorkelling in Puerto Rico.

icacos island puerto rico

There’s no camping permitted, and you’ll need to organise your own transport by boat, which will involve some planning. An easy way to make the trip is to book onto a tour like this one , which takes you to the island on a stylish catamaran.

A trip to Cayon Icacos is a very special addition to any Puerto Rico itinerary, and one of the best ways to experience a real taste of the Caribbean.

3. Go Scuba Diving in Paraguera

Paraguera is one of Puerto Rico’s hidden gems – a beautiful coastal town near one of the best coral reefs Puerto Rico has to offer. Get your Puerto Rico snorkelling fix at the Paraguera Wall. With colourful corals and incredible biodiversity, it’s one of the best places to observe marine life around the island.

travel planner puerto rico

Paraguera is also one of only three places in Puerto Rico (along with Mosquito Bay and Luaguna Grande) where you can observe bioluminescent phytoplankton. These tiny microorganisms light up when disturbed, creating incredible visual displays in the water after dark.


Seeing the glowing waters of the bioluminescent bay at night is simply unforgettable and easily one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico.

4. Visit El Yunque National Forest

The only tropical rainforest within the US National Forest Service, El Yunque is one of Puerto Rico’s most popular attractions. This enchanting forest covers 28,000 acres on the north eastern part of the island, and receives a whopping 120 inches of rain a year.

el yunque national forest puerto rico

The lush, green vegetation sustains a wonderful diversity of animals, insects, and birds, including the legendary coquí frog, an important symbol of Puerto Rican culture and identity.

After a few days on the beach, El Yunque is the perfect place to cool down, as it is dotted with natural pools where you can take a refreshing swim. To get the full experience, why not book onto an El Yunque Rainforest and Waterslide Tour ? This tour is filled with unforgettable adventures in the wilderness which you’re guaranteed to want to add to your Puerto Rico itinerary.  

la mina waterfall el yunque national forest

5. Go Horse Riding At A Private Ranch

Hiking is a popular activity in Puerto Rico, but for something different, how about seeing the sights on horseback? This fantastic tour will take you deep into the lush countryside around San Juan where you can go wildlife spotting from the back of your very own trusty steed!

It’s a lovely way to venture through the lush forests and take in the views of the towering mountains east of San Juan, all while learning more about the traditions of the island. Whether you’re an expert jockey or a complete novice, this is one of the most unique and fun things to do in San Juan.

6. Hang Out On The Beach

Puerto Rico is known for its beautiful coastline. It’s home to miles of pristine white sand beaches where you can easily spend a day (or a week!) paddling in the warm turquoise waters and topping up your tan.

If you’re looking for the best beaches for paddling and snorkelling, head to Seven Seas Beach in Fajardo. With dreamy palm trees, golden sand, and a lovely sheltered bay where you can swim in peace, it’s a great option for a beach day in Puerto Rico. Cabo Rojo is another popular option, especially for snorkelling.

cabo rojo puerto rico

Perhaps the best beach in Puerto Rico is trickier to reach! It’s located on the outlying island of Culebra, nestled in a sheltered bay with shallow water and jaw dropping scenery. It’s definitely off the beaten path, but if you go, it’s likely to be the highlight of your Puerto Rico itinerary!

culebra puerto rico

7. Visit the Camuy Cave Park

One of Puerto Rico’s most popular attractions is the Camuy River Cave Park – an extensive cave network stretching for 286 acres underground. Shaped millions of years ago by the relentless course of the River Camuy, this impressive subterranean system is decorated with stalactites and stalagmites, occasionally opening up into vast caverns and sinkholes.

camuy river cave park

Step away from the lush green forests above ground and descend into a completely different world, where you’ll encounter strange wildlife and beautiful rock formations. This fabulous site should definitely be on your Puerto Rico itinerary.

8. Get Your Thrills On A Jet Ski or ATV Tour

Life in Puerto Rico is pretty relaxed and easy going, but if you’re looking for some thrills during your stay, you’ll get them on one of these brilliant tours. Finding the pace of life too slow? Hop on board an All Terrain Vehicle and enjoy a few carefree hours zipping around the fabulous Puerto Rican landscape on this popular ATV tour !

Alternatively, head out to the northern coast and tour the coastline all the way through the San Jose Lagoon to the beach of Isla Verde. I’d recommend taking a look at this awesome jet ski tour – definitely one of the most fun things to do in Puerto Rico if you’re looking for a little adventure!

jetski in puerto rico

Finally, if you’re still looking for that adrenaline high, head to the Toro Verde Adventure Park, where you can enjoy an epic 2.5km zip-line known as ‘the monster’. Wow, that sounds like fun!

9. Visit Cueva del Indio

Although Puerto Rico’s architecture is dominated by its Spanish colonial history, the island has a much longer cultural legacy. The Cueva del Indio is an ancient cave that contains a large number of petroglyphs made by the indigenous inhabitations of the island, prior to the period of Spanish colonisation.

cueva del indio

Combine this fascinating spot with a trip to the ‘Taino Stonehenge’, an impressive stone circle covered in even more petroglyphs, which functions as a sacred ceremonial site for the indigenous Taino people. Peel back the layers of Puerto Rico’s rich history, and uncover a new side to this remarkable island.

Where To Stay In Puerto Rico

Villa montana beach resort.

With colonial-style décor blended with rustic touches, luxury furnishings, and some of the best views on the island, the Villa Montana Beach Resort is our pick of the resort options in Puerto Rico.

villa montana beach resort

The site itself covers three miles of beautiful golden beach, and offers everything you’ll need for a blissful stay in Puerto Rico. The friendly staff can organise tours and daily activities like scuba diving or horse riding, and the dining options are varied and simply delicious!

Without doubt, Villa Montana Beach Resort is one of the best places to stay in Puerto Rico.

Hotel El Convento

If you’re looking for a unique, quirky hotel in the heart of San Juan, look no further than Hotel El Convento. Built in 1646, and once the site of an important convent, the building was converted into a smart and stylish boutique hotel in the 1990s.

hotel el convento

With colourful décor, comfortable rooms and bags of character, this is one of the most unique places to stay in Puerto Rico. It’s also perfectly located for exploring the city, within walking distance of all the major sites.

With a rooftop pool and a lovely shady courtyard, it’s also a wonderful place to take refuge on a hot day. A swim here is one of the best things to do in San Juan!

Blue Horizon Boutique Resort

Located on the island of Vieques, just off the coast of Puerto Rico, the beautiful Blue Horizon Boutique Resort is one of the most popular luxury accommodation options on the island.

blue horizon

The ocean views are breathtaking, and you can admire them in style as you sip a cocktail in the beautiful infinity pool at sunset. Rooms are tastefully decorated with comfort as a priority, and the local staff can organise all kinds of tours and excursions on and around the island.

It’s no wonder that this historic boutique resort is one of the most popular places to stay in Puerto Rico.

What To Pack For Puerto Rico: Useful Items

If you’re planning your trip, you should think about more than just clothing when you start packing. Here are a few items I’d recommend adding to your suitcase…

Insect repellent – There are plenty of really good insect repellents like this one . If you’re travelling with kids you might want to buy a specific children’s insect repellent too.

insect repellent

Bite relief – I usually take an after bite / anti-itch cream like this , that helps to soothe any bites. I also swear by this amazing Bite Away Pen , which sends a small electric shock to the itchy part of the bite. It takes a bit of getting used to at first (and sometimes hurts a tiny bit), but it does work. I’ve done a full review of the item (as it goes everywhere with me!!) so feel free to read more here . 

Travel towel – A fast-drying microfibre towel like this one will come in handy on your trip. These are great not only for when you fancy a swim, but also when you want to sit down on the ground or to wipe your sweaty face on a humid day!

microfibre towel

Sun cream – It’s important to apply suncream throughout the day. I’d recommend finding a brand which isn’t too heavy on chemicals, or is almost totally natural, like this one made by Sun Bum . 

sun bum sun cream

Sunglasses – It’s important to protect your eyes when you visit a holiday destination like this one. I’d recommend investing in some high-quality UV protected sunglasses. I’ve owned a pair of these Ray Bans for a few years now and love them!

Ray Ban

Sun hat – You’ll definitely want a sun hat like this to protect yourself on all of those sunny days!

sun hat

After sun or aloe vera – Don’t forget some soothing cream incase you do burn. I really like this one made by Ultrasun . It’s lightweight and feels lovely on your skin.

Ultrasun after sun

Rain jacket – Be prepared for those sporadic rain showers. As you won’t need it for warmth, I’d recommend a lightweight waterproof jacket that packs down small. Something like this would be perfect.

lightweight womens waterproof jacket

Umbrella – I’d also recommend an umbrella for rainy season. I’d been looking for a super compact option for ages, and finally found this one which fits in my small handbag and is nice and sturdy.

Daypack backpack – I used a small backpack for day-to-day adventures, which could fit a water bottle, camera, sun cream and bug spray. I also took a small shoulder bag to use for going for dinner in the evenings. If you’re looking for something nice and small, lightweight, water-resistant and that will fit all your essentials, I’d recommend this daypack . It’s got some very handy zip-up pockets too!

lightweight daypack backpack

Reusable water bottle   – I always recommend packing a reusable water bottle for travel. Even if you can’t drink the tap water, it means you can top up from giant bottles or water coolers rather than buying lots of plastic bottles. Personally I’d recommend the  Chilly’s water bottles . I’ve got a few in different sizes and they are excellent quality! I also really like these bottles with straws . They’re really easy to drink from, they have a strap, never leak and hold a good volume.

Chillys water bottles are great for travel

Power bank – It depends how much you use your phone on holiday, but I used mine a lot during my trip, snapping photos and videos along the way. A portable battery pack is a great idea so you don’t have to worry about running out of charge at an important moment.

I have a few made by Anker and they’re great quality and have lasted for a long time. This is the one I’m using at the moment , which is really small (similar size to my phone) but stores lots of charge and has a fast charging capability. 

Plug adapter – I pack this universal travel adapter for all of my travels. It charges multiple items at once, using plugs or USB and can be used anywhere in the world. It’s one of my fave travel gadgets!

Dry bag – I’m really happy I invested in a dry bag like this . It’s made from a thick plastic and is totally waterproof. These dry bags are perfect for adventures on the water, visiting waterfalls, or if you think it’s going to rain heavily. I’d recommend a small one for your phone and camera gear, or a larger one if you want to use it as your main bag for an activity.

Dry bag

Waterproof phone case – Similarly, if you want to take your phone out and about in the water, I’d recommend getting a waterproof phone case. There are quite a few to choose from, but I’d recommend reading the reviews! You need this to protect your phone and be 100% watertight after all! I bought these Moko cases myself and my partner and they’ve been great. We’ve used them on several trips snorkelling and to waterfalls now, and no leaks!

waterproof phone case

I hope this guide helps you plan the perfect Puerto Rico itinerary. What’s at the top of your list?

Just a reminder, if you are flying to the States,  you will need an ESTA USA . This is an electronic visa that you can easily apply for by filling out an online form. In just a couple of hours you’ll receive your ESTA without having to visit an embassy or consulate.

Whether you’re looking for a one week or 14-day trip, I hope this post has given you plenty of ideas for things to do in Puerto Rico. Have an amazing time!

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Chloe Gunning

With a passion for food, fun and adventure, Chloe is the content creator behind one of the UK's top travel blogs Wanderlust Chloe. From volcano boarding in Nicaragua, to sailing around Sicily and eating her way around Japan, her travels have taken her to some of the coolest spots on the planet. Named Travel Influencer of the Year in 2022, Chloe regularly works with a number of tourism boards, producing inspirational travel content across multiple platforms. Find out more about Chloe here.

1 thought on “The Perfect Puerto Rico Itinerary”

I could spend a year in Puerto Rico and never run out of stuff to do. So much adventure and beauty to explore in many places!

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The Ultimate Puerto Rico 5 & 7 Day Travel Itinerary

Puerto Rico is a compact island that can easily be traversed in a week if you’re in a hurry. That said, putting together the perfect Puerto Rico itinerary isn’t always an easy task.

You can hit the highlights in as little as a 4 day itinerary. Plenty of people also plan 5 day itineraries with most people staying in Puerto Rico for one week.

We’d recommend staying longer that if you want to spend more time getting off the beaten track or spend a few extra days lounging on the beaches. Trust us, it will be worth it.

Not only does it have beautiful tropical weather, but the island is easy to access from the states and for US citizens, you don’t need a passport to visit.

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

Putting Together A Puerto Rico Itinerary

Table of Contents

Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico

Things to do in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is hot, sunny, and tropical for the entire year; no matter when you visit the island, you’re guaranteed warm weather. 

Puerto Rico has a wet and dry season, with the wet season seeing a high chance of hurricanes (devastating hurricanes hit the country in very recent history).

The wet season falls between April and November, while the dry season falls between December and March.

Peak season is December through to February when winter sun-seekers start to arrive. Compared to other Caribbean islands , it’s never too busy on Puerto Rico, except over Christmas and New Year.

The wet season is great if you don’t mind risking thunderstorms and a potential hurricane. Prices are low, and the crowds are incredibly thin on the ground. 

Getting Around Puerto Rico

Things to do in Puerto Rico

The quickest way to travel around during your Puerto Rico itinerary is to rent a car or driver or take taxis. The taxi network is extensive and easy to use, with little hassle when it comes to prices.

However, if you’re on a budget, this can be an expensive way to get around, so we’d recommend taking shared taxis between towns. These help you split the costs, and they are surprisingly easy to use and find. 

If you’re looking to save even more money, you can take the public buses. These are more limited, of course, but can get you between major destinations on the cheap.

In San Juan, you can use the urban rail network to get around. 

If you’re traveling out to Culebra Island or Vieques, you’ll need to take a local ferry or join an organized boat tour. You could also enjoy sunset sailing cruises or catamaran tours to get around coastal areas. 

Need to book a car for your road trip adventure? We use Discover Car Hire for comparing car prices to find the best deal. They search both local & international rental companies.

Ideal 5 Days in Puerto Rico Itinerary

Old San Juan street view.

While Puerto Rico seems like a small country, many people are surprised at how spread out the best sites in the country are. This means that you need some time to see the best of Puerto Rico.

If you’re combining your visit to Puerto Rico with other islands or hopping on a cruise, chances are you will probably only spend 5 days in Puerto Rico. This is the absolute least amount of time you need to hit the highlights.

5 Day Puerto Rico Itinerary Overview:

5 day itinerary Map

  • Day 1: Arrive in San Juan
  • Day 2: Old Town San Juan
  • Day 3: El Yunque Rainforest
  • Day 4: Fajardo
  • Day 5: Fajardo
  • Day 6: Depart San Juan

I will not lie, this is going to be a rushed and shallow overview of what Puerto Rico has to offer. However, you will get a good taste of what the island is famous for.

El Morro Fort San Juan

San Juan is the island’s capital, and the perfect start and endpoint for your Puerto Rico itinerary.

San Juan’s Old Town is packed full of colonial history dating back as far as 1521, but there’s much more to see in the other, less trodden parts of the city too. 

Take a tour of the Barcardi Rum Distillery, lounge on nearby beaches, or take in the museums and historical sites of the Puerto Rican capital. 

Things To See in San Juan:

  • Old Town San Juan (See below for more info)
  • Castillo San Felipe del Morro: This imposing fortress overlooking the harbor was one of the first permanent structures built by the Spanish in the 16th century when they first began colonizing Puerto Rico. It remains a potent image of power and colonialism to this day.
  • Bacardi Rum Distillery Tour: World famous Barcardi Rum can trace its lineage to San Juan, where it’s still distilled and bottled in the capital. Take a rum tour to learn about this iconic alcoholic spirit and sample a few cocktails! 
  • Lounge at Condado Beach: You don’t have to travel far to find some of the best beaches to add to your Puerto Rico itinerary. One of the most beautiful beaches you can visit near the city is Condado Beach, a popular hangout for locals and tourists. 
  • Museo de las Americas: The finest and most encompassing museum in San Juan is the excellent Museo de las Americas. Set in a colonial-era army barracks, you can delve back into every era of local history. 
  • Stroll along Calle Fortazela: The most colorful street in San Juan is Calle Fortazela, renowned for its street art and hanging umbrellas. Take a stroll to breathe some color into your Puerto Rico itinerary.

Old Town San Juan

Whether you are staying outside of the main city of San Juan or within the city limits, you must not miss a visit to the spectacular Old Town .

This area of the city is preserved since its founding by the Spanish colonists in 1521 and you can wander among the narrow lanes exploring huge forts that sit right up against the ocean.

Just taking the time to wander in and out of the old buildings along some of the blue cobblestone streets that still function from the 16 th century, will be a highlight of your time in Puerto Rico.

Be sure to go inside at least 1 of the main forts and if you have time, check out the museum.

Looking for lodging in this fantastic area of Old San Juan? There is no shortage of great accommodation choices for every budget in this area. Two favorites of ours are  Hotel El Convento and Condado Vanderbilt Hotel.

Things To See in Old Town San Juan:

  • Alcadia: San Juan’s City hall, built-in 1602.
  • The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture
  • Casa Blanca: The western end of Calle San Sebastián, Ancestral home of the Ponce de Leon family, now a museum.
  • La Fortaleza: The western end of Calle Fortaleza, Oldest governor’s mansion in continuous use in the New World.
  • San Jose Church: (1532) The second oldest church in continuous use in the New World.
  • San Juan Cathedral: 153 Calle Cristo. (1540) Burial site of Ponce de Leon.
  • San Juan Gate: Traditional entrance to San Juan.
  • Ballaja Barracks: Museum of Americas highlights colorful folk art.
  • La Casa del Libro: Museum of the art and history books through five centuries.

Las Croabas recreational area in Fajardo, well known for its beauty and great food.

The coastal tourism hub of Fajardo is the best base in Puerto Rico for exploring the eastern shoreline and the beautiful offshore islands of Culebra and Vieques. 

You’ll find excellent hotels and resorts, beautiful beaches, and easy access to the dense, jungle scenery of El Yunque National Forest.

Things To See in Fajardo:

  • El Yunque National Forest (see below for more info)
  • Culebra Island: Take a short ferry ride away from Fajardo, and you’ll find one of the must-visit destinations on your Puerto Rico itinerary. Culebra Island is full of beautiful beaches (Flamenco Beach is the most famous), fantastic nature reserves, and colorful coral reefs.
  • Culebrita Island: Little Culebra is a deserted island paradise that makes for a wonderful escape from civilization. Enjoy the beaches and take in the diverse underwater world surrounding Culebrita Island. 
  • Vieques: Another ferry ride or boat trip away from Fajardo takes you to the spectacular tropical climes of Vieques, one of Puerto Rico’s most popular islands. As well as beaches and lovely island scenery, Vieques is famed for its mangroves and bioluminescence.   (See more below)
  • Cay Santiago: Otherwise known as Monkey Island, this island isn’t home to any humans – but is home to a huge population of monkeys that are being studied!

El Yunque National Park

El Yunque National Park

If you like nature and are looking to get away from the rush of the city or the sun of the beach, then head inland to the only rainforest registered with the National Park Service in the United States .

You can arrange tours that will take you to the best sights, waterfalls and swimming holes of the park on a day trip from San Juan. Or you can rent a car and explore on your own.

You could spend days in the park checking out the many hiking trails and hidden waterfalls. Sights you shouldn’t miss on a visit to the park include the Sierra Palm Forest, Mt Britton Tower, the Dwarf forest and La Mina Falls.

Spend an adventurous day exploring two of Puerto’s most incredible natural wonders on this full-day excursion to hike in the El Yunque Rainforest and kayak at the island’s famed Bioluminescent Bay.

This Puerto Rico outdoor adventure also includes round-trip hotel transport, professional guide, and national park fees.

Nighttime Dip in a Bioluminescent Bay

There are three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico and it was of the main highlights for a visit to this island paradise. What causes it?

This natural phenomenon is caused by oceanic plankton that comes near to the shore and then lets off an ultramarine illumination when the water is disturbed.

The water is best experienced more than 6 days after a full moon for the best illumination.

The best ways to experience the bio bays include snorkeling, swimming, and kayaking through the plankton filled waters.

The closest and most popular place to have these experiences is in Fajardo, the closest bio bay to San Juan.

Fajardo is a small city and in Puerto Rico located in the east region of the island, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, north of Ceiba and east of Luquillo.

Fajardo’s beaches are bounded by calm, clear teal water ideal for snorkeling, scuba diving, and stand-up paddleboarding.

Day and Nightly trips are offered by kayak by local companies who give educational tours about the Bioluminescence.

You can also spend your day’s island hopping. Near Fajardo, are the great Islands of Icacos, Palominos, Palomino, and Diablo. 

If you are looking for a great place to stay in Fajardo consider the Las Casitas Village, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. Boasting a private beach and rave reviews about their amenities and great views.

Ideal 7 Day Puerto Rico Itinerary

View of ocean towards San Felipe del Morro from Castillo de San Cristobal with castle wall and grass fields in between.

7 Day Puerto Rico Itinerary (One Week) Overview:

7 day itinerary Map

  • Day 6: Ponce or Arecibo
  • Day 7:Ponce or Arecibo
  • Day 8: Depart San Juan

Ponce, Puerto Rico, main square in the middle of summer.

Head to the southern shoreline to escape the tourist crowds and soak up the local cultures and traditions. Ponce is Puerto Rico’s second-largest city; it’s a hub for art, music, food, and much more. 

The annual Ponce Carnaval is one of the best events that you could add to your Puerto Rico itinerary if you can time your visit right. 

Things to See in Ponce:

  • Ponce Carnaval: In the week that leads up to Ash Wednesday (the day that Lent starts, before Easter), Ponce hosts Puerto Rico’s most exciting festival. Ponce Carnaval is legendary. For a week, you can party, dance, eat, and enjoy the vibrant parades and performances of the Ponce locals. 
  • Museo de Arte Ponce: Delve into the local art scene as you explore the galleries and exhibits of Puerto Rico’s most popular gallery. 
  • Hacienda Buena Vista: Head into the countryside to visit this historical, colonial-era coffee plantation and learn more about history, agriculture, and culture in Puerto Rico in the 19th century. 


Arecibo Observatory in Arecibo, Puerto Rico.

Along the northwest coast of Puerto Rico, you can explore the coast, mountains, and countryside of the Arecibo region. 

Known for its dramatic outdoor scenery and exciting adventure travel opportunities, Arecibo is a great place to get closer to nature. 

Things to See in Arecibo:

  • Camuy River Cave Park: (See more below)
  • Cueva Ventana: This vast cave is well worth the hike through the jungle to get here. Known as the Cave Window, you have breathtaking views over the surrounding valleys from the entranceway. 
  • Cueva del Indio: This weather-beaten, coastal cave is home to ancient cave drawings composed in past centuries by the now lost indigenous Taino culture. There’s little left of Taino culture today, so this is one of the best archeological sites to visit on your Puerto Rico itinerary. 
  • Arecibo Lighthouse: Enjoy spectacular views over the windswept coastline of Puerto Rico from the iconic Arecibo Lighthouse, a historical monument dating back to 1898. 
  • Arecibo Observatory: On a tall hilltop in the highlands, you can visit what was once the most powerful telescope on the planet. Learn more about astronomy at the intriguing visitor’s center located by the Arecibo Observatory. 

Camuy River Cave Park

Camuy River Cave Park

The Camuy Caverns are part of a large cave system in Puerto Rico. The caverns are part of a large network of natural limestone caves and underground waterways carved out by the 3 rd largest underground river in the world, the Río Camuy.

Discovered in 1958, there are at least 10 miles of caverns, 220 caves and 17 entrances to the Camuy cave system. Only a small part of the cave park is open to the public.

The 268-acre park that was built around the cave system features tours to some of the caves and sinkholes and is easily one of the most popular natural attractions in Puerto Rico.

Tips for Planning Your Puerto Rico Itinerary

Costs and budget.

Things to do in Puerto Rico

As Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, the US Dollar is the primary form of currency.

Cash is widespread, and there are plenty of ATMs and banks in the towns across the island (including several branches of US banks).

Credit or debit cards aren’t so widely excepted outside of the tourist areas, so always carry cash when you can. 

There can be significant differences in prices and costs for travelers. Public transport can cost just a few dollars for a cross-island trip, but a private taxi from a hotel to San Juan could cost upwards of USD 25 for short journeys. 

Local food (try the Lechon!) is cheap, but again, expect to pay a premium for restaurant meals in hotels or tourist locales.

Accommodation is limited in scope and mostly aimed at midrange travelers upwards, rather than budget travelers .

Expect to pay more than 100 UD per night for decent accommodation (this will increase exponentially in peak season at resorts). 

Safety in Puerto Rico

How Safe is Puerto Rico?

Your Puerto Rico itinerary should come off without a hitch because it is a very safe tourist destination.

Petty theft and crime do exist though, especially in poor neighborhoods in San Juan and tourist destinations. Be vigilant on the beaches, and always look out for your belongings. 

The reality is that there’s no more danger here than there is anywhere in the USA.

The only major danger comes from natural disasters, which, sadly, can be fairly common.

The island has spent some time recovering from devastating hurricanes and frequently gets rattled by earthquakes, so keep an eye on the news and the weather when you’re visiting.

Where to Stay in Puerto Rico

Where to Stay in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has accommodation suited for almost any level of budget or any style of travel. From real budget options like Hotel Melia Ponce , backpackers hostel  Mango Mansion , or luxury resorts like Dorado Beach-Ritz Carlton Reserve .

The majority of the accommodation can be found in San Juan, generally in the areas overlooking the beaches of the city’s foreshore, giving easy access to both Old San Juan, the beach and transport to other parts of the island.

Puerto Rico is a large place though and there are plenty of other options around the territory, and if you prefer a quiet stay, it may be best to look further afield from San Juan. 

Read reviews and check prices with our Hotel Search Engine , that gives you the best hotel deals found on the web. Our search engine pulls results from all of the major booking places, including Expedia, Hotels, Booking and more. All the options, all the deals, all in one place and just for you.

More on the Caribbean:

  • 28 Bucket List Things to do in Puerto Rico
  • 7 Exotic Places to Travel Without a Passport
  • Roatan Honduras: Everything to Know Before You Go
  • 9 UNREAL Things to do in Caye Caulker, Belize
  • 21 Bucket List Things to do in Antigua
  • 40 Bucket List Things to do in Barbados
  • 25 Bucket List Things to Do in Cuba
  • The Perfect Cuba Itinerary: Two Weeks in Cuba
  • The Only Guide to Roseau Dominica You Need
  • THE Guide to Surfing in Jamaica

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Travel planning resources, 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

3 thoughts on “The Ultimate Puerto Rico 5 & 7 Day Travel Itinerary”

If you are driving from San Juan to Ponce you should detour when you reach Salinas east towards Guayama. You will see the most beautiful Plaza of the island and a Catholic Church with profound French influences. It is worth spending one to two hours around this town.

We are looking to come in March. Is the island ready for tourists after the hurricane? Also any idea when El Yunque will be open? It sounds so amazing!

Hi Jen, I can’t say for sure. I would recommend contacting the Puerto Rico Tourism Board to get up to date information on the current situation in the island. I know a lot of humanitarian trips are underway at the moment, but I am not 100% sure on the statue for tourism. Cheers!

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The Ultimate 7 Day Itinerary for Puerto Rico

Pinterest Pin for 7 days in Puerto Rico itinerary and guide.

Puerto Rico is truly the ideal island for travelers! Although Puerto Rico is a small island, just 100 by 35 miles, it is packed full of beautiful places to see and fun activities to do. The incredible beaches alone are more than enough reason to visit PR, but the island really has so much more to offer. One week in Puerto Rico is a great amount of time to be able to explore the island and stay in (at least!) two beautiful towns. Ready to plan your trip to PR? Keep reading for an epic Puerto Rico 7 day itinerary.

Puerto Rico 7 Day Itinerary

Days 1-3: san juan.

When visiting Puerto Rico, most travelers will fly into San Juan. This is the largest airport on the island serving the vast majority of flights. 

San Juan is also one of the most famous and popular areas of Puerto Rico, not surprisingly as it’s the capital. In San Juan you’ll find great bars and restaurants, beautiful beaches and the picturesque neighborhood of Old San Juan – the oldest part of the USA. 

When visiting San Juan there are a few options for neighborhoods to stay in, depending on what you value most as a traveler. The two most popular areas for tourists are definitely Old San Juan and Condado.

Old San Juan

Old San Juan is my favorite part of San Juan. This neighborhood is a tiny island separated from the rest of the city. Don’t worry, it’s still very easily accessible by car, foot, scooter, etc.

Old San Juan is a colorful neighborhood with Spanish colonial style buildings, cobblestone streets and tons of fun things to do and great places to eat!

The one downside to Old San Juan is that it’s not beachfront, although there are beaches nearby. All of the beaches in Puerto Rico are public , so you can go to any of the beaches in the nearby Condado area.

Hotels in Old San Juan

  • 352 Guest House Hotel Boutique
  • Palacio Provincial  – Adults Only
  • Villa Herencia Hotel
  • Hotel El Convento

The colorful streets of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

If you’re looking for beachfront resorts and an overall “beach vacation vibe,” then Condado is the neighborhood for you. Its main street, Ashford Ave, is filled with hotels and restaurants and there’s plenty to do nearby.

From Condado, when the weather is nice, you can walk to Old San Juan in 45ish minutes. The walk is scenic and there are places to stop for breaks along the way. Otherwise, Ubers are inexpensive and the ride to Old San Juan is about 10 minutes. 

Hotels in Condado  

  • La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort
  • Condado Vanderbilt Hotel
  • Caribe Hilton  – at the very end of Old San Juan, 7 minute Uber to the downtown, walkable to Condado.

Pool area at the Caribe Hilton Hotel, San Juan.

Day 1: Check into Your Hotel and Explore Old San Juan

Wander around old san juan.

After arriving in Puerto Rico, I recommend dropping your luggage off at your hotel and starting to explore Old San Juan. Just wandering around the colorful streets, sipping a coffee and taking in the views is the perfect start to any PR trip. 

Old San Juan is a small neighborhood, but there is a lot to do and see! Be sure to check out my post all about the best things to do in Old San Juan , but a few highlights not to miss on your first day include:

  • Drinking a delicious Puerto Rican coffee 
  • Touring El Morro Fort
  • Having a Piña Colada at Barrachina

Exploring the streets of Old San Juan.

Grab Lunch at a Local Cafe

I love that Old San Juan has so many wonderful cafes that are perfect for breakfast and lunch. Many of these cafes serve up fresh, delicious food that pairs perfectly with a strong Puerto Rican coffee.

A few of my favorites include

  • St. Germain Bistro & Cafe (especially great for vegetarians)
  • Chocobar Cortes (chocolate focused menu)

Take a Walking Tour

Depending on what time you arrive in Puerto Rico, I definitely recommend taking a walking tour of Old San Juan to learn more about the neighborhood, its history and its culture. There are both daytime and sunset tours.

Even if you’ve already walked around Old San Juan on your own, a guided tour is a really interesting way to learn more about the city’s history and culture.

Walking Tours of Old San Juan

  • El Morro Fort Entry Ticket & Old Town Walking Tour
  • Old San Juan Walking Tour (without El Morro)
  • Old Town Sunset Walking Tour

Some tours include entrance and a guided tour of the famous El Morro fort . If your tour doesn’t include entrance, I highly recommend taking the time to visit on your own. 

El Morro fort is one of the most famous and historical buildings in Puerto Rico. This fort was built over 500 years ago by the Spanish and was later used by the US during WWII. Now, visitors can tour the inside of the fort, which is designated as a National Historic Site. This means you can enter for free if you’re a National Parks Pass holder!

El Morro Fort, Old San Juan.

Have a Traditional Puerto Rican Dinner

While in Puerto Rico there are a few dishes you definitely need to try! One of the most famous is mofongo (the unofficial dish of Puerto Rico) but you’ll also want to try mallorcas (fried, sweet bread), alcapurrias (deep fried meat fritters), bacalaítos (fried cod fritters) and empanadillas (fried turnovers with a variety of fillings) – just to name a few. 

Perhaps most importantly, don’t miss out on the passion fruit juice (jugo de parcha) – it’s one of my favorites. Passion fruit mojitos are also a great option, if you’d prefer a cocktail.

While there are many restaurants that serve great Puerto Rican food in Old San Juan, a few of my top picks include:

  • Café el Punto
  • El Jibarito (no vegetarian options besides side dishes)
  • Barrachina (touristy, but famous for their Piña Coladas)

Vegetarian mofongo.

Enjoy a Drink at the Top Rated Bar in the Caribbean

Old San Juan is home to the #1 bar in the Caribbean, La Factoría . This fun bar features six different bars, all connected by hidden (and sometimes not so hidden) passageways. 

Each of the six bars has a different vibe, but they’re all fun. You’ll find a low-key cocktail style bar, one all about dancing, and so on. There’s really something for everyone and it’s definitely worth a visit. 

Keep in mind that if you want to visit all six bars, plan to go to La Factoría after 11pm. Before that, some of the rooms may be closed. 

Day 2: Go on an Adventure to El Yunque Tropical Rainforest

Start your day with a coffee and pastry .

To start your first full day in San Juan, grab a Puerto Rican coffee and quesito pastry (cream cheese pastry) and get ready to go to the tropical forest!

If you’re staying in Old San Juan I recommend:

  • Cafe Cuatro Sombras
  • Bien Papayas  

In Condado I recommend: 

  • Barista Squared 
  • Chocobar Cortes

Tour El Yunque Tropical Rainforest

El Yunque tropical forest, located about one hour from San Juan, is the only tropical forest in the US! Every year this tropical forest gets over 100 billion gallons of rain. It’s a fantastic place for nature lovers as well as anyone who enjoys a good hike or swim in a rocky river. 

While you can drive to El Yunque on your own, I highly recommend going on a guided tour. This way, you’ll have an expert guide to teach you about the abundant plant and wildlife, as well as to take you on the best hikes and to the best swimming spots. 

Tours to El Yunque

  • El Yunque National Rainforest: Nature Walk and Beach Trip (combo trip to Luquillo Beach)
  • Day Trip to El Yunque Tropical Rainforest from San Juan

El Yunque Rainforest views, Puerto Rico.

El Yunque is also home to amazing natural rock water slides that are a ton of fun to visit. Often these tours don’t officially go into El Yunque, but instead are in rivers right on the forest’s outskirts. 

Natural Waterslide Tours

  • El Yunque Rainforest and Waterslides Day Trip
  • El Yunque Rainforest & Natural Waterslide

El Yunque rock waterslides and waterfall hike.

Enjoy a Delicious Dinner 

For dinner, I recommend heading back to Old San Juan to check out another great restaurant.

If you’re in the mood for Italian, Bacaro is really dealicious. This restaurant is very small, though, so make a reservation in advance. 

If you like tapas and Flamenco dancing, make a reservation at Triana Tapas & Flamenco . They have an excellent tapas and flamenco show, but be sure to contact them first as it’s not offered every day of the week.

For foodies who are looking for a fine dining experience, Marmalade is very highly regarded. They only offer tasting menus and it’s definitely a pricier restaurant, but I’ve only ever heard wonderful things about the food and experience.

Grab a Paleta for Dessert

Puerto Rico has some of the best popsicles I’ve ever had. My favorite popsicle shop (and also the most famous) is Señor Paleta . This little popsicle shop serves up a plethora of delicious flavors of paletas, both fruit flavors with a water base or ice-cream like flavors with a milk base. 

Eating paletas at Señor Paleta is something I always look forward to when visiting Old San Juan and Condado. 

Optional: Have a Night Out at La Placita

La Placita de Santurce, less than 15 minutes by car from Old San Juan, is such a fun place to go for a night out. 

In the evening, this area comes alive with tons of bars, restaurants and dancing in the streets. In total, La Placita is about 3 blocks by 2 blocks, and there is no shortage of bars and great music. 

I will preface my recommendation for La Placita by saying that it may be more enjoyable for young travelers. These aren’t fancy bars, but instead are more indoor/outdoor style bars with lots of drinking and loud music in the streets. I wouldn’t recommend this area for families or for travelers who prefer a low-key cocktail bar. 

You’ll find people of all ages at La Placita though, so if it sounds like fun to you, I highly recommend checking it out.

Enjoy the Low-key bars in Old San Juan

If you’d prefer a more low-key bar experience, there’s some great options in Old San Juan. This neighborhood is so pretty at night and enjoying a cocktail on a balcony is the perfect way to end an evening. 

Cocktail bars in Old San Juan

  • The Mezzanine
  • Antiguo 26 
  • Bar Catedral Rooftop (at the Decanter Hotel) 
  • Casa de Montecristo Puerto Rico (cigar bar)

Day 3: Enjoy a Relaxing Beach Day

At this point you must be thinking, “hey, where are the beaches? This is Puerto Rico after all!” Today, for your last day in San Juan, a beach day is a great option! While those staying in beachfront properties in Condado will likely already have had a little time at the beach, now’s a great time to enjoy it more fully. 

If you’re staying in Old San Juan, the closest swimmable beach to you will be Balneario del Escambron . This is about a 30 minute walk from downtown Old San Juan, or any easy Uber. This beach has vendors, bathrooms and a park area as well! You can also bring a picnic and spend the whole day. You can also check out the beaches in Condado, both Condado Beach and Playita del Condado , make for great places to spend the day. 

Balneario del Escambrón, Puerto Rico.

Have Lunch in Condado

After spending the morning at the beach, head to Ashford Ave, the main street in Condado, for lunch. 

  • A good brunch spot. 
  • Another solid breakfast and brunch spot. 
  • Great Italian food! 
  • An affordable, diner mixed with fast food style option. 

Go on an Evening Sunset Adventure

For your last day in San Juan, enjoy a beautiful sunset either from the beach or on the water. From the Condado area, Playa del Escambrón and Playa del Capitolio are pretty places to watch the sunset. 

From Old San Juan, La Verguenza bar offers nice sunset views, decent food and good drinks.  

If you’d like to see the sunset from the water, consider taking a sunset cruise: 

  • San Juan Catamaran Sunset Sail with Drinks
  • Sunset Sail by San Juan Historical Bay

Playa del Capitolio, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Have Dinner at the Distrito T-Mobile

Distrito T-Mobile is an entertainment center filled with bars, restaurants, art and more. It’s such a fun place to spend the evening! 

A couple of the best restaurants at Distrito T-Mobile include: 

  • Barullo Taberna Española for Spanish tapas 
  • Sazón Cocina Criolla for Puerto Rican and Caribbean food 

After dinner, you can spend some time checking out the bars or walking around the rest of Distrito T-Mobile before taking a quick Uber back to your hotel. 

Days 4-7: Rincón and the West Coast

The second part of your trip will be spent on the West coast of Puerto Rico, an area known for its beautiful beaches. I recommend basing yourself in the town of Rincón, located about 2.5 hours from San Juan. Rincón is one of the larger towns on the West Coast with nice beaches, hotels and restaurants.

You will need a car for this portion of your trip in order to explore the towns and attractions along the West Coast. The town of Rincón is walkable, but there is so much to see in the area that you’ll definitely want to make sure you have a car to explore. 

The airport is only 15 minutes from Old San Juan (or 10 from Condado), so it’s easy to head to the airport in the morning, grab your rental car, and drive to Rincón. 

Day 4: Drive to Rincón

Rincón is a popular town known for its beaches, surfing and sunsets. The town certainly has a “surfer” vibe to it, which is evident in the downtown area filled with its low-key bars, coffee shops and restaurants. 

The main downtown area is a great place to stay, as you’ll be walking distance to great eateries, bars and even a beach. 

Hotels in Rincón

  • Rincón Plaza Hotel (downtown area)
  • Casa Verde Hotel (near Sandy Beach)
  • Casa Isleña (beachfront, outside of the main town)
  • Rincon of the Seas Grand Caribbean Hotel (beachfront) 
  • Lazy Parrot Inn & Mini Resort (family owned and operated)

Enjoy Lunch at One of the Many Cafes

After checking into your hotel, wander around the main plaza area in downtown Rincón before lunch. There are a few great cafes where you can grab something to eat before heading to the beach. 

Brunch/Lunch in Rincón

Head to the Beach

If you’d like to visit a nearby beach that’s walkable, check out Playa Doña Lala Beach in downtown Rincón. There are shops and restaurants nearby, making this a convenient place to spend the afternoon. 

If you don’t mind driving, check out Sandy Beach . Sandy Beach is a popular beach for both swimming and surfing and although there are no amenities (bathroom, restaurants, etc.), it’s a great place to spend the afternoon.

Swing at Domes Beach in Rincon, Puerto Rico.

Have a Sunset Dinner

Enjoy your first evening in Rincón with a sunset dinner! Tamboo restaurant is a well regarded option that has great views of Sandy Beach!

If it’s raining, or you’d prefer a downtown option, check out: 

  • Taquería Vatos Locos
  • La Sirena Sushi

Day 5: Surfing and a Day Trip

Grab coffee and breakfast.

Rincón has a bunch of great coffee shops, so if you’re a coffee lover, be sure to check out a few during your trip. 

  • La Cafetera (food truck style, coffee + breakfast)
  • Smoothies and açai bowls near the beach 
  • Friends Coffee Rincon Surftown
  • Isla Made Local Goods & Cafe

La Cafeteria food truck in Rincon, Puerto Rico.

Take a Surfing Lesson

If you like to surf, or have always wanted to try, Rincón is a great place for you! While it is possible to rent (or bring) your own surfboards and head out to a beach, I recommend taking a lesson with a local instructor. That way you know you’re in the location with the best conditions and you can have someone to help navigate the waves. 

The waves and water conditions can be pretty rough, so having an expert there to guide you is a good idea. 

Surfing lessons in Rincón

  • Beginner Surf Lesson
  • Rincon Surf School

Surfing lesson, Domes Beach, Rincon, Puerto Rico.

OPTIONAL: Take a Trip to Aguadilla

If you decide you’ve spent enough time in Rincón and are ready to see somewhere new, just 30 minutes by car from Rincón, back towards San Juan, you’ll find the town of Aguadilla. 

In Aguadilla, like in Rincón, you’ll find great beaches! 

Crashboat Beach is the most well known in the area and it’s a great place for swimming, relaxing and water sports. At this beach you’ll find food vendors, a restaurant and water equipment and umbrellas for rent. 

This beach is very popular, so be prepared for a busy parking lot. 

If you’re looking for something more low-key, consider checking out Surfer’s Beach . This beach, as the name suggests, is popular with surfers. Although this beach isn’t recommended for swimming, it’s still a nice spot to relax for a couple hours. 

From Surfer’s Beach, you can also take the 30 minute hiking trail to Survival Beach (bring closed toed shoes). While you can swim at this beach, be very careful as the waves and currents can be extremely strong. 

Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Check out the Casas de Colores (colorful houses) behind El Parterre Square

In the main town of Aguadilla (behind El Parterre Park), you’ll find a collection of beautifully painted houses on a hill. These houses are part of a project with Proyecto Pintalo to revitalize the town, showcase talented local artists and help bring tourism to the area. 

The houses are bright and beautiful and they are a great spot for taking photos. Just be aware that these are people’s homes , and while the area does function as a sort of outdoor museum, you’ll still be taking photos of local residences. 

Colorful houses (casas de colores) in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico.

Watch the Sunset from Punta Higuera Lighthouse Park

Back in Rincón, Punta Higuera Lighthouse Park is a beautiful place to watch the sunset. Overlooking Domes Beach (a great surf spot), this lighthouse park and bar area offers beautiful sunset views. 

Grab a drink and enjoy the evening!

Punta Higuera Lighthouse, Rincon Puerto Rico.

Enjoy Dinner in Rincón

After watching the sunset, head back into Rincón for dinner. 

A few options in downtown include: 

  • They don’t have a website, but their address is Calle Cambija, Rincón 00677.
  • Make a reservation.
  • Outside of the main downtown area, this BBQ restaurant is famous in the area!
  • Rincón Beer (a microbrewery with local beer and bar food)

Day 6: Head to La Parguera

After some coffee and breakfast at any of the great spots around Rincón, hop in the car for the hour long drive to La Parguera. 

If you don’t want to move hotels again, and would rather just take a day trip to La Parguera, that’s an option, too. On this itinerary I include a nighttime bioluminescent bay tour (which is definitely a must do), so you’d be driving back to Rincón at night. 

This isn’t a problem in any way, I’d personally just prefer to spend the night, especially because there’s some great hotels in the little town of La Parguera. 

La Parguera is definitely a vacation town for locals. This small town has great water activities like chili boating and snorkeling and boat tours. Like I mentioned, it’s most famous for its bioluminescent bay. 

Although Puerto Rico has three of these bays, the one in La Parguera is the only one you can swim in. 

Views of La Parguera, Lajas, Puerto Rico.

Go on a Chili Boat Adventure

Chili Boating , basically a huge bicycle on the water, is such a fun and unique activity to do in La Parguera. On this tour you’ll ride your chili boat along the coast, seeing colorful homes and numerous mangrove islands called cays. 

You’ll chili boat out to one of these mangroves where the water is shallow and you can swim. 

I was surprised how sturdy the chiliboats are. I’m not a strong swimmer and was worried I’d fall off, but I felt totally stable and safe the whole time.

Chiliboating in La Parguera, Puerto Rico.

Have Lunch in La Parguera

There aren’t a ton of restaurants in La Parguera, because of the town’s small size. But the few options that are available are pretty good. 

For lunch, I recommend checking out Isla Cueva right downtown. This casual restaurant has burgers, tacos and great vegetarian options. All of the food tastes very fresh.

Check Into Your Hotel

For being such a small town, La Parguera has some good hotel options!

My top recommendation is the newly remodeled La Parguera Plaza Hotel . This adults-only hotel has a beautiful pool area, boho style rooms and an onsite restaurant. It’s a very relaxing spot to spend time. 

Pool area at La Parguera Plaza Hotel in Puerto Rico.

Other great hotel options in La Parguera include: 

  • Incredible ocean views and grounds, pool, comfortable, no-frills rooms.
  • 1km away from the town’s main square, but easily walkable. 
  • Turtle Bay Inn

Parador Villa Parguera views, Lajas, Puerto Rico.

Go Snorkeling in the Bioluminescent Bay

Before visiting La Parguera, I didn’t know much about bioluminescent bays, but they’re really interesting! Essentially, a specific type of microscopic organism ( dinoflagellate plankton) live in certain bays. When they’re agitated, like when you move the water quickly, they start to glow a blue-green color. 

Sometimes, they’re strong enough to see from the boat, but other times you’ll need to get in the water and move them around yourself. I definitely recommend swimming in the bay, as it’s a rare and unique experience, and the glowing is so cool to see up close and under the water. 

I had so much fun on my bioluminescent bay tour ; we watched the sunset from the boat, had some drinks and swam in the glowing bay.

Bioluminescent Bay sparkling in La Parguera.

One Last Dinner in Puerto Rico

After your amazing bioluminescent bay tour, it’s time for one last dinner in Puerto Rico! 

If you’re in the mood for a casual seafood spot, check out El Turrumote , a few minutes outside of the main downtown area. 

Right downtown, you’ll find Brujula (at the Parguera Plaza Hotel) and Moons Bar and Tapas which are both solid options.

Enjoy Live Music

If you happen to be in La Parguera on a weekend, Friday – Sunday, there is often live music in the main plaza. Here you’ll find people dancing, hanging out and enjoying some drinks.

Day 7: The Last Morning in PR

Have a relaxing morning by the pool.

For your last morning in Puerto Rico, a coffee by the pool before heading to the airport is a great way to say goodbye to the island. 

There is only one place in La Parguera to get coffee and breakfast in the morning that’s not at a hotel, M&M Bakery and Deli . You can either check it out (the food is pretty good), or see what your hotel has to offer. La Parguera Plaza Hotel has its own coffee shop, but in my experience, the hours are a little sporadic.

Pool and sun beds at the Parguera Plaza Hotel resort.

Head to the Airport

From La Parguera, the drive back to the airport in San Juan is about 2.5 hours. Make sure you give yourself enough time to drop off your car and get to the airport. 

Tip: If you’re flying back to NYC (and sometimes to Florida), check out the airport in Aguadilla as it offers direct flights to these locations. Aguadilla is about an hour drive from La Parguera, so it’s an easy place to fly home from.

Stop in Ponce

If your flight home leaves in the late afternoon, you can add a quick stop in Ponce to your itinerary. Ponce is on the way to the airport and this little city is just as charming as Old San Juan. 

Ponce is known for its museums and there are several worth checking out!

Museums in Ponce:

  • A 1930s, Spanish Revival mansion with breathtaking views.)
  • You can also take a Don Q rum tour .
  • This is the largest art museum in the Caribbean and has Latin American, Puerto Rican and European art. 
  • Note: this museum was badly damaged during the most recent hurricanes and not all exhibits are currently open. I recommend reaching out directly to the museum to see what exhibits are currently open for visitors. 
  • This museum doesn’t have a website, but is open on weekdays from 9am-4pm.
  • This museum doesn’t have a website, but is open Wednesday-Sunday from 8:30am-3:30pm.

Grab Coffee/Lunch in Ponce

Ponce has some great cafes that make for an awesome spot to grab a quick snack or lunch. 

Cafes in Ponce:

  • Gallo Espresso  
  • La Nueva Pastelería

Fly Back Home, See You Later PR!

After spending a couple hours in Ponce, it’s time to drive the remaining hour and a half to the San Juan airport. Hopefully you had a great time in Puerto Rico and are already thinking about booking a trip back to the beautiful island.

More posts for planning a trip to Puerto Rico:

Planning an Epic Trip to Puerto Rico: Step-by-Step Guide

  • The 16 Best Things To Do in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Epic 48 Hours in Old San Juan: The Best Things to Do and See
  • The Ultimate 7 Day Road Trip Around Puerto Rico

Q&A: Puerto Rico 7 Day Itinerary

  • A week in Puerto Rico is enough to see San Juan and part of the West Coast of the island. It’s definitely a great amount of time for a first trip to get to know the island, enjoy the beaches and eat amazing food. However, in one week, you cannot explore the entire island of PR.
  • The winter season, December – March, is considered the best time to visit Puerto Rico as the weather is the most mild and dry. I’ve visited in every season and the winter months are definitely my favorite. Just be prepared for hotels and flights to be more expensive.
  • Hurricane season in Puerto Rico is June-November. This doesn’t mean that if you visit during these months there will definitely be bad weather, but rain and storms are more likely. The plus side to visiting Puerto Rico this time of year is, generally, flights and hotels are less expensive.
  • US citizens do not need a passport to visit Puerto Rico. If you are from another country, you will need a passport.

So there you have it! I hope you found this Puerto Rico 7 day itinerary helpful as you plan your trip to the incredible island. If you have any questions about this Puerto Rico itinerary, please let me know in the comments or DM us on Instagram, @twosistersabroad .

We also appreciate you sharing this post with someone you know who’s traveling to PR and on social media.

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7 Days in Paradise: An Itinerary for Your Puerto Rico Vacation

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A week in Puerto Rico: sounds like a dream vacation! One week will give you the chance to see and do a lot on the island, and this itinerary is designed to help you experience the many sides of Puerto Rico. You still won't be able to see and do it all, and the two island jewels, Vieques and Culebra, didn't make the list...but that's only because there is so much to cover on the mainland.

What do you need to know before you arrive? This handy checklist covers the basics. Here are a few other tips:

  • Beachwear - An obvious one, but make sure you pack bathing suits, flip-flops, sunglasses, suntan lotion, goggles, and a nice bag to carry everything with you (you can certainly buy anything you've forgotten once you're here).
  • Dress for success - Puerto Ricans are a fashionable lot, and you'll find well-dressed people especially if you're into nightlife. Fashionable and sexy clothing will help you fit right in at the clubs, lounges, and better restaurants.
  • Pack light - There is great shopping in Puerto Rico, not just for internationally famous brands but also for local fashion, souvenirs, and other products. Make sure you have some space in your luggage!
  • Leave winter behind - Even accounting for hurricane season, it rarely gets cold in Puerto Rico. Beyond a sweater or two, you probably won't need warm clothes while you're here. Check the weather to make sure, but don't overpack for the cold.

Day 1: Getting Settled in San Juan

Day One is about getting to the island and settling in. Because this is a seven-day trip, I'm assuming you're flying rather than sailing into Puerto Rico. In either case, make San Juan your base. The capital has enough going on to keep you busy for the duration of your stay, but it also provides easy access to many of Puerto Rico's other destinations.

You'll fly into Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, one of the busiest airports in the Caribbean. From here, you're only about 15-20 minutes from the heart of the city. Now, your first question will be whether or not to rent a car. For the first three days, I'd advise against it. You'll be spending your time in the city, and taxis, a good pair of shoes, and public transportation will be good enough to get you around. Traffic and parking can be a nightmare in San Juan, and many hotels charge hefty parking fees.​

As for where to stay, two of the best, most romantic, and most expensive hotels in the city are El Convento and Chateau Cervantes. If you want to stay in the Old City, these are among your best bets. Here are are a few other options:

  • Casino Hotels
  • Budget Hotels
  • Kid-friendly Hotels (three of the five listed are in San Juan)

Your first day is all about settling in and getting acquainted. If you're staying in Old San Juan, the ancient walled city on the eastern edge of San Juan, you might want to stroll its cobblestone streets and take in its romantic charm. If you're staying in the resort strip of Condado or Isla Verde, I'd suggest hitting the Condado or Isla Verde beaches.

When you're ready for dinner, head to Fortaleza Street in Old San Juan, the dining hotspot in San Juan, and check out one of these excellent restaurants:

  • Trois Cent Onze

After dinner, take a short walk in the old city, and then retire for the night. Your vacation is just getting started.

Day Two: Old San Juan

On your second day, head to Old San Juan and the heart of colonial Puerto Rico. Over four hundred years old, Old San Juan, or Viejo San Juan , as the locals call it, is a small, breathtaking city, bounded by walls and by the ocean. Cobblestone streets, wrought-iron balconies, and buildings painted in tropical colors greet you as you walk.

Start your first morning in Puerto Rico with a local staple for breakfast at an island institution. Head to La Bombonera , on San Francisco Street, and try out a delicious mallorca. After, take a walking tour to ensure you get the most out of your day in the old city. You can check out this suggested tour , or download a walking tour onto your iPod. Another option is to take a tour. Legends of Puerto Rico  conducts both a day tour and a fantastic Night Tales in Old San Juan tour.

Along your tour, you'll come across tempting restaurants and shops. Old San Juan has excellent shopping, particularly for jewelry , local souvenirs , and clothes: feel free to indulge.

As for lunch and dinner, here are a few suggestions. For lunch, enjoy a hearty 'Rican meal at El Jibarito on Sol Street. If you crave something a little more sophisticated, head to El Picoteo in Hotel El Convento for excellent Spanish tapas.

End the afternoon at the magnificent Raíces Fountain. From here, it's a short walk to Fortaleza Street, where you can try one of the restaurants on the list for Day One, or, for a truly transporting meal, head to Panza, one of Puerto Rico's most romantic , elegant, and outstanding restaurants.

Day One and Two covered the old city; on Day Three, you'll see the rest of Puerto Rico's capital.

Day Three: Touring San Juan

On Day Three, it's time to go beyond the old city and into the rest of San Juan. Since the beach is a big reason to come to Puerto Rico, it makes sense that you devote the morning to lying on one of San Juan's glittering stretches of sand. Where you lay down your blanket will depend on what you want:

  • Isla Verde and Condado Beaches are the ritzy resort strips where people go to see and be seen.
  • El Escambrón , in the Puerta de Tierra neighborhood, is popular with the locals and is a "Blue Flag" beach (a designation given to clean, well-maintained beaches).
  • Ocean Park Beach has a more laid-back vibe.

Where you spend the morning will also dictate where you eat lunch. Here is one suggestion for each beach:

  • Isla Verde and Condadao - check out Ceviche House for a fresh, light departure from local cuisine.
  • El Escambrón - that's an easy one. There's an excellent Puerto Rican restaurant by the same name right on the premises.
  • Ocean Park - head to Pinky's on Maria Moczo Street for healthy burritos, wraps and excellent smoothies.

The afternoon can be spent in several ways, depending on your tastes. Here are five suggestions:

  • Museum lovers must visit the inspiring Puerto Rican Museum of Art in Santurce. (A worthy second stop is the Museum of Contemporary Art.)
  • Nature lovers should check out the sprawling Botanical Garden in Hato Rey
  • Shopaholics will want to hit the fashionable boutiques on Ashford Avenue in Condado.
  • Gamblers should head to one of these hotels to try their luck.
  • Bacardi fans should visit the Bacardi Distillery, one of the best free activities on the island.

Day Three (Continued): Enjoying the San Juan Nightlife

After a busy day, return to your hotel and relax until dinner. When you're ready to head out for the night, pick from the following itineraries, sorted by neighborhood:

Old San Juan

  • Bodega Chic (Calle Cristo 51), Barú (creative Puerto Rican) and Dragonfly (Latin-Asian fusion) all have the advantage of serving excellent food and converting into hip lounges later at night.
  • After dinner, you can also head to the Nuyorican Café for a night of sultry salsa dancing and live bands.
  • End your night at one of Old San Juan's late-night bars, like El Burénor at Club Lazer , where the party doesn't stop until dawn.

The hotels are where it's at here:

  • Destination: The Water & Beach Club . For dinner, try Tangerine, a sexy restaurant with a naughty menu, then head upstairs to Wet, the hotel's awesome open-air rooftop lounge.
  • Destination: El San Juan Hotel & Casino . Start with dinner at the excellent Italian La Piccola Fontana, and then migrate to the best casino in San Juan. Also at the hotel is one of the city's best clubs in Club Brava.

Miramar and Puerta de Tierra

  • For fine dining in a lovely setting, check out Delirio or Chayote, in Miramar. Both are the restaurants of local celebrity chef Alfredo Ayala.
  • From either restaurant, you're just a short ride away from the stylish N Lounge at the Hotel Normandie.

Ocean Park and Santurce

  • Dinner at the eclectic and excellent Pamela's is a must for Ocean Park denizens.
  • If it's the weekend, the place to be after dinner is La Placita in Santurce, an open-air block party where the locals gather for cheap drinks and a festive atmosphere. You can also check out Dunabars in Ocean Park, where live bands and a laid-back vibe will welcome you.

Day 4: Excursion to Two Landmark Puerto Rico Attractions

You have an option today of renting a car for the remainder of your trip or taking a guided tour to two of Puerto Rico attractions that are not only unique but in their own way, wondrous. If you want someone else to drive, call ahead and reserve a tour to the Arecibo Telescope and the Camuy Caves.

There are several tour companies that offer this package. Try  Countryside Tours . Several hotels also offer the tour, so you might want to check with the front desk before making a call.

Of course, you can also opt to drive yourself. Most of the major car rental companies are represented on the island. The observatory is about 1.5 hours west of San Juan. It's mostly a straight shot on Route 22 until you reach the town of Arecibo. Then head south on Route 10 for about 20 miles and then follow the signs to the observatory. From here, take Route 129 southwest for roughly 12 miles to the entrance of the Camuy Caves.

So, why are you making this trip? Simply put, you're visiting two sites that are unique in the world. The Arecibo Telescope  is the world's largest radio telescope, a remarkable feat of engineering, and the site of the climactic last scene in the Bond movie "GoldenEye" (for all the 007 fans).

The Camuy Caves are among the largest subterranean cave systems in the world, and the only one of its size to boast an underground river. Visitors travel in open-air trolleys and then take a 45-minute walk through the caves, admiring the stalactites, stalagmites, and natural vegetation that flourishes in the system.

This is an all-day trip. Fortunately, you'll be rewarded in the evening with a culinary excursion into Puerto Rican fine dining. After a rest in your hotel, head to Ajili Mójili and enjoy some of the best local cuisine on the island.

Day 5: Visiting El Yunque

If you didn't rent a car yesterday, you'll definitely need it today, because it's the best way to visit Puerto Rico's natural treasure and cultural icon: El Yunque National Forest .

Rather than stop for lunch, take a picnic lunch that you can enjoy deep in the rainforest after a good hike. Fortunately, on the way to El Yunque along Route 3, you'll find one of Puerto Rico's better panaderías , or bakeries (but really, they're much more than just bakeries). Panadería Don Nico serves up a mean menu of sandwiches and local pastries...just what you need for your trip.

After the rainforest, continue along Route 3, heading east, and look out for signs for Luquillo Beach. A pleasant, beautifully kept and fully serviced public beach, Luquillo is wildly popular with Puerto Ricans, and it will make for a complete change from the rainforest.

For dinner, drive back along Route 3 until you find a string of roadside eateries. There are the famous kiosks of Luquillo, home to dozens of small shacks and tiny restaurants that serve up a blend of local specialties, finger foods, greasy snacks, and cheap drinks. It's a complete departure from yesterday's fine restaurant. The kiosks are rustic Puerto Rico at its best.

After dinner, most people will want to head home. The truly intrepid, however, might want to head east, to Fajardo. Call ahead at Yokahú Kayak Trips (787-604-7375), who will take you out into Fajardo's biobay where you can take a glow-in-the-dark nighttime swim. It's an eerie but fantastic experience if you're up for a late night out.

Day 6: Choose Your Adventure in Puerto Rico (Or Lack Thereof)

On your last full day, you might be raring to kick your vacation up a notch, or you might be ready to relax and take it easy. For the former, try the following three options:

  • Aventura Tierra Adentro : This tour company is designed to feed your adrenaline. With canyoning, rappelling, free-jumping, caving, and a host of other dangerous-sounding activities on its menu, it's guaranteed to end your Puerto Rico trip on an exhilarating note.
  • Sailing & Snorkeling : Fajardo is the sailing capital of Puerto Rico, and you're much better off by driving to the eastern coast and hopping aboard the Erin Go Bragh for a day sail to one of the many islets around the mainland.
  • Diving : If you want to dive (Puerto Rico has excellent dive sites), you'll want to switch this day's activities with Day 5, to give you an extra day until your flight out. You'll also want to contact Ocean Sports in Isla Verde, who will be happy to introduce you to Puerto Rico's underwater kingdom.

However, if you want to take it easy you might want to check Day 3's itinerary and follow one of the activities you missed out on. There's always shopping, the beach, the casino, and the old city to keep you entertained. You can also take a leisurely day trip out to Piñones , a nearby beachfront community that makes for a pleasant rustic retreat.

If you're sticking around the city, you must visit La Casita Blanca  for lunch. Tucked away in Santurce, this small, unpretentious spot is Puerto Rican home-cooking at its best, as its legions of fans will readily attest.

For dinner, you might want to veer away from the heavy local diet, especially if you ate at La Casita Blanca. If so, try one of these interesting international choices. But if you've saved up for a special last meal, head to the Puerto Rican Museum of Art and Pikayo where the line between food and art get happily blurred.

Day 7: Leaving Puerto Rico

On your last day, relax and enjoy what's left of your vacation in San Juan. The beach might call, you may have souvenirs to buy, or you may just want a last look at Viejo San Juan. Day 7 is not about saying "goodbye," but rather, "see you soon."

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A beginner's guide to visiting Puerto Rico: Everything you need to eat, see and do

Victoria M. Walker

Puerto Rico is beloved by travelers around the world, and for good reason.

From bioluminescent bays, pristine Caribbean beaches and lush forests to historic streetscapes, a vibrant local food scene and fascinating cultural attractions, each region of Puerto Rico offers visitors a distinct experience.

And there's simply never a bad time to visit. Better yet, you can often find cheap nonstop flights to both San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) and Aguadilla's Rafael Hernández Airport (BQN) on the stunning northwest coast. If you're traveling from the U.S., you don't even need a passport or have to change your money.

It's a perfect tropical weekend getaway from the Eastern Seaboard; you can board an early morning flight and enjoy lunch and a pina colada with your toes in the sand.

In short: Paradise awaits.

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Where to eat and drink in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a wonderful destination for foodies. Along the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, you'll find gourmet cuisine served in elegant, historic townhomes rubbing shoulders with atmospheric hole-in-the-walls that serve traditional fare.

Following Hurricane Maria, restaurants became ever keener to support local agriculture and celebrate food that is grown entirely on the island. The result is farm-fresh, hyper-seasonal cuisine infused with Creole, Taino and Spanish influences.

The much-loved national dish is mofongo — deep-fried mashed plantains served with a side of seafood or meat and chicken broth soup. Among the best places to try it are Santaella in San Juan and Mi Casita in Pinones.

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Lechon — a whole pig roasted over a fire for at least four hours — is another hearty mainstay of traditional Puerto Rican cuisine. Around an hour's drive south of San Juan, dozens of lechoneras dot the famed Ruta de Lechon, or "Pork Highway," where trays of succulent, tender pork are served at communal tables, usually accompanied by copious cold beer and live music.

If you want to graze on authentic local delicacies beachside, head for Luquillo (near El Yunque National Forest), where more than 60 kiosks ranging from rustic beach bars to full-service restaurants serve authentic Creole cooking as well as Latin American signature cuisine.

A colorful pit spot while exploring San Juan's trendy Santurce district, Alcapurria Quema is a no-frills Santurce locale that's one of the best places to try Puerto Rico's ubiquitous local snack, alcapurrias: deep-fried fritters made from plantains (or grated yucca) stuffed with flavorful beef, pork or fish.

Fine dining in Puerto Rico

If you want to splurge, San Juan has plenty of upscale dining venues.

Located inside the elegant Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, 1919 is widely hailed as the best fine dining restaurant in Puerto Rico. Helmed by Juan José Cuevas, who worked at the Michelin-starred Blue Hill in New York, menu highlights include scallops with organic mushrooms, kale and sunchoke, as well as robalo (snook) with pistachio, local white beans and dill. For an unforgettable dining experience, opt for the chef's menu ($199) accompanied by sommelier-selected wine pairings. Make a reservation, dress the part and enjoy every moment. It's one of the island's most expensive restaurants, but worth it.

Vianda 's stylish midcentury modern-style bar and sleek, moody dining room draw well-dressed locals with its innovative mixology and farm-to-table cuisine. Vianda means "root vegetable," and the small, seasonal menu riffs on Puerto Rico's rich culinary heritage while showcasing the island's incredible bounty of tropical fruits, vegetables and herbs. Start the evening with a Corazon de Melon ($15) cocktail, made with tequila, watermelon, cucumber, mint and rosemary, followed by a signature entree such as the Mar y Tierra, a rich medley of cod loin, crispy pork belly, mussels, sofrito butter and white beans ($44).

Most epicureans will have heard of Marmalade , the internationally renowned restaurant credited with putting Puerto Rico on the foodie map. It remains one of the best gourmet dining experiences on the island. Iowa native chef Peter Schintler deftly blends indigenous and international ingredients to produce a truly memorable five-course prix fixe menu ($135 per person). It changes frequently, but menu classics include local organic rabbit with black olive garganelli and grilled ahi tuna with peanut-miso broth.

Chef José Santaella 's namesake restaurant is a lively, fun place to dine on nouvelle Puerto Rican cuisine with family and friends. The edgy industrial decor (it used to be a hardware store) contrasts with the menu's vibrant "tropical creole" gastronomy. Arrive early for cocktail hour and try a Lady Bullet (Woodford Reserve bourbon, fig marmalade, lavender syrup, orange bitters and lime juice; $16) and stay for the duration, grazing on delectable small plates, including wagyu sliders ($26), grilled Spanish octopus ($32) and escargot ($18).

What to see and do in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico has a ton of sightseeing you'll want to add to your itinerary, too.

El Yunque National Forest is just 45 minutes from San Juan and is the only tropical rainforest on U.S. soil. It's famous for its incredible hiking, an abundance of waterfalls and endemic wildlife.

travel planner puerto rico

There are just five bioluminescent bays in the world, and Puerto Rico is home to three: Bahia Mosquito, Laguna Grande and La Parguera. To access Puerto Rico's bio bays via kayak or paddleboard, you'll need to paddle through dark mangrove channels — signing up with a tour operator is definitely the way to go. Most companies operate two tours each night, at sunset and 9 p.m.

The protected wildlife reserve of Bahia Mosquito is located on Vieques, an island municipality a short flight from San Juan. Famed for its picture-perfect crescents of sand, boutique hotels and crystalline waters, Vieques is the quintessential Caribbean idyll. Boasting the highest concentration of phosphorescent dinoflagellates (plankton that make the water sparkle with just the touch of a hand), Mosquito Bay is the brightest of the world's five bio bays.

For travelers with limited time, Laguna Grande is the most accessible bio bay in Puerto Rico, less than an hour's drive from San Juan on the northeast coast. What sets Laguna Grande apart is that the bay is actually a lagoon nestled within an area of spectacular natural beauty.

Puerto Rico is replete with gorgeous, sandy beaches. Near Luquillo, La Pared is an often deserted stretch of almost golden sand. The beach town of Naguabo, in the southeast corner of the island, is also incredibly quiet, and palm trees frame the soft, sandy beach and turquoise water.

travel planner puerto rico

Ponce is Puerto Rico's second-largest city. Located on the island's southern coast, it's chock-full of history. Be sure to check out Plaza Las Delicias, which has a cathedral as well as an old firehouse (Parque de Bombas) that's now a museum.

Museo de la Musica Puertoriquena has a rich history dating back to the 19th century. Here, you'll find traces of Taino, Spanish and African influences. You'll also learn about Puerto Rico's musical history, which you can now hear throughout other parts of the Caribbean, the mainland and around the world.

Where to stay in Puerto Rico

Hyatt regency grand reserve puerto rico.

Fresh from a multimillion-dollar face-lift, this 579-key beach resort reopened in 2019 as the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve.

Rooms (starting at 520 square feet), suites and villas are contemporary and inviting, with simple wooden furnishings, marble floors, a white-on-white color palette and furnished terraces and patios. Bathrooms feature rainfall showers with separate tubs and Pharmacopia toiletries.

Beyond the hotel's natural assets — a beautiful white-sand beach and 72 acres of flamboyant tropical vegetation — amenities include a lagoon-style pool, a state-of-the-art fitness center, a luxurious spa, two Tom Kite-designed 18-hole championship golf courses and several upscale restaurants serving everything from Pacific Rim cuisine and sushi at Nori Asian to prime cuts of beef and seafood at Prime 787, a contemporary American steakhouse.

The hotel can arrange a number of activities nearby, including horseback riding, an all-terrain-vehicle excursion at nearby Carabali Rainforest Adventure Park and hikes through El Yunque National Forest.

Rates at the Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve start at $300 or 12,000 World of Hyatt points per night.

Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort

The rambling 255-key Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort is the only Hilton hotel outside of the San Juan area.

While rooms are rather spartan and generic, they have an inviting beachy vibe with a green-and-white color palette, light wood furnishings, tiled floors and balconies with ocean views (in most rooms). Comfort-enhancing modern touches include coffee makers, minifridges and flat-screen televisions.

At this amenity-rich, family-friendly resort, there's plenty to keep adults and children entertained, including two expansive pools, a 27-hole championship golf course, a miniature golf course, tennis courts, a playground and a splash park. It's also home to one of the largest casinos in Puerto Rico and four restaurants: El Bohio, La Cava, La Terraza and Sancho's Sushi Bar.

While it isn't the splashiest Hilton property in Puerto Rico, it's a great base for exploring Puerto Rico's southwest coast.

Rates at the Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort start at $230 or 50,000 Hilton Honors points per night.

The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort

travel planner puerto rico

Located between El Yunque National Forest and Espiritu Santo River State Preserve, The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort places guests within striking distance of two of Puerto Rico's top attractions.

Designed by Puerto Rican fashion designer Nono Maldonado, the spacious (and completely refurbished) accommodations channel a breezy Caribbean aesthetic with a serene white-and-cream color palette, abstract artworks and sleek, modern furnishings.

However, it's the luxe details and exquisite service that really set this property apart. There's the cozy pillow-top bed dressed with a cashmere throw, the marble spa-style bathroom with a centerpiece deep soaking tub that's stocked with luxe Frette bathrobes, and, of course, the St. Regis' private butler service.

A surfeit of amenities include a beautifully landscaped swimming pool, a lavish spa, a Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course and three acclaimed restaurants.

Rates at The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort start at $695 or 70,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Puerto Rico's most exclusive resort, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve , combines unbridled luxury and impeccable attention to detail with a sustainable ethos. Built by the Rockefeller family in the 1950s, it remains a magnet for tycoons, celebrities and, these days, cryptocurrency investors.

Nestled on a glorious 2-mile beach amid a riot of mature tropical vegetation, beautifully appointed rooms and suites are equipped with every creature comfort imaginable and assigned their own private butler. Standard rooms are huge (they start at 1,000 square feet), while deluxe suites also feature private plunge pools.

The resort's amenities are, as you'd expect, exceptional. There are two gorgeous pools fronted by swaying palms, three Robert Trent Jones Sr.-designed golf courses and one of Puerto Rico's finest restaurants: Coa, a culinary homage to the region's Taino roots. A roster of family-friendly activities includes the signature Jean-Michel Cousteau's Ambassadors of the Environment program.

Rates at Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve start at $1,995 or 170,000 Marriott Bonvoy points per night.

Related: Puerto Rican renaissance: A review of Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

The details

Getting there.

If you're interested in visiting Puerto Rico, flights are plentiful. There are more than 120 nonstop flights between the island and major mainland U.S. cities, according to Discover Puerto Rico . That means you can fly nonstop between the island and cities like New York, Miami, Fort Lauderdale and Chicago. Most of the nonstop routes are to San Juan.

While the cheapest available flights to Puerto Rico typically range from $300 to $600, you can pick up deals with both legacy carriers as well as low-cost carriers such as Spirit Airlines and Frontier Airlines .

Of course, a cheap deal isn't the only way to get to the island.

You can easily use points and miles to get you from major cities to Puerto Rico. American Airlines , for example, offers off-peak MileSAAver awards from 17,000 miles one-way in economy or 59,000 in business class.

With United Airlines , expect to spend between 20,000 and 65,000 miles for a one-way ticket from cities like Newark and Chicago.

But perhaps the best way to use points to visit Puerto Rico is through JetBlue .

travel planner puerto rico

On JetBlue, you have several destinations beyond San Juan to consider. For instance, you could fly round-trip from New York to Aguadilla for just $274 or 23,000 TrueBlue points in August this year, or to Ponce for $386 or 31,000 TrueBlue points round-trip.

You can transfer Chase Ultimate Rewards points to JetBlue at a 1:1 ratio, but this might not be the best use of your Chase points .

JetBlue is a transfer partner of American Express Membership Rewards as well, but TPG doesn't recommend transferring Amex points to JetBlue because of the limited value you'll get. Additionally, points transfer at a weak 250:200 transfer ratio.

You can also transfer Citi ThankYou Rewards to JetBlue, though the transfer ratio isn't great — either 1:0.8 or 1:0.5, depending on which Citi card you have.

Do you need a passport to go to Puerto Rico?

Nope! Puerto Rico is an unincorporated U.S. territory, so you don't need a passport or a visa to visit if you're a U.S. citizen. Just bring your state ID and you'll be good to go.

Getting around

Ride-hailing Uber is the only ride-hailing app that made its way to Puerto Rico and survived the pandemic. The mobile app is equally as effective as it is on the mainland and is very popular with locals for its competitive rates (compared to local taxis), efficiency and reliability.

Taxis Within San Juan, taxis are frequent, reliable and comfortable; look for white cabs labeled Taxi Turistico. Designated taxi stands are located at key tourist points in San Juan (including cruise ship piers, major hotels, Plaza de Armas and Plaza Colon). Taxis operate a fixed-rate system according to specified zones, but they can be pricey. Once you leave the metro area, it becomes increasingly expensive to travel between towns.

If you plan to stay in neighborhoods like Old San Juan, you probably won't need a car, Uber or taxi since the area is pretty walkable.

If you're a public transportation geek like me, make sure the Tren Urbano is on your radar. It's an 11-mile rapid transit system that serves San Juan, Guaynabo and Bayamon. The trip between Bayamon and San Juan is just 30 minutes, and the one-line train system has 16 stops; it passes through the University of Puerto Rico as well as the Santa Rosa shopping mall. It's very affordable, too: A regular fare is just $1.50 and if you're between the ages of 60 and 74, just 75 cents. Better yet, if you're 6 years of age or younger, or 75 or older, it's free.

Renting a car in Puerto Rico is pretty straightforward with all the major rental companies to consider, including Avis, Enterprise and Hertz, each of which is located at the airport.

The best times to visit Puerto Rico

The majority of hurricanes in Puerto Rico typically occur between August and October, while hurricane season runs from June 1 to Nov. 30, according to the U.S. National Weather Service . Notably, Hurricane Maria made landfall on Sept. 20, 2017.

Many people I spoke with on the island said, "Summertime is all the time" in Puerto Rico, with temperatures hovering in the 80s daily. If you're trying to avoid the infamous daily Caribbean rains, you'll want to plan to visit between January and March, as precipitation is low .

travel planner puerto rico

If you want to avoid the hordes of people traveling during spring break but still want to visit before hurricane season kicks in, the spring is the best time to score flight and hotel deals. As an added bonus, you'll have the beach all to yourself.

Bottom line

Puerto Rico has come a long way since Hurricane Maria in 2017 and Fiona in 2022. Let it be known that the island is open for travelers — and eager for the business. From beach resorts to landmarks, excellent food and great hospitality, there's something for everyone who makes the short flight down to visit.

Related reading:

  • The best hotels in Puerto Rico
  • 8 reasons to visit Puerto Rico in 2023
  • Best points hotels in the Caribbean
  • Start booking your summer trips now — here's why
  • The 26 best Marriott hotels in the world

A Complete Guide to Planning a Puerto Rico Destination Wedding to Remember

How to Plan a Puerto Rico Destination Wedding

  • Beth Ann writes articles for The Knot Worldwide, including venues, honeymoons and planning advice.
  • Beth Ann is a lifestyle freelance writer, with bylines on and
  • Prior to freelancing, Beth Ann was a writer and editor for Long Island Pulse Magazine.

Local laws may restrict service availability to all. See the Equality Index for more information.

Getting married in Caribbean settings — think sparkling waters and lush tropical forests—may sound like a pipe dream involving international travel. However, planning a Puerto Rico destination wedding can happen right on US soil (or, perhaps more accurately, sand).

A US territory and Caribbean island, Puerto Rico is loved for being a tropical destination wedding location without international travel hassles. For instance, the currency is the US dollar, a trip to Puerto Rico doesn't require a passport and flights from major airports are frequent.

Once there, marriers and guests will love that Puerto Rico happily fuses culture, history and rich scenery, including beaches, waterfalls and forests. To-be-weds have tons of options for vibes and backdrops that meet their vision. Picture a photo session amid colorful Spanish colonial buildings in Old San Juan or a ceremony beside the Caribbean Sea.

Getting married in Puerto Rico certainly has its perks, but couples will want to keep certain things in mind, such as the territory's hurricane season, budgeting and booking vendors. This guide to planning a destination wedding in Puerto Rico covers those and more.

In this article:

Why Couples and Wedding Guests Love Puerto Rico Weddings

The best places to get married in puerto rico, the top puerto rico destination wedding venues, puerto rico wedding legal requirements, puerto rico wedding planning tips.

There's so much to love about a Puerto Rico wedding. For starters, traveling to Puerto Rico is easier than some other Caribbean because it's a US territory. No passport is required, nor is it necessary to exchange currency. Most people speak English.

Logistics aside, Puerto Rico is simply stunning. A beach wedding is possible and gorgeous, but couples aren't limited to one. Puerto Rico is home to mountains, rainforests and cityscapes. San Juan has a lively cultural scene, with bars and restaurants ready to throw rehearsal dinners and afterparties (even the impromptu kind). Old San Juan's bright centuries-old buildings offer a unique historical charm.

Between parties, couples and guests can delight in water sports and foodie experiences, eating arroz con gandules (rice and pigeon peas) while toasting with rum-soaked beverages. Many Puerto Rico wedding venues can likely include these items on the big-day menu. Speaking of venues, Puerto Rico is a hotspot for destination weddings, and the on-site planners are well-accustomed to helping couples from afar.

Pro tip: Invite a destination wedding travel expert to join your vendor team. Browse travel agents near you on The Knot Vendor Marketplace for Puerto Rico wedding expertise, group hotel blocks, flight arrangements and more.

Couples looking for a beach bash adore all of the options they have when planning a Puerto Rico destination wedding. However, one of PR's big draws is the backdrops it offers besides the beach. Cities, forests and historic sites are all on the table. Different areas of Puerto Rico have distinct characters. Understanding what each one offers can help you pinpoint the precise PR locale for your vision.

Sunny coastline in San Juan, Puerto Rico

The vibrant capital city is pulsing with culture and energy. Couples can find historical sites in Old San Juan, such as El Morro and La Fortaleza. Museums can take guests back to yesteryear, showcase contemporary works or blend both. Then, there's the modern-day bustling nightlife scene, where salsa is often the dance move of choice. Truly, there's something for everyone. The Atlantic coast setting gives way to waterfront views without making them the only draw.

Central Mountains

Central Mountains in Puerto Rico

If your idea of peak romance is a mountain wedding, Puerto Rico's Central Mountain (la Cordillera Central) range serves those up in spades. The range is home to Puerto Rico's highest peak, Cerro de Punta, and more than four dozen other peaks, meaning a wedding here can include majestic views at every turn. Forests have tropical flora and wildlife, like doves and hummingbirds. Located about an hour from the San Juan airport, the Central Mountains are also known for their Creole cuisine and coffee (much of Puerto Rico-produced java is grown in the region). Ciales is loved for its sprawling coffee plantations and waterfalls.

Dorado Beach in sunny Puerto Rico

A 35-minute drive from San Juan, Dorado translates to "golden" but offers a genuinely priceless setting for couples hoping for a beach fête dripping in tropical luxury. Upscale resorts are set right on the golden sands and offer five-star accommodations. Some may have golf courses or offer proximity to them. Beaches like Playa Sardinera Manuel "Nolo" Morales are an oasis for sunbathers and surfers alike, and couples and guests can sign up for lessons or watersport activities to pass the time. Street art and food make a wedding week or weekend in Dorado a multi-sensory experience.

El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico

Set in the East region of Puerto Rico, El Yunque National Forest is arguably the territory's crown jewel — an enchanted forest of the Caribbean variety. Towering tabonuco trees juxtapose beautifully among swaying palms. Orchids, ferns and other tropical fauna add layers upon layers of beauty — ditto for the many waterfalls, like the La Coca. Now, keep in mind — it's a rainforest, so rain on your wedding day is likely part of the deal (and perhaps charm). Outside of your wedding, guests will delight in exploring the trails and taking in the natural beauty and serenity the forest offers.

Pro tip: As you consider Puerto Rico wedding locations, remember your newlywed vacation. Plan an amazing Puerto Rico honeymoon with our complete guide.

Condado Vanderbilt Hotel in sunny Puerto Rico for your destination wedding

As a popular place for a destination soiree, the culinary, beverage and event staff at Puerto Rico wedding venues are pros at working with jet-setting couples. Expect white-glove treatment with eagerness to connect pairs with local vendors. Some venues may offer Puerto Rico wedding packages complete with planning services and other vendors built in. These Puerto Rico destination wedding venues also include spots to stay.

Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

Condado Vanderbilt Hotel blends two of Puerto Rico's biggest draws: Historic architecture and timeless waterfront surroundings. The five-star luxury hotel is housed in Spanish Revival-style digs along an Atlantic Ocean beach. It can host intimate affairs of 20 or grand events with up to 600 of your nearest and dearest. Venues include oceanfront verandas that give way to crystal-clear Atlantic Ocean vistas and elegant indoor settings with sparkling chandeliers. Food packages can be tailored to the couple's tastes, and the hotel welcomes outside Puerto Rico destination wedding planners.

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

A luxury resort set on 50 acres of golden sands, Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve , is an opulent place for a beachside affair. A spa lawn blending oceanfront views and tropical plants, a pineapple garden and a century-old ficus tree are among the venues couples can use for the ceremony and reception. Puerto Rico wedding packages include event management, food and salon stylists. Some may add in planning, entertainment, flowers and decor. Couples can trade the afterparty for a more intimate post-wedding experience by reserving the Spa Botánico to themselves for a night of romance, complete with a private soak and chef-crafted dinner. Couples can buy out the resort for their wedding for a truly exclusive affair. A water park, spa and golf course provide plenty to do between parties.

Hacienda Siesta Alegre

Found at the foothills of El Yunque National Rainforest, Hacienda Siesta Alegre is a colonial-style Bed & Breakfast that comes with a unique amenity: Accessibility to gentle Caribbean trade winds. Rooms with terraces and balconies and spaces like courtyards and gardens allow couples to breathe easier, even on such a big day. Couples can get married in a garden or courtyard, surrounded by their loved ones and natural beauty. Speaking of Mother Nature, she brings it to the River by the Hacienda — the sandy, tree-lined al fresco venue is ideal for small elopements. A wooden barn offers rustic charm. Couples staying overnight will want to select the Flamboyan Room. Dubbed the "Bridal Suite," its four-poster queen-size bed, vintage white tub and handmade-laced canopy are simply enchanting.

Calle Reina Isabel in Ponce, Puerto Rico

Obtaining a marriage license in Puerto Rico and having a legal wedding is relatively straightforward compared to places off US soil, like those in Europe. Still, there are nuances to navigate. The staff at your venue and a Puerto Rico destination wedding planner can help walk you through the process. The Puerto Rico Department of Health website also has resources. Enter "marriage" in the search query for useful insights and information.

Legal Weddings vs. Symbolic Weddings

It's possible to have a legal or symbolic wedding in Puerto Rico. What's the difference? Couples who opt for a symbolic wedding will legally wed before jetting off to Puerto Rico. They'll go to their town hall, sign the paperwork and be considered married in the eyes of the law. Then, pairs will host a symbolic ceremony in Puerto Rico in front of family and friends. To-be-weds planning destination weddings might choose this option because it's more streamlined (and is one less thing to do in their destination of choice).

Required Legal Documents

If you're planning on legally getting married in Puerto Rico, you'll want to ensure you pack all the documents you need. These documents include:

  • Government-issued photo identification cards, such as a passport or driver's license, for both partners
  • Birth certificates of both partners
  • Divorce decree (if applicable)
  • Death decree of a previous spouse (if applicable)
  • A sworn affidavit, written by a lawyer, certifying that you are not a Puerto Rican resident and you are on the island to get married
  • Medical certification certifying you've met all the tests needed to get married in your place of residence (It's valid for 10 days)
  • IRS stamp from the Puerto Rican government

Legal Marriage Timeline

There is no residence requirement to get married in Puerto Rico, but the process does require attention to detail. First, partners under 21 must be accompanied by a parent or guardian at the Demographic Registry Office.

After receiving their medical certification, couples have 10 days to get legally married in Puerto Rico. Otherwise, they'll need to get another one. Once couples submit their paperwork to the registrar, the registrar examines it. If the documents are good to go, the registrar issues a marriage certificate.

Couples must sign documents in blue or black ink (not a ballpoint pen). A typewriter is also acceptable. Then, the officiant (a priest/minister or judge) will submit the certificate, marriage license and other documents to the Demographic Registry, where you held your ceremony within 10 days of the wedding.

Legal Marriage Cost

Couples will need to pay a lawyer to prepare the medical certification. Depending on insurance coverage, they may have co-pays for blood work. Puerto Rico's government will issue an IRS stamp for $20.

Pro tip: Once you decide to host a Puerto Rico wedding, send out destination wedding save-the-dates with important info so your guest can book the time off and start thinking about travel plans.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Whether you choose to host a symbolic or legal destination wedding in Puerto Rico, your big day will be a blast. If the island is a special place for you and yours, you may have a good idea of how to get there and get around. However, guests may be first-timers, and you'll also want to read up on how to book vendors from afar. These tips will help make planning a Puerto Rico destination wedding a Caribbean sea breeze.

How to Get to Puerto Rico

Getting to Puerto Rico is relatively easy, especially for couples traveling from the Northeast. Pairs can find non-stop flights that'll have them touching down in San Juan in less than four hours. Couples flying in from Dallas can expect about a seven-hour flight, though direct flights are available and are about five hours long. West Coast travelers will have the longest trek — around 10 hours with one or more layovers from LAX.

Once in Puerto Rico, your best bet is to rent a car. Taxis and rideshare apps are also available, and some hotels may offer airport shuttles. There are also mini buses, and San Juan has a train.

Best Months to Marry in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is prone to hurricanes from August through November. The best times to visit are mid-December through April. These months are generally the driest and also have mild temperatures. Plus, it'll give couples hoping for an outdoor beach wedding in the winter a chance to have one. These periods are also peak travel seasons, so expect higher prices on flights and hotels and more competition for dates. Booking earlier can help ensure you get your first-choice Puerto Rico wedding venue and vendors.

Booking wedding insurance can give couples peace of mind, especially if booking during or around hurricane season.

Choosing Your Puerto Rico Wedding Venue and Vendors

It can be challenging to choose vendors from afar. Friends and family members may be unable to refer you to vendors they love in your hometown. However, Puerto Rico destination wedding planners have plenty of experience working with pros and can help you find one that fits your budget and vision. Sometimes, wedding venues have in-house planners. Reading reviews and asking to see portfolios and video clips from previous weddings can also help you feel confident in your choices. You can also hop on a virtual call for some face time with your pros (no pun intended).

Budgeting Tips

How much does a destination wedding cost in Puerto Rico? As with any wedding, the answer to this frequently asked question will vary. Your venue, headcount, vendors and wedding date will wall factor into the final price tag. Generally, destination weddings in Puerto Rico cost around $10,000 to $15,000, much less than the $35,000 the average couple pays for a celebration in the 50 states.

If purchasing wedding insurance , expect to pay around $185 for up to $1 million in coverage.

Booking a wedding package through your venue can help couples save money. Pairs may also choose to let the natural scenery in Puerto Rico shine and go lighter on decor.

Pro tip: Set up a free destination wedding website on The Knot with all the event details including your Puerto Rico wedding itinerary, things to do, guest travel information, RSVPs and more.

Bride and groom sitting on boat at destination wedding

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Flights to Puerto Rico with American Airlines

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Christmas is longer (and warmer) in Puerto Rico: What you can expect in a holiday getaway

travel planner puerto rico

CIALES, Puerto Rico – If you need a little Christmas right this very minute, consider visiting Puerto Rico .

Sure, it may not have the snow and indigenous evergreens many people associate with the winter holidays, but what it lacks in the markers of a temperate climate, it more than makes up for in holiday spirit.

“We have the longest holiday season in the world. By the time Thanksgiving rolls around for us it’s already Christmas,” Xiomara Rodriguez, communications director for Discover Puerto Rico, told USA TODAY. The early coming of the Christmas season was on full display when USA TODAY visited the island in early November. Many houses were already decorated for the holiday by early November.

Puerto Rico is primarily Catholic, so of course, Christmas is a focus of the holiday season, but the island also observes Three Kings Day, or Epiphany, on Jan. 6, and the weeklong San Sebastian street festival in mid-January to mark the end of the holiday season.

Winter is a great time to get to know the island, it not only provides an escape from the cold and gray, but also a holiday atmosphere that makes it even easier to have a true local experience. 

Going on a chinchorreo

Throughout the year, Puerto Ricans participate in chinchorreos – essentially day-long bar hopping trips at roadside food stands for refreshments throughout the journey.

“That is something that has been instilled in our culture for quite some time,” Rodriguez said. “It’s really food tastings. You have a little bit of something on one and maybe a drink, and then you go to another one and maybe have a fritter and a cocktail there.” 

She added that there’s usually music and dancing at every stop – and suggested making sure you have a designated driver. Individual stops along a chinchorreo route are called chinchorros.

While chinchorreo isn’t a holiday-specific activity, Rodriguez said many of the kiosks add special menu items like coquito (Puerto Rico’s take on eggnog) or pasteles (a traditional meat-filled turnover wrapped in plantain leaves) during the holidays.

Gerardo Mena, who is in charge of operations and marketing at Casa Vieja, a popular chinchorro in the municipality of Ciales, said visitors should definitely put a chinchorreo day on their itinerary.

“If you come to Puerto Rico, the best advice I can give you is try to rent a car or a driver and do chinchorreo around the mountains,” he said. “It’s really going to give you a good all-around sense of what we are as Puerto Ricans and what we have.” 

Different chinchorros have their own specialties. For Casa Vieja, it’s pastel al caldero, a kind of stew version of pasteles without the outer pastry, which they serve year-round. 

“We serve what we serve in big parties for our family,” Mena said. “We’re trying to bring what it’s like to be in a family atmosphere to the business.”

Discover Puerto Rico has a listing of almost 200 chinchorro stops, which you can filter by region on its website to help plan your own route.

Rodriguez said many municipalities on the island also publish their own chinchorro maps and guides. 

Mena said chinchorreos are a big draw for tourists to visit the island’s central region.

“Chinchorreos give life to people in the mountains. The more chinchorreo grows, the more people are going to be able to open businesses,” he said. “You give life to routes, to families, families can dare to open new businesses with new concepts in the mountains, and we can futher diversify chinchorreo and the mountains.”

Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián

A week-long street festival in Old San Juan closes out Puerto Rico’s extended holiday season, with music and dancing throughout the neighborhood. A parade on Calle San Sebastián is the centerpiece, and local artisans set up booths to sell their wares.

There is no charge to enter, but the crowds can get so large that car access is limited to Old San Juan. Public transportation is bolstered to the area but definitely be prepared for lines and waits.

Cruising Altitude: Avoid long lines and high ticket prices by flying on the holidays.

No passport? No problem

Because Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, American citizens don’t need a passport to visit, making the trip even easier. 

Many airlines offer direct flights from major cities, especially those on the East Coast and the Midwest. 

Rodriguez said the holiday season is a great time to visit and get to know the local culture.

“I just think it’s a very special season for people to come visit,” she said. “We love celebrating and music and food and being in a festive atmosphere so you get to see a lot more of that displayed, walking around.” 

Editor’s note: The reporter on this story received access to this trip from Discover Puerto Rico. USA TODAY maintains editorial control.

Zach Wichter is a travel reporter for USA TODAY based in New York. You can reach him at [email protected]

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JetBlue Announces New Nonstop Flights To 3 Popular Caribbean Destinations

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Planning a tropical getaway just got easier thanks to new flights from JetBlue to several popular destinations in the Caribbean.

The New York-based airline recently announced an expansion that includes numerous new routes to trending Caribbean islands.

This comes after JetBlue announced new direct flights to Tulum, Mexico beginning in June.

Here's a look at JetBlue's latest expansion, and where travelers will soon be able to go on the airline as it introduces new routes to the Caribbean's hottest destinations.

New Flights To San Juan, Puerto Rico

JetBlue already flies nonstop to San Juan, Puerto Rico from eight U.S. East Coast cities, but the airline is introducing two new routes from cities that don't currently have any flights to San Juan.

Beginning October 27, 2024, travelers will be able to fly to San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) nonstop from Providence, Rhode Island (PVD) and Westchester County, New York (HPN.)

This will make it even easier for East Coast travelers to get to Puerto Rico, which is one of the trendiest destinations in the Caribbean right now.

San Juan is the perfect place to base yourself for a few days as you explore the island.

The city has an amazing colonial center with colorful old buildings, cobblestone streets, and historic fortresses.

It's also close to many great beaches (you don't even have to leave the city for some of them!) and only an hour from El Yunque, the rainforest in Puerto Rico's interior, where you can try all kinds of adventurous activities.

Americans don't even need a passport to visit Puerto Rico, making it the perfect destination for an easy Caribbean getaway this year.

New Flights To St. Vincent

Another new route that JetBlue just announced in New York, New York (JFK) to St. Vincent (SVD) which will launch sometime this fall.

This is exciting news because there are very few nonstop flights from the U.S. to the beautiful island nation of St. Vincent and the Grenadines (only two aside from this new JetBlue route.)

St. Vincent is a lesser-visited island in the Caribbean, but that could change now that a brand-new Sandals Resort with more than 300 guest rooms recently opened there.

And this new flight will make it easier than ever for travelers to discover the beauty of St. Vincent.

New Flights To Bonaire

JetBlue has also announced a new nonstop service from New York, New York (JFK) to Bonaire (BON) which is also set to begin this fall.

Although it's not as popular as neighboring ABC Islands Aruba and Curacao, Bonaire is a beautiful underrated gem with some of the best beaches, snorkeling, and scuba diving in the Caribbean.

It's an amazing destination for a tropical getaway that will now be more accessible to travelers with the launch of this brand-new flight route.

Other New Flights From JetBlue

While the flights above are the only new routes from mainland U.S. cities, JetBlue has also announced several new intra-Caribbean flight routes, which is an interesting new development.

Historically, it's been difficult to island-hop and fly between many Caribbean destinations - you'd often need to fly back to the U.S. and connect first.

But now, JetBlue is launching the following new routes:

  • San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) to Cancun, Mexico (CUN)
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) to St. Croix, USVI (STX)
  • San Juan, Puerto Rico (SJU) to Santiago, Dominican Republic (STI)

This makes it easier to visit multiple destinations in the Caribbean in just one trip. For example, you could fly to San Juan and then hop over to St. Croix, another U.S. territory that's part of the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Dale Peterson

Dale is a full-time traveler and writer with over 6 years of experience. She's traveled to more than 55 countries around the globe and specializes in covering solo travel and digital nomadism.

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Opinions expressed here are the author's alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.

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JetBlue Announces New Nonstop Flights To 3 Popular Caribbean Destinations

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Fare cutting king boosts puerto rico service including new york and newark routes.

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The sun rises over Castillo San Felipe del Morro - Puerto Rico. (Photo by: Edwin Remsberg)

The number one fare cutting airline, already the carrier with the most capacity in Puerto Rico, has bigger plans.

In Puerto Rico, “We see a massive opportunity for flights to the United States, “ Frontier Airlines CEO Barry Biffle said Thursday on the carrier’s first quarter earnings call. “San Juan provides a gateway to the broader Caribbean region.”

President James Dempsey added that in Puerto Rico, “Our cost basis gives us a real opportunity to to stimulate that market, where there been very high fares for a long time.”

Frontier has about 8% of its capacity in Puerto Rico, where it operates more flights than any other carrier. By July, it will serve 26 destinations from San Juan as well as two Florida destinations each from Aguadilla and Ponce. It has more than doubled Puerto Rico capacity since 2019. The number of destinations was 17 in June 2023.

The carrier has three major initiatives planned for San Juan this summer. They include opening a San Juan crew base, boosting inter-Caribbean service and, most ambitiously, entering the heavily served San Juan-New York market.

The crew base, slated to open in June, is expected to employ 90 pilots and 200 flight attendants with a year. Frontier’s new emphasis on out and back flying means many will be able to start and end their days at home.

Inter-Caribbean service will include San Juan to Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic on June 14 and Barbados on July 3: Both flights were announced last week, a sign of Frontier’s frenetic pace of route openings in 2024.

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In total, a half dozen Caribbean markets, also including St. Thomas, St. Croix and St. Maarten, will open this summer.

Frontier’s San Juan-New York service will include new service to JFK on June 6 and to Newark on June 27. JFK flights will be twice daily and will mark Frontier’s first service at JFK.

Frontier typically introduces new routes with low introductory fares, which include $59 on both San Juan-New York routes.

JFK-San Juan is already served by both JetBlue and Delta, which respectively have six daily departures and three daily departures, so the new total will be 11 daily departures.

In Newark, Frontier will fly once or twice daily, with 11 weekly flights. It will compete with three daily United flights, two daily JetBlue flights, and a daily Frontier flight, so the total will be six to seven daily departures.

Frontier has shown no qualms about flying on major carrier routes, even hub to hub routes such as Charlotte to Philadelphia and Dallas. On the earnings call, Biffle said, “One person’s great opportunity for high revenue opportunities is another airline’s definition of incursion.”

Frontier’s growth in Puerto Rico was a topic on JetBlue’s earnings call in April. Dave Clark, head of JetBlue revenue and planning, said that in the key JetBlue markets of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, “We are 100% committed to winning, competing and maintaining leadership.” JetBlue passengers include not only beach goers, but also the VFR or visiting friends and relatives segment. Clark said VFR faces less pressure than beach destinations and “is holding up well.”

Ted Reed

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