Puerto Rico is an incredible vacation destination, with beautiful beaches, vibrant culture and unique cuisine; it’s an ideal spot to unwind. Being half Puerto Rican I have spent lots of time enjoying everything “la isla de encanta” (the island of enchantment) has to offer.
Must See Places
El Viejo San Juan or Old San Juan
Walking though Old San Juan is like going back in time or passing through a set of a movie. It’s multicolored buildings, cobblestone streets and the faint sound of salsa music will leave you feeling captivated by its charm. This is a beautiful and historical area of the city filled fantastic restaurants, cafes, shops and of course nightlife. I would recommend strolling thought the streets on a nice day and enjoying a Pina Colada.
El Morro is a massive 400 year old fort that once was used to guard the San Juan harbor. This UNESCO World Heritage site offers sweeping views of the sea and a look back into Puerto Rico’s long history. With tales of pirate invaders, preserved cannons and incredible look outs—El Morro cannot be missed while visiting Puerto Rico. An often forgotten element of El Morro is its beautiful front lawn. You’ll see tons of local families relaxing in front of El Morro, flying kites and having picnics. If my description didn’t entice you, for only $5 for entry, I guarantee you’ll get an A+ insta.
El Yunque is Puerto Rico’s lush rainforest located in Rio Grande about 45 minutes outside San Juan. I highly recommend wearing sneakers and a bathing suit under your clothes so you can do the Big Tree Trail. This trail is less than a mile and ranked as moderate, it’s a stunning walk on a flat trail ending at a series of waterfalls you can swim in! There are a variety of trails available for all levels should you want a more challenging hike!
A quick ride from El Yunque this breathtaking beach is not to be missed! With food and drink vendors lining the beach offering lots of local cuisine and calm clear blue water—it should be no surprise that this is a local’s favorite beach in Puerto Rico. I recommend getting fresh coconut water (yes, it will be served in the coconut), and trying arepas—made with corn flour dough and stuffed with savory ingredients like carne asada, cheese, cilantro and avocado.
Other Things To Do
There are lots of companies that offer zip lining all over Puerto Rico’s tropical scenery. Make sure to do your research into a highly rated company and know if tickets need to be purchased before or upon arrival.
Trip to Vieques or Culebra
Vieques and Culebra are tiny islands east of San Juan known for their tranquil and beautiful beaches. You can get to these islands on the ferry or through a short flight. I recommend driving to the airport in Ceiba then taking a short 15-minute place ride from there! It will be an adventure door to door starting with the 8-seater planes used for the trip over!
Puerto Rico is one of the only places in the world with a Bioluminescent bay. At night this bay glows a blue-green light, created by micro-organisms beneath the water. There are many companies off of Fajardo and Vieques that offer magical Bio bay tours where you go out on Kayaks to witness the glow of the bay.
A soft fluffy and buttery Puerto Rican sweet bread usually topped with powdered sugar.
A caramelized sweet cheese filled pastry.
Fried pastry bread stuffed with various meats, cheeses and vegetables. My personal favorite is an Empanada de Carne (meat empanada).
Small fried rolls filled with mashed potatoes and some kind of meat (usually ham) or fish. These are served with a tangy spicy sauce.