After spending two months on the island, I can simply say that there isn’t any scarcity of wonderful issues to do in Puerto Rico. With numerous waterfalls, world-class seashores on Vieques and Culebra, uncommon bioluminescent bays, jungles, mountains and that well-known Puerto Rico nightlife in San Juan, the actual hassle is determining the place to begin your journey on the Island of Enchantment.
Thankfully, the island isn’t that huge – solely 110 miles at its widest level – making it very straightforward to flip your week-long trip into the last word Puerto Rican street journey.
Earlier than you balk on the concept of driving in an unknown place, hear me out.
First off, keep in mind that Puerto Rico is a US territory. It has two airports, a serious port and doesn’t require a passport to enter. That makes getting there straightforward.
Secondly, the island makes use of US dollars and the nationwide languages are each Spanish and English. So that you gained’t want to fear about studying how to say, “Where is the next rest stop?” in Spanish. Until you need to attempt to decide up the language, that’s.
Lastly, there isn’t a dependable, island-wide public transportation choice. There are literally thousands of individuals who go to the island annually that by no means depart San Juan and the encompassing space as a result of they don’t find out about all of the hidden gems and different issues to do in Puerto Rico – or how to get to them. That leaves vast open seashores, empty jungle trails and hidden waterfalls throughout the island simply ready for you to uncover.
That’s additionally what makes a street journey your good island trip!
How to Put together for a Road Journey in Puerto Rico
It’s very straightforward to lease a automotive in a lot of the greater cities. San Juan, Aguadilla, Rincón, and Ponce all had choices that I seemed into whereas I used to be there. My suggestion can be to make the method actually easy and reserve your automotive once you ebook your flight, particularly in case you are touring through the peak winter months.
There are two worldwide airports on the island – one in San Juan and one in Aguadilla – however they’re each very small, so the stock of automobiles can get booked shortly.
After you purchase your aircraft tickets and begin planning out your week, the next step ought to be to get out a map and star all of the belongings you need to do in Puerto Rico.
This can make it straightforward to see which cities will probably be your primary stops. It’s a good suggestion to know what day you’ll be in every city and plan which lodge, hostel or Airbnb you’ll keep in after a full day of exploring. And if you need to take a look at a few of the brightly-painted seashore homes which are across the island, you need to use my Airbnb coupon code.
You’ll additionally give you the option to begin making a unfastened plan of what you need to see every day – leaving loads of time for impromptu stops and taking these slender island roads at a sluggish tempo.
Listed here are my prime 12 issues to do on a Puerto Rican street journey:
1. Take a stroll round Previous San Juan
San Juan is the one giant metropolis on the island and is the a part of Puerto Rico you see probably the most typically in pictures. It’s iconic cobblestone streets and shiny buildings make for an excellent day of strolling round round. There are many small eating places to pop into for “mofongo” – an area dish product of fried plantains – and a piña colada.
Afterward, you’ll be able to watch boats and cruise ships come in to port at sundown by Castillo del Morro, a 16th-century Spanish fortification that overlooks the harbor, earlier than preparing to social gathering hop your method by way of all the most effective nightlife hotspots in Puerto Rico.
2. Go spelunking in one of many western hemisphere’s largest caves
Once I was on the lookout for new issues to do in Puerto Rico, I used to be stunned to study that the island is residence to an enormous cave system and the third largest underground river in the world.
You’ll overlook you’re in the center of a tropical island if you step into the caves at Camuy Cave Park. Afterward, you possibly can drive to the Arecibo Observatory to see the world’s second-largest single-dish radio telescope.
three. Swim in crystal clear waters at Crashboat Seashore
Spending a day at Crashboat Seashore is likely one of the extra common issues to do in Puerto Rico, nevertheless it’s nonetheless well-worth the cease.
Bounce off the previous army pier, take a photograph by the brightly painted boats and have some road meals from one of many native stands – that is what island life is all about.
four. Leap off Sugar Mill Pier close to Aguadilla
Your Puerto Rican street journey is sure to take you alongside the island’s sugarcane route, the place you’ll see what’s left of the Spanish-built sugar mills. As soon as the house of the island’s largest export, all that’s left are simply rusty skeletons being taken over by the jungle.
The pier close to Aguadilla is understood for a rope swing that when hung there, however thrill seekers nonetheless go and make the leap. Enter (and leap) at your personal danger.
5. Mountain bike at breakfast and surf at sundown in Rincón
Rincón has a particular place in my coronary heart as a result of that’s the place I spent most of my time, however I additionally assume it’s the perfect spot on the island when it comes to in search of journey sports activities and different issues to do in Puerto Rico that contain slightly little bit of adrenaline.
You possibly can’t stroll round this little city with out operating into an expat surfer who got here on a browsing vacation and by no means left. Steps Seashore/Tres Palmas and Domes Seashore are all recognized for critical waves, however Domes is a superb place to hang around for the day if you would like just a little little bit of every thing.
You possibly can lease an ATV, take a surf lesson and even rocket down some downhills at considered one of my favourite mountain bike trails in Puerto Rico earlier than grabbing a Medalla on the bar proper on the seashore.
In case you occur to be in city on a Sunday, plan to stick round for the artwork stroll and a few native brews in the city sq., too.
6. Dive for bombs close to an uninhabited island
Earlier than your Puerto Rican street journey takes you out of Rincón, e-book a snorkeling and scuba-diving journey to Desecheo Island.
Snorkeling is a type of issues you’ll be able to do virtually anyplace in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean, however I really like this spot as a result of the native boats will take you out to a tiny, uninhabited island that used to be used for ammunitions testing.
Search for a bomb underwater, however hold your exploring to the water. Nobody is allowed to stroll ashore due to the potential hazard.
7. Leap off a waterfall by San Sebastián
Attempting to find waterfalls in the jungle is among the greatest issues to do in Puerto Rico and no street journey can be full with out at the least one.
Why not make it one you possibly can leap off, full with a rope swing?
Gozalandia has a reputation that sounds prefer it’s out of some type of make-believe metropolis, nevertheless it’s actual and it’s certainly one of my favourite locations to hang around with pals for a day. There’s a swimming gap with a rope swing on the prime of the hill and a bigger waterfall under it that folks leap off when the water under is deep sufficient.
eight. See the sights in Cabo Rojo
In case you’re on the lookout for the extra adventurous issues to do in Puerto Rico, it’s your decision to cease in Cabo Rojo for greater than a day.
Cabo Rojo itself is a small city with a number of colonial Spanish affect. Guests can study extra about Puerto Rico’s fascinating historical past on the Museo de los Proceres after which enterprise out to the seashores, wildlife preserves, and salt flats in the world.
On my private listing of issues to do in Cabo Rojo: Rise up paddle board by way of the mangroves off the coast.
9. Watch the water glow in a bioluminescent bay
Glowing water actually wants no introduction, however there are bioluminescent plankton dwelling in the water that glow when they’re agitated. And Puerto Rico is the place for plankton, it appears.
Of the 5 bioluminescent bays in the world, three are on the island. Mosquito Bay on Vieques is the brightest of the three, however in case you are on a street journey round Puerto Rico, you possibly can simply see La Parguera on the west coast or Laguna Grade on the east. They’re most brightest on a brand new moon, and it’s undoubtedly an expertise that’s well worth the wait.
10. Rejoice at certainly one of Ponce’s festivals
Carnaval de Ponce is Puerto Rico’s Mardi Gras pageant. It occurs in February annually and is every week full of dancing, colourful costumes and loads of libations.
It is going to take some planning to plan a Puerto Rican street journey throughout this time (and lodging will e-book out properly in advance), however you’d have the opportunity to participate in a pageant that not many vacationers see.
11. Hike or bike in the desert at Guánica State Forest
Not technically a desert, Guánica is a subtropical dry forest filled with cacti, climbing trails and singletracks for mountain bike followers.
There are over 100 miles of trails in the park, so that you may be climbing or pedaling for fairly some time earlier than you run out of latest surroundings. There are additionally a couple of cacao farms in the world that lease out land for tenting, in case you need to sleep underneath the celebs and pay attention to the coqui frogs after a day of exploring the park.
12. Trek via the one jungle in the USA
No record of issues to do in Puerto Rico can be full with out point out of El Yunque. It’s the preferred vacation spot on the island and is a superb place to go if you would like to see uncommon animals, waterfalls and a high-altitude dwarf forest.
In case you are fortunate, you could even spot a chupacabra, the island’s model of Huge Foot that’s stated to solely stay in El Yunque Nationwide Park. Learn up on the legend of this vampire-like creature and maintain an eye fixed out as you stroll the paths in the park!
In case you are mapping your street journey route in accordance to the 12 issues to do in Puerto Rico that I simply listed right here, you’ll discover that we at the moment are again on the Northeast aspect of the island, making a full loop.
When you make it to San Juan, you possibly can take a day or two to unwind much more and go to the neighboring islands of Vieques and Culebra for his or her well-known white seashores.
No matter what belongings you need to do most, planning a street journey in your Puerto Rican trip or travels is the right approach to see each inch of the island. Plus, you gained’t have any strict agenda, so you’ll be able to keep in every spot for so long as you desire to.
So, know that you understand about all of the issues to do in Puerto Rico, would you go on a street journey on the island? What would you do first?
My identify is Gareth Leonard, a Advertising Director turned World Traveler with a ardour for sluggish, significant journey. I’ve been touring the world full-time for the previous 9+ years and doc all of it on Instagram and YouTube. Come be a part of me!