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 start out your journey on the Island of Enchantment.
Fortuitously, the island isn’t that massive – solely 110 miles at its widest level – making it very straightforward to show 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 fret about studying tips on how to say, “The place is the subsequent relaxation cease?” in Spanish. Until you need to attempt to decide up the language, that’s.
Lastly, there isn’t any 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 tips on how to get to them. That leaves extensive open seashores, empty jungle trails and hidden waterfalls throughout the island simply ready so that you can uncover.
That’s additionally what makes a street journey your good island trip!
How you can Put together for a Street 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 appeared into whereas I used to be there. My suggestion can be to make the method actually easy and reserve your automotive whenever you e-book your flight, particularly in case you are touring in the course of 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 must 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 might be your essential 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 wish 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 have the ability 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 vibrant buildings make for an incredible day of strolling round round. There are many small eating places to pop into for “mofongo” – an area dish made from fried plantains – and a piña colada.
Afterward, you’ll be able to watch boats and cruise ships are available to port at sundown by Castillo del Morro, a 16th-century Spanish fortification that overlooks the harbor, earlier than on the brink of social gathering hop your approach by means 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 on the planet.
You’ll overlook you’re in the midst of a tropical island once you step into the caves at Camuy Cave Park. Afterward, you’ll be able to 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 well-liked issues to do in Puerto Rico, however 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. Bounce 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 one of the best spot on the island relating to on the lookout for journey sports activities and different issues to do in Puerto Rico that contain somewhat 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 slightly little bit of all the things.
You’ll be able to lease an ATV, take a surf lesson and even rocket down some downhills at one among my favourite mountain bike trails in Puerto Rico earlier than grabbing a Medalla on the bar proper on the seashore.
In the event you occur to be on the town on a Sunday, plan to stay round for the artwork stroll and a few native brews within 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, ebook a snorkeling and scuba-diving journey to Desecheo Island.
Snorkeling is a type of issues you are 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 was used for ammunitions testing.
Search for a bomb underwater, however maintain your exploring to the water. Nobody is allowed to stroll ashore due to the potential hazard.
7. Bounce off a waterfall by San Sebastián
Looking for waterfalls within the jungle is likely one of the greatest issues to do in Puerto Rico and no street journey can be full with out no less than one.
Why not make it one you’ll be able to bounce off, full with a rope swing?
Gozalandia has a reputation that sounds prefer it’s out of some kind of make-believe metropolis, nevertheless it’s actual and it’s certainly one of my favourite locations to hang around with associates 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 bounce off when the water under is deep sufficient.
eight. See the sights in Cabo Rojo
For those who’re on the lookout for the extra adventurous issues to do in Puerto Rico, you might need to cease in Cabo Rojo for greater than a day.
Cabo Rojo itself is a small city with numerous 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 within the space.
On my private record 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 within the water that glow when they’re agitated. And Puerto Rico is the place for plankton, it appears.
Of the 5 bioluminescent bays on the planet, 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’ll be able to 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 one in every 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 should take some planning to plan a Puerto Rican street journey throughout this time (and lodging will e-book out properly prematurely), however you’d be capable of participate in a pageant that not many vacationers see.
11. Hike or bike within 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 within the park, so that you could be mountaineering or pedaling for fairly some time earlier than you run out of latest surroundings. There are additionally a couple of cacao farms within the space that lease out land for tenting, in case you need to sleep beneath the celebs and take heed to the coqui frogs after a day of exploring the park.
12. Trek via the one jungle in the USA
No listing 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 wish 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 reside in El Yunque Nationwide Park. Learn up on the legend of this vampire-like creature and hold an eye fixed out as you stroll the paths within the park!
In case you are mapping your street journey route in accordance with 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 may 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 on your Puerto Rican trip or travels is the right strategy 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 recognize 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!