Puerto Rico Travel Guide: Everything You Need To Know

Puerto Rico travel guide

Puerto Rico is a tropical paradise. Whether you're a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler, this island in the Caribbean offers plenty of experiences for all kinds of adventurers. From vibrant cities to stunning beaches and lush jungles, there's something for everyone. In this comprehensive travel guide, we'll share everything you need to know about Puerto Rico, from the best time to visit to hidden gems, bucket list experiences, and more.

In this article:

Bay with a lighthouse in Puerto RicoUnsplash

Best Time To Visit 

The best time to visit Puerto Rico is from December to April, when the weather is pleasantly warm and the chance of rainfall is low. During these months, you can enjoy the island's stunning beaches, indulge in outdoor activities, and explore popular attractions without worrying about the rainy season. 

If you prefer a quieter and more budget-friendly trip, consider visiting during the shoulder seasons of May to June or September to November. Just keep in mind that the weather can be a bit more unpredictable during these times.

Top Attractions 

From historic fortresses and pristine beaches to lush rainforests and vibrant city streets, Puerto Rico has plenty to offer. These top attractions are a must for your itinerary.

Street in Old San Juan, Puerto RicoUnsplash

Old San Juan

Start your Puerto Rico adventure in the heart of the island's capital, Old San Juan. Take a stroll through its narrow, colorful streets lined with charming colonial buildings, visit historic forts like El Morro and Castillo San Cristobal, and immerse yourself in the vibrant local culture.

The best things to do in Old San Juan:

  • Visit El Morro: This impressive six-level fortress is a must-see. Explore the maze-like tunnels, climb up the ramparts for breathtaking ocean views, and learn about the history of the fortification through informative exhibits.
  • Stroll along the colorful streets: As you wander the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, you'll be enchanted by its pastel-colored buildings and charming storefronts. Explore Calle del Cristo and Calle Fortaleza, two of the most picturesque streets in the neighborhood. 
  • Explore the Museo de Las Americas: Step inside this fascinating museum to learn about the diverse heritage of the Americas and the Caribbean. Explore exhibits that highlight the Taino people, who were the original inhabitants of Puerto Rico, as well as the African, Spanish, and Creole influences that have shaped the island's identity. 
  • Take a foodie tour: One of the best ways to experience the local culture is through its cuisine. Join a foodie tour to embark on a culinary adventure through Old San Juan. These tours will take you to hidden gems and local haunts, where you can sample traditional Puerto Rican dishes and delicacies.

El Yunque National Forest, Puerto RicoUnsplash

El Yunque National Forest

Nature enthusiasts will be in awe of El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System. Hike through lush forests, swim in crystal-clear waterfalls, and discover diverse plant and animal life that call this enchanting place home.

The best things to do in El Yunque National Forest:

  • Visit the Yokahú Observation Tower: The Yokahú Observation Tower offers breathtaking panoramic views of the forest and surrounding areas. Climb up the spiral steps to the top and be rewarded with a stunning vista.
  • Explore the Trails: El Yunque National Forest boasts a variety of hiking trails suitable for all levels of fitness and adventure. Head over to La Coca trail, where you can hike down to several ponds along the route for a refreshing dip. For a fun experience, choose El Angelito trail, which features a rope swing and ends with a lagoon perfect for swimming and diving.
  • Discover the El Yunque Visitor Center: Start your adventure at the El Yunque Visitor Center, where you can learn about the flora, fauna, and history of the forest. Pick up a map from the ranger station to help navigate the park and make the most of your visit.

Beach on Culebra Island, Puerto RicoUnsplash

Culebra Island

Escape to paradise on Culebra Island, known for its pristine white sand beaches and crystal-clear turquoise waters. Flamenco Beach, Tamarindo Beach, and Culebrita Island are just a few of the must-visit spots where you can relax, swim, and snorkel.

The best things to do on Culebra Island:

  • Visit Flamenco Beach: Consistently ranked as one of the world's most beautiful beaches, Flamenco Beach is a must-visit attraction on Culebra Island. With crystal clear water and pure white sand, Flamenco Beach offers opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and snorkeling.
  • Explore Tamarindo Beach: If you're looking for a quiet and serene getaway, Tamarindo Beach is the perfect spot. Surrounded by lush jungle and offering calm waters, this beach is ideal for swimming and sunbathing.
  • Go snorkeling or scuba diving: Culebra Island is known for its rich marine life with vibrant coral reefs, seagrass beds, and mangrove forests that make snorkeling and scuba diving a popular activity for visitors.
  • Rent a golf cart: One of the best ways to explore the island is by renting a golf cart and cruising around at your leisure. You'll be able to take in the scenic views and stop at different beaches and attractions along the way.
  • Venture to Culebrita Island: Take a day trip to Culebrita Island and enjoy a secluded natural paradise. With hiking trails that lead to spectacular views and an iconic lighthouse, you'll be able to explore a beautifully serene location.

Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay in Vieques

Witness nature's magical light show at the Mosquito Bay in Vieques. Kayak through the glowing waters and be mesmerized by the bioluminescent organisms that create a stunning spectacle with every movement.

The best things to do in Mosquito Bay:

  • Take a Bioluminescent Bay kayak tour: Experience the magical phenomenon of bioluminescence by taking a kayak tour on Mosquito Bay, the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world. Paddle through the glowing waters and witness the beautiful displays of light created by the bioluminescent organisms.
  • Enjoy a night swim: Dive into the shimmering waters of Bioluminescent Bay and swim amongst the bioluminescent organisms. As you move through the water, you'll leave a trail of sparkling light behind you. 
  • Take a boat tour: Join a guided boat tour to explore the waters of Bioluminescent Bay. These tours typically provide information about the bay's ecosystem and the science behind bioluminescence. You'll have the opportunity to see the glowing organisms up close and even swim in the bioluminescent water.

Insider Tip: Bioluminescence can vary depending on weather conditions and the time of year, so it's always a good idea to check with local tour operators for the best times to visit.

Camuy River Cave Park

Explore the fascinating underground world of Camuy River Cave Park. Take a guided tour through vast limestone caves, marvel at impressive stalactites and stalagmites, and learn about the rich geological history of Puerto Rico.

The best things to do in Camuy River Cave Park:

  • Explore the Underground Caves: Camuy River Cave Park is home to one of the largest cave networks in the world. Embark on a guided tour to marvel at the impressive formations, including stalactites and stalagmites, as well as underground rivers. 
  • Take a Tram Ride: To reach the cave entrances, you'll hop on a tram that takes you through the lush tropical forest and provides scenic views of the surrounding area. 
  • Enjoy Nature Trails: Camuy River Cave Park isn't just about the caves — it also offers beautiful walking trails through the lush forest. Take a leisurely stroll and immerse yourself in the natural beauty of the park, keeping an eye out for the wildlife that calls this area home. 
  • Visit the Visitor Center: Before beginning your adventure, make sure to stop by the visitor center. Here, you can learn more about the park's history, geology, and conservation efforts. 

Insider Tip: Please note that Camuy River Cave Park may have specific guidelines and restrictions, so it's always a good idea to check with the park authorities or website for the most up-to-date information before visiting. 

Cabo Rojo, Puerto RicoUnsplash

Hidden Gems

While the island is already famous for its stunning beaches and vibrant culture, there is so much more to discover. Consider exploring these hidden gems during your trip to Puerto Rico


Indulge your taste buds in Guavate, known as the "Pork Highway." Feast on traditional Puerto Rican cuisine like lechón (roast pork) and enjoy lively music and dancing at the local roadside food stalls.


Discover the vibrant city of Ponce, often referred to as the "Pearl of the South." Admire the stunning colonial architecture, visit the Ponce Museum of Art, and explore the colorful Parque de Bombas, a historic firehouse-turned-museum.

Cabo Rojo

Escape to the secluded beaches of Cabo Rojo, located on the southwestern tip of Puerto Rico. Playa Sucia, also known as La Playuela, offers breathtaking views of turquoise waters, striking cliffs, and a picturesque lighthouse.

Rincon, Puerto RicoUnsplash

Bucket List Experiences

From exploring the bioluminescent bays to hiking through exotic rainforests, there are countless once-in-a-lifetime experiences to be had on this beautiful island. Add these activities to your Puerto Rico bucket list.

  • Surfing in Rincon: Ride the waves in Rincon, Puerto Rico's surfing capital. Whether you're a seasoned pro or a beginner, Rincon offers excellent surfing conditions for all levels. Grab a surfboard and hit the waves for an adrenaline-filled experience.
  • Ziplining in Toro Verde: Soar through the treetops of Puerto Rico's central mountain range at Toro Verde Adventure Park. Experience the thrill of ziplining on the world's longest zipline, the "Monster," and enjoy breathtaking views of the lush scenery.
  • Snorkeling at Mosquito Bay: Dive into the underwater world of Mosquito Bay, also known as "The Bioluminescent Bay of Vieques." Snorkel through its glowing waters and be amazed as the bioluminescent organisms light up the night.
  • Horseback riding in El Yunque: Explore El Yunque National Forest on horseback for a unique and magical experience. Ride through the lush trails, cross crystal-clear streams, and immerse yourself in the beauty of this tropical rainforest.
  • Kayaking in the Condado Lagoon: Paddle through the calm waters of Condado Lagoon and enjoy breathtaking views of San Juan's skyline. Rent a kayak and explore the mangrove forests while marveling at the diverse marine life below.
  • Salsa dancing in San Juan: Get your groove on and dance the night away to the infectious rhythms of salsa music in San Juan. Join a local dance class or head to a lively salsa club to experience the vibrant nightlife of Puerto Rico.
  • Hiking to Guajataca Tunnel: Embark on a scenic hike to the Guajataca Tunnel, a hidden gem nestled within stunning limestone cliffs. Enjoy breathtaking views as you walk along the cliffside trail and enter the historic tunnel, a testament to Puerto Rico's railroad history.
  • Whale-watching in Rincon: From January to March, witness majestic humpback whales as they migrate through the waters off the coast of Rincon. Join a whale-watching tour and be in awe of these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
  • Exploring the Coffee Route: Discover Puerto Rico's rich coffee culture by exploring the Coffee Route in the central mountains. Visit coffee plantations, learn about the coffee-making process, and savor the taste of freshly brewed Puerto Rican coffee.
  • Soaking in the natural pools in Manati: Escape the crowds and find tranquility at the natural pools of Los Tubos in Manati. Swim in these picturesque pools, created by natural rock formations, and enjoy a peaceful day surrounded by nature.

La Fortazela, San Juan, Puerto RicoUnsplash

Puerto Rico Travel Tips

To help make your adventure smooth sailing, we've put together these handy travel tips for your Puerto Rico trip.

  • Entry and Exit Requirements: Visitors from the United States do not need a passport to enter Puerto Rico. However, it is always recommended to carry a valid government-issued ID. Traveling from other countries may require a passport and possibly a visa, so be sure to check the entry requirements before your trip.
  • Language: English and Spanish are both official languages in Puerto Rico. While English is widely spoken, especially in tourist areas, knowing a few basic Spanish phrases can come in handy.
  • Currency: The official currency in Puerto Rico is the United States dollar. Credit cards are widely accepted, but it's always a good idea to carry some cash for smaller establishments and local markets.
  • Getting Around: Renting a car is the best way to explore Puerto Rico, as it offers the most flexibility. However, public transportation options, such as buses and taxis, are available in major cities. Ride-hailing services like Uber and Lyft are also available in certain areas.
  • Plugs and Adapters: Puerto Rico operates on 120 volts, with standard U.S. electrical outlets (Type A and Type B). If you're traveling from a country with different plug types, you may need a travel adapter to charge your devices.

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Puerto Rico eSIM: Stay Connected With Airalo

Stay connected during your trip to Puerto Rico with an eSIM from Airalo. An eSIM is a tiny SIM that's embedded in your device and works 100% digitally. You can download an eSIM plan for your destination and instantly connect to a mobile network. There's no need to find a SIM card vendor, manage multiple SIMs, or worry about roaming fees. 

Here are just some of the benefits of using an Airalo eSIM:

  • Connect to a mobile network within minutes.
  • Choose from flexible local, regional, and global data plans.
  • Say goodbye to expensive roaming charges.
  • Store multiple eSIM data plans on your device.
  • Need more data? Top up in the Airalo app.

You're all set to plan a trip to Puerto Rico! Head to the Airalo store to browse eSIMs for Puerto Rico and 200+ countries and regions worldwide.

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