The Best of Puerto Rico: From El Yunque to Ponce

Advisor - Kim Walters
Curated By

Kim Walters

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  • International Travel

  • Puerto Rico

  • San Juan

  • Active Travel

  • Beaches

  • Island

  • Sightseeing

  • Outdoors

Puerto Rico travel guide.
Curator’s statement

Puerto Rico has stunning beaches, nightlife, culture, historical landmarks, outdoor activities and amazing food. This destination deserves to be a stand-alone destination, not just one as a port for cruise ship passengers. Puerto Rico is the perfect place for the beach bum, nature lover, night owl, foodie and/or adventurist.

The Fora Difference

Book with Kim to access exclusive perks and experiences on your trip.

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Killer perks

Free upgrades, spa credits and more—we got you

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Personalized recs

Customized travel planning for your style

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Insider knowledge

Expert advice from people who’ve actually been there

Where to stay

Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

Art Deco beauty with a mix of heritage and modern rooms, most with Atlantic Ocean views.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Daily breakfast.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Fairmont El San Juan Hotel

Set on idyllic Isla Verde Beach, the Fairmont El San Juan boasts modern rooms and resort amenities including a casino, nine restaurants, multiple bars and a nightclub.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

Hotel El Convento

Long-time favorite in Old San Juan, with a traditional look and access to a sister beach club.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Unlock perks by contacting Kim to book your trip.

Day 1: Arriving in San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, Puerto Rico travel guide.

Settle in and explore the area around your hotel. Find the perfect place to relax with a drink and embrace the surroundings.

Day 2: Old San Juan

Puerto Rico travel guide.

Head to Castillo San Cristobal, which is considered the largest fortress built in the Americas. Learn its history and imagine building this fort that took over 150 years to complete.

Them, walk around Old San Juan and stroll around the cobblestone streets. Grab some lunch, do some shopping, sample rum at Don Q Rum and explore! If you have time, take the ferry across the bay and take a tour of the Bacardi Rum Factory.

Day 3: El Yunque Rainforest

El Yunque Rainforest, Puerto Rico travel guide.

Take a day trip to El Yunque National Forest, which is about an hour's drive from San Juan (make sure to reserve your entry in advance online.) One of the most popular things to do at El Yunque is hiking to the natural pools. Take La Coca trail down to one of several ponds along the route to cool off with a swim. The El Angelito trail hike can end with a rope swing into the lagoon. There are some great waterfalls at the end of the Big Tree trail to La Mina Falls. Make sure to pack a picnic lunch and lots of water for your day exploring this National Forest.

Day 4: Day trip to Ponce

Puerto Rico travel guide.

Spend the day in Ponce, which is on the southern coast. Ponce has beautiful architecture, known as Ponce Crelol, and several museums. Visit the Plaza Las Delicias (the town square), Cathedral of Our Lady Guadalupe, Fuente de Los Leones (stunning water fountains), Parque de Bombas (the once iconic fire station) and many shops, restaurants and coffee shops.

If you like museums, check out the Museo de Arte de Ponce, which has a collection of European and Puerto Rican art. The Serralles Castle is a must-do too, it overlooks the downtown area of Ponce and has amazing views of the Caribbean Ocean. If you still have time before you head back to San Juan, go to a baseball game in Ponce, it is an experience you will never forget.

Day 5: Vieques

Puerto Rico travel guide Vieques.

Take a trip to Vieques Mosquito Bay, which is a bioluminescent bay that is a small island off the coast of Puerto Rico. There are only five bioluminescent bays around the world, and the one on Vieques is the brightest and most magical. This trip does require an overnight in Vieques, but it is well worth it. The best way to arrive in Vieques is a flight over and spending one night in Vieques City Center. That evening you will embark on a late-night kayaking adventure. The kayaks have glass bottoms so you can see the glow all around and below you as you glide through the water.

Need to Know

For more island fun fit for the whole family, check out my Family-Friendly Travel Guide to Jamaica and Adventure in Aruba.

Advisor - Kim Walters

Travel Advisor

Kim Walters

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