A Long Weekend in Northern Puerto Rico

Advisor - Meghan Irle
Curated By

Meghan Irle

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  • Puerto Rico

  • San Juan

  • Adventure Travel

  • Beaches

  • Outdoors

  • Entertainment

  • Sightseeing

Aerial pic of the beach.
Curator’s statement

Being of Puerto Rican decent, I was excited to visit my homeland for the first time this past winter. While seemingly small, this island has to much to offer. Since this guide focuses on just four short days, you will be exploring the northeastern part of the island. This part of the island is home to San Juan, the rainforest El Yunque, and many fabulous beaches. Get ready to eat, drink and adventure on Isla de Encanto.

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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.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • 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.

Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico

The resort on Coco Beach offers spacious suites with stunning views and a lagoon-style pool.

Fora Perks
  • Hotel / resort credit.

  • Welcome amenity.

  • Breakfast daily

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible

Advisor - Meghan Irle

Unlock perks by contacting Meghan to book your trip.

Day 1: Beach, Gastronomy and Nightlife

A green island in sea with clear blue water.

After you arrive at SJU, head to your hotel to drop your bags. If you are anything like me, you'll want to head straight to the beach. For the most swimmable waters, stay in Isla Verde. However, if you want to be in the trendy neighborhood, stay in Condado. While you're in Condado, head to Wicked Lily for lunch. It's right on the beach, has fabulous bottomless mimosas and there is usually a DJ spinning. Since it's your first day, take the time to enjoy the sun, sand and surf before getting ready for dinner.

When it is time for dinner, you'll want to check out La Bodeguita also in Condado. This fun little speakeasy is a fusion of traditional Puerto Rican and American food. Order the patatas bravas and spicy tuna tacos and thank me later! Since this place is limited on space, call ahead to reserve a table.

Ready for some nightlife? Condado is also home to La Placita Santurce. You will likely be dropped off on C. Canals where you will find a strip of bars and clubs. If you turn onto the street that is barricaded, follow the music into the plaza. Often times there is live music, street entertainers and cheap drinks!

Day 2: Relax, Explore and Indulge

A picture of El Castillo San Felipe del Morro during daytime.

If you want to sleep in after your fun night at La Placita, I won't blame you! You are on vacation after all. Let this be a slow day of enjoying the culture. When you are ready to take on the town, head to Old San Juan. The dreamy pastel buildings and the cobblestone streets will have you snapping pics left and right. Old San Juan is a great place to go shopping too, so get your wallet ready. My favorite boutique shops are Valija and Collective Request for women or Costazul for men.

For a late lunch/early dinner, stop in at Café El Punto for Mofongo and arroz con gandules. This spot also has local artisan crafts for sale. I suggest throwing in a reservation prior to shopping if you have a large group. Afterwards, you can walk off your delicious meal by taking a stroll down to the cruise port or head to El Morro, a national park that is also a fort with some long-standing history.

Day 3: Island Hopping Bliss

Ocean as seen from an arched opening.

Be ready at 7:30 a.m. in the lobby this morning so you can take a shuttle to Fajardo. In Fajardo, you will have the ability to jump on a boat to one of several locations. You can go to Cayo Icacos, Culebra or Vieques, but my favorite place to go is Culebra or Culebrita Beach. Most of these excursions can be purchased well in advance. As previously stated, the tour company will pick you up at your hotel and drop you at the port. At the port, you can grab a coffee, lather up that sunscreen and find snorkel gear. Most of these tours include snacks, lunch and unlimited rum drinks. To be quite honest, this activity takes a lot out of you after being in the sun all day. When you arrive back at the hotel, rest up for your next day of adventure

Day 4: Final Full day in PR

A view of the seaside with beautiful hotels and palm trees along the shore.

Your final full day in PR! This is the day that I suggest you rent a Jeep and head into the rainforest. There are so many places to stop and hike in El Yunque. Only you know your limit! Don't be surprised if it rains....Make sure to pack an extra change of clothes/shoes and DO NOT FORGET bug spray! The mosquitos are no joke. Some people wear ponchos, but what's the fun in that. You also need to stop at one of the roadside stands selling food. Get yourself some lechon and alcapurria and thank me later. However, don't eat too much because you are headed to the beach after this!

Next stop is Luquillo beach. Hope you brought your swimsuit.....If you didn't, this little beach stop has pretty much anything you need. Fantastic (and cheap) drinks, great food and souvenir shops. But be careful in the water! Those waves can be rough albeit fun.

Your final adventure for the day will be to head back to Fajardo. With all this moving around, you get why I recommend the Jeeps now! In Fajardo, you are going to go on one of the coolest experiences of your life: a bioluminescent kayak tour. You will definitely need a swimsuit, water shoes and bug spray as you kayak through the mangroves into the bay. Once in the bay, you will watch the water glow when you move your paddle. Try throwing the water on your legs and watch it sparkle!

Need to Know

For more travel tips, check out Fora Advisor Arina Polyaeva’s guide, San Juan, Puerto Rico Getaway.

Advisor - Meghan Irle

Travel Advisor

Meghan Irle

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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Puerto Rico.