Note: This article was posted prior to the devastating news of Hurricane Fiona on Puerto Rico.
Planning a vacation to Puerto Rico? The small U.S. territory is filled with gorgeous views, a grand culture to explore and never-ending excitement. You'll need to know where to go and what to do at this island paradise to make your trip unforgettable.
Here’s a quick list of the 10 best places to visit in Puerto Rico.
If you’re eager to plan your vacation, chat with a Fora Advisor to get started with expert recommendations today. And remember, when you book with an advisor, you get free hotel upgrades and perks (all for the same cost of booking directly).
Let’s jump right in. If you’re wondering where to go in Puerto Rico, these are the 10 locations you absolutely can’t miss.
1. Castillo San Felipe del Morro (aka El Morro)
The seaside fortress of El Morro (as the locals call it) was once used to guard the Colonial town from would-be invaders. Today, Castillo San Felipe del Morro is a major destination for locals and visitors alike.
Stone walls and walkways surround a scenic, green plateau where guests throw picnics, fly kites and walk the shoreline trails. In other words, visiting El Morro is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico with kids.
And when you’re done visiting the fort, you can take advantage of Old San Juan’s incredible nightlife ( check out our quick nightlife guide).
Pssst: your Fora Advisor can personalize your trip according to your interests (history, architecture, food and everything in between) to level up your vacation.
2. El Yunque National Forest
El Yunque National Forest is one of only a handful of tropical rainforest parks found in the United States. If you’re looking for an awesome day trip from San Juan (it’s about 40 minutes away by car), this is it.
El Yunque features a great number of trails, historical sites, swimming holes and campgrounds. The views give off an almost otherworldly feel, with stunning waterfalls, beautiful green flora and a perpetual mist. It truly is one of the best places to visit in Puerto Rico for nature lovers.
By the way, if you want the lowdown on the coolest landmarks in El Yunque, book with a Fora Advisor to customize your jungle trip with insider info.
3. Catedral de San Juan Bautista
The San Juan Bautista Cathedral is officially the home of the Catholic Archdiocese of Puerto Rico, but it’s also a lovely demonstration of Spanish architecture. The cathedral provides a healthy dose of Puerto Rican culture while sightseeing in San Juan (see our guide), and its proximity to other fun things to do in Old San Juan make it a great pit stop.
4. Casa Bacardí
Wondering where to go in Puerto Rico for a good drink? We see you.
Rum lovers shouldn't miss Casa Bacardí, where you can take guided tours (with samples!) and learn about the history of the famous spirit. The small estate is across the bay from Old San Juan and can be reached by car or by ferry.
By the way, if you’re not sure which mode of travel makes the most sense, consult with your Fora Advisor for help with transportation.
5. The “Pork Highways” through Naranjito, Trujillo & Guavate
Pork is a huge staple of Puerto Rican cuisine. There are three Rutas del Lechones (aka “Pork Highways”) where whole pigs are spit-roasted on skewers and served by machete with traditional sides.
Of the three routes, the Pork Highway through Guavate is the most famous (because of its mile-long strip of roasting pigs). Partaking in a tour (or going a la carte) is can’t-miss activity for meat enthusiasts.
Sidenote: if you’re not a carnivore, check out our Puerto Rico vegetarian food culture guide for tasty, meatless recommendations.
6. Puerto Rico beaches
There’s not really a best time to visit Puerto Rico when it comes to the glistening, white-sand beaches. Even during the off-season, the beaches are warm and inviting.
There are simply too many amazing shorelines to list, but here are a couple that really stand out.
Carolina Beach near Old San Juan
Carolina Beach doesn’t get the same attention as its nearby Isla Verde counterparts, but that’s also its appeal. Carolina Beach mostly draws in locals and hipsters, so it’s much quieter than the more touristy beaches. However, that same quiet makes it intimately perfect for a romantic Puerto Rico getaway.
Playa Flamenco at Culebra
Whether you’re throwing a relaxed Puerto Rico bachelorette party or simply want to soak in some sunshine, Flamenco Beach is a picturesque scene. The world-famous beach is relatively low-key compared to the more popular options like Seven Seas or Rincón, but its relaxed nature makes it perfect for snorkeling, swimming or sunbathing.
Looking to go to Puerto Rico for the ultimate beach vacation? Work with a Fora Advisor to customize your dream coastal trip.
7. Guanica State Forest
Guanica State Forest is a perfect example of Puerto Rico’s surprising natural diversity. Whereas it rains nearly every day in El Yunque National Forest, Guanica is labeled as a “subtropical dry forest” – meaning it hardly rains at all (well, relatively speaking anyway).
There’s a lot to do in Guanica if you’re into more outdoorsy activities like fishing, SCUBA diving or biking. In fact, if you’re looking for adventurous things to do in Puerto Rico, a visit to Guanica is probably on the table.
Note: because of Guanica’s distance from the capital, you may want to consult your Puerto Rico trip planner for the best modes of travel.
8. Mosquito Bay at Isla de Vieques
The Isla de Vieques is easily one of the best areas to stay in Puerto Rico for its many grand hotels and natural wonders. There’s one attraction that stands (or swims?) above the rest though.
Just about every guide to exploring Puerto Rico is going to feature at least one of the island’s bioluminescent beaches, and the glowing waters of Mosquito Bay are considered to be the best spot. Minimal light pollution and an abundance of the microscopic critters responsible for the unique phenomenon make this the brightest bioluminescent body of water in the world.
Braving the mosquitos is absolutely worth experiencing this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Book with a Fora Advisor if you want to get the lowdown on how to visit this marvel the right way.
9. Río Camuy Cave Park
One of the more lengthy excursions from San Juan (check out our guide for more), visiting Río Camuy Cave Park is a unique – and literally underground – experience.
Beneath the surface of Puerto Rico’s northwestern region, the Camuy River has carved out an extensive network of limestone caves ripe for exploring. Guided tours will help you through the section open to the public, that are super safe (there’s risk of falling rocks and stalactites in the other parts).
10. Mayagüez and Isla de Mona
Locals will tell you the city of Mayagüez is one of the best places to visit in Puerto Rico for its culinary flair. However, Mayagüez is also the launch point for some of the island’s best scuba diving spots, like Isla de Mona.
If you want something a little less adventurous, Mayagüez is also home to the Yagüez Theater, an active performing arts center (and a great way to embrace Puerto Rican culture).
Still wondering where to go in Puerto Rico? Chat with a Fora Advisor to start planning with expert recommendations on visiting the best places in Puerto Rico today
And don’t forget, Fora Advisors unlock free upgrades, VIP perks and more (all for the same cost as booking yourself).