View of the author with a flag of Puerto Rico mural in the background

33 Places to Visit in Puerto Rico in 2021 (By a Local)

If you’re looking for places to visit in Puerto Rico, but you don’t know where to start, you’ve come to the right place.

Puerto Rico is a relatively small island but it’s home to hundreds of natural wonders, attractions, and places to visit. 

But, some of the best places are hidden gems that only a Puerto Rico local would know about. 

Lucky for you I am that local and I’m all ready to tell you about them! 

Since I want you to discover the best of my island too, I’ve put together a list of the 33 best places to visit in Puerto Rico, so you don’t miss a single thing.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

33 Best Places to Visit in Puerto Rico

Old San Juan

View of the Chapel of Christ the Savior and pigeons on front of it
Find the small Chapel of Christ the Savior in the streets of Old San Juan

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Top Old San Juan Hotels on Booking

Old San Juan is full of history, food, and culture. In a relatively small area, you will find many of the things to do in Puerto Rico that are top of my list of stuff tourists shouldn’t miss in a visit to Puerto Rico.

Specifically, visitors can walk on cobblestone streets and enjoy the historical city during the day and the energetic nightlife during the night. As you walk around discovering Old San Juan, be sure to visit San Juan’s Gate, La Capilla del Cristo, El Paseo la Princesa and La Fortaleza. All make my list of the best activities to do in San Juan.

📍 Where Should You Stay in Puerto Rico? See my full guide for hotel suggestions and neighborhoods to consider when choosing where to stay. I hope it helps you plan your Puerto Rico accommodation!

El Yunque National Forest

View of the author and the la Coca Falls on her background
You can find la Coca Falls on the main road of El Yunque

Google Maps | El Yunque National Forest Website | 👉 Browse Rio Grande Hotels on Booking

With impressive biodiversity and refreshing waterfalls like La Mina Falls and La Coca Falls, El Yunque National Rainforest is one of Puerto Rico’s main tourist attractions. 

Standing as the only tropical rainforest in the United States, El Yunque National Rainforest makes one of the best day trips from San Juan for nature lovers and those looking to escape the island’s heat.

📚 Related Reading: Check out my complete guide to the 15 Best Day Trips around San Juan for 2021. El Yunque National Forrest is one of several awesome excursions you can do from your place in San Juan!

Vieques

View of the Caribbean pier in Vieques

Google Maps | Vieques Website | 👉 Browse Vieques Hotels on Booking

Besides Mosquito Bay, one of the bioluminescent bays of Puerto Rico, Vieques is home to the only black sand beach of Puerto Rico, Playa Negra, and the tranquil Sun Bay Beach. If you are a history buff, you definitely can’t miss the Punta Mulas Lighthouse or Fortin Conde Mirasol, the last Spanish fort built on the American continent.

Rio Camuy Cave Park

View of the Rio Camuy Cave from the inside

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to Rio Camuy Cave Park on Booking

The Rio Camuy Caves are one of the natural wonders you can visit in the country and it opened only recently after the recovery from Hurricane Maria. The Rio Camuy Cave system was created by the Camuy River, the third-longest subterranean river in the world. The cave system sports 220 caves and caverns with massive stalactites and stalagmites that will impress any traveler.

Playa Flamenco, Culebra

Aerial view of the white sand and blue sea in Playa Flamenco

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Culebra Hotels on Booking

A lot of visitors go to Isla Culebra to find Playa Flamenco, one of the most paradisiacal beaches in Puerto Rico. Honestly, it’s one of the top beaches in the world. Playa Flamenco sports white sand and turquoise calm waters that make Isla Culebra your ideal getaway day trip.

👉 Don’t want to stay in Culebra overnight? If you’re staying in San Juan and want to enjoy Flamenco Beach without staying overnight on Culebra, you can book this Culebra day trip Catamaran from Fajardo to visit Playa Flamenco and get back the same day. They even offer pick-up from some hotels in San Juan!

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

View of a greenfield and El Morro from afar

Google Maps | Castillo San Felipe del Morro Website | 👉 Browse San Juan Hotels on Booking

Castillo San Felipe del Morro, also called El Morro, is a 16th-century fortress built by the Spaniards to defend the country from sea attacks. Puerto Rico’s most iconic landmark, El Morro is one of the best places to visit for its historic value and amazing architecture. The fortress is also a popular place for reunions and local activities in San Juan Puerto Rico.

Ponce

View of pelicans and boats from the background in Ponce
Pelicans are always roaming in La Guancha

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Ponce Hotels on Booking

Old San Juan and Ponce are sister cities in the historical sense. If you love Old San Juan then you must pay a visit to Ponce’s historic city. Although similar to San Juan in some aspects, Ponce sports its unique charm and is home to top attractions like the oldest firehouse in Puerto Rico, La Guancha, and the Ponce Museum, where you can find the famous “Flaming June”.

Rincón

Scenic view of the Domes Beach in Rincon

Google Maps | Tourism Association of Rincon Website | 👉 Browse Rincon Hotels on Booking

If you like surfing, watersports, humpback whales, or magnificent sunsets, just add Rincón to your travel list! You can find everything that you expect from a Caribbean island in Rincón. This city is popular for having breathtaking sunsets and perfect beaches for surfing. The city’s center sports great restaurants, galleries, and souvenirs shops.

Mosquito Bay, Vieques

View of the glowing Mosquito Bay in Vieques

Google Maps | Vieques Website | 👉 Browse San Juan Hotels on Booking

If you´re already in Vieques, don´t miss the chance to kayak in Mosquito Bay, the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world by the Guinness Record Book. Mosquito Bay is one of the three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico, but it’s the one in the best conditions after Hurricane Maria.

👉 Pro Tip: Getting to Vieques from the main island can be stressful if it’s your first time visiting Puerto Rico. Instead of driving yourself, you can book this transfer from San Juan to the Ceiba ferry so you can forget about following the GPS and enjoy a guided ride instead.

Isla Verde

View of a woman walking along the shore in Isla Verde

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Isla Verde Hotels on Booking

Isla Verde is a sector between Carolina and San Juan. It is filled with many hotels and resort, so is a good place to stay in Puerto Rico if you’re looking for a beach vacation. 

Right next to the beach, Isla Verde is comfortable for visitors who want to stay close to the airport, but still get a taste of the beautiful beaches, the best restaurants, and the nightlife of the island.

Santurce

View of a huge colorful wall art in Santurce
You’ll find Instagram-worthy spots all over Santurce

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Santurce Hotels on Booking

Santurce is San Juan´s modern cultural center. If you want to enjoy the rich culture, good food, and artistic performances, then Santurce is your go-to destination. The streets of Santurce are home to museums, theaters, music halls, restaurants, and murals that will delight every visitor.

Condado

View of the author sitting and a fountain on her background
Ventana al Mar in Condado

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Condado Hotels on Booking

If you’re looking for brand stores, luxury hotels, beach bars, and fancy restaurants without missing out on the beach view, then Condado is for you. This district is home to some of the best hotels and restaurants on the island with a view of the Atlantic Ocean.

La Parguera

View of the coastal town of La Parguera

Google Maps | La Parguera Lajas Website | 👉 Browse Lajas Hotels on Booking

La Parguera is a coastal town in the south of Puerto Rico famous for its bioluminescent bay. But, La Parguera also offers other experiences like enjoying local cuisine in El Malecón or diving into La Pared, a coral reef on the south coast.

📆 When Should You Visit Puerto Rico? Check out my guide to the best time to visit by month to learn the best seasons and times of year to vacation in Puerto Rico.

Las Cuevas de Desecheo

View of a scuba diver at the bottom of the sea

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Rincon Hotels on Booking

If you are a diving enthusiast then your list of places to visit in Puerto Rico needs a space for  Desecheo Island. Well, not the island itself, as it’s an uninhabited island and forbidden to any visitor. But, the surrounding coral reefs and underwater caves are open to the public and definitely worth adding to your list of places to go in Puerto Rico.

🚗 How to Get There: You won’t find tours to Desecheo on your typical travel site since there are only a few companies that can take you there. If you don’t want to miss the experience, you can book a tour with Taino Divers to go scuba diving at Desecheo underwater caves.  

Piñones

View of sand by the sea in Piñones
Eat your favorite Puerto Rican dish by La Pocita

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Carolina Hotels on Booking

Piñones is Puerto Rico’s fritter capital! You´ll find dozens of Puerto Ricans in every kiosk enjoying traditional Puerto Rican food like alcapurrias and Bacalaítos. Piñones is also famous for its beach boardwalk and for La Pocita de Piñones, where you can enjoy with your kids safely without worrying about the tide.

The Pork Highway in Guavate

View of a roasted pig

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to Guavate on Booking

Guavate is home to La Ruta del Lechón or The Pork Highway. The Pork Highway refers to a route in Cayey with dozens of kiosks and restaurants that sell Puerto Rican food. At Guavate you can taste the most popular Puerto Rican dish, roast pork along with other exquisite dishes like arroz con gandules.

Luquillo Beach

View of a boy surfer running by the sea and a group of ladies
(Malachi Jacobs / Shutterstock)

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Luquillo Hotels on Booking

Luquillo Beach is a favorite beach among Puerto Ricans for its location and convenience. The beach next to El Yunque, sports hundreds of palm trees to take refuge from the sun, public bathrooms, and showers. But, the main attraction is the line of food kiosks right in front of the beach that offers a sample of every important and traditional Puerto Rican dish.  

🏖️ Want More Beaches? I wrote another epic guide to all the best beaches on the island. Bookmark it now and come back after you’ve this article!

Cayo Santiago

View of monkeys in Monkey Island

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to Cayo Santiago on Booking

Cayo Santiago is one of the many cays that belong to Puerto Rico. This small island isn’t famous for its beauty but its unusual population: Monkeys! Also called Monkey Island, the cay sports a population of hundreds of monkeys that tourists can see on a boat tour. 

Manatí

View of the author sitting in the water spring of Manati
Swimming in the water spring in Manatí

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Manatí Hotels on Booking

Manatí is a city located in the north of Puerto Rico. Although touristic guides won’t mention it frequently, Manatí offers a lot to do for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s home to Mar Chiquita, one of the most astonishing beaches in the country, a water spring called Manantial Guayaney, natural pools, caves, biking trails, and more! 

Los Morrillos Lighthouse

Scenic view of the Los Morillos Lighthouse above the cliff

Google Maps | Cabo Rojo Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Cabo Rojo on Booking

Los Morillos Lighthouse is one of the best places to visit in Puerto Rico because of its prime location. Although the lighthouse itself holds historical value, it’s quite simple. What will impress you is the surrounding cliff and rock formations that seem like something out of a movie.

Mar Chiquita

Panoramic view of the Mar Chiquita Beach

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Manatí Hotels on Booking

Mar Chiquita is one of the unconventional beaches in Puerto Rico. Mar Chiquita means Little Sea and it refers to a magnificent pond formed by rock formations in Manatí. Besides soaking in the beach, you can adventure to climb the rock formations to take a picture with the landscape. 

In fact, a few years ago Mar Chiquita even won the Travel Lemming Emerging Destination award as one of the top emerging destinations in North America!

Isla Culebrita

View of the sea in Culebrita Island

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to Culebrita on Booking

One of Puerto Rico’s hidden gems is Isla Culebrita, a small island on the eastern coast that belongs to Culebra. This island is home to beautiful beaches where you can swim with sea turtles and the best coral reefs in the entire Caribbean.

🚗 How to Get There: You can only get to Culebrita by private boat. If you’re already in Culebra, you can book this Culebrita boat day trip to spend the day snorkeling with turtles on the coasts of Culebrita.

La Placita de Santurce

View of the Plaza del Mercado in Santurce
(photo: fincioenj / 123rf)

Google Maps | La Placita de Santurce Website | 👉 Browse Santurce Hotels on Booking

La Placita de Santurce is a get-together spot in San Juan famous for its lively atmosphere full of music, dancing, and food. If you’re looking for places to enjoy the nightlife in San Juan and meet local people, then pay a visit to la Placita.

Cueva del Indio

View of rock formation and the calm sea in Cueva del Indio

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Arecibo Hotels on Booking

To visit Cueva del Indio needs to be on the lists of history buffs and outdoor lovers. Located on the coast of Arecibo, the cave displays petroglyphs left behind by Puerto Rico’s native Taino that were on the island hundreds of years ago.

Casa Bacardi

View of the Casa Bacardi sign on the entrance

Google Maps | Casa Bacardí Website | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to Casa Bacardí on Booking

The Bacardí Rum Factory in San Juan is the ideal destination to combine a gastronomic and historical experience. Visitors can take a tour to know about the process of making rum, do rum-tasting, take a mixology class and enjoy the surrounding gardens.

San Germán

View of Porta Coeli Church from the oustide

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to San German on Booking

San Germán is the second oldest city in Puerto Rico and it offers wanderers full insight into the past lifestyle of the Spaniards on the island. The historic city center sports two churches from the 17th century that are the main tourist attractions, cobblestone streets, museums, and excellent restaurants.

Guanica State Forest

View of spiky cactus in Guanica State Forest

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Guanica Hotels on Booking

The Guanica State Forest is one of the largest natural reserves in the world and a paradise for hikers and outdoor adventurers. The dry forest is popular for its biodiversity and picturesque landscapes. Contrary to El Yunque National Rainforest, the Guanica State Forest looks more like a desert than a forest within a tropical island.

Cueva del Viento

View of the entrance to La Cueva del Viento

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Isabela Hotels on Booking

Isabela is home to some of the best places to visit in Puerto Rico including La Cueva del Viento. Visiting the cave takes a hike of about 30 minutes deep inside the Guajataca Forest but, the views inside the caves are worth the trip. 

👉 Pro Tip: Before heading inside the forest, make sure to ask the park rangers for information, as there are many trails inside the forest. Don’t forget to bring flashlights with you and to wear shoes with a good grip.

Castillo de San Cristóbal

View of the San Cristobal Castle from the oustdie

Google Maps | Castillo San Cristóbal Website | 👉 Browse Old San Juan Hotels on Booking

Even if El Morro is more popular for its history, San Cristobal Castle also holds an important place in the military history of Puerto Rico. While El Morro’s purpose was to defend the island from the sea attacks, the San Cristóbal Castle protected the territory from land attacks.

Carolina Beach

View of people enjoying in Carolina Beach

Google Maps | 👉 Browse Carolina Hotels on Booking

Carolina Beach is Puerto Rico’s urban popular beach. Just a short drive from the airport, the beach offers tourists a water park for kids and water sports like kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing. 

Gozalandia

View of the Gozalandia waterfall during daylight

Google Maps | 👉 Browse San Sebastian Hotels on Booking

Gozalandia is a natural water park in San Sebastian. This splendid waterfall attracts hundreds of locals every week both for its beauty and its accessibility in comparison with other waterfalls on the island. You’ll find easy parking and stairs down to the waterfall.

Hacienda Tres Angeles

Closed up view of growing green coffee beans

Google Maps | Hacienda Tres Angeles Website | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to Hacienda Tres Angeles on Booking

A visit to Puerto Rico isn’t complete without drinking a cup of fresh coffee and that’s exactly what you can do at Hacienda Tres Angeles in Adjuntas. Visitors can enjoy a tour of the coffee-making process every Saturday at 10:00 am with a previous reservation.

Seven Seas Beach

View of the lifeguard hut by the shore in Seven Seas Beach

Google Maps | Seven Seas Beach Website | 👉 Browse Fajardo Hotels on Booking

If you’re looking for a calm water beach with lots of shade and things to do, then the Seven Seas Beach in Fajardo is for you. This beach is one of the local’s favorites for its golden brown sand and clean waters. You can camp on the beach or rent an RV too to enjoy the sunrise.

FAQs About Visiting Puerto Rico

What part of Puerto Rico should I visit?

Popular parts of Puerto Rico to visit include San Juan, Vieques, Culebra, and Carolina Beach. If you are short on time, you should visit the northern area of Puerto Rico, which is closer to the airport in San Juan. That way you can enjoy both the crowded city lifestyle and the nature of the countryside too.

What is the most beautiful part of Puerto Rico?

The most beautiful part of Puerto Rico is the west area of the island. This area offers some of the best beaches in Puerto Rico and the most breathtaking sunsets.

What should you avoid in Puerto Rico?

In Puerto Rico, it is recommended to avoid the central area of the island if you’re afraid of driving on curvy roads and narrow streets. Although the central area of Puerto Rico is beautiful and offers great experiences, some visitors find it hard to drive around by themselves. See our full driving guide for more info.

How many days do I need in Puerto Rico?

You need from 7 to 10 days in Puerto Rico to explore the principal attractions around the main island and the surrounding islands and cays. If you would like to cover attractions off the beaten path, extending your Puerto Rico itinerary to two weeks is ideal.

Is Puerto Rico expensive? 

Puerto Rico ranges on the higher side of the price range. Even if there are many free things to do outdoors, hotels and car rentals aren’t as cheap as other destinations in Latin America. If you step out of the tourist area, you will find better prices for restaurants and hotels.

***

👉 Want More Local Tips? Don’t miss Travel Lemming’s list of my favorite 49 things to do in Puerto Rico!

That was the list of 33 places to visit in Puerto Rico! From white sand beaches to historical fortresses, Puerto Rico offers something to every visitor.

What’s the thing you’re looking forward to visiting? Scroll down and leave a comment!

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