39 Places to Visit in Puerto Rico in 2023 (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.
While you can read about Puerto Rico tourist attractions almost everywhere, some Puerto Rico destinations are hidden gems that only a Puerto Rican would know about.
Lucky for you I am a Puerto Rico local. And I’ve put together this list of the 39 best places to visit in Puerto Rico, so you don’t miss a single thing!
Table of Contents
- 39 Best Places to Visit in Puerto Rico
- Old San Juan
- El Yunque National Forest
- Rio Camuy Caves Park
- Playa Flamenco, Culebra
- Castillo San Felipe del Morro
- Mosquito Bay, Vieques
- Isla Verde
- La Parguera
- Las Cuevas de Desecheo
- The Pork Highway in Guavate
- Luquillo Beach
- Los Morrillos Lighthouse
- Mar Chiquita
- Isla Culebrita
- La Placita de Santurce
- Cueva del Indio
- Casa Bacardi
- San Germán
- Guanica State Forest
- Cueva del Viento
- Castillo de San Cristóbal
- Carolina Beach
- Seven Seas Beach
- Punta Tuna Nature Reserve
- The Written Stone
- Bahía Viva Cataño
- San Cristóbal Canyon
- Jobos Bay Reserve
- Hacienda Tres Angeles
- Cayo Santiago
- FAQs About Visiting Puerto Rico
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39 Best Places to Visit in Puerto Rico
Old San Juan
Walk a historical city that mixes ancient and modern times
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Top Old San Juan Hotels on Booking
Old San Juan is full of history, food, and culture. In this relatively small area, you will find many of the most popular things to do in Puerto Rico.
Old San Juan offers the best of both worlds: a historical landscape for history buffs, and modern energetic nightlife for party lovers. As you walk through the cobblestone streets, make time for some of the best activities to do in San Juan like visiting the San Juan’s Gate, La Capilla del Cristo, El Paseo la Princesa, and La Fortaleza.
📍 Planning to Stay in San Juan? Bookmark my full guide to staying in San Juan for hotel suggestions and neighborhoods to consider.
El Yunque National Forest
El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the US national forest system
📍 Google Maps | El Yunque National Forest Website | 👉 Browse Rio Grande Hotels on Booking
Known as the only tropical rainforest in the United States national forest system, El Yunque National Rainforest is one of the best Puerto Rico destinations for nature lovers. You can explore dozens of hiking trails, rivers, viewing towers, and some of the best waterfalls in Puerto Rico, like La Mina Falls and La Coca Falls.
Bookmark my full El Yunque rainforest guide for tips and practical info for your visit.
A Caribbean paradise with breathtaking scenery, just off the coast of the main island
📍 Google Maps | Vieques Website | 👉 Best Places to Stay in Vieques
There is a lot to stuff do in Vieques. Besides boasting a bioluminescent bay, Vieques has some of the most beautiful places in Puerto Rico, including Playa Negra, the only black sand beach in the country, and other paradisiacal beaches like Navío Beach, Sun Bay, and La Chiva. History enthusiasts can’t miss the Puerto Ferro Lighthouse and the Fortin Conde Mirasol Museum, the last Spanish fort built on the American continent.
Rio Camuy Caves Park
Discover a unique underground world in the Rio Camuy Caves System
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to Rio Camuy Cave Park on Booking
⚠️ Closure Note: As of early 2023, the Rio Camuy Caves are temporarily closed due to Hurricane Fiona.
The Rio Camuy Caves are one of the unique places to see in Puerto Rico. The Rio Camuy Caves were 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.
For more caving adventures, check out my guide to the 11 best caves in Puerto Rico.
Playa Flamenco, Culebra
Relax under the palm trees of a paradisiacal beach
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Culebra Hotels on Booking
Boasting white sand and turquoise calm waters, Playa Flamenco in Isla Culebra makes the ideal getaway trip. Not only is it one of the paradisiacal beaches in Puerto Rico, but it’s also one of the top beaches in the world.
To get there, you’ll need to plan a visit to the small Culebra, which lies a 45 minute ferry right off the main island.
👉 Don’t want to stay in Isla Culebra overnight? If you’re staying in San Juan you can take a day trip to Flamenco Beach by booking this Culebra day trip Catamaran from Fajardo. They even offer pick-up from some hotels in San Juan, Puerto Rico!
Castillo San Felipe del Morro
Discover a fortress with more than four centuries of history
📍 Google Maps | El Morro Guide | 👉 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. El Morro is one of Puerto Rico’s iconic landmarks for its historical value and amazing architecture.
Immerse yourself in the history of the South Pearl city
📍 Google Maps | Best Hotels to Stay in Ponce | 👉 Browse Ponce Hotels on Booking
Although partially similar to Old San Juan, Ponce sports its unique charm and travelers will find many things to do in Ponce, like visiting the oldest firehouse in Puerto Rico, feeding pelicans in La Guancha, and admiring the Flaming June painting in the Ponce Museum.
Beach hop between the best beaches of this west coast
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Rincon Hotels on Booking
With all the things to do in Rincón, you can experience your dream Caribbean island vacation. Besides having breathtaking sunsets, you’ll also find that many Rincón beaches are perfect for surfing and watching humpback whales. The city’s center sports great restaurants, galleries, and souvenirs shops.
If you go, be sure to bookmark my guide to the best places to stay in Rincon.
Mosquito Bay, Vieques
Kayak in the brightest of the world
📍 Google Maps | Vieques Website | 👉 Browse San Juan Hotels on Booking
Owner of the title for the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, Mosquito Bay in Vieques is one of the places to go in Puerto Rico. While this is not the only bio bay in Puerto Rico, Mosquito Bay is the most stunning (and the best-preserved 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.
Stay in beachfront resorts a few minutes from the airport
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Isla Verde Hotels on Booking
Isla Verde is where to go in Puerto Rico if you want to stay close to the airport, but still get a taste of the beautiful beaches. This beachfront neighborhood has top-notch hotels, popular restaurants, and the best nightlife on the island.
Embrace the rich culture of the artsy neighborhood of San Juan
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Santurce Hotels on Booking
Santurce is San Juan’s modern cultural center where young travelers and culture enthusiasts can enjoy art, performances, and shows in theaters, music halls, and even the streets of the city.
Brand stores, fine dining restaurants, and the beach all in one place
📍 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.
🧳 Always Forget to Pack Something? Just use my Puerto Rico Packing List to check off everything you need to bring!
Swim or kayak in a glowing bioluminescent bay
📍 Google Maps | La Parguera Lajas Website | 👉 Browse Lajas Hotels on Booking
La Parguera in Lajas is one of the most famous places in Puerto Rico for having one of the bioluminescent bays on the island. Once in La Parguera, you can’t miss the chance to taste the local cuisine in El Malecón or go scuba diving in La Pared.
📆 When Should You Visit Puerto Rico? Check out my guide to the best time to visit Puerto Rico by month to learn the best seasons and times of year to vacation in Puerto Rico.
Eat everything you can at Puerto Rico’s fritter capital
📍 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 foods like alcapurrias and bacalaítos. Piñones is also famous for its beach boardwalk and La Pocita de Piñones, a family-friendly beach.
Las Cuevas de Desecheo
Dive into a unique underwater cave system
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Rincon Hotels on Booking
Desecheo Island is one of the least known Puerto Rico attractions that should be on the list of every diving enthusiast. While Desecheo is an uninhabited island forbidden to any visitor, the surrounding coral reefs and underwater caves are open for exploration.
🚗 How to Get There: You won’t find tours to Desecheo on your typical booking site. If you don’t want to miss the experience, you can only visit by booking a tour with Taino Divers.
The Pork Highway in Guavate
Taste the most popular dishes in this gastronomic route
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to Guavate on Booking
La Ruta del Lechón, also known as The Pork Highway, refers to a route in Cayey with dozens of kiosks and restaurants that sell the most popular Puerto Rican dish, roast pork, along with other local dishes like arroz con gandules.
Sunbath on the beach while eating a Puerto Rican snack
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Luquillo Hotels on Booking
Luquillo Beach is one of the top Puerto Rico tourist attractions for multiple reasons including its location close to El Yunque, strong surf, facilities, and its food kiosks that sell every 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 read this article!
Fall in love with this city’s natural beauty
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Manatí Hotels on Booking
Although most other travel guides won’t mention it frequently, you’ll find a lot of fun things to do in Manatí for outdoor enthusiasts like water springs, natural pools, caves, biking trails, and beautiful beaches.
👉 Need a local guide? This hidden gems tour takes you to all the best places of Manatí, including the Guayaney Spring.
Los Morrillos Lighthouse
Admire the best view on the west coast
📍 Google Maps | Cabo Rojo Website | 👉 Browse Hotels in Cabo Rojo on Booking
Although Los Morrillos Lighthouse itself holds historical value, the main draw of this popular attraction in Cabo Rojo is the surrounding scenery with cliff and rock formations that seem like out of a movie.
Soak in the waters of a natural beach pool
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Manatí Hotels on Booking
Mar Chiquita is a natural pool formed by rock formations in Manatí. A few years ago, it won the Travel Lemming Emerging Destination award as one of the top emerging destinations in North America.
Besides swimming on the beach in Mar Chiquita, visitors can’t miss the view from the top of the rock formations.
Snorkel with sea turtles in the Caribbean
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to Culebrita on Booking
Isla Culebrita, a small island that belongs to Culebra, hides one of the top beaches in Culebra, where you can swim with sea turtles and see 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 eastern coast.
La Placita de Santurce
Mingle and party with the locals
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Santurce Hotels on Booking
La Placita de Santurce is a nightlife spot in San Juan where you can eat at some of the best restaurants in San Juan and meet local Puerto Ricans surrounded by a lively atmosphere full of music, and dancing.
Cueva del Indio
Explore a cave with Taino petroglyphs
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Arecibo Hotels on Booking
A history buff must visit Cueva del Indio if he’s wondering where to go in Puerto Rico. Located on the coast of Arecibo, Cueva del Indio displays ancient Taino petroglyphs left behind hundreds of years ago.
👉 Read Next: Best Places to Visit in US Virgin Islands
Tour the largest rum distillery in the world
📍 Google Maps | Casa Bacardí Website | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to Casa Bacardí on Booking
The Bacardí Rum Factory near San Juan is one of the popular tourist attractions in Puerto Rico. Known for its long history, connoisseurs can take a tour to learn about the rum-making process, do tastings, or take mixology classes.
Stroll through the second oldest city in Puerto Rico
📍 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, cobblestone streets, museums, and excellent restaurants.
Guanica State Forest
Hike through the beauties of a national 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. An alternative to El Yunque National Rainforest, hiking in the dry forest and swimming in the surrounding beaches are popular activities in Guánica.
Cueva del Viento
Descend into a world of stalagmites and stalactites
📍 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. You have to hike 30 minutes deep inside the Guajataca Forest to get to the cave, but the views inside it are worth the trip.
👉 Pro Tip: 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
Roam through the hidden passages of a military fort
📍 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 protected the island from the sea attacks, the San Cristóbal Castle defended the territory from land attacks.
Kayak, paddleboard, or snorkel at a familiar beach
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Carolina Hotels on Booking
Carolina Beach is perhaps Puerto Rico’s most popular urban beach. Just a short drive from the airport, the beach offers tourists a water park for kids and watersports rentals for kayaking, paddleboarding, and jet skiing. While there, check out my list of fun things to do in Carolina.
Dip into a refreshing waterfall’s pool
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse San Sebastian Hotels on Booking
Gozalandia is a natural water park in San Sebastian with a splendid waterfall that is both fascinating and easy to access. You’ll find a designated parking lot and stairs down to the waterfall.
Seven Seas Beach
Camp on a delightful beach
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Fajardo Hotels on Booking
Seven Seas Beach is one of the top Fajardo attractions for its golden sand, calm waters, and facilities like bathrooms, showers, and gazebos. The beach is also a popular Puerto Rico camping spot.
👉 Love Snorkeling? Seven Seas is one of the favorite spots in Fajardo for snorkeling. If you’re a beginner, take this snorkeling tour to see the reefs on the beach.
Visit the Vatican city of Puerto Rico
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Aguada Hotels on Booking
The city where it’s believed both the Spaniards and the Americans entered Puerto Rico, Aguada has charming beaches, historical buildings, the only Earthship on the island, and multiple farms where you can buy local products.
Punta Tuna Nature Reserve
Find the hidden beauties of a nature reserve
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Maunabo Hotels on Booking
Nature reserves are the best part of Puerto Rico to visit for budget-friendly and non-crowded activities. The Punta Tuna Reserve in Maunabo boasts a historical lighthouse, impressive cliffs, and beachside hiking trails to enjoy a stress-free day.
The Written Stone
Find the carved drawings left by the Taino
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to Jayuya on Booking
Known as La Piedra Escrita, the written stone is a huge boulder that stands in the middle of a river in Jayuya. What makes it unique is the dozens of Taíno petroglyphs carved in it that reflect the island’s ancestors’ lifestyle and beliefs.
Bahía Viva Cataño
Hop between the picture-perfect spots of Cataño
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Cataño Hotels on Booking
Cataño’s beachfront offers entertainment for all the family. This beachfront boardwalk with a view of Old San Juan, boasts multiple picture-perfect spots, fishing bridges, food stalls, restaurants, bars, and a playground for kids.
San Cristóbal Canyon
Adventure into the deepest canyon of the Antilles
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Aibonito Hotels on Booking
Located between Aibonito and Barranquitas, this 500 feet deep trench hides the Usabón river, dozens of waterfalls, impressive cliffs, and a beautiful forest. You should visit the San Cristóbal Canyon only with guides as it’s more challenging than El Yunque National Forest.
Jobos Bay Reserve
Kayak in the Black Sea of Puerto Rico
📍 Google Maps | Jobos Bay Reserve Website | 👉 Browse Guayama Hotels on Booking
The second-largest estuary in Puerto Rico, the Jobos Bay Reserve offers nature lovers options for hiking, kayaking in the “Black Sea” lagoon, or swimming on the beach. Keep in mind some trails are outgrown after Hurricane Maria.
👉 Local Tip: Another way to discover the Jobos Bay Reserve is through a boat tour. This Private Day Sale Tour takes you to all the highlights of the reserve and customizes the experience for every visitor.
Hacienda Tres Angeles
Drink a cup of freshly brewed coffee
📍 Google Maps | Hacienda Tres Angeles Website | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to Hacienda Tres Angeles on Booking
Besides drinking a cup of fresh coffee at Hacienda Tres Angeles in Adjuntas, coffee lovers can take a coffee-making tour every Saturday at 10:00 am with a previous reservation. It’s one of the top coffee farms in Puerto Rico.
Travel to a cay with a peculiar population
📍 Google Maps | 👉 Browse Hotels Close to Cayo Santiago on Booking
Cayo Santiago is a small island that is famous for its unusual population: Monkeys! Also called Monkey Island, the cay is home to hundreds of monkeys that tourists can see on a boat tour.
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?
What should you avoid in Puerto Rico?
In Puerto Rico, it’s recommended for visitors to avoid driving in the central area of the island if they aren’t skilled with driving on curvy and narrow roads. See our full Puerto Rico driving guide for more info.
How many days do I need in Puerto Rico?
Travelers need from 7 to 10 days to explore Puerto Rico’s main attractions 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, hotels and car rentals aren’t as cheap as in other destinations in Latin America. Travelers can step out of the tourist area to find better prices for restaurants and hotels.
What are the nicest parts of Puerto Rico?
The nicest parts of Puerto Rico include western Puerto Rican cities like Rincón, Aguadilla, Aguada and Cabo Rojo. Other nice parts include El Yunque National Forest, Ponce, Guánica, Utuado, Vieques and Culebra.
👉 Want More Local Tips? Don’t miss Travel Lemming’s list of my favorite 68 things to do in Puerto Rico!
That was the list of 39 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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Thanks for the list. I’ve been to Puerto Rico many times for work over the years and can say I have been to most of the places you highlighted. However now I see there are a few I’ve missed. I can’t wait to go back!
Hi so I moved here 3 years ago. I love this island but you missed Cabo Rojo with all of our beautiful beaches on this side of the island. Boqueron, Buye, Combate, playa Sucia, la Mela just to name a few.
You missed El Cafe Playero en La Croabas in Fajardo. It’s a shipping container turned into a restaurant and bar!
Yes, I was just there and we found this hidden gem!!!! Great bartenders, and atmosphere!!!
i have the same last name as you
Thanks for your great tips. My husband and I have been coming to the island for 31 years, we love it. If you want a truly wonderful experience book a coffee tour and overnight stay at Hacienda Pomarrossa north of Ponce. It is truly magical. Breakfast is available. Kurt and Eva Legner the owners are amazing!
do you have the Info you can provide on the coffee tour?
Great list. But I do not believe the Light house in Cabo Rojo was listed, one of my favorite spots. I believe it is called
Faro Los Morrillos Lighthouse.
Is there some type of tour available for these places. Such as a three day tour with places to stay good etc.
Thank you for publishing your insights. My wife and I had some ideas for our forthcoming, first trip to Puerto Rico, but we wanted to know what we may be missing. We always appreciate a local perspective when we travel, and your list did not disappoint. Travel well!
Thanks for the insightful information.
No mention of Arecibo…
Thank you for all of the great suggestions! We are visiting Puerto Rico for the first time and we are very excited. Your website is helping us make the best of the few days we will be there.
Vieques, Culebra, Fajardo, are east not west ☺️ otherwise nice article
hi, i’m planning a short trip in November with my husband. we have a vacation home in Quebradillas. My question is what is this Cueva del Viento? Is it open to the public?