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

39 Places to Visit in Puerto Rico in 2022 (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!

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support us by purchasing via the affiliate links on this page, which may earn us commissions. Thank you!

39 Best Places to Visit in Puerto Rico

Old San Juan

Walk a historical city that mixes ancient and modern times

The author sitting on the grass in El Morro in Old San Juan
Me on the green in front of El Morro in Old San Juan

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

The author admiring a waterfalls in El Yunque National Forest
Me chasing waterfalls in El Yunque

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.

Vieques

A Caribbean paradise with breathtaking scenery, just off the coast of the main island

View of an empty and scenic beach in Vieques

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 

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 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

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

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

The author in Castillo San Felipe del Morro and the clear blue sky over it

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. 

Ponce

Immerse yourself in the history of the South Pearl city

The historic Parque de Bombas in Ponce Puerto Rico

Google Maps | 👉 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.

Rincón

Beach hop between the best beaches of this west coast

Scenic view of the Domes Beach in Rincon

Google Maps | Tourism Association of Rincon Website | 👉 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

View of the glowing Mosquito Bay in Vieques

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.

Isla Verde

Stay in beachfront resorts a few minutes from the airport

View of a woman walking along the shore in Isla Verde

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.

Santurce

Embrace the rich culture of the artsy neighborhood of San Juan

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 where young travelers and culture enthusiasts can enjoy art, performances, and shows in theaters, music halls, and even the streets of the city.

Condado

Brand stores, fine dining restaurants, and the beach all in one place

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.

🧳 Always Forget to Pack Something? Just use my Puerto Rico Packing List to check off everything you need to bring!

La Parguera

Swim or kayak in a glowing bioluminescent bay

View of colorful houses on water in La Parguera

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.

Piñones

Eat everything you can at Puerto Rico’s fritter capital

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 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

View of a scuba diver at the bottom of the sea

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

View of a roasted pig

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.

Luquillo Beach

Sunbath on the beach while eating a Puerto Rican snack

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

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!

Manatí

Fall in love with this city’s natural beauty

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

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

Scenic view of the Los Morillos Lighthouse above the cliff

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.

Mar Chiquita

Soak in the waters of a natural beach pool

Panoramic view of the Mar Chiquita Beach

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.

Isla Culebrita

Snorkel with sea turtles in the Caribbean

View of the sea in Culebrita Island

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

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

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

Overlooking view of the Cueva del Indio

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

Casa Bacardi

Tour the largest rum distillery in the world

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 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.

San Germán

Stroll through the second oldest city in Puerto Rico

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, cobblestone streets, museums, and excellent restaurants.

Guanica State Forest

Hike through the beauties of a national forest

Scenic view from the walking trails in Guanica Reserve

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

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. 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

View of a secret passage in Castillo de San Cristóbal

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.

Carolina Beach

Kayak, paddleboard, or snorkel at a familiar beach

View of people enjoying in Carolina 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.

Gozalandia

Dip into a refreshing waterfall’s pool

View of the Gozalandia waterfall during daylight

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

The author admiring the view from Seven Seas Beach

Google Maps | Seven Seas Beach Website | 👉 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 one of Puerto Rico’s popular camping spots. 

👉 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.

Aguada

Visit the Vatican city of Puerto Rico

The statue of Christopher Columbus and an ancient church on its background in Aguada

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

View of the Punta Tuna Lighthouse and the clear blue sky above it

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

View or rocks with carved drawing in a river in Jayuya

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

The author posing for a photo at night in 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

Overlooking view of San Cristóbal Canyon

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

View of a boat on Jobos Bay Reserve

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.

Cayo Santiago

Travel to a cay with a peculiar population

View of the blue water and the clear blue sky above it in Cayo Santiago

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?

The most beautiful parts of Puerto Rico include the west area of the island, for its beaches and breathtaking sunsets,  Vieques, Culebra, Fajardo, Utuado, and Manatí.

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, El Yunque National Forest, Ponce, Guánica, Utuado, Vieques and Culebra.

***

👉 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 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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12 Comments

  1. 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!

  2. 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.

    1. You missed El Cafe Playero en La Croabas in Fajardo. It’s a shipping container turned into a restaurant and bar!

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. Is there some type of tour available for these places. Such as a three day tour with places to stay good etc.

  6. 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!

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