Children playing at the beach on a family vacation in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Family Vacation (12 Local Tips + Where to Stay)

Planning a Puerto Rico family vacation is far from being an easy task. Between choosing the right place to stay, deciding if you’re renting a car, and researching what to do in Puerto Rico, you could miss out on the best experiences and stays for you. 

As someone who previously worked in the hotel industry in Puerto Rico, I’ve seen dozens of families draining their budgets on tourist traps or in a hotel that doesn’t fit their needs. To keep you from meeting the same fate, I’ve put together this comprehensive guide to make your family vacation in Puerto Rico go as smoothly as possible!

What’s in this guide (click to jump around):

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12 Tips for Planning a Family Vacation in Puerto Rico

Tip #1 – Visit in Late Spring or Summer

Calm view of a sea inPuerto Rico
The currents in winter too strong for swimming

A Puerto Rico family vacation will include visiting the beaches, waterfalls, and pools. The best time to visit Puerto Rico to enjoy good beach conditions is between spring and summer. Spring particularly offers warm, yet somewhat fresh, weather.

Tip #2 – Rent a Car

A car driving on a street in Puerto Rico

If you’re planning a trip with your family, then you’ll certainly need to rent a car in Puerto Rico. While Old San Juan is a walkable area, visiting other areas outside of the metropolitan area without a rental car is close to impossible.

Public transportation is cheap but limited. Taxis can take you from San Juan to tourist spots, but the fare for long distances is expensive. Try out Discover Cars to find the best deals for rental cars in Puerto Rico.

Our Pick
Discover Cars

Chances are you’ll need a vehicle when visiting Puerto Rico. We always check Discover Cars first to compare all rates and options.

Tip #3 – Stay in a Rental Apartment

Large families with more than 4 people might want to consider staying in a rental apartment. Some hotels in Puerto Rico can fit up to 8 family members, but the rate per night will likely be between $350 and $450. 

If you’re visiting Puerto Rico on a budget, then a rental is the way to go. Depending on the Puerto Rico city, you can find rental apartments between $150 and $270 per night that fit the same amount of people.

VRBO has over 3,500 properties in Puerto Rico, most of them large enough to accommodate families. Be sure to search it too as you may find better deals than on Airbnb!

Tip #4 – Or in an All-Inclusive Hotel

View of the La Concha signage in Puerto Rico

If you’d rather stay in a hotel, then choose to stay at one of the all-inclusive family resorts in Puerto Rico. 

This type of resort includes meals, entertainment, tours, and sometimes even babysitting for your kids at the price per night or for a small additional fee. This can make your vacation easygoing and can help you stay within budget.

You can browse family-friendly hotels in Puerto Rico on Booking here.

Tip #5 – Check Your Credit Card Benefits 

If you use your credit for booking airplane tickets, hotels, or renting a car, make sure you know your benefits. Some credit cards offer benefits like late checkouts from your hotel or rental car insurance.

If you’ve read Nate’s guide to free travel with credit card points, you know you may even be able to get free accommodation or flights.

Tip #6 – Do Free Activities

Arts displayed inside the Art Museum of Bayamon
The Art Museum of Bayamon admission is free

Puerto Rico has plenty of outdoor activities that are completely free or cheap. Most beaches, forests, Puerto Rican caves, and rivers are open to the public without any cost. Both kids and adults will love these places and you won’t need to spend a dime to have a blast on your trip.

Tip #7 – Skip the Tourist Traps

While researching online, you will come across hundreds of Puerto Rico tours. Before you find yourself booking anything, make sure you’re not paying hundreds of dollars for something you could do by yourself completely free. 

For example, some snorkeling tours are great if you don’t have any experience or gear. Yet, if you bring your own snorkeling gear, you can immerse yourself in Puerto Rico snorkeling spots without having to pay anything.

Tip #8 – Try Street Food

Rice, shrimps, and fish on a plate in Puerto Rico

While restaurants in San Juan and Condado are great, they won’t always be the cheapest option for a family dinner. If you’re on a tight budget, try dining at street food kiosks and sideroad restaurants. 

One meal can cost between $2 and $5 less than it would in a tourist restaurant. See what you can find at these kiosks on our guide to the top Puerto Rico foods.

Tip #9 – Check Your Booking Options

For those activities you’re booking, check out where it is best to book. Some attractions offer online discounts if you book online. 

For others, it’s best if you book directly through the original website instead of a third-party application. But, for some attractions, it’s better if you pay in person or book through a phone call, as you can get cheaper rates.

Tip #10 – Stay in San Juan

Overlooking view of Old San Juan in Puerto Rico

If you’re not renting a car, then choose to stay in San Juan. Old San Juan is home to historical sites like El Morro, Castillo San Cristobal, and La Fortaleza

Old San Juan is the top area I tell visitors to stay in San Juan. It’s walkable and taxis and public transportation can take you to nearby areas like Condado, Santurce, and Miramar. 

Tip #11 – Bring Your Snorkeling Gear

People snorkeling at the blue water of Puerto Rico

Including your snorkeling gear on your Puerto Rico packing list can save you lots of money! Particularly if you are making a family trip. 

If you’re short on space in your luggage, check out this kids snorkeling set.

Tip #12 – Enjoy Local Festivals

Locals in singing and playing instruments on the street in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico festivals are filled with fun, music, and food. Some of the best festivals are during the holiday season, from November to late January. 

Some of the best Puerto Rico festivals are Día de Reyes, Festivals de Mascaras de Hatillo, Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, and La Campechada.

Where to Stay On a Family Vacation in Puerto Rico

View from the inside of a Suite in Hotel Condado Vanderbilt
A suite in Hotel Condado Vanderbilt

Best Family-Friendly Puerto Rico Hotels & Resorts

Puerto Rico is home to a great variety of hotels. You can find everything from budget-friendly hotels to five-star luxury resorts located throughout the island. 

You will find most of the best family hotels and all-inclusive resorts in San Juan with access to Condado Beach or Isla Verde Beach.

But, you can also find amazing beachfront hotels off the beaten path in Puerto Rico with additional amenities like a tennis court, a hot tub, a private balcony, and golf courses. 

Although they are outside the capital, these hotels are generally closer to outdoor attractions, and they are great for escaping the city’s crowd.

Here are some of the best Puerto Rico hotels for families:

Best Family-Friendly Puerto Rico Neighborhoods & Areas

The downtown of Caguas under the clear blue sky
The downtown of Caguas offers fun for all family members

The base of a great family vacation in Puerto Rico starts by choosing the right neighborhood or city for your stay. If you don’t know where to start, check out the places below:

  • Old San Juan (Search apartments in Old San Juan) – Old San Juan is a walkable area with beaches, museums, and restaurants all in one. Families can choose from a variety of entertainment options and they don’t need to rent a car. Within walking distance, kids and adults will enjoy San Juan’s popular activities like Escambron Beach, T-Mobile District, El Morro, and Plaza Las Americas.
  • Cabo Rojo (Search apartments in Cabo Rojo) – There are a lot of things to do in Cabo Rojo for outdoor-loving families. The wildlife refuge has beautiful salt flats, beaches, hiking trails, and a bird sanctuary. Cabo Rojo is also a short ride from one of Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays in La Parguera. 
  • Caguas (Search apartments in Caguas) – Caguas is not a place you would typically find in a tourism guide, but there are plenty of things to do in Caguas for families. Caguas boasts an interactive museum for children, a botanical garden with sculptures, and a waterfall. The downtown hosts frequent festivals and the main plaza has a carousel.  
  • Fajardo (Search apartments in Fajardo) – Fajardo boasts one of the best family resorts in Puerto Rico, El Conquistador Resort. This hotel is home to Coqui Water Park and a video game arcade. Some of the top Fajardo activities for families include swimming on top-notch beaches, snorkeling, diving, hiking, visiting a bio bay, and taking trips to offshore Puerto Rico islands. Fajardo is also a short trip from El Yunque.
  • Rio Grande (Search apartments in Rio Grande) – Rio Grande is home to multiple luxury and all-inclusive family resorts, with top Puerto Rico golf courses, tennis courts, on-site restaurants, and swimming pools. In Rio Grande, you’ll also find El Yunque National Forest and Las Picuas, a popular beach for horseback riding. This city is also close to Ceiba, where you can take a ferry to Culebra, and visit the famous Flamenco Beach.
  • Isla Verde (Search apartments in Isla Verde) – Isla Verde is a great Puerto Rico neighborhood for families on a short weekend getaway. It sports some of the best resorts in Puerto Rico with direct beach access like the Hampton Inn and Suites San Juan. The Isla Verde beach is great for doing water sports like paddle boarding and kayaking. It’s also centrally located between downtown San Juan, Piñones, and the San Juan airport.
  • Condado (Search apartments in Condado) – Condado is one of the safest neighborhoods to stay in in the capital city. It hosts a few of the best family resorts in Puerto Rico like the San Juan Marriott Resort. Condado Beach is a popular beach for sightseeing and walking. Besides being close to many tourist attractions, most family hotels in the area include free wi-fi, a huge pool, kids’ menus in on-site restaurants, and even a kids’ playground.
  • Vieques (Search apartments in Vieques) – For beach-loving kids and grown ups, Vieques is the perfect destination to stay at. Vieques is home to some of the best beaches in Puerto Rico for swimming, sunbathing, snorkeling, scuba diving, and even surfing! This beautiful island off the east coast of Puerto Rico also hides the brightest bio bay in the world.
  • Rincon (Search apartments in Rincon) – Rincon is home to some great family resorts in Puerto Rico. This city has more than a dozen golden sand beaches on its coast with the best surfing and snorkeling spots in Puerto Rico. One thing that families will love about Rincon is that it is a whale-watching destination during the winter. 
  • Guanica (Search apartments in Guanica) – Guanica is a budget-friendly town in Puerto Rico. It boasts a dry forest with walking trails and beaches. In Guanica you’ll find one of the top resorts in Puerto Rico, Copamarina Beach Resort. This resort offers all-inclusive packages with breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 
  • Utuado (Search apartments in Utuado) – Utuado is an outdoor paradise for families. It’s home to rivers, waterfalls, and some great Puerto Rico camping sites. Utuado also hosts a Taino ceremonial site with petroglyphs. 
  • Ponce (Search apartments in Ponce) With all the things to do in Ponce, you won’t get bored. The whole family will love landmarks like Parque de Bombas, the Japanese Garden, and La Guancha. The beach at La Guancha is also an inclusive beach with a road for wheelchairs. 
  • Salinas (Search apartments in Salinas) – Salinas is an off-the-beaten-path town with many attractions to offer for families. The Jobos Bay National Research Reserve is home to multiple cays and beautiful beaches. Salinas also has a marina, a racing track, and a waterpark.
  • Arecibo (Search apartments in Arecibo)Arecibo is a fun city for the whole family! It sports some of the best beaches in Puerto Rico with palm trees and golden sand. Although family friendly resorts are scarce in the area, you’ll find plenty of apartment rentals with amenities like an outdoor pool, a children’s playground, or a fitness center. 

👉 Related Reading: Where to Stay in Puerto Rico Guide

FAQs About Family Vacation Planning in Puerto Rico

Is Puerto Rico a good place to vacation with family?

Puerto Rico is a great family vacation destination. Outdoor-loving families will find a variety of beaches and natural pools for swimming, diving, and snorkeling. 

Is Puerto Rico safe to visit with family?

Puerto Rico is completely safe to visit on a family vacation. Families will find good weather throughout the year and most Puerto Ricans can understand basic English. Besides occasional petty theft, which is easily preventable, tourists and non-tourist areas are safe for families visiting the island.

How much is a family trip to Puerto Rico?

A family trip of four persons to Puerto Rico for one week can cost between $4,500 and $8,000 depending on the style of traveling and the season they are visiting. Most of that budget will be spent on a hotel if travelers decide to stay in a mid-range or luxury hotel. 

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Thanks for reading this Puerto Rico family vacation guide! Since you know where to stay, check out our guide to the popular places to visit in Puerto Rico to know where to go to have a blast on the island.

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