The author and a historic landmark on her background

7 Day Puerto Rico Itinerary (Pre-Planned By a Local)

Planning a trip to Puerto Rico but don’t know what to see or where to go? Lucky for you, I’ve created the perfect 7-day Puerto Rico itinerary for your trip!

I live in San Juan and I’ve crafted this 7-day guide with the best of my local insight, so you can discover Puerto Rico completely – or at least as much as you can in 7 days.

This action-packed itinerary takes you through some of my favorite places to stay in Puerto Rico and fits in most of Puerto Rico’s top attractions. Of course, you can always add extra take or remove stops if you prefer a slower travel pace.

👉 Pro Tip – Before you start, make sure you have a rental car! It’s by far the best way to accomplish an itinerary this packed. There is a shortage on the island, so search Discover Cars Puerto Rico to compare prices from all the island’s agencies.

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!

7 Day Puerto Rico Itinerary

We put this entire itinerary on a handy Google Map with every place, hotel, site, and restaurant on this post nicely organized for you. Plus, it links to this post so you’ll have it handy when you need it on the road. It’s basically a one-click vacation planner! Tip: hit the star button next to the map title, and it’ll automatically save to your Google Maps.

Day 1 – Old San Juan

View of the Cuartel de Ballaja in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Start your day with breakfast in Cuartel Ballajá

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Top Things to Do San Juan

Start your morning by enjoying breakfast in Café Don Ruiz inside the Museum Las Americas, and don’t miss the chance to ask for a cup of delicious coffee. After you’re done, cross the street to take the early morning tour in El Morro fort.

After you visit El Morro, walk down Boulevard Street and visit La Vergüenza, to enjoy a Piña Colada and pop over Fuerte San Cristobal, the largest fortification built by the Spanish empire in the New World and one of the best views of Old San Juan.

After you’ve finished with both forts, take Calle de Luna until you reach the San Juan Cathedral, continue to Plaza de Armas and reach Calle Fortaleza, the most famous street in Old San Juan, where you’ll find all kinds of shops, restaurants, great spots for pictures, and La Fortaleza, the house of the governor. Stop at Café Manolin for a great local and cheap lunch.

After lunch, make a quick stop at Capilla del Cristo and take the small alley behind it to reach Calle de Tetuán where you can enjoy dessert at Señor Paleta. Continue walking down to Paseo de La Princesa, where you can spend the afternoon walking and visiting famous landmarks like the Raices Fountain and San Juan’s Gate.

For the evening, head over to Condado and experience night kayaking in the Condado Lagoon, and enjoy dinner in one of the many restaurants in Ashford Avenue.

Day 2 – Arecibo, Isabela, and Aguadilla

The author admiring the view from the shoreline in Puerto Rico

📍 Google Maps

Start your day by hopping in your car before 7:00 am. You’ll be driving west to Arecibo, where you can visit Cueva del Indio, and finish your morning with a quick dip in La Poza del Obispo beach, from where you can see Arecibo’s Lighthouse

Continue driving to Quebradillas, and stop for lunch at Carbon y Leña. After lunch, your next stop will be the Guajataca Tunnel, a historical route for the railway and, La Cara del Indio, a famous rock sculpture at the entrance of Isabela.

Continue your trip further west to check out the many things to do in Aguadilla. Wrap up your day soaking in Crash Boat Beach, one of the top beaches of Puerto Rico. Or, if you’re more into surfing, hiking, and scenery, visit Survival Beach for a great sunset. For dinner, head over to Aguadilla’s Food Truck Park.

Day 3 – Rincon and Cabo Rojo

The author and the Punta Higueras Lighthouse in Rincon

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Top Beaches in Puerto Rico

Hop on your car early and drive to Rincon’s public plaza, to enjoy breakfast in Café 413. After breakfast, feel free to walk around the Rincon plaza and the small-town shops. Head over to Punta Higueras Lighthouse, from where you can spot whales during the winter and spring seasons, and you can enjoy an amazing view of Domes Beach

The west coast is home to pristine beaches, but while Domes Beach is perfect for surfers, it can be dangerous for swimmers. Drive to Steps Beach instead, where you’ll find both great scenery and some natural pools safe for beach bumming. While you’re there, try reaching the steps on the beach and taking your Instagram photo. 

Have lunch in The Beach House, and after getting some pictures of the view, get back on the road and continue driving south to Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge where you’ll find the Pink Salt Lakes and Los Morillos Lighthouse

Once in the Wildlife Refuge, you can take a deep dive in Playuela Beach. Finish your day dining the famous roasted pig dish in Lechonera El Combate. If you still want to hang out after dark, hang out in the Boqueron neighborhood.

Day 4 – Ponce

View of the Parque de Bombas sign in Ponce

📍 Google Maps

Kickstart your morning driving to Ponce to enjoy breakfast at Melao Coffee Shop. After breakfast, walk to Plaza Las Delicias right across the street, and visit the Ponce Cathedral and Parque de Bombas, the oldest firehouse on the island. Spend the rest of the morning walking the city and exploring the best things to do in Ponce.

In the afternoon, pop over El Barril de la Mulata for a cheap Puerto Rican lunch and later drive to Castillo Serrallés Museum, which sports a Japanese garden, a butterfly nursery, and the famous Cruceta del Vigia, a viewpoint from where you can see all the south coast. Buy tickets here.

For dinner, visit La Guancha, where you’ll find a variety of food kiosks and go to sleep early as you will have to wake up at dawn on day 5.

👉 Pro Tip: Your next itinerary stop is Vieques. Instead of spending the night in Ponce, you can choose to drive to Ceiba and stay in a vacation rental close to the ferry terminal to catch the earliest ferry. 

Day 5 – Vieques

View of the Fortin Conde de Mirasol in Vieques

📍 Google Maps | 👉 Best Places to Visit in Puerto Rico

Get up before dawn and drive east to Roosevelt Roads to catch the earliest ferry to Vieques. After arriving and picking up your car rental, pop over to Panaderia La Viequense to enjoy Puerto Rico’s traditional bread. 

Continue your morning by visiting the El Fortín del Conde Mirasol and Mosquito Pier. After a quick visit, hop back in your car and drive to Playa Caracas (Red Beach), one of the best on the island. For lunch, drive north to Gracias, De nada food truck for a great burger. Make sure to check their social media page to see if they’re open.

Spend the afternoon hiking and exploring the Nature Reserve. Don’t miss a visit to Puerto Ferro Lighthouse Ruins, where you’ll get the best views of Vieques. If you still have free time before the night, head back to Playa La Chiva (Blue Beach) to do some snorkeling.

For dinner, visit Rancho Choli and before the night, drive to Mosquito Bio Bay to kayak on the bioluminescent bay. Be sure to book a Mosquito Bay Kayak Tour, as they frequently sell out.

Oh, and be sure to read my full list of the best things to do in Vieques to prepare!

👉 Pro Tip: The ferries are only transporting cars from residents of Vieques and Culebra for now, which means you need to leave your car at the ferry port, and rent one on each island. In Culebra, you can rent bikes to move around too. You can book your ferry tickets ahead of time here.

Day 6 – Culebra

Scenic view from the Culebra Island

📍 Google Maps | Top Day Trips from San Juan

Drop your rental car and take the earliest ferry from Vieques to Culebra in the morning. After you arrive in Culebra, enjoy breakfast at Blac Flamingo Coffee. Drive to Flamenco Beach on the east coast, where you can relax for the rest of the morning and later enjoy a light lunch at the food kiosk on the beach.

After lunch, hike your way from Flamenco Beach to Carlos Rosario Beach to spend the afternoon snorkeling between breathtaking coral reefs. 

For dinner, visit Tiki’s Grill Burgers, and head over to Zoni Beach to watch the sunset. Besides stargazing, there isn’t much to do at Culebra during the night, so you can go to sleep early.

Day 7 – Fajardo, Luquillo, and El Yunque

View of a waterfalls from El Yunque National Forest

📍 Google Maps

Wake up early, and after dropping your car, take the first ferry back to Ceiba. From Ceiba, drive up the east coast to Fajardo and grab breakfast at Dulce Aroma. Continue your trip to the Seven Seas Beach on the north coast and take a morning dive in the blue turquoise water. 

For lunch, get back in your car and drive to the Luquillo Kiosks, to enjoy local food right in front of the sea. After eating, continue driving to El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the United States. You need to book your tickets ahead of time.

Spend the afternoon hiking the different trails of El Yunque, and don’t end your visit without taking a dip in La Coca Falls, or climbing the Yokahu Tower, for an amazing view of the coast.

After visiting El Yunque, start driving back to San Juan, but make a stop at Piñones to enjoy the last dinner in Puerto Rico.

How to Get Around in Puerto Rico

In Puerto Rico, public transportation is poor. While it might work to move around San Juan, buses run mostly in the metropolitan area. 

Fortunately, driving around Puerto Rico is easy and straightforward. Visitors should rent a car to maximize their time and to move around freely. If you don’t know where to look, use Discover Cars Puerto Rico to compare prices and find the best deal for your rental car. 

If you’re planning to visit Vieques and Culebra, you’ll need to take a ferry and rent a different car on each island, as ferries are transporting only cars from residents. Visitors staying in Old San Juan can walk around or rent scooters.

Itinerary Planning Tips

Tip #1 – Arrive the Night Before

An American airplane during a rainy day

If you’re only staying 7 days on the island, try to arrive either the night before those seven days start or during dawn, so you don’t lose time on your first day.

Tip #2 – Choose the Best Airport

The author inside an airport in Puerto Rico

While Luis Muñoz Marin is Puerto Rico’s main airport, it isn’t the only one. Puerto Rico also sports a commercial airport in Aguadilla, so if you’re more interested in exploring the west side of the island, you can look for a flight directly to Rafael Hernández Airport. You can also take a connecting flight directly to Vieques.

Tip #3 – Take a Walking Tour

A group of tourist walking in Old San Juan with their dog

You could spend a whole week in San Juan alone. If you don’t want to miss anything important, but you still want to save time, take a walking tour around Old San Juan, so you do sightseeing and learn about the history in a short time.

Tip #4 – Tweak My Itinerary As You Need

The author posing for a picture in a giant wall

Like with every itinerary, you need to modify my pre-planned Puerto Rico itinerary to your taste. You can switch historical landmarks for beaches or day activities for night activities. You can also eliminate stops to slow down your trip. The end goal is to make sure the itinerary adjusts to you and not the other way around!

👉 Want More Puerto Rico Tips? Read my full list of things to know before coming to Puerto Rico.

Tip #5 – Know What to Pack

This itinerary moves around Puerto Rico pretty rapidly, so you’ll need to have your bags properly packed and prepared to maximize every minute of your trip. I’ve got an entire post on what to pack for Puerto Rico with a checklist of exactly what you need to bring.

FAQ’s About Creating a Puerto Rico Itinerary

How many days do I need in Puerto Rico?

In general, travelers visiting Puerto Rico need from 7 to 10 days to cover the main attractions of the island during their trip, but longer times like two weeks is better to cover the coast, the central area of Puerto Rico, the surrounding islands, and cays.

How can I spend 7 days in Puerto Rico?

Visitors can spend 7 days in Puerto Rico visiting main landmarks and beaches around the island including El Morro, Castillo San Cristobal, Condado, Parque de Bombas, Piñones, El Yunque, Luquillo Beach, and the Mosquito Bio Bay in Vieques.

Is 5 days enough for Puerto Rico?

Five days to visit Puerto Rico is enough to cover some of the main attractions of Puerto Rico including Old San Juan, Condado, Isla Verde, El Yunque, Vieques, and Culebra but, visitors wouldn’t get the chance to visit places where they can experience the Puerto Rican culture outside the tourist zone.

What should I do on my first day in Puerto Rico?

During your first day in Puerto Rico, explore Old San Juan so you get familiarized with the culture, the climate, and way of driving in Puerto Rico, before heading anywhere else. If travelers are staying closer to Isla Verde, then they can visit the Piñones and the Isla Verde Beach. Consult our full list of what to do for more ideas.

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Now that your 7-day Puerto Rico itinerary is ready, you don’t need to worry about anything but making your bags!

But, if you want to tweak your itinerary, check out the top activities you can do on the island, so you can add other destinations to your trip.

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