San Juan weekend getaways are the perfect way to see a ton of Puerto Rico without overcomplicating your Puerto Rico itinerary.
Even if checking out all of San Juan’s attractions takes two weeks alone, planning a quick weekend trip allows you to discover more of Puerto Rico’s gems. Most of which are less than 3 hours away from San Juan!
I’m a Puerto Rico local, and in this article, I’ll help you choose the best destinations for your weekend getaway from San Juan. Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
- 21 Best San Juan Weekend Getaways
- FAQs About Weekend Getaways from San Juan
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. See our Advertising Policy for further explanation. Thank you!
21 Best San Juan Weekend Getaways
While Isla Verde Beach is a tourist favorite, it has nothing on Cabo Rojo beaches. Located on the west coast, Cabo Rojo is a beach town with more than 100 beaches and more than five nature reserves.
The Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge is home to Los Morrillos Lighthouse, which should be on your Puerto Rico itinerary. Getting there takes over two hours from Old San Juan, but Cabo Rojo is a place the whole family will enjoy.
For more, check out my list of things to see in Cabo Rojo.
Just off Puerto Rico’s east coast, beach fans will find some of Puerto Rico’s most pristine beaches in Vieques. Vieques has beaches for snorkeling, diving, and swimming – whatever your flavor, it’s here.
The scenery and crystal-clear waters make Vieques perfect for families and couples alike. But, what you’ll enjoy most of all of Vieques’ attractions is Mosquito Bay, one of Puerto Rico’s bio bays, and the brightest in the world.
Of course, getting to Vieques from San Juan can be a hassle, as you depend on the ferry schedule. If you can splurge, opt for taking an airplane there.
Culebra also has the charm of a small town. You won’t find large hotels on its coasts, but instead calming natural shores.
Most beaches are kid-friendly, as they are shallow and great for snorkeling. Similar to the neighboring island of Vieques, you can get to Culebra either by ferry or by plane.
Once a small fishing village, Fajardo’s popular attractions now make it a bustling city that is easy to visit by rental car or private shuttle. Foodies can’t miss the area’s top-notch restaurants, with plenty of seafood and traditional Puerto Rican food.
Fajardo’s shore boasts top Puerto Rico beaches like Seven Seas Beach, Playa Colorá, and Playa Escondida. Visitors can also make day trips to offshore islands like Icacos. You’ll also want to head to the border with Ceiba, where you’ll find one of the most popular Puerto Rico waterfalls, Las Tinajas.
El Yunque National Rainforest
For nature lovers and hiking enthusiasts, exploring El Yunque in its entirety is the perfect weekend trip from San Juan. It houses top Puerto Rico waterfalls and some of the most challenging Puerto Rico hikes.
You’ll find endless properties in and near El Yunque in the towns of Luquillo and Rio Grande. You can get shuttles and private tours to El Yunque but renting a car in San Juan is recommended to explore with flexibility.
During your San Juan vacation, escape for a weekend to the coastal town of Luquillo. Although popular for its beaches, Luquillo is also famous for its food and cultural landscape. Luquillo Beach is the most popular in the area, with shallow clear pools of water perfect for families.
A short ride away, you’ll find Las Paylas, one of the most popular waterfalls in Puerto Rico. The Luquillo Food Kiosks offer the best of the local cuisine and are one of Luquillo’s best activities.
Some private shuttles and taxis can take you to Luquillo from San Juan if you don’t want to rent a car.
While Old San Juan has that old-world charm with cobblestone streets and fortresses surrounded by the San Juan Bay, it does get very crowded.
For a similar historical town with good restaurants and an acclaimed art scene, check out Ponce’s attractions. Ponce has a historic downtown filled with historical landmarks but without the throngs of people.
It also houses the Ponce Art Museum, one of the top Puerto Rico museums, and a variety of street art that art connoisseurs will enjoy. For beach bums, la Guancha stands as one of the most popular in the town.
You can reach the town by driving from San Juan or booking a tour.
Guánica Dry Forest
Puerto Rico is home to some mesmerizing forests, including the Guánica Dry Forest that stretches over five municipalities on the southwest coast.
The forest is home to a few of the best hikes in Puerto Rico. But while hiking and birdwatching are the big attractions here, photographers will find picture-perfect spots, including The Caprón Fortress.
To get there, you’ll have to either rent a car or hire a taxi/private shuttle, as these are the best ways to get around Puerto Rico.
Isabela is ideal for a quick weekend getaway from San Juan for surfers and beach bums. This beach town in the north is home to top Puerto Rico hotels and budget-friendly outdoor attractions.
The local restaurants are great for enjoying fresh seafood. In the town, visitors will find a popular luxury hotel, the Royal Isabela, with a full-service spa, outdoor pool, golf course, and panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean.
A car rental is best for exploring all the things to do in Isabela.
Once destroyed by Hurricane Maria, Utuado has now recovered and ranks as one of the best destinations in Puerto Rico for couples and romantic getaways.
However, getting to this mountain town is not for the faint-hearted, as you’ll have to drive through narrow and curvy roads. Sill, Utuado’s beauty is one of a kind. Utuado’s best things to see include caves, rivers, canyons, and Puerto Rico farms.
But even without going out to explore, the tranquility of the mountainous side will be enough for a perfect vacation.
While Condado Beach and Condado Lagoon are popular among travelers, they have nothing on La Parguera. This fishing town on the south coast is the best weekend getaway for beach and boat enthusiasts.
It’s home to La Parguera Nature Reserve, where you can kayak to multiple cays and take a boat tour to one of Puerto Rico’s bio bays. La Parguera is also known for being a lively destination during the weekends, with live events and crowds hopping between food kiosks.
Best of all, you can book tours on Viator that take you from San Juan to La Parguera, so you don’t have to rent a car.
Located on the southeast coast, Maunabo is a hidden gem ideal for couples and solo travelers that want to slow down and relax. This coastal town has multiple beaches, rivers, and nature reserves.
Foodies can’t miss the local crab stew known as salmorejo, but you’ll also find crab in most of the town’s cuisine.
Staying on a budget is easy as many of the outdoor activities are free. The Punta Tuna Wetlands Reserve is great for hiking, turtle-watching, or having a picnic outdoors.
Once in town, visit the infamous Punta Tuna Lighthouse, one of Puerto Rico’s lighthouses.
Rincón offers the perfect combination of beaches and sunsets. Surfers and snorkeling fans rave about this beautiful town on the west coast. In particular, Domes Beach is one of Rincón’s main beaches where surfers like to catch waves.
The downtown is a colorful neighborhood with an old city vibe, where every Thursday you’ll find Noche de Galerías, with music, artisans, and food. It’s one of Rincón’s popular things to do!
Not far, Steps Beach attracts snorkelers, as one of the top places for snorkeling in Puerto Rico.
Although you can find private shuttles that take you to this town, generally, it’s best to rent a car to explore it.
If you love San Juan’s historic sites like Castillo San Cristóbal, El Morro, and Plaza de Armas in Calle de San Francisco, then you’ll love San Germán. Located in the west, San Germán is the second oldest town in Puerto Rico. Its downtown seems frozen in time, exhibiting historic structures including the Porta Coeli church, built in 1609.
Outdoorsy visitors can spend their days camping and hiking in Maricao State Forest. You can also visit el Pilón Waterfall or rent one of the cabins in Monte del Estado.
San Germán is off-the-beaten-path for many tour operators, so you’ll need a rental car to get to this town.
You’ll hardly ever find Yabucoa mentioned in tourism guides, and yet there is so much to do in the city for families, couples, and solo travelers.
This town boasts hiking trails, rivers, and beaches with dramatic landscapes. It also has a colorful downtown with street art and is a great foodie destination. Within walking distance of the plaza, stop at Dulce&Sala’o By Chef Yey, one of the best restaurants on the east coast.
Since it’s a detour even for most Puerto Ricans, public transportation is limited in the town and you’d need a car to visit.
With all the things to do in Manatí, you’d be missing out on a lot if you don’t escape to this beach town on your San Juan vacation.
Sitting on the north coast, Manatí is a popular destination for beach lovers with over a dozen beaches. While Mar Chiquita and La Esperanza Beach are the most popular for swimming, Los Tubos is also great for surfing.
But, Manatí is more than beaches! In the town, you’ll find a freshwater spring known as Manantial Guayaney as well as Hacienda La Esperanza, a historical plantation.
Getting here is a short car ride from San Juan, but you can book a tour from San Juan to Manati to visit too.
Arecibo is a top family-friendly destination in Puerto Rico. It offers beach fun, parks, rivers, and waterfalls. In particular, kids visiting the city will love stopping at Arecibo’s Lighthouse and Historical Park, where Puerto Rico’s history is interactive.
For something a little more adrenaline-inducing, the Tanamá Canyon offers thrilling fun, with tours that include rappelling, tubing, and caving.
Arecibo is also home to multiple caves, including the infamous Cueva del Indio. Remember, visiting is one of the many free things to do in Puerto Rico, so you don’t want to miss it.
If you’re not booking a car on your trip then check out this Arecibo tour with transportation from San Juan – it’s a great way to get the jist on just a day trip.
While Aguadilla is famous for its beaches, it’s also a paradise for foodies! This small town in the east has hundreds of restaurants, food trucks, and small kiosks. You’ll find everything from local cuisine to Asian cuisine.
But don’t leave this town without experimenting outdoors. Go snorkeling at Crash Boat Beach or camp at Playuela, an endangered coastal zone that activists are fighting for.
To refresh yourself another way, head with your kids to Las Cascadas Water Park, one of the best activities to do in Aguadilla.
You can either rent a car, book an Aguadilla tour through Viator, or arrive directly at Aguadilla’s airport.
Cayey is one of the most visited mountain towns in Puerto Rico thanks to the Pork Highway.
This gastronomic route allows you to try every single Puerto Rican delicacy in a single place. Stopping and trying food at the different lechoneras will take foodies all weekend!
And while spending your days eating is all well and good, make sure to visit other local attractions like the Carite State Forest where you can swim in Charco Azul. For a more immersive experience try the El Pretexto food experience.
Driving in the mountains is a bit challenging, so you can opt for booking a Cayey tour to visit.
Famously recognized as a Puerto Rico town with more cows than inhabitants, it isn’t hard to guess why the best cheese and yogurt come from Hatillo. This beach town is known as the home of Vaca Negra, where you can take a cheese-making tour.
The beaches in Hatillo are worth a visit and are often considered hidden gems on the north coast.
Parque del Norte is a beachfront boardwalk ideal for touring with kids. From this town, it’s also easy to visit the Camuy Caves, Puerto Rico’s top caves. To visit, make sure to rent a car.
Although small, Naranjito has plenty to offer for foodies and couples. The town has one of the Puerto Rican gastronomic routes where you can try local cuisine.
Chocolate lovers will especially get excited about this one, as one of the main highlights is Hacienda Terruño JS, where you can take cacao-making tours.
The small town is also home to La Plata Lake, which you can tour with La Plata Boat Trip.
Although it’s a short ride from San Juan, keep in mind you’ll be driving on mountainous roads if you decide to escape to this town.
FAQs About Weekend Getaways from San Juan
Where should I go on a weekend trip from San Juan?
Travelers should go on a weekend trip from San Juan to Vieques, Culebra, Cabo Rojo, and Fajardo. Vieques and Culebra are two offshore islands with some of the best beaches in Puerto Rico. Cabo Rojo is a small beach town in the southwest with great beaches and more than three nature reserves. Fajardo has multiple beaches and offers tours to offshore islands.
What are the best romantic weekend getaways from San Juan?
What are the best getaways from San Juan for families with kids?
What are the cheapest weekend getaways from San Juan?
You’ve reached the end of my recommendations for weekend getaways from San Juan! Before you go, check out my epic list of fun Puerto Rico activities, and let me know in the comments which weekend getaway you plan to take. Safe travels!
Help us help you travel better!
Your feedback really helps ...
What did you like about this post? Or how can we improve it to help you travel better?