If you’re wondering what to do in Puerto Rico, trust me, you aren’t alone.
Puerto Rico has a lot to offer as a travel destination in 2021, and so much choice can naturally lead to fear of missing out. Or, even worse, not having a good information source can even lead to actually missing out on some of the best things to do in Puerto Rico.
Never worry though, because I’m here to make sure you find the best of Puerto Rico’s history, nature, food, and warm welcoming culture.
I’ve been living in Puerto Rico all my life and I’ve been re-exploring the island now that it’s hard to take a plane anywhere. I honestly have to say, I can’t get enough of it.
Since I know common touristic guides will hardly do the island justice, I’ve created this list of the 49 best activities to do in Puerto Rico. I hope it will help you enjoy Puerto Rico as a true local!
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!
Best Things to Do in Puerto Rico
San Felipe del Morro
An iconic landmark of Puerto Rico located in Old San Juan, San Felipe del Morro is a military fort the Spanish created during the 16th century to defend Puerto Rico from sea attacks. The fort hides six floors of barracks and dungeons and it still displays some of the original cannons in it.
👉Local Tip: After exploring El Morro´s history, head over to El Morro’s esplanade. Buy a kite from the kiosks there to spend the afternoon flying kites in El Morro, and experience the visit as a local.
Old San Juan
A visit to Puerto Rico is not complete without walking the streets of Old San Juan. The colorful colonial houses, the historical forts, the cobblestone streets, and Spanish-style buildings take visitors back in 500 years of history.
👉 Local Tip: History buffs and food lovers can spend weeks in San Juan for all that it offers. I recommend visiting Calle de la Fortaleza and Calle del Cristo for some of the best photos and food places in Old San Juan.
See the Scenery in Cueva Ventana
Cueva Ventana, or Window Cave sports one of the most impressive views of the country. Located in Arecibo, this cave sits on top of a hill and its natural window opening gives visitors a bird’s eye point of view of the Puerto Rican countryside.
👉Local Tip: The hike to Cueva Ventana is of moderate difficulty, but it’s worth it to see one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico. Make sure to wear comfortable sneakers and take water with you. Note that children under 3 years are not permitted to visit the cave.
El Yunque National Rainforest
If El Morro is the most popular landmark in Puerto Rico, then El Yunque National Forest is definitely the second.
El Yunque Rainforest is the only tropical rainforest in the national forest system of the United States. It offers nature lovers exciting hikes, a breath-taking view of the north coast, and three astonishing waterfalls to swim in.
👉Local Tip: Due to the COVID 19 pandemic, you have to book your entrance to El Yunque. Book your tickets with as much time as possible using this website. Tickets are not sold at the entrance.
Kayak in a Bioluminescent Bay
Puerto Rico is home to two bioluminescent bays that gives visitors the unique chance to see the glowing water phenomenon. One is the bio bay in La Parguera, Lajas, in which you can swim.
Puerto Rico’s second bioluminescent bay is Mosquito Bay in Vieques island. Mosquito Bay is the brightest in the world, and even after Hurricane Maria, it mesmerizes visitors with its glow night after night!
👉 Local Tip: To get to Vieques you need to take a ferry from Puerto Rico’s main island. I highly recommend you book a hotel to spend the night in since there aren’t any overnight ferries. The Bravo Beach Hotel is just a few minutes away from the port and you can catch the earliest ferry the next day back to Ceiba or Culebra.
Hang out in the T-Mobile District
The latest hot trend in Puerto Rico is hanging out at the T-Mobile District in San Juan. The T-Mobile District is a massive venue that has one main purpose: bringing people together.
The space offers visitors exquisite Puerto Rican cuisine, modern concert halls, ziplining, a VIP cinema hall, and a big plaza with LED screens where people can reunite in groups to eat and enjoy the music.
Zipline in Toro Verde Adventure Park
Address: State Rte 155, Orocovis, 00720 | Phone: (787) 867-7100 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 5 pm, Closed from Monday to Wednesday | 👉 Browse Viator’s Top Toro Verde Adventure Park Tours
Adventure seekers need to include Toro Verde Adventure Park among the exciting things to do in Puerto Rico. With the longest zipline in the whole American continent, Toro Verde also offers climbing towers and zipline bicycles to its visitors.
Go on a Food Tour
Foodies will love Puerto Rico as a destination. The local cuisine is a combination of African, Spanish, Taino, and American influences that result in a rich combination of flavors and textures. Piñones, Old San Juan, Condado, La Guancha in Ponce and Guavate are some of the best local stops for food tours.
🍽️ Love Food? Food lovers will find plenty of places to enjoy good food in Puerto Rico. This San Juan Drive Around Lunch Tour will take you to some of the best eating spots including Piñones and Calle Loíza, so you won’t miss a single food experience.
Paddle Board in Condado Lagoon
Isla Verde is one of Puerto Rico’s places to do water sports. But, you can choose to relax kayaking, or paddleboarding in Condado Lagoon instead. If you want a more exciting option, go kayaking at night with a LED kayak to enjoy San Juan’s night skyline.
Catch a Local Festival
To truly experience culture like a local, you must catch a local festival. Puerto Rico has different types of festivals all year.
The most popular one is “Las fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián” during the last week of January. This is a four-day festival with food, local artisans, dancing, and performances in Old San Juan. You can find other local festivals and activities here!
Museums & Culture
Street Art in Santurce
Address: 809 Calle Cerra, San Juan, 00907
In Puerto Rico, art is not limited to a museum. Santurce in San Juan is home to Santurce es Ley, a popular art festival in which local and international muralists use public, private, and abandoned buildings as their canvas. Calle Cerra, Calle Loíza, and Avenida Fernandez Juncos are some of the streets where you’ll find absolutely beautiful murals that’ll make the perfect Instagram shot.
👉 Local Tip: Santurce is perfectly safe if you take the common precautions, but past visitors felt intimidated visiting Santurce alone. If you don’t feel comfortable walking alone I recommend booking this Arte Boriken-Puerto Rican Urban Art Tour to get a guided experience through the street art of Santurce.
Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Site
Address: Carr.111 Km. 12.4, Utuado, 00641 | Phone: (787) 669-1866 | Hours: 8:30 am – 4:20 pm daily | Entrance: $5.00, adults, $3.00 minors
Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Site in Utuado, it’s an archaeological site with petroglyphs and ceremonial plazas that offers visitors a view of the Taino life before the Spanish colonization.
Cueva del Indio
Address: F9R5+G8J, Arecibo, 00612 | Phone: (787) 733-2160 | Hours: 9:30 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $5
Cueva del Indio in Arecibo offers both a beautiful view of the beach and a historical gallery right by the sea. Any history buff will enjoy the cave’s petroglyphs that Tainos left behind hundreds of years ago.
👉 Local Tip: There are multiple sites with petroglyphs from Taino in Puerto Rico. Book this exclusive private tour of the Taino Route to see three of them on a day trip! This tour includes three things to do in Puerto Rico: Cueva del Indio, Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Site and Cueva Ventana.
Castillo Serrallés is a museum in Ponce that was once home to the Serrallés family, creators of a local rum. Besides visiting the castle to admire the Spanish-revival style architecture, don’t miss the Japanese garden, the butterfly nursery, and the landmark Cruceta del Vigia. This 100 feet cross sports a platform from which you can see the Caribbean sea.
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo
Address: Av. Juan Ponce de León, Esquina Ave. Roberto H. Todd, Parada 18, San Juan, 00910 | Phone: (787) 977-4030 | Website | Hours: 11 am – 5 pm Fri-Sun, Closed from Monday to Thursday | Entrance: $5, free for seniors
The Contemporary Art Museum of Puerto Rico is the final destination for modern art fans. Its permanent collection includes Latin American, Caribbean, and Puerto Rican pieces from the 20th century to the present. They offer familiar activities, movie nights, and special events during the weekends. Check their social media to see upcoming events.
Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
The Art Museum of Puerto Rico in San Juan displays 24 exhibition galleries of art. The permanent exhibition, Puerto Rico Plural, groups more than 200 pieces. One of them is the impressive mural that covers the entrance of the museum.
If you want to get your kids into art, this museum sports an interactive art room and a garden that they will love.
Museo Las Américas
If you’re a history buff, you’ll want to include Museo Las Americas among your list of things to do in Puerto Rico. This museum was once a Spanish military barracks, now it’s home to three permanent collections about the American continent’s complex heritage.
Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis
Address: C. Cementerio, San Juan, 00926 | Phone: (787) 480-4617 | Hours: 7 am – 3 pm daily | Entrance: Free
Visiting a graveyard is not exactly in your typical guide, but the Santa Maria de Pazzis cemetery in Old San Juan deserves your time. The small graveyard is home to astonishing sculptures and a round chapel with a dome that dates back to the 19th century.
Food & Drinks
Eat Lechón the Pork Highway
La Ruta del Lechón is a Guavate’s route with local restaurants that are famous for selling roast pork. Besides eating the best of local food, you’ll get the chance to enjoy music, dance, and buy crafts from street vendors.
👉 Visiting the lechoneras in Guavate is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico. If you don’t want to do it by yourself, book this Lechonera hiking tour to infinity pool. You’ll have the chance to enjoy the Lechoneras and to swim in one of Puerto Rico’s natural infinity pools!
Taste Different Rums in Casa Bacardí
Fans of a good drink need to make a stop at Casa Bacardí, the world’s largest premium rum distillery. Visitors can take either a historical tour or a rum tasting tour. If you want something more interactive, choose the mixology class to make your own drinks.
Eat Ice Cream in Lares
Address: 10 Cll Vilella, Lares, 00669 | Phone: (787) 378-4288 | Hours: 10 am – 5 pm Mon-Fri, 9 am – 6 pm Sat-Sun
One of the best ways to cool off the Caribbean heat is by eating ice cream in Heladería Lares. The ice cream shop in Lares is famous for its exotic ice cream flavors like rice and garlic. Lares might not be on most guides to the best things to do in Puerto Rico, but I guarantee you this ice cream is worth the drive!
Go International at Calle Loiza
Calle Loíza is a famous street where you’ll find art, bars, and a great number of restaurants. Travelers can choose between local food or international food like sushi, tacos, Korean bbq, and more. Most restaurants are open until late on weekends, making it a great spot for experiencing Puerto Rico’s nightlife.
Lote 23 Food Truck Park
If you suddenly crave a night snack while you´re in your hotel in San Juan, head over to Lote 23 in Santurce. This food truck park is ideal to satisfy your night cravings and chill in a casual bohemian environment. You can even book a tasting tour through their website to enjoy the best of the food trucks.
👉 Local Tip: When you visit locations in Santurce at night, park in a bright place or pay for private parking instead if you aren’t familiar with the area.
Eat a Piragua
While you walk Old San Juan, you might find a small kiosk cart that says Piragua. A piragua is just shaved iced with syrup on top, but you won’t find anything better to refresh yourself as you walk the capital city.
Beaches & Rivers
Flamenco Beach in Culebra deserves a spot in your top things to do in Puerto Rico. This paradise-looking beach just a day trip away from San Juan, offers visitors white sands, turquoise waters, and the opportunity to unplug from the chaos of the city. Once there, don’t miss the chance to take your insta-worthy picture in the abandoned military tank on the beach.
📚 Bookmark for later: Don’t miss my local’s guide to the Best Day Trips from San Juan, Puerto Rico!
Playa Sucia is one of Puerto Rico’s most beautiful beaches. Also known as La Playuela, this beach in Cabo Rojo is exquisite for a getaway on the west side of the island.
👉 Local Tip: Puerto Rico, like other destinations in the Caribbean, is suffering from a sargasso problem. The seaweed phenomenon can happen between March and September. The fall and winter are safe seasons to avoid it and ensure clear beaches.
Surf in La Pared
Address: Luquillo, 00773
La Pared Beach in Luquillo is every surfer’s dream and one of Puerto Rico’s surf spots. This beach has the ideal conditions for surfing all year around. Don’t worry if you couldn’t fit your surfboard in your suitcase, you can rent one right on the beach!
La Zanja in Fajardo
La Zanja is one of Puerto Rico’s hidden gems. You can get to this natural pool on the coast of Fajardo by walking to the rock formations after La Matita beach and the mangrove. Just make sure to visit in a group and when the tide is low.
🛎️ In Fajardo you’ll find one most impressive hotels in Puerto Rico, El Conquistador Resort. Book a night at El Conquistador Resort to experience a luxurious stay in eastern Puerto Rico, El Coqui Waterpark, and visit their private island, Palomino.
Charco Azul is a natural pond in Patillas where you can relax during the afternoon after eating in Guavate. It’s called Charco Azul because of its blue color and it’s only a 20-minute hike inside the Carite Forest.
After Hurricane Maria, there aren’t any bathrooms and you can’t camp anymore, but it’s still open to the public.
Address: PR-983, Luquillo, 00773 | Hours: 8 am – 5 pm daily | Entrance: $5 per car for parking + .50¢ per person to access the trail to the river
Luquillo is famous for La Pared and Luquillo Beach, but many visitors miss one of the fun things to do in Luquillo: the Las Pailas waterfalls.
Las Pailas is a natural waterslide created by the water running from El Yunque Rainforest over rock formations at Luquillo. And it definitely should be on your list of things to do in Puerto Rico!
👉 Local Tip: If you’re afraid to try water sliding in Las Pailas on your own, I recommend booking this Rainforest and Luquillo Beach Adventure Tour. The tour guides will show you how to slide safely through the natural waterslides and you’ll visit Luquillo Beach too.
Scuba Dive or Snorkel in Culebrita
If you’re planning a day trip to Culebra as one of your things to do in Puerto Rico, then add Culebrita to your list too!
Culebrita is an island that belongs to Culebra and it offers the best beaches for snorkeling with sea turtles and scuba diving around coral reefs in Puerto Rico.
📍 Did you know Puerto Rico is an archipelago with more than 100 islands, cays, and islets? Some of them you can visit through a boat tour like Cayo Santiago (Monkey Island), Cayo Aurora, Gilligan’s Island, Palomino, Caja de Muerto, and Icacos.
Sites & Attractions
Yauchromatic is a neighborhood of Yauco that became a public art space after Hurricane Maria. It features colorful houses and different murals that will bring a smile to your face.
El Paseo de la Princesa
Walking along El Paseo La Princesa is one of San Juan’s top attractions. You will find food kiosks and local artisans as you stroll down this promenade. El Paseo features popular landmarks like the Raices Fountain, the San Juan Bay, and the San Juan Gate, which is one of the original entrances to the fortified city.
Pink Salt Lakes
Address: PR-301, Boquerón, Cabo Rojo 00622
If you’re already in the western part of the main island, make a quick stop at the Pink Salt Lakes in Cabo Rojo and snap a great picture for your Instagram.
👉Local Tip: The viewing tower and the Visitor’s center is open only during the weekends but you can visit on other days. Ditch this activity completely if it’s a rainy day.
La Cara del Indio
Address: PR-2, Isabela 00662
Besides the Guajataca Tunnel, Isabela sports another top attraction known as La Cara del Indio. This sculpture is carved in rock at the entrance of Isabela and it’s in honor of the Indian chief Mabodamaca.
👉Local Tip: If you only have a day to explore the highlights of Puerto Rico’s northwest and west coast, I recommend taking this Full-Day West Puerto Rico Tour to see The Guajataca Tunnel, La Cara del Indio, the famous beach Crashboat and the city with the best sunsets, Rincón.
Los Morrillos Lighthouse
Address: WRM5+F4C, Rojo Cabo, Cabo Rojo | Phone: (787) 851-1025 ext. 4700 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 4:30 pm Mon, Tue, Thu, Fri, 8:15 am – 7:30 pm Sunday, Closed Wednesdays | 👉 Book a Tour to Los Morrillos Lighthouse on Viator
Los Morrillos Lighthouse itself might not be an impressive lighthouse for many people but it deserves a visit if for its beautiful location. It sits on top of a limestone cliff at the Cabezas de San Juan Natural Reserve and it marks the union of the Caribbean Sea with the Atlantic Ocean.
Guánica Sunflower Field
Address: PR-116, Guanica, Guánica 00653 | Phone: (939) 402-7967 | Hours: 10 am – 6 pm Fri-Mon | Entrance: $1.25
If you’re always hunting for mesmerizing spots, don’t miss the beautiful sunflower field in Finca El Girasol in Guánica. The field is perfect for photoshoots and proposals.
👉Local Tip: Before you visit the Finca El Girasol, call ahead or check their social media to see if the sunflowers have bloomed.
Parque de Bombas in Ponce
Ponce is a bustling city limited by the Caribbean Sea with multiple famous landmarks. One of them is Parque de Bombas, the first fire station of Puerto Rico. The red and blag building stands out in the plaza and it’s one of Ponce’s top attractions.
Hike in Las Cavernas del Rio Camuy National Park
Address: Carr. 129 K. 18.9, Quebrada, 00669 | Phone: (787) 898-3100 | Hours: 8:30 am – 4 pm Wed-Sat, Closed Mondays and Tuesdays | Entrance: $18, adults, $13 under 12
There are many Puerto Rico tours, and you should definitely take one to Las Cavernas de Camuy. These limestone caves formed by the underground river of Camuy are now open for tours and exploration for the first time since 2017.
Skydive in Arecibo
Address: Aeropuerto Antonio “Nery” Juarbe, Puerto Rico, Arecibo | Phone: (787) 852-5757 | Website | Hours: 8 am – 5 pm daily
Thrill-seekers need to add skydiving to their top things to do in Puerto Rico. Two companies do skydiving in Antonio Neri Juarbe airport, where you get to see Puerto Rico from a 10,500 feet altitude and free-fall at a velocity of 120 mph.
👉Local Tip: Book your appointment before coming to Puerto Rico and call the day before to confirm it. Please note that the weather and winds determine if you can jump or not.
Rock Climb in Toa Baja
Rock climbing is another extreme sport you can do in Puerto Rico. The company Roca Norte in Toa Baja allows visitors to climb a natural rock formation that took form after Hurricane Maria. You can either climb with a guide or by yourself.
Tubing in Tanama River
Lying on a tube while drifting calmly inside a cave is one of the unique things to do in Puerto Rico. In the Tanana River in Utuado you can enjoy cave tubing while a tour guide talks about the history and culture of Puerto Rico.
Canyoning and Rappelling in San Cristobal Canyon
Address: Cll H, Aibonito, Barranquitas 00705
The San Cristobal Canyon in Barranquitas is a popular spot for adrenaline seekers. Besides hiking the different trails, visitors can do rappelling and swim in the river.
Fun & Family
Ride an ATV in Hacienda Carabali
Located right next to El Yunque National Forest, Hacienda Carabalí offers visitors the exhilarating chance to ride ATVs around the foothills of El Yunque Rainforest and Puerto Rico’s east coast. For those who don’t like ATVs, they offer horseback riding too.
Go Shopping in Plaza Las Americas
Address: 525 Av. Franklin Delano Roosevelt, San Juan, 00918 | Phone: (787) 767-5202 | Website | Hours: 9 am – 9 pm Mon-Sat, 11 am – 7 pm Sundays
If shopping is your thing and you brought an extra suitcase, head over to Plaza Las Americas. The top shopping mall of Puerto Rico features brand stores, a movie theater, restaurants, bookstores, and more!
Ride a Trolley in Guajataca Tunnel
Address: Av. Noel Estrada, Isabela, 00662 | Entrance: Free
The Guajataca Tunnel is located between Quebradillas and Isabela. What was once the tracks of a railway is now a plaza for eating and buying local crafts. There’s even a free trolley that takes kids on a ride while recounting the story of the tunnel.
Take a Catamaran to Icacos
Vieques and Culebra are probably already in your top things to do in Puerto Rico, but you should add a catamaran to Icacos to your list. Icacos is one of the cays of Puerto Rico with ideal waters for snorkeling or just beach bumming all day.
Carolina Paintball Field
Address: Boulevard Joe E. Brown, Carolina, 00983 | Phone: (787) 531-9011 | Hours: 9 am – 5 pm Mon-Fri, 10 am – 5 pm Sat-Sun | Entrance: $22.25 for 3 hours
Kids and adults alike will love shooting their stress away in this outdoor PaintBall Field in Carolina. They provide you both with the airgun and the safety equipment to have the fun of your life.
Stay on the Moon for One Night
Address: Barranquitas, Puerto Rico
If you don’t have the money to buy a ticket to the moon, you can just stay in this unique property in Puerto Rico instead. The Hidden Moon in Corozal will make you feel like you’re sleeping on the moon! You can even wear an astronaut’s costume to feel out of this world.
Puerto Rico FAQ
What are the top activities in Puerto Rico?
The top activities in Puerto Rico are walking around Old San Juan, visiting the beach, eating at chinchorros, shopping, visiting el Yunque and kayaking in a Bioluminescent Bay.
Is it dangerous to go to Puerto Rico right now?
It is generally safe to visit Puerto Rico, although visitors should check the latest covid statistics, follow public health guidelines, and consider getting travel insurance to protect their trip.
What do locals do for fun in Puerto Rico?
Locals from Puerto Rico spend their free time in the shopping mall or the beach for fun. Those who prefer the nightlife, visit bars or chinchorros. Places like La Placita de Santurce, Piñones, Calle Loíza and Río Piedras are common night reunion spots.
Can you drink the water in Puerto Rico?
Tap water in Puerto Rico is potable and safe to drink. The AAA, the company in charge of providing water in Puerto Rico, follows the Safe Drinking Water Act, which protects the quality of drinking water in the USA.
Should you tip in Puerto Rico?
Tipping is optional in Puerto Rico but it’s considered a courtesy in restaurants, hotels, or tours. Puerto Ricans tip frequently, even if it’s the minimum 15% percent.
That’s the list of the top things to do in Puerto Rico. Visiting Puerto Rico offers natural wonders and fun things to do all around the island, so you don’t have to stick to the metro area.
What was your favorite of all the things to do in Puerto Rico on this list? Let me know what vacation experience you are most excited about in the comments below!