Where to Stay in Puerto Rico in 2023, by an Area Local
If you’re planning a visit and wondering where to stay in Puerto Rico, then you’ve come to the right place. Choosing the right place to stay in Puerto Rico could very well make the difference between a great vacation and a forgettable one.
Not to worry, though, because I’m a Puerto Rico local who is here to help you map out your trip.
Because I know it’s hard to decide between staying in the capital city of San Juan and other municipalities around the island, I’ve put together this complete guide on where to stay in Puerto Rico to help you choose the perfect stay for your vacation.
Table of Contents
- Best Places to Stay in Puerto Rico
- 11 Best Places to Stay in Puerto Rico
- Tips for Staying in Puerto Rico
- FAQs About Staying in Puerto Rico
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Best Places to Stay in Puerto Rico
Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in Puerto Rico? Here are my top picks:
- 🏆 Best Overall Hotel – Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Golf & Beach Resort
- ✨ Best Luxury Hotel – St. Regis Bahia Resort
- 👪 Best for Families – La Concha Renaissance
- 👔 Best for Business – Sheraton Hotel & Casino
- 🛎️ Best Boutique – O:live Boutique Hotel
- 📍 Best Near Old San Juan – Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel
- 💵 Best Budget Hotel – Boutique Hotel Belgica
Ok, let’s do a deep dive into the best areas and neighborhoods in Puerto Rico:
11 Best Places to Stay in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is an archipelago divided into 78 municipalities. San Juan is the capital city as you can see on this map. San Juan sports many Puerto Rico hotels and accommodation options but it isn’t the best place to stay if you’re looking for breathtaking beaches or colorful sunsets. Let’s look into the best spots to stay around the island.
Old San Juan
👉 Best Area For Sightseeing | ✨ Best Old San Juan Hotels: El Convento • Sheraton Old San Juan • CasaBlanca Hotel
Old San Juan is the most popular destination in Puerto Rico and the perfect place to stay in the city of San Juan if you want to enjoy historical landmarks, good food, and Puerto Rico’s local culture all within a short walk.
San Juan is home to famous attractions like El Morro, Paseo de la Princesa, and the Door of San Juan. The capital city also has plenty of bars and nightclubs that invite visitors to party until sunrise.
Pros of Staying in Old San Juan:
- Attractions within walking distance
- Lots of fun restaurants and bars
- Great nightlife
Cons of Staying in Old San Juan:
- Gets crowded
- Things can be pricey
📚 Old San Juan Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for On-foot Sightseeing
- ✨ Best Hotels – El Convento • Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel • CasaBlanca Hotel
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Old San Juan
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Ladi’s Restaurant ($$), Marmalade ($$), The Mezzanine ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – La O, La Factoria
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Fort San Felipe del Morro, Paseo de la Princesa
👉 Best Area For Adventure Lovers | ✨ Best Rio Grande Hotels: Wyndham Grand Rio • St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort • Margaritaville Vacation Club
Rio Grande is home to El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the entire United States and one of the most popular attractions in Puerto Rico.
Rio Grande is the perfect place to stay in Puerto Rico for adventure travelers. There are many outdoor activities like hiking difficult trails, sliding down natural waterfalls, and ziplining.
This city also sports the most luxurious hotel in Puerto Rico, the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, and is close to Luquillo and Fajardo, two great cities with beautiful beaches.
Pros of Staying in Rio Grande:
- Close to El Yunque
- Outdoor activities
- Close the Luquillo Beach
Cons of Staying in Rio Grande:
- Far from San Juan’s main attractions
- Rains frequently
📚 Rio Grande Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Adventure Lovers
- ✨ Best Hotels – Wyndham Grand Rio Mar • St. Regis Bahia Beach • Margaritaville Vacation Club
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Rio Grande
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Dos Panzas Taqueria ($$), El Rey del Mofongo ($$), Carabali Bar & Grill ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Ekelekua, Pikaytos
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – El Yunque, Hacienda Carabalí
👉 Best Area For Families | ✨ Best Condado Hotels: Condado Vanderbilt • La Concha Renaissance Resort • Condado Ocean Club
Condado is a central area with beachfront resorts, fine-dining restaurants, and a lagoon. This district is one of the best places to stay in Puerto Rico for families and has some fabulous Puerto Rico resorts.
Condado sports multiple accommodation options with an outdoor terrace, swimming pool, dining area, comfy beds, outdoor pool, in-house casino, and is home to Ford’s four-star hotel, Condado Vanderbilt.
Pros of Staying in Condado:
- Family entertainment
- Lots of restaurants and bars
- Close to Old San Juan
Cons of Staying in Condado:
- Restaurants and hotels can be pricey
- Bad traffic
📚 Condado Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Families
- ✨ Best Hotels – Condado Vanderbilt • La Concha Renaissance Resort • Condado Ocean Club
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Condado
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – 1919 ($$$$), Raya by Mario Pagan ($$$), Jose Enrique ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – ARYA Rooftop, Chloe
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Condado Beach, Condado Lagoon
👉 Best Area For Couples and Honeymooners | ✨ Best Isla Verde Hotels: Hampton Inn & Suites • Embassy Suites by Hilton • TRYP by Wyndham
Isla Verde is a luxurious resort area that offers visitors a taste of the Caribbean while staying close to San Juan Airport and Old San Juan’s attractions. Isla Verde is a great location to stay in Puerto Rico for honeymooners and couples.
The area sports many restaurants serving up authentic Puerto Rican dishes and bars where you’ll find vibrant nightlife. Isla Verde is also next to Piñones, where you can enjoy the best Puerto Rican delicacies.
Pros of Staying in Isla Verde:
- Close to airport
- Lots of restaurants and bars
- Thriving nightlife
Cons of Staying in Isla Verde:
- Gets crowded
- Hotels and restaurants can be pricey
📚 Isla Verde Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Couples and Honeymooners
- ✨ Best Hotels – Hampton Inn & Suites • Embassy Suites by Hilton • TRYP by Wyndham
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Isla Verde
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Caña by Juliana Gonzalez ($$),Sirena Oceanfront ($$), Bistro Café($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Patio de las Flores, Alambique Beach Lounge
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Isla Verde Beach, Calle Loíza
👉 Best Area For Clear Beaches | ✨ Best Fajardo Hotel: El Conquistador Resort
If you want to stay close to some of the clearest waters of Puerto Rico, book your stay in Fajardo. Fajardo is located on the east side of the island and it sports one of the best hotels in Puerto Rico, El Conquistador Beach Resort, with a breathtaking view of the coast and a new waterpark for kids.
Some of the best things to do in Fajardo include the bioluminescent lagoon and Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve. You’ll also find plenty of excellent beaches in Fajardo and the surrounding area.
Pros of Staying in Fajardo:
- Clearwater and sandy beaches
- Good location to visit Vieques and Culebra
- Lots of restaurants
Cons of Staying in Fajardo:
- Far from San Juan
- Few attractions
📚 Fajardo Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Clear Beaches
- ✨ Best Hotels – El Conquistador Resort
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Fajardo
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – La Estación ($$), Ahumado a Leña ($$), Sal y Pimienta ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – El Chinchorro de J, Bar Dos Marinas
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Seven Seas Beach, Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve
- 📚 Get Planning: How to Go from San Juan to Fajardo
- 👉 Local Tip: If you stay in Fajardo, make sure to make a day trip to Icacos cay, where you’ll find the clearest waters of Puerto Rico. For more San Juan day trips, see my complete guide to the 15 top day trips near San Juan.
👉 Best Area For History Lovers | ✨ Best Ponce Hotels: Hilton Ponce Golf and Casino Resort • Aloft Ponce • Boutique Hotel Bélgica
Ponce, located on the south coast facing the Caribbean Sea, is a great place to stay in Puerto Rico for people looking for a similar place to Old San Juan. Ponce has multiple buildings and landmarks with a rich history dating back to the Spanish colonial era that will transport every visitor to the island’s past lifestyle.
Pros of Staying in Ponce:
- Lots of restaurants
- Central location to visit cities in the south
- Many interesting things to do in Ponce for history lovers
Cons of Staying in Ponce:
- Far from San Juan
- Food can be pricey
📚 Ponce Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for History Lovers
- ✨ Best Hotels – Hilton Ponce Golf and Casino Resort • Aloft Ponce • Boutique Hotel Bélgica
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Ponce
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – El Rastro ($$$), Vistas Restaurant ($$), Campioni Pizza, Birra & Tapas ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Asturias Lounge Bar, Birriola
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Parque de Bombas, Museo de Arte de Ponce
👉 Best Area For Experiencing Local Culture | ✨ Best Isabela Hotels: Parador Villas del Mar Hau • Royal Isabela • Villa Montaña Beach Resort
If you want to stay in a city that’s tourist-friendly but not touristy enough to ruin the local cultural experience, then head over to Isabela. Isabela is a coastal city with a prime location between the north and northwest attractions.
Besides the beautiful Jobos Beach, Isabela is home to the Guajataca Forest, Cueva de las Golondrinas, Montones Beach, and some of the best restaurants to eat seafood in Puerto Rico. Isabela is close to other nearby Puerto Rican cities like Camuy, Aguadilla and Arecibo.
If staying here, be sure to bookmark my guide to the best things to do in Isabela.
Pros of Staying in Isabela:
- Lots of restaurants and bars
- Prime location
- Great beaches
Cons of Staying in Isabela:
- Far from San Juan
- Beaches can be dangerous
📚 Isabela Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Experiencing Local Culture
- ✨ Best Hotels – Parador Villas del Mar Hau • Royal Isabela • Villa Montaña Beach Resort
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Isabela
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Jobos Mojito Beach Bar & Restaurant ($$), Sonido del Mar ($$$), Uma’s ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Kai Beach Ola Lola’s Tiki Bar
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Playa Jobos, Bosque Guajataca
👉 Best Area For Young Travelers | ✨ Best Cabo Rojo Hotels: Combate Beach Resort • Douglas Highway Inn Hotel • BOHO Beach Club
Cabo Rojo is home to beautiful sunsets, paradisiacal beaches, and landmarks filled with natural beauty. Located in the west of Puerto Rico, Cabo Rojo is the ideal getaway for couples or backpackers traveling in groups who want to experience the culture and beauty of Puerto Rico.
Cabo Rojo offers a few of the best landmarks in Puerto Rico, like Los Morrillos Lighthouse in Cabo Rojo’s National Wildlife Refuge, Boqueron Beach, the Pink Salt Likes, and Joyuda.
Pros of Staying in Cabo Rojo:
- Access to some of the top beaches of Puerto Rico
- Lots of free things to do in Cabo Rojo
Cons of Staying in Cabo Rojo:
- Far from the metro area
- Gets crowded
📚 Cabo Rojo Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Youngsters
- ✨ Best Hotels – Combate Beach Resort • Douglas Highway Inn Hotel • BOHO Beach Club
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Cabo Rojo
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Boho Kitchen ($$), El Bohio ($$), Downtown Boqueron ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Buena Vibra, Los Presidentes
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Pink Salt Lakes, Playuela
👉 Best Area For Surfers and Beach Bums | ✨ Best Rincon Hotels: Villa Cofresi • Casa Verde Hotel • Rincon Beach Resort
Rincón is a beach town on the west coast that is home to the best beaches in Puerto Rico for surfers. It’s the ideal place to stay in Puerto Rico for people who want a vacation full of gorgeous beaches, surfing, and small-town peaceful vibes. It makes for an affordable base if you’re doing Puerto Rico as a budget traveler.
Rincon’s town center sports restaurants, souvenir shops, bakeries, and art galleries, plus small colorful houses that make for a great photo background. Rincon is also the best town in Puerto Rico for whale watching during the winter and spring.
Read my full guide to where to stay in Rincon for more info.
Pros of Staying in Rincon:
- Beaches for surfing
- Experience local culture
- Budget-friendly hotels
- There are lots of fun things to do in Rincon
Cons of Staying in Rincon:
- Far from San Juan
- Hard to move around without a car
📚 Rincon Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Surfers and Beach Bummers
- ✨ Best Hotels – Villa Cofresi • Casa Verde Hotel • Rincon Beach Resort
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Rincon
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Rincon Smoke Shack ($$), The Beach House ($$), Red Flamboyan ($$)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – The H.U.B., La Barca Snack Bar
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Domes Beach, Rincon Beach
👉 Best Area for Relaxation | ✨ Best Culebra Hotels: Club Seabourne Hotel • Palmetto Guest House • El Navegante de Culebra
Culebra is one of the smaller islands that belong to Puerto Rico, and it’s the perfect destination to relax and disconnect from the daily rush. The island’s main attractions are its paradisiacal blue turquoise beaches like Flamenco Beach and Tamarindo Beach (bookmark my full article on the best beaches in Culebra).
Culebra Island is also one of the places in Puerto Rico where you can swim with sea turtles while scuba diving or find their nests on the sandy beach.
Pros of Staying in Culebra:
- Uncrowded beaches
- Relaxing getaway
- Easy access to Culebrita and Vieques
Con of Staying in Culebra:
- Difficult to get there
- Mostly natural attractions
📚 Culebra Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Relaxation
- ✨ Best Hotels – Club Seabourne Hotel • Palmetto Guest House • El Navegante de Culebra
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Culebra
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Dinghy Dock American Restaurant ($$), Lechonera La Criolla ($$), Sunset Grill ($)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – La Lobina, Happy Landing
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Playa Tamarindo, Playa Flamenco
- 👉 Local Tip: While Flamenco is probably the most famous beach in Puerto Rico, the island sports many beautiful beaches with easier accessibility.
👉 Best Area For Nature Lovers | ✨ Best Vieques Hotels: Bravo Beach Hotel • El Blok • Blue Horizon Boutique Resort
Nature lovers should definitely include Vieques in their list of where to stay in Puerto Rico. Vieques island is a small island located to the east of Puerto Rico. You’ll find many fun things to do in Vieques. It’s an Eden where you can walk along with wild horses on a black sand beach or kayak in Mosquito Bay, the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world.
If you’re staying in Vieques, be sure to bookmark my full guide to where to stay in Vieques.
Pros of Staying in Vieques Island :
- Close to Culebra
- Lots of restaurants and bars
- Natural breathtaking landscapes
Cons of Staying in Vieques Island:
- Need to exit the main island
- Ferry gets canceled frequently
📚 Vieques Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Nature Lovers
- ✨ Best Hotels – Bravo Beach Hotel • El Blok • Blue Horizon Boutique Resort
- 🏠 Apartments – Browse Top Rentals in Vieques
- 🍽️ Where to Eat – Biekes Bistro ($$), Coqui Fire Cafe ($$), El Resuelve de Carmen ($)
- 🍸 Where to Drink – Saint Voodoo’s, El Sombrero Viejo
- 🎟️ Top Attractions – Mosquito Bay, Vieques National Wildlife Refuge
Tips for Staying in Puerto Rico
Choose the Right Location in Puerto Rico
To get the most out of your trip to Puerto Rico, you must choose where to stay according to your goal vacation. While Old San Juan is central (and the ideal base if you only have 3 days in Puerto Rico), it won’t fit every traveler’s taste.
Puerto Rico offers different accommodation options for surfers, history enthusiasts, nature lovers, and beach bummers so visitors can find the ideal place to stay.
Rent a Car if You Can
Old San Juan is a great city for walking on foot without the need to rent a car or take a taxi. But travelers who are thinking about visiting other parts of the island should rent a vehicle in Puerto Rico since public transportation is mostly limited to Puerto Rico’s metro area.
Be sure to read up on Puerto Rico’s driving rules, and use Discover Cars to find the best prices for car rentals.
Go Outside San Juan’s Touristic Zone
While Old San Juan, Isla Verde, and Condado are great places to stay in Puerto Rico, they don’t do justice to Puerto Rico’s culture and beauty. Some of the island’s greatest destinations are in non-touristy municipalities like Utuado, Arecibo, Isabela, and Orocovis.
If you don’t dare to go on your own, hire a local guide that takes you to Puerto Rico’s best-hidden gems.
Travel to Puerto Rico in the Off-Season
Puerto Rico can be an expensive destination, especially during the high season. Visiting the island off-season can save you money on hotels, tours, rental cars, and even restaurants. Puerto Rico sports nice weather all year round and you can visit the beaches in other seasons besides summer.
For more, see my guide to the best times to visit Puerto Rico.
FAQs About Staying in Puerto Rico
What is the best area of Puerto Rico to stay in?
The best areas to stay in Puerto Rico include Old San Juan for sightseeing, Rio Grande for adventure lovers, Rincon and Cabo Rojo to surf and find the best sunsets, Vieques to see the bioluminescent bay, and Culebra to relax on the beach.
Where should you not stay in Puerto Rico?
In Puerto Rico, visitors shouldn’t stay in any caserio or La Perla, as they aren’t areas for tourists. People who want to stay close to the beach or who don’t drive well on curvy roads shouldn’t stay in the central area of Puerto Rico.
What side of the Island is best in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico’s west coast is best for beach bummers, surfers, and nature lovers. Puerto Rico’s north coast is best for people who like the buzz of the metro area but also natural escapes. The east side is best to find luxurious hotels and clear beaches.
What is the most beautiful part of Puerto Rico?
Which is better, Condado or Isla Verde?
Isla Verde is better for visitors who want to stay close to the airport, but they still want to enjoy the beach and the local cuisine. Condado is better for people who want to stay away from the crowd of Isla Verde, but still want to be close to the landmarks of Old San Juan and the beach. Condado is also a more family-friendly destination.
Is it better to stay in Old San Juan or Condado?
Old San Juan is a better location for visitors that want to be close to Puerto Rico’s top landmarks within walking distance. Condado is better for families that want to enjoy the beach, but still want to be close enough to Old San Juan’s landmarks.
That’s the complete guide to the best neighborhoods and cities where to stay in Puerto Rico. I hope this helps you find the best place to stay for your Puerto Rico vacation. While you’re here, don’t miss my complete guide to the 49 best things to do in Puerto Rico.
Have fun exploring Puerto Rico!
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The Island Of The Enchantment
What are your thoughts about staying near Mar Chiquita / Manati? I don’t see that discussed much in any guide. Would we be better to stay near Luqillo? It will be our first PR visit; two adults, one middle-schooler, all love water/outdoors. TIA!
Very helpful! Thank you, Vanessa!
First time visit with family and trying to decide between La Concha Renaissance or Wyndham Grand Rio Mar. I already cancelled one resort due to comments about airport noise.
wow thanks for doing this! What are your thought for staying for a month to work from there? Someplace relaxing, beautiful and lots of light – less noise
I’m a single woman in her early 60’s that would like to travel to my island.
The last time I was there was in 1999 when my parents were alive.
What is your recommendation for relaxation and fun?
Where is the best place to stay for two ladies going on a birthday trip looking to party at clubs at night and go to the beach bars in the day time.
My boyfriend and I have flights for February but debating what area to stay in…Fajardo, Arroyo or Rincon. Any thought or suggestions?
I wanted to know what you meant about beaches being dangerous in Isabella. Thank you.
I wondered the same thing myself. My wife and daughter stayed at Villa Montana in Isabela back in 2019 I think. Daughter and I went horseback riding and while riding on the beach we encountered a pack of dogs that were nipping at my horses legs. It was a beautiful place though.
According to posts elsewhere (see Trip Advisor), Isabella has extremely dangerous rip tides.
What are your thoughts on staying in Dorado, because we are going April 25-May 2nd and are very excited as this is our first visit to Puerto Rico and I am a little nervous that we picked the wrong place to stay. My wife and I are older, but traveling with my early 40’s cousin so we wanted a place by the beach but not too busy. If I need to change arrangements I should probably do so right away. Please let me know your thoughts.
Hola! I am booking to 9 days in PR and I am wondering if to stay 4 nights in Aguadilla (visit Rincon and Cabo Rojo), and 4 nights in Condado. Will it be crazy to do just 2 nights in Condado and 2 nights by Luquillo? Thanks!