Things To Do In Puerto Rico

things to do in puerto rico

The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeastern Caribbean. You will find this island full of rich history and a unique mix of cultural antecedents including Taino (Amerindians), Spanish-European, African, and North America, and a traditional cuisine to rival the senses. There are many things to do in Puerto Rico of which the top ten are listed below.

10. El Museo del Nino (The Children’s Museum)

The Children’s Museum in San Juan has three floors of interactive exhibits and is located in front of San Juan Cathedral, which holds the tomb of Ponce de Leon. The first floor features The Bank of Children which allows kids to learn about the role of banks, economic challenges and budget management. It also has Noti-TV that recreates a television studio where visitors become the reporters, makeup artists, and cameramen. The second floor is all about the important organs and muscles such as the eyes, ears, mouth, nose, and heart. The third floor has NASA Space Place, mini caves, a home garden, and gives the opportunity to learn about water. They are open Thursday from 11:00am to 3:30pm, Friday from 11:00am to 4:30pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00pm to 5:00pm. The entry fee for children 14 years old and below is $7.00 and $5.00 for 15 years old and older.

9. Flamenco Beach

Flamenco Beach is a 1 ½ mile strip on the island of Culebra. This area is perfect for family fun, snorkeling, and those who want a secluded, romantic spot to watch the stars. There are facilities like bathrooms and showers on site with vendors dotting the area selling refreshments, and renting out chairs and umbrellas. If you want to spend the night, the beach has a campground to use for a fee of $20 and you will need to bring your own camping equipment; though snorkel gear can be rented at the Culebra Dive Shop close to the ferry dock.

8. Museo de Arte de Ponce

The Museum of Art in Ponce was renovated in 2010 and today is the home of more than 4,500 paintings, sculptures, and prints from Europe, Africa, and the Americas dating back to the 14th century. It has a wonderful blend of European baroque works, Victorian paintings, and Puerto Rican folk art. There is a private nook that features two chairs overlooking the grounds and gardens so visitors can relax. A complete tour takes around three hours and costs $6 for adults and $3 for children. It’s located across from the Universidad Catolica about ten blocks south of Plaza Las Delicias. The museum’s business hours are from 10:00am to 6:00pm, Wednesday to Monday and closed on Tuesdays.

7. Saborea Food Festival

The Saborea Puerto Rico is a food spectacle that takes place on April 9th and April 10th at the Escambron Beach and features a full weekend of food tasting from 30 restaurants per day, plus rums, wine, and beer. There is offered a one day pass that allows guests access the tasting and demonstrations that will teach how to prepare recipes the way the professionals do. In 2016, the festival will offer two additional events. The first event, Bubbles and Bites, takes place on April 8th where chefs will prepare bites to go with champagne. The second is on April 9th called the Privileged Taste of Saborea Opening Reception. This event has close to 20 different chefs that will amaze you with an intimate sit down dinner. This would be a perfect weekend to experience the real taste of Puerto Rico.

6. SCUBA and Snorkeling

Puerto Rico is surrounded on three sides by the continental shelf which provides an abundance of coral reefs, caves, sea walls, and trenches. You can usually enjoy visibility up to 75 feet to view these magnificent sights. To see migrating whales and manatees, visit the open-water reefs off the southeastern coast near Humacao. These marvels are available with a half or full day snorkel and SCUBA tour where the guide will give you lessons if you need them. Other than Humacao, some of the best tours include Vieques, La Parguera, Culebra Islands, and Mona Island.

5. Rio Camuy Cave Park

If you are looking for adventure, then one of the top places to visit in Puerto Rico is Rio Camuy Cave Park. This cave system covers 268 acres, making it the world’s 3rd largest site. The caves were discovered in 1958 and haven’t been completely explored yet. But you don’t have to be an experienced spelunker to traverse this system. The most accessible point to enter the caverns is at Cueva Clara which is about 170 feet in height. The park offers tours for $15 per person and be prepared to wear a helmet with a lamp, a life jacket, and some rappel gear to descend into the cool, deep caves. These caverns feature extremely high ceilings, rivers, stalagmites, and stalactites.

4. San Sebastian Festival

This is one of the major tourist attractions in Puerto Rico as the year’s biggest festival that is held on the third weekend of January marking the end of the holiday season. It’s held in San Juan around the Calle San Sebastian area. There are live music shows, dance performances, a parade, food, drink, and local artists selling their wares. During the day things are generally calm with many families enjoying the festival. When night comes, you will see more adults and their friends enjoying the free concerts and the lifted ban on public drinking. You can rent an apartment with a balcony along the street to watch the festival from a birds eye view if you wish to avoid the crowds. This festival highlights Puerto Rico’s culture almost entirely and is a loud and colorful celebration like no other.

3. Old San Juan

This historical city was once considered the Spanish Empire to the Americas and holds on to its roots with blue cobblestone streets, pastel-painted colonial buildings, historical churches and chapels, El Morro Fort and Castillo de San Cristobal fort, and it holds some of Puerto Rico’s best museums. The two forts have dramatic ocean and coastline views. It also has a significant nightlife teeming with restaurants, bars, lounges, and dance clubs and is the place to be for the San Sebastian’s Festival. The city is only around seven square blocks which makes it perfect for a self-guided walking tour and weekend getaway.

2. Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay

Near Esperanza, this south Vieques beach holds the closest thing to magical waters that you will find with the help of half-plant, half-animal microorganisms called dinoflagellates that glow blue at night. Visitors can take a boat, canoe, or kayak tour to experience this natural wonder that inspires spine-tingling awe. Swimming or kayaking into the bioluminescent bay and seeing the jeweled flicker of water drip from your hands or illuminate a paddle stroke promises an experience of profound wonder. However, avoid going to the bay during a full moon as the microorganism’s light is dulled.

1. The El Yunque Rainforest

A must see in Puerto Rico is the El Yunque Rain forest which is a great option for families with kids, hikers, and extreme adventurers. This lush forest has 13 graded trails that wind past crashing waterfalls and natural pools where you can swim. This is the only true tropical rainforest in the National US Forest System so make sure you bring a raincoat and your binoculars as you will most likely spy one of the 26 species of birds that occupy this region. You can also take a half day zip-line tour through the forest. Many visitors agree that El Yunque Rain Forest is too much to see in one day so the park offers free entrance to the forest and free camping permits.

Puerto Rico has a tropical climate that makes travel possible year-round. To avoid the crowds, the best time to go would be between May and November, but be aware that it is also, unfortunately, hurricane season during the low travel season. Though Spanish is the official language, English is spoken by about ¼ of the population. The official tourism guide is the Que Pasa! Magazine and includes information on accommodations, restaurants, shopping centers, casinos, and more. No matter when you decide to go, Puerto Rico is a destination that you will not soon forget.