Puerto Rico is a culture-rich island with a lush and diverse landscape.
Puerto Rico’s kaleidoscope of scenery ranges from the classic white sands of the Caribbean’s beaches to snorkel-friendly reefs, humid rainforests, arid dry forests, and thick mangrove swamps.
If you want to do more than sunbathe on tranquil beaches, Puerto Rico has you sorted. World class surfing, snorkeling, and deep-sea diving opportunities for the more active traveler. Sample the famous rum, traditional food, hip-swaying music, old colonial towns, and museums stuffed with contemporary Latin art.
If you really want to feel like you’ve been to Puerto Rico, here are six things we recommend you don’t miss…
Visit a Bioluminescent Bay
There are three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico named (in order of brightness): Puerto Mosquito, Laguna Grande, and La Parguera. The bioluminescent effect is best seen during a “new moon” phase, when an incredibly bright blue ring appears around anything moving on the surface of the water.
You can take a boat tour or choose the more intimate experience of kayaking around the bays to witness this spectacular natural phenomenon.
Guánica Dry Forest
Designated a forest reserve in 1919 and a United Nations Biosphere Reserve in 1981, the Guánica Dry Forest is the best in the Caribbean. Guánica is a magnet for nature lovers; around half of Puerto Rico’s birds live there. Bring good hiking shoes and plenty of water, and hike the Fuerte Capron trail. Make sure you catch the incredible view from the top of the fort situated on the way!
Housed in a minimalist, modern building, this private collection of modern Latin art (including the Berezdivin Collection) is definitely worth a visit. Another must for art lovers is the excellent Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico in San Juan. This 130,000-square-foot museum, which includes a three-story atrium and five-acre garden, shows everything from colonial art and WPA-era photographs to post-war abstraction and large contemporary works.
Boqueron Beach Sunset
Head to this picturesque stretch of beach and look out for the famous “green flash,” an effect caused by refracted light rays, just before the sun disappears over the horizon.
Watch an outdoor film at Café La Plage
Reserve a bed in advance and enjoy after-dark showings of European and Latin American films like Motorcycle Diaries and Volver projected on the wall above the beachside bar. Delicious ceviche is a perfect snack for an outdoor screening.
El Yunque National Forest
Head just 30 minutes east of San Juan to hike this 28,000-acre tropical forest. You can spot over 240 species of plants and trees, play in the waterfalls, and swim in the natural swimming pools in this beautiful, verdant paradise. The park is easy to navigate on your own – just grab a map at the park entrance. Or you can book a tour guide.
There are so many wonderful things to do in Puerto Rico. Now that you have our essential list, we’ll leave it to you to enjoy the inevitable spontaneous adventures that Puerto Rico inspires.