5 Best things to do in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico’s attractions range from the adventurous (like the underground caves of Río Camuy Cave Park) to the historic (like the 500-year old walls of the El Morro fort). And there are plenty of options between the two extremes. Beach lovers must visit the western beaches of Rincón for sunbathing and surfing; snorkelers are bound to enjoy Vieques’ bioluminescent Mosquito Bay. And if you’re the kind of traveler who parties heartily, you’ll discover a varied but vibrant nightlife in San Juan.
#1 in Puerto Rico
Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay (Vieques)
This south Vieques beach might not sound like much, but it’s one of travelers’ favorite experiences in Puerto Rico. During the day, Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay is your stereotypical Caribbean hideout — but at night, the sky and waters emit a blue glow from the half-plant, half-animal microorganisms that live there. More than 700,000 bioluminescent dinoflagellates live in each gallon of bay water, and recent travelers have been amazed by just how much visibility these tiny creatures provide.
#2 in Puerto Rico
El Morro (Fuerte San Felipe del Morro)
El Morro juts out of San Juan harbor beckoning to cruise ships just as it used to deter sea attacks. The structure is a hulking six-story fortress built between 1539 and 1589, withstanding the two World Wars and several other scrimmages. Now, El Fuerto San Felipe del Morro is Puerto Rico’s go-to tourist attraction, both for its extensive history and its outstanding vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. You can also walk though the fortress’ depths, which include a maze of tunnels, barracks and prison cells.
#3 in Puerto Rico
On the island of Culebra — which sits about 20 miles east of Puerto Rico— visitors will find a beach perfect for families, snorkelers and those looking for a remote spot that boasts a delightful aesthetic from nearly every angle. Flamenco Beach’s 1½-mile strip of sand is the most popular on Culebra and is often recognized by travelers and experts as the most beautiful in all of Puerto Rico.
Facilities like bathrooms and showers can be found on site, and the beach’s white sand is peppered with kiosks selling refreshments or offering chairs and umbrellas for rent — all available for inexpensive prices (about $10 USD each).
#4 in Puerto Rico
El Yunque National Rainforest
Sometimes referred to as the Caribbean National Forest, the El Yunque National Rainforest, or simply El Yunque, this lush expanse is the only tropical forest in the U.S. National Forest System. It’s also a particular favorite for vacationers who like to hike — but even if nature really isn’t your thing, travelers urge you to make the trip just 35 miles east of San Juan. Remember to wear layers that can get wet — the site receives more than 100 billion gallons of precipitation annually — and pack a water-resistant camera to capture some of the area’s splendor. Keep your ears peeled in the evenings, when Puerto Rico’s tiny coquí tree frogs begin their serenade
#5 in Puerto Rico
Camuy Cave Park
Most travelers say the same thing about the Parque de las Cavernas del Río Camuy: Loved the caverns, didn’t care so much for the tour. Too bad it’s not possible to do a self-guided visit of this 268-acre park of underground caves.
When you arrive at the park you’ll take a tram ride down to a 180-foot high cave filled with a variety of light-shy wildlife, including crabs, tarantulas and bats. You’ll also spot plenty of stalactites and stalagmites and one of the largest subterranean rivers. Then walk through the more than 200 caverns is generally manageable, but it can be difficult in some parts. It could also be muddy and wet.