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Top 12 things to do in Puerto Rico for tourists: 2024 Guide

Go to Old San Juan, hike in the El Yunque National Forest, visit the Castillo San Felipe del Morro and more in Puerto Rico!

Julio Osuna

March 26, 2024

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If you are looking for things to do in Puerto Rico, you probably need guidance on what to do while traveling there. Rather than simply telling you where to go as a tourist, we will show you the best 12 things to do in the country based on popular activities, tourist attractions, historical places, and some general tips!

So, let’s head over to see what the possibilities are for travelers who want to travel to Puerto Rico in 2024!

Is it cheap to vacation in Puerto Rico?

When people think about the best things to do in Puerto Rico, there’s also the need to know whether traveling to the island is cheap or not. 

First, it’s important to note that compared to other Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico is a bit more expensive. People will need around $700 for a week if they are solo traveling to San Juan, the capital, and up to $1,300 for couples. But people can save some extra money by making their own food and traveling in the low season.

The best dates to travel to Puerto Rico are April and June, as these are the months with lovely weather and less rain. But this is also the most expensive season for visiting the island. During the low season, from July to November, prices are lower, but there’s more rain, which might be an issue.

Also, people need to know the culture of the country. Puerto Rico is an island filled with mixed cultures. Old and new traditions mix as well, making the island colorful and full of joy, allowing travelers to feel welcomed as soon as they arrive on the island.

Lastly, keep in mind that Puerto Rico has two official languages: Spanish and English. This makes it easier for people to communicate within the island.

Popular activities in Puerto Rico among tourists

As said before, there are lots of things to do in Puerto Rico. Depending on what people feel like doing, there will be options on the list to enjoy the trip as much as possible.

People can and should head over to do different activities to get to know more about the island. First, we’ll talk about the popular activities to do outdoors in Puerto Rico, but then we’ll move forward to focus on other alternatives to enjoy the trip.

1. Hike through the El Yunque National Forest

The El Yunque National Forest is one of the most important national parks in the country. It’s actually the only rainy forest ecosystem found in Puerto Rico and the United States.

Even though El Yunque is an extremely rainy place, it’s also a place that tourists love to visit, and it is also one of the most important and protected places by locals. 

It’s important to note that hiking is the main activity done in the forest, but for those who want to take it easy, there are educational exhibitions and a theatre where there’s always something to see.

El Yunque National Forest. Source: Pexels.

For those who want to take a hike in the forest, 39 kilometers are open to the public, while 19 kilometers are for administrative places. It’s fair to say El Yunque is huge, but there are places in the area that will remain protected to preserve the forest itself and the living creatures it has.

Other options to visit while in El Yunque are the Yokahu Tower and Mt. Britton, which are considered important sightseeing places in Puerto Rico.

2. Go snorkeling or diving on beautiful beaches

When thinking about Puerto Rico, people will come across many beautiful beaches around the island

While some travelers would like to rest on the beach and relax, the most adventurous travelers will surely try activities like snorkeling or diving on the island.

The Puerto Rican archipelago is perfect for this activity, and people can either enjoy it while snorkeling or diving around these beaches. 

Rincón, Puerto Rico. Source: Pexels.

3. Go kayaking in a bioluminescent bay

Apart from having beautiful beaches, Puerto Rico also has bioluminescent bays. These places look great during the day, but it’s during the night when actual magic happens. 

Bioluminescent bays have microorganisms living there that produce a natural glow; most of this glow is blue-colored, and people can either go kayaking at night and see how the water turns into a shinning mass of water, or they can jump straight to water to get the picture of their lifetime!

mosquito bay things to do puerto rico
Mosquito Bay. Source: Treehugger

There are different tours on the island, but keep in mind they happen at night. During the day, you will enjoy the beautiful beaches with different types of blue in the water.

4. Indulge at Mercado Agricola Natural

Visiting the Mercado Agricola Natural in Puerto Rico allows people to get whatever they need when it comes to fruit or vegetables. But rather than telling people to visit to buy this stuff, it’s actually a perfect moment to connect with one of the oldest markets on the island.

The Mercado Agricola Natural will allow people to connect with Puerto Rican traditions that have been developed through the existence of this market. Also, the idea of having the chance to be in the market while visiting the Castillo San Felipe del Morro makes it a great plan!

Mercado Agricola Natural. Source: Conde Nast Traveler.

It’s important to note that this activity is only available on Saturdays when the market is open from 9 AM to 1 PM.

Puerto Rico tourist attractions

Let’s move on to the famous places to visit in Puerto Rico. Now that we have talked about what to do outdoors, it’s time to learn what the must-visit tourist attractions visitors can’t miss on the island.

The idea of visiting historical places and connecting with local culture is what makes these plans ideal for travelers.

5. Explore the historical city of Old San Juan

Old San Juan is a historical district in Puerto Rico. Actually, it’s part of the UNESCO World Heritage! San Juan is connected to the main island by bridges, which makes it easy to access for those who want to get to know more about the history of the island.

One thing that stands out from Old San Juan is how their streets and structures are. These are full of cobblestones and colorful buildings, which were established during the XVI and XVII centuries while Spaniards lived on the island.

Old San Juan. Source: Vamonos Tours.

Another important feature of Old San Juan comes with the number of public squares and churches there, making the Metropolitan Cathedral of San Juan the most iconic one to visit for travelers. 

But there’s more to visit! There are lots of stores, restaurants, and other historical places that are still there for travelers to connect with the culture of the island. 

6. Discover the Camuy Caves

Camuy Caves are located in the northwestern region of the island, covering three towns: Camuy, Lares, and Hatillo. People can access the caves through the Quebrada area in Camuy.

These caves became quite popular due to them being part of an extensive network of natural limestone caves with underground waterways that were carved out by the Río Camuy, which happens to be the third-largest underground river in the world.

camuy caves things to do puerto rico
Camuy Caves. Source: Discover Puerto Rico.

Camuy Caves have become an important destination for travelers since their discovery in 1958, but based on archeological evidence shows that these caves were visited by the indigenous inhabitants years ago and now are open to the public to visit over 10 miles of caverns with more than 220 caves and 17 different entrances!

If you plan to visit Camuy Caves, make a reservation with enough time, as lots of people like to visit this place!

7. Meet the Arecibo Observatory

The Arecibo Observatory used to be one of the most important places in Barrio Esperanza. Back in the day, the Arecibo Telescope used to hold one of the biggest telescopes in the world until 2016, when China created the Five-hundred-meter Aperture Spherical Telescope.

Nowadays, the Arecibo Observatory is not what it used to be due to damage to the telescope. Yet, the National Science Foundation decided to create an educational facility at the Arecibo Observatory, which is now an interesting place for tourists to visit.

Arecibo Observatory. Source: Physics World.

Rather than not having the chance to see what the Arecibo Telescope used to be, people can go there and learn its history and how it impacted astronomy for many years. 

8. Visit Pública Espacio Cultural

Among the activities in Puerto Rico, visiting Pública Espacio Cultural can’t be left aside. Travelers have the chance to connect a lot more with local culture or even to participate in activities that are related to a social cause.

Pública Espacio Cultural also allows people to enjoy food and drinks while visiting the place, which is located in Alto del Cabro. 

It’s ideal for people to check out the info about what activities will take place in Pública Espacio Cultural on their Instagram, @publicaespacio.

Pública Espacio Cultural, March 2024. Source: @publicaespacio.

Historical adventure in Puerto Rico 

The last part of what to do in Puerto Rico comes with connecting with the historical places on the island. In previous activities, people can visit some historical places, like the Castillo San Felipe del Morro or the Old San Juan historical city.

But, our last recommendations about Puerto Rico tourist attractions are linked with historical adventure! So, if you want to connect more with the island and its history, these are must-visit places.

9. Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park

Our first recommendation comes from the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park, which is mostly known as the Caguana Site by locals and travelers. Located in Caguana, Utuado, it’s considered to be among the most important pre-Columbian sites in the West Indies in modern days.

For those visiting the park, the main attractions are the ceremonial ball courts and the petroglyph-carved monoliths, which were built, according to studies, by the Taino around 1270.

Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park. Source: Tripadvisor.

Part of what makes this site so interesting is how connected it is with astronomical events. Studies say that these ball courts and plazas were used to predict and observe astronomical events in the past. Seeing planets passing by, conjunctions, and even alignments. These are all things people will get to know when visiting Caguana!

10. Castillo San Felipe del Morro

We already mentioned the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, which is where the Mercado Agricola Nacional takes place. But there’s more to know about this historical place in the northern part of San Juan.

For many years, the castle was considered an important part of the island, as it watched and protected it from attacks and unknown visitors. Due to its importance, the Castillo San Felipe del Morro became a part of the UNESCO World Heritage in 1983.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro. Source: Pexels.

Nowadays, visitors can visit the castle and learn about the history behind its walls, but it’s also somehow a museum, as it shows visitors things that were used by the Spanish, Africans, and locals during ancient times. 

While visiting the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, people can also walk to the Castillo San Cristobal, which is located near the area and is also an important historical destination.

11. San Juan Bautista Cathedral

The San Juan Bautista Cathedral is one of the most important and oldest buildings in San Juan. Nowadays, the Catholic cathedral of the Archdiocese of San Juan is the center for religious visitors to the island.

Located in Old San Juan, the San Juan Bautista Cathedral is the second oldest cathedral in all the Americas. The historical importance of the site takes people back to 1511 when Bishop Don Alonso Manso appointed it as the first diocese of the New World!

San Juan Bautista Cathedral. Source: TripSavvy.

The baroque style has been well preserved, and since 2021, a private foundation has been working to keep and restore part of the building and the treasures there are inside, making it a must-visit for travelers in 2024.

12. Explore La Placita de Santurce

Our last recommendation of what to visit in Puerto Rico comes with La Placita de Santurce. This 100-year-old market square is a must-visit for travelers as it gives travelers the chance to live all types of adventures.

During the day, visitors will find the Placita filled with restaurants and stalls all around, giving life to the area for locals and visitors. Now, things change in La Placita de Santurce at night when the party starts.

la placita de santurce things to do puerto rico
La Placita de Santurce. Source: Un Nuevo Día.

La Placita is one of the most important nightlife locations on the island, and people who visit the area at night will find all types of events. Live music, street dance shows, delicious cocktails on traditional bars, and much more!

General tips for tourists in Puerto Rico 

Now that we know what the best things to do in Puerto Rico are, it’s time to give some general tips for travelers who are visiting the island!

  • Puerto Rico is a safe place to travel, but as a safety tip for traveling alone, try to avoid walking alone at night and keep an eye on your belongings, as pickpocketing is quite common.
  • Due to its weather and beautiful places to visit, working out while traveling in Puerto Rico is not a bad idea! 
  • People can find local SIM cards in Puerto Rico from local carriers. For us, the best option to stay connected on the island comes with a Puerto Rico eSIM.
  • Remember that if you travel during the rainy season, there is a chance of a hurricane happening on the island. Try keeping an eye on the news.
  • Take advantage of people knowing two languages, as locals will understand Spanish and English without issues!

Now that people have a guide on what to do, where to go, and how to stay safe while traveling to Puerto Rico, it’s safe to say travelers are ready to meet one of the loveliest and most important Caribbean islands!

And remember to get your eSIM to stay connected while traveling to Puerto Rico, as it is the safest option in the market.

FAQ about things to do in Puerto Rico

What is the #1 attraction in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico has many go-to attractions for tourists. It’s hard to tell which one is the #1 attraction on the island. But it’s easy to say that spot goes for Old San Juan or the Castillo San Felipe del Morro.

What activity is Puerto Rico known for?

Puerto Rico is not known for just one activity. The island has a lot to offer to travelers, and there are all types of activities, like outdoor and water sports plans. But the island is also known for its captivating nightlife, shopping options, and more.

Is 4 days in Puerto Rico enough?

For first-time visitors, 4 days in Puerto Rico might be enough to take a sneak peek of the island. But to enjoy everything the island offers as much as possible, it’s better to take trips for longer than a week in Puerto Rico.