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12 Enjoyable & Distinctive Issues to do in Puerto Rico

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Panoramic landscape of historical castle El Morro - a beige coloured stone fortress with a tower - along the coast in Old San Juan with a city in the background and a bright blue sea in front. fun and unique things to do in puerto rico.

In search of some enjoyable issues to do in Puerto Rico so as to add a singular twist to your Caribbean getaway?

Consider Puerto Rico and chances are you’ll be pondering of palm-tree-lined seashores, piña coladas, and splendid resorts. And people are some fairly good causes to e-book a vacation to the USA’s most tropical territory!

However that doesn’t imply there aren’t loads of enjoyable issues to maintain you busy in between all that chilling out! That is an island that’s brimming with wealthy and vibrant tradition, fascinating historical past, and a really adventurous spirit – providing the right mix of leisure and enjoyable.

Delve into the island’s tradition with a local-led tour or a Bomba dancing demonstration. Uncover the unimaginable native delicacies, or go bar-hopping across the vibrant streets of Outdated San Juan. Or, indulge your adventurous spirit amidst Puerto Rico’s vibrant pure magnificence with mountaineering, mountain street journeys, or the longest zip line in the Americas.

No matter you’re into, you’ll discover a plethora of each distinctive and enjoyable issues to do in your Puerto Rico trip. Take pleasure in…

My journey was partly supported by Uncover Puerto Rico as a part of their #LiveBoricua marketing campaign. All phrases and opinions are my very own.

Enjoyable and Distinctive Issues to do in Puerto Rico

Add a splash of enjoyable to your trip in Puerto Rico with these superior actions…

1 – Kayak in a Metropolis Centre on Condado Lagoon

Do you know you may kayak with manatees with out leaving the town of San Juan? Condado Lagoon (Laguna del Condado) lies proper within the metropolis centre, between the swanky inns of Condado and the funky, street-art-strewn neighbourhood of Miramar.

Two orange kayaks on the edge of a large blue lagoon framed by tropical trees with city skyscrapers and tower blocks on the far side of the water - fun things to do in san juan puerto rico

Hire a kayak or SUP from VIP Adventures, or e-book a spot on certainly one of their guided excursions, and hit the waters to discover the wonderful mix of pure and concrete landscapes of Condado Lagoon.

Spot pelicans and different birdlife as you paddle across the mangrove-lined lake, with the town centre towers offering a surprising city backdrop.

emily wearing a blue shawl with a yellow pattern, sitting on a bright orange kayak in a blue lagoon with tall white tower blocks against a blue sky in san juan puerto rico

For those who get fortunate, chances are you’ll even spot a Caribbean Manatee! The species is endemic to Puerto Rico, and the light giants often go to Condado Lagoon to eat the seagrass which grows there.

2 – Experience the Longest Zipline in America!

thick zipline cables heading downwards across a large valley covered in lush tropical greenery with mountains in the distance

Within the temper for journey? In Puerto Rico, one of the vital distinctive issues to do is to take an exhilarating journey on the longest zipline in America!

El Monstruo (The Monster) at Toro Verde journey park has a 2.5km (2530m, 8300ft, 1.57mile) cable. For those who want a visible, that’s apparently equal to twenty-eight soccer fields! I can inform you: it’s LONG. I ran out of screams earlier than I used to be even a 3rd of the best way throughout!

You may solely do the zipline face down (superman-style). You’ll lie in a full-body harness dealing with downwards, holding onto the straps at your again, and shoot throughout a mountain valley.

Whizzing throughout the winding rivers and plush forests method under is one hell of a rush. The zipline can attain speeds of as much as 95mph, and is over 380m above the bottom in some spots. So this not an exercise for the faint-hearted. However for adrenaline-pumping thrills, this journey is a should on your Puerto Rico itinerary.

CLICK HERE to examine costs and availability

3 – Farm to Desk Expertise at Frutos del Guacabo

flat lay of several small bowls arranged in a circle around a pile of brown tortilla chips on a wooden tray on top of a red and white table cloth
a man with dark hair and a goatee wearing a grey t-shirt standing in a greenhouse in front of a row of plants holding up a plant on a farm tour in puerto rico

Considered one of my favorite discoveries in Puerto Rico was our farm tour and brunch at Frutas del Guacabo. It is a beautiful little hydroponic farm and store about an hour from San Juan.

Angelie Martinez based Frutos del Guacabo 12 years in the past. Immediately, her small-but-mighty hydroponic farm is on the coronary heart of an island-wide motion in direction of contemporary, native, and sustainable gastronomy.

The farm’s greens and different merchandise are used at a number of the island’s prime eating places. For an island that beforehand imported as much as 90% of its meals, this new development towards locally-sourced components appears like a vital step on the street to sustainability.

a lady with curly dark hair tied up wearing a grey t shirt standing in front of the camera and smiling in front of her farmhouse in puerto rico
Angelie, the founding father of Frutas del Guacabo

Go to Frutos del Guacabo for a guided tour. You’ll study a little bit extra about native vegatables and fruits, and may even strive your hand at milking the goats!

Then, take pleasure in a scrumptious farm-to-table meal to pattern the homegrown and selfmade goodies – together with contemporary goats cheese, which they make day by day. I may have eaten a whole block of the stuff – SO GOOD!

4 – Discover the Solely Rainforest within the USA

a small waterfall against a flat grey rockface in the el yunque rainforest in puerto rico
emily wearing a blue bikini top standing in a brown river with the water up to above her waist and many rainforest trees in the background

Puerto Rico is house to the solely rainforest within the USA’s Nationwide Forest system, in order that’s actually a singular addition to your trip itinerary.

El Yunque Nationwide Forest lies within the northeast of the island. At just below 29,000 acres, it’s one of many smallest Nationwide Forests. However, as a tropical rainforest boasting over 240 species of native bushes, it’s additionally one of the vital biodiverse!

Inside the lush inexperienced landscapes of this unimaginable space, you’ll discover a number of mountaineering trails. Discover dense forests full of distinctive wildlife – together with Puerto Rico’s nationwide animal, the coqui (a sort of tree frog). Decide a path that results in certainly one of El Yunque’s waterfalls, corresponding to Coca Falls or La Mina Falls. For one thing quick and candy, take the 15-minute paved Angelito strolling path all the way down to a swimming spot on the Rio Mameyes.

You may go to El Yunque with out a information. There are quite a few trails, and lots of of them are simple to comply with. However I do suggest taking a guided tour on your first go to. It’s an effective way to study extra in regards to the forest’s natural world, and it’s a lot simpler having another person organise your go to! There are many guided excursions in El Yunque Nationwide Forest:

5 – Take a Meals Tour in Outdated San Juan

a man with dark hair and a small beard wearing a blue shirt and a straw trilby hat smiling at the camera

Considered one of my favorite actions in Puerto Rico’s capital was exploring Outdated San Juan on a unbelievable meals and cocktails tour with The Spoon Expertise.

Our information, Pablo, is likely to be essentially the most enthusiastic information I’ve ever had. I don’t assume I’ve ever learnt a lot in such a brief area of time (while consuming so many cocktails)!

We explored the colorful streets of the Outdated City, studying how the town’s historical past and the island’s melting-pot tradition have influenced Puerto Rican delicacies.

small grey bowl filled with rice and meat on a wooden table with a cocktail in the background

A mix of Taíno (indigenous Caribbean folks), Spanish, and different influences – the delicacies actually tells the story of how the island developed. It’s the right excuse to eat as a lot as doable – one thing Spoon are MORE than completely happy to assist with!

I genuinely can’t suggest this tour sufficient. Such an fascinating option to delve into the native tradition and delicacies, with so many scrumptious meals to strive alongside the best way. Don’t miss it!

6 – Hire a Jeep to Drive the Ruta Panoramica

view of a green mountain landscape on a sunny day with a blue sky filled with fluffy white clouds
View from Ruta Panoramica

For those who fancy getting out of the town, there are some wonderful street journeys round Puerto Rico. Probably the greatest is the La Ruta Panorámica Luis Muñoz Marín (the Panoramic Route): a 167-mile-long street community crossing by the central mountain vary.

These winding mountain roads are the right setting for an adventurous street journey. Anticipate steep mountains and breathtaking views, passing by rural farmland and distant cities that you simply won’t in any other case get to go to.

a blue jeep seen from the back on a gravel drive with a puerto rico flag against a small cliff covered in grass and tropical plants in the background and a mountain road seen to the right of that on a very sunny day with a blue sky

It’s not all the time simple going! There are typically sheer cliffs alongside the street, in addition to hairpin turns, quick drivers, vans, and fast-changing climate. That mentioned, the roads are in fairly good situation and are usually two lanes, so driving the Panoramic Street isn’t too robust!

If you need a real journey – and a better drive – I like to recommend hiring a jeep. We employed one for the day, utilizing Uncover Automobiles to search out the perfect value, and it was such a enjoyable expertise. Undoubtedly significantly better for dealing with these bumpy, winding mountain roads!

CLICK HERE to examine the most recent automotive rent costs!

7 – Evening Kayak within the World’s Brightest Bioluminescent Bay

neon blue sparkling bioluminescence in a black ocean at night
Bioluminescence in ocean tide at evening.

One factor I want I’d been capable of do in Puerto Rico is to go to one of many bioluminescent bays at evening. Sadly, I simply didn’t have time on this journey (a fantastic purpose to return!).

There’s nothing fairly just like the surreal expertise of witnessing bioluminescence in motion. This fascinating phenomenon is attributable to microscopic organisms referred to as dinoflagellates, which create a neon blue “glow at nighttime” impact when stimulated by motion.

Puerto Rico is house to 3 bioluminescent bays, together with the brightest on the planet. Mosquito Bay lies on the close by island of Vieques. The massive focus of dinoflagellates right here, mixed with the dearth of surrounding mild air pollution, creates a captivatingly shiny mild present on the bay!

Though you may go to Mosquito Bay unaccompanied, it’s fairly out of the best way. Plus, nighttime paddling ought to solely be tried by skilled kayakers. So reserving a kayaking tour of Mosquito Bay is one of the best ways to expertise the unbelievable spectacle of bioluminescence. Click on right here to match costs.

Nearer to San Juan, Laguna Grande in Fajardo is far simpler to achieve, so is a extra well-liked spot for bioluminescent recognizing. Click on right here to examine the most recent costs for kayaking excursions.

8 – Uncover Bomba Dancing

bomba dancer wearing a white flowery top and sunglasses and a long black skirt which she is holding out while she dances to make the fabric flow - unique things to do in puerto rico

Brazil has Samba, Cuba has Rumba… and Puerto Rico has Bomba! This was the unique native music of Puerto Rico, created within the sugar plantations by slaves over 400 years in the past.

Bomba is the title of the percussion-driven music, but in addition the dance that goes together with it. Each have been influenced by Taino (native), African, and European cultures.

In bomba, the dancer units the rhythm for the musicians reasonably than the opposite method round. The result’s reasonably like a dialog between the dancer and the lead musician.

bomba drummer sitting in front of a drum wearing a white t shirt with a green and red logo and a dark green cap with the letter A on it smiling at the camera and giving the peace sign

Make sure to catch a bomba present – and even strive your hand at studying a number of the dance strikes – when you’re in Puerto Rico. There are a number of spots that supply common performances, corresponding to La Vergüenza in Outdated San Juan.

9 – Eat your method alongside the Lechón Path

One dish you completely should strive in Puerto Rico (until you’re vegetarian) is lechón. It is a complete roasted pork which has been cooked for a number of hours – normally over an open flame – leading to crispy pores and skin and tender, juicy meat.

close up of a white takeaway box containing lechon roast pork with crackling and yellow rice

Though you would possibly have the ability to discover lechón in San Juan, usually this can be a dish that may solely be present in Puerto Rico’s countryside. So, you might want to hit the street and head to the Ruta del Lechón (lechón path) in Guavate.

Route 184 is lined with roadside lechoneras, all of them serving this unmissable pork dish, together with conventional sides corresponding to rice and beans or mofongo (a plantain dish).

Begin at Lechonera Los Amigos and work your method up the mountain following Route 184. Relying in your urge for food, you may name at as many lechoneras as you want alongside the best way. Among the many greatest is the Lechonera Los Pinos, which Anthony Bourdain mentioned was the perfect roast pork he ever had!

10 – ATV Journey

One of the vital well-liked excursions in Puerto Rico is this ATV Journey at Campo Rico Ranch and it’s fairly simple to see why. That is one other factor I sadly didn’t have time for on my journey and I actually remorse not attempting it. The tour seems to be superior!

Hop onto a robust ATV for an exhilarating, fast-paced tour of the countryside of a personal ranch exterior of San Juan.

Uncover the native natural world as you wheel previous lagoons and limestone rock formations with beautiful mountain views as you go. Sounds enjoyable, proper? Click on right here to search out out extra.

a natural window formed by the opening of a cave looking down towards a green landscape and a river far below - fun things to do in puerto rico
Cueva Ventana (cave window)

11 – Journey Deeper with Native Visitor

Lengthy-time readers of this weblog will know I’m a giant fan of “deep journey“. Primarily, that simply means going past the highest vacationer points of interest and delving into the native tradition. And if you wish to journey deeper in Puerto Rico, you want the fab tour firm Native Visitor.

Emily wearing denim shorts and a pink sports t shirt with her hair in a ponytail running up some stone steps in a rainforest with dense green trees in the background - unique things to do in puerto rico
Exploring El Yunque with Native Visitor

They organise genuine journey experiences, working hand in hand with native communities and entrepreneurs, to supply some actually distinctive experiences in Puerto Rico.

Excursions embrace a standard pottery workshop that gives an perception into the island’s Taino heritage, and a Mindfulness Stroll in El Yunque with an authorized forest remedy information.

There are additionally quite a few volunteering and studying alternatives on supply, like restoring ecosystems in San Juan or engaged on a historic hacienda (farm). The proper option to immerse your self within the communities and tradition of Puerto Rico, and lend a serving to hand on the identical time.

12 – Bar Hopping in Outdated San Juan

hand holding a yellow cocktail in a short glass tumbler with a slice of orange in front of a yellow wall at a bar in san juan PR
Cocktail at Singular
courtyard of a bar in san juan pr with a glass table with an umbrella and a fountain in the background
Barrachina – birthplace of the pina colada?

Do you know piña coladas had been born in Puerto Rico? Two bars in San Juan declare to have invented them: it was both the Caribe Hilton in 1954, or the funky Barrachina in 1963. Both method, the town was positively the birthplace of one of many world’s hottest cocktails.

I like to recommend heading to each the “birthplaces” to pattern the “authentic” piña colada, simply in case! When you’re at it, make sure you bar hop your method across the vibrant streets of Outdated San Juan.

There are a great deal of nice watering holes to select from, from stylish dive bars serving native craft beer to quirky cocktail bars. Listed here are a number of of my favorite discoveries…

  • La Factoria – In all probability Puerto Rico’s most well-known cocktail bar, this gritty-but-cool membership encompasses a warren of rooms, with totally different decor and music types in every. It at present ranks at #12 on the 50Best record of North America’s 50 Greatest Bars.
  • Singular – order a Painkiller, a boozey new twist on the traditional twist on piña colada.
  • Deavurdura – a laid-back native eatery with easy rum and fruit juice cocktails.
  • Aqui se Puede – a preferred native bar identified for its handmade cocktails, hipster vibes, and nice meals.
  • Taberna Lupulo – identified for native and imported craft beers. Each time a brand new beer comes out in Puerto Rico, it will get showcased right here!

Getting Round Puerto Rico

Piragua (shaved ice) vendor in Outdated San Juan

Puerto Rico is a reasonably small island, so getting round within reason simple. Public transport isn’t nice, although. So if you wish to go to a number of totally different areas, your greatest guess is to hire a automotive.

Automobile: Renting a automotive is certainly essentially the most handy option to get round Puerto Rico. For those who’re planning on exploring the mountain roads, a jeep or 4WD automobile is likely to be a good suggestion, however not strictly needed.

Smaller automobiles begin from round $40-50 per day, with jeeps extra like $80-100. You would possibly have the ability to get a reduced value for leases of a number of days or extra. I like to recommend utilizing Uncover Automobiles to match costs throughout a number of automotive rental corporations. Click on right here to see newest costs for an thought of what to anticipate.

The most important headache for exploring PR by automotive would be the visitors, particularly round bigger cities. Try to time your journeys to keep away from rush hour visitors for leaving/getting into cities.

Bus: There’s not likely a proper public bus system in Puerto Rico. As an alternative, there are públicos, a sort of native bus system working on set routes. It’s fairly budget-friendly, however there are not any official timetables so figuring issues out by yourself is likely to be difficult. Talking a little bit Spanish will certainly assist.

Different Choices

For those who don’t drive and don’t wish to depend on the unpredictable públicos, there are different choices.

Uber/Taxi: Most bigger cities in Puerto Rico have Uber, so for shorter journeys that is by far the simplest option to get round. You may additionally have the ability to use an Uber for an extended journey and organize a time for the motive force to select you as much as return. Alternatively, ask your lodge to e-book you a taxi for each legs of your journey.

Excursions and Non-public Transfers: You too can organize non-public transfers, or e-book excursions that embrace lodge pickup. For example, this non-public switch from the airport to your lodging in San Juan begins from round $83.50 per group. For excursions, I all the time use GetYourGuide – it’s really easy to e-book they usually normally have the perfect costs. Click on right here to look all their Puerto Rico excursions.

The place to Keep in Puerto Rico

The place to remain in Puerto Rico will depend on what sort of vacation you’re in search of. If you wish to be proper by the seashore, there are a number of attractive choices. But when it’s your first time to the island, I’d suggest basing your self in San Juan.

The capital metropolis makes an excellent base for exploring the remainder of the island. There’s additionally masses to see and do within the metropolis itself, together with Outdated San Juan and the historic citadel. Plus, there are a great deal of bars and eating places to maintain you busy in between sightseeing.

Emily with her back to the camera in an infinity pool facing the ocean on a sunny day with a blue sky above
looking down at a terrace with umbrellas and tables next to a rocky beach and turquoise sea with palm trees in the background at Condado Vanderbilt Hotel San Juan Puerto Rico

I stayed on the Condado Vanderbilt Lodge in San Juan. It’s in a fantastic location close to Condado Lagoon, inside simple attain of Outdated San Juan and a number of the metropolis’s greatest nightlife spots. Anticipate old school grandeur within the foyer and rooms, and impeccable service.

The spotlight, although, is the pool. Or, swimming pools, as there are a number of to select from – together with a stunning infinity pool overlooking the ocean. Excellent for unwinding after an extended day exploring Puerto Rico!

Are you able to consider any extra enjoyable and distinctive issues to do in Puerto Rico? Scroll down to depart a remark!

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