Puerto Rico Vacations
The intriguing Caribbean island and U.S. territory of Puerto Rico offers diverse vacation experiences to thrill every sort of traveler. Here, you’ll find the lush El Yunque tropical rainforest, magnificent beaches, an array of dining options to satisfy the most discerning palate, and historic Old San Juan in the island’s capital city.
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This private retreat, once a plantation, features beautiful beachfront accommodations, three spectacular 18-hole golf courses and the historic Rockefeller Nature Trail.
Lying between the Dominican Republic and U.S. Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico is bounded to the north by the cooler Atlantic Ocean and to its south by the warmer Caribbean Sea. Puerto Rico’s unique Spanish colonial buildings and impressive fortresses of El Morro, with its massive 140-foot walls dating back to 1539, and Castillo San Cristóbal, are must-see attractions.
La Fortaleza, also known as the Palacio de Santa Catalina, is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Built in the 1530s, La Fortaleza was the first of San Juan’s fort. Today, it serves as the official residence of the Governor.
Travel a little further afield for a view of the area’s intriguing scenery, from the underground caves of Rio Camuy Cave Park to the bioluminescent Mosquito Bay
What To Do
Explore the brightly colored buildings, centuries-old forts and romantic ambiance of Old San Juan. The second oldest city founded in the New World, Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan is a feast for the senses.
Old San Juan is also a treasure trove for history lovers. Walk through its labyrinth of tunnels and dungeons in the area’s remarkable 500-year-old fortresses.
Just a short drive from San Juan you’ll discover the El Yunque rainforest, the only tropical rainforest in the United States Forest Service. Visit the dwarf, or elfin, forest at the top of these verdant mountain peaks, a two-hour hike above Mt. Britton.
Back at sea level, visit the new La Selva Nature Reserve, a nesting ground for the endangered leatherback sea turtle, located in the Northeast Ecological Corridor along the coast near El Yunque.
Hike amid the immense forests of the 10,000-acre UNESCO Guánica Biosphere Reserve. Go kayaking at night in Laguna Grande’s bioluminescent lagoons, for an illuminating, once-in-a-lifetime Puerto Rican adventure.
What To See
Watch Puerto Rico glow as more than 700,000 microorganisms light up Mosquito Bay and the surrounding night sky.
Visit the must-see San Juan National Historic Site, with its impressive UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the forts of San Cristóbal, San Felipe del Morro, San Juan de la Cruz (El Cañuelo) and the area’s massive city walls. Roam the grounds of these centuries-old forts set amid the backdrop of the vivid blue Atlantic, beautiful San Juan Bay and Puerto Rico’s clear cerulean skies.
If you’re vacationing in San Juan during January, check out the lively Festival San Sebastian. In June, experience the colorful parade of Fiesta de San Juan Bautista and a magical midnight walk backward to the sea.
In between sightseeing, enjoy a little retail therapy in Old San Juan for some handsome Guayabera men’s linen shirts, designer fashions, and unique souvenirs and jewelry along Cristo and Fortaleza Streets.
Shop amid the “Rodeo Drive of Puerto Rico,” Condado's Ashford Avenue, or extensive Plaza Las Americas, a mega-mall located in the Hato Rey district of San Juan.
You’ll discover the island’s most vibrant nightlife in San Juan, with dance clubs and live music throughout Santurce’s festive Condado neighborhood.
Puerto Rico with Kids
Visit a bioluminescent bay and watch your kids’ eyes light up along with the plankton.
Go on an EcoQuest adventure where you and your family can hike, zipline and kayak just outside San Juan.
Hike amid northern Puerto Rico’s beautiful El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest belonging to the United States Forest Service, with its colorful birds and misty waterfalls.
Off the Beaten Path
Take a road trip around the island for an extraordinary Puerto Rican adventure. Visit the caves of Parque Las Cavernas del Rio Camuy.
Watch water spout high above the sea at Pozo de Jacinto’s exhilarating blowholes in the charming coastal town of Isabela.
Learn to surf at Playa de Jobos beaches, visit the Cabo Rojo Lighthouse and explore La Parguera for a unique tour of a glowing bioluminescent bay. Experience the locals’ views of Puerto Rico for a more authentic taste of this tropical paradise.
Food and Drink
The national dish of Puerto Rico is the delicious arroz con gandules y lechón, yellow rice with sweet pigeon peas and succulent roasted pork. Other popular dishes include arroz con dulce, sweet sticky rice combined with ginger, milk, coconut milk, raisins, and rum; mofongo, fried and mashed green plantains topped with stewed meat; and asopao, a type of gumbo made with rice, shellfish, chicken, chorizo and other savory ingredients.
The main style of cooking is called cocina criolla, or Creole cooking. It all starts with sofrito, a tempting purée of tomatoes, peppers, cilantro, onions, and garlic, and finished with an adobo seasoning made from salt, pepper, oregano, onion powder, garlic powder and golden turmeric.
La Ruta del Lechón, the Pork Highway, a three-mile stretch of food stalls along Highway 184, in the town of Guavate, offers a unique taste of one of Puerto Rico’s favorite culinary traditions.