Explore what to see in Puerto Rico
- Fort del Morro in Old San Juan
- Old San Juan. The Spanish colonial district of San Juan is located on a small island on the north coast and contains numerous popular tourist sites, such as 17th and 18th century forts, fountains, plazas, and other historic buildings.
- Fort San Felipe del Morro- Constructed in the 16th century by the Spanish to guard the entrance to the port of San Juan, the fortress known colloquially as el Morro survived bombardments by foreign forces (including a fleet led by Sir Francis Drake) over multiple centuries. The fort is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a US National Park and serves as a major tourist attraction in the historic district of Old San Juan.
- Fort San Cristóbal. The largest fortification ever built by the Spanish in the New World, El Castillo de San Cristóbal was completed in the late 1700’s and guarded the land entrance to San Juan against invasion. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the fort now serves as a museum and attracts millions of visitors each year.
- Fortín San Juan de la Cruz- Better known as “el Cañuelo,” the smallest of the three island forts in the harbor of San Juan was built to guard the mouth of the Bayamón River while providing crossfire with the batteries of the larger El Morro fortification across the bay. Like its sister fortresses of El Morro and San Cristóbal, el Cañuelo is now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- Plaza de Armas- Located on San José Street, this picturesque square in Old San Juan is the site of the City Hall and contains numerous historic statues as well as a round fountain known as “The Four Seasons.”
Whether you’re dreaming about spectacular surfing waves, a challenging golf course, or the perfect sunbathing beach, Puerto Rico offers the active traveller a tremendous array of opportunities. Surfing and golf compete with tennis, fishing, kayaking, scuba diving, and horseback riding, not to mention windsurfing and parasailing, for your active time.
- Bioluminescent bays. The bioluminescent bays near Fajardo and in Vieques are an experience that should not be missed. The microscopic organisms that live in every drop of water in these bays will glow when they dart away from movement. Take a kayak or boat tour during a new moon for the best results; they’re hard to see during a full moon and impossible to see in sunlight. The bioluminescent bay in La Parguera (Lajas) is by far the most famous one to visit, with many kiosks and restaurants there for the traveller to enjoy as well as boat tours.
- Blue Flag in Puerto Rico program, initiated in Europe since 1987, has been modified for implementation in the Caribbean. It’s a voluntary program and it has proven along the years to be a very effective strategy to guarantee the best quality in beach services for bathers in different parts of the world.
- In the metropolitan area in San Juan they have luxurious hotels with casinos similar to Las Vegas. If you like to gamble, San Juan will be a great place to stay while vacationing in the island.
- El Yunque. Puerto Rico’s rain forest is a must-see. It spreads out over a mountain, so if you walk uphill from the road you’re in an amazing rain forest. At any altitude you’ll see numerous varieties of plant and animal life. If you’re lucky, you can catch a glimpse of the endangered Puerto Rican parrot and hear the song of the local Coqui tree frog. There are many hiking trails and the Yokahu tower is a great spot to see the forest from above. There are also two trails that lead you straight down to La Mina waterfalls. You can swim at the bottom of the falls in the cold refreshing water. There are short hiking trails and long hiking trails and they do overlap. Pay close attention to the signs to ensure that you do not bite off more than you can chew.
- The island has over 15 championship golf courses a short drive away from the San Juan metropolitan area.
- Outdoor adventures. There’s plenty to do outside the metropolitan areas. Many small family-owned tour companies provide guided tours of the Central Mountains in Utuado near Río Tanama, Repelling in Arecibo, kayak tours of Lake Guajataka, and horseback riding on the beach in Aguadilla. Some of the tour operators also provide low cost or free lodging. The individual towns also have yearly festivals listed in the tourism guides available at both major airports.
- Snorkel and scuba dive. Scuba dive off Puerto Rico’s Caribbean coasts, especially off Fajardo. But be sure that if you book with a snorkel trip that they guarantee you you’ll be taken to true snorkeling sites. Dive operators (for instance, the outfit named Sea Ventures) have been known to book snorkelers on day trips along with scuba divers, taking them all to deep water sites suited only to scuba diving.
- Spearfishing in Puerto Rico is a very popular activity. Don’t be surprised if you see people walking on the beach with spear guns or pole spears. Fajardo, Culebra, and San Juan are good spots.
- Visit a plantation. Coffee, sugar cane, and tobacco were the three main agricultural products exported by Puerto Rico in the old days. Sugar cane was produced in the hot lowlands by the sea while tobacco and coffee were grown in the mountainous interior of Puerto Rico. A few coffee plantations are still active or have been turned into museums. Most of them can be found and visited in the mountains region just north of Ponce.
- Food Tours get a taste for the flavors of Puerto Rico and the history of where the ingredients come from.