What are the best things to see and do in Puerto Rico?

Hayley Bosch

Many people who aren’t familiar with Puerto Rico think solely of San Juan when they think about this destination. But the rest of the Caribbean island is quite exciting and has plenty to offer. Here, according to Forbes Travel Guide’s editors, are the best things to see and do in Puerto Rico:
 
1. Experience Mosquito Bay. Catch the ferry to the tiny island of Vieques for dinner and then take a boat ride on Mosquito Bay. This is the brightest of the three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico. The organisms that fill this body of water glow when they are disturbed, so you’ll see the water light up with a beautiful blue hue in the boat’s wake.
 
2. Explore Old San Juan. As the oldest American city — founded by Spanish colonists in 1521 — San Juan has plenty of history to explore and the most intriguing is in the forts of Old San Juan. Visit El Morro, where you can walk among the ramparts and through the dungeons.
 
3. Soak up the sun at Flamenco Beach. On the island of Culebra, Flamenco Beach is one of the most beautiful we’ve seen. The horseshoe-shape beach makes for great snorkeling, and the water is crystal clear. Vendors selling everything from clothing to food line the beach, and there are also lifeguard towers.
 
4. Take a catamaran tour. Hop on a boat in Fajardo and head out to the smaller islands like Palominito and Icacos for some unrivaled snorkeling. Carve out a half-day trip and plan to see some top-notch underwater scenes. Many of the boats have food and drinks included in the package.
 
5. Discover Gilligan’s Island. Whether you’re snorkeling through the mangroves or simply rafting and drinking the day away in the calm waters, this natural wonder is a must-do. You can rent snorkeling equipment in the nearby town of Guanica.

  • On September 18, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    What is the best way to see Puerto Rico in one day?

    You’ll need a car to see all that Puerto Rico has to offer in one day. While you won’t be able to see the entire island — it’s 3,515 square miles — you will be able to get a good sense of the various areas. Begin your day in San Juan, where you can wander over to Old San Juan and get a dose of history. San Juan is the oldest city in America and one of the oldest European colonies. Make sure to explore El Morro, San Juan’s fort from the 16th century.
     
    Once you’ve taken your history lesson, hop in the car and drive along the coast to Mayagüez, which is on the western side of Puerto Rico. Plaza Colón pays tribute to Christopher Columbus with a statue of the explorer that’s surrounded by 16 bronze statues in the middle of the square. The city is known for its sweet mangos, so be sure to grab a few for the drive around the island.
     
    Now it’s time to head to Ponce, an hour’s drive from Mayagüez. Located on the southern coast of Puerto Rico, Ponce’s easy going spirit will give you the gist of what island living is all about. Be sure to visit the historic district to get a taste of Puerto Rico’s past.
     
    From Ponce, you’ll head to Fajardo, which is where ferries shuttle people to and from the small islands of Culebra and Vieques. It’s also where you’ll find El Yunque, Puerto Rico’s rain forest. Fajardo is the place to go for trying the island’s water sports. We suggest hopping on a boat tour and exploring the bioluminescent Mosquito Bay come nightfall.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    Where is the best shopping in Puerto Rico?

    Depending on what you are looking for, there are a few areas you’ll want to hit when it comes to shopping in Puerto Rico. Ashland Avenue in the exclusive Condado neighborhood is the place to go for designer shops. The street is lined with names like Cartier, Louis Vuitton and Ferragamo, making it San Juan’s ritziest quarter.
     
    If you’re looking for a deal, head to one of the outlet malls. East of San Juan, Canovanas’ Belz Outlets has names like Polo, Ralph Lauren and Nike. On the other side of San Juan in Barceloneta, you’ll find Puerto Rico Premium Outlets, which have many of the same stores as Belz.
     
    Plaza Las Americas in San Juan is the largest mall in the Caribbean, boasting just about every store you need. But we suggest going to Old San Juan for some authentic local souvenirs.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    What are the best things to do with kids in Puerto Rico?

    Whether Puerto Rico is your final destination or just a short stop before heading south to island hop, you’ll want to do something to entertain the little ones. With everything from water parks to rain forests, your kids won’t be bored. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s tips for the best things to do with children in Puerto Rico.
     
    1. Fly kites in El Morro. For a dose of history and fun, make your way to the famous fort in Old San Juan. On a nice day, there are plenty of families flying kites in the open area in front of El Morro.
     
    2. Flamenco Beach. Hop on the ferry to Culebra and settle in on Flamenco Beach. The horseshoe-shaped beach has calm water, making it the perfect spot for your little one to swim and snorkel worry-free.
     
    3. Explore Rio Camuy Caves. The world’s third largest underground river makes these caves and canyons one of the most exciting things on the island — and not just for kids. The tour takes you through the million-year-old caves while you ride in an open-air trolley. You should plan on exploring them for about two hours.
     
    4. Splash around at Coqui Water Park. Located within El Conquistador Resort, this waterpark is always a hit with the kids. With several slides, a lazy river and a 9,000-square-foot infinity edged pool, Coqui Water Park will have your kids entertained for several hours.
     
    5. Discover El Yunque. Puerto Rico’s rain forest is fun for the whole family. With waterfall pools (nature’s answer to a waterpark) and plenty of awesome scenery, you’ll definitely want to put El Yunque on your family itinerary.
  • On September 18, 2012
    Hayley Bosch answered the question: Hayley Bosch

    What are the best things to see and do in Puerto Rico?

    Many people who aren’t familiar with Puerto Rico think solely of San Juan when they think about this destination. But the rest of the Caribbean island is quite exciting and has plenty to offer. Here, according to Forbes Travel Guide’s editors, are the best things to see and do in Puerto Rico:
     
    1. Experience Mosquito Bay. Catch the ferry to the tiny island of Vieques for dinner and then take a boat ride on Mosquito Bay. This is the brightest of the three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico. The organisms that fill this body of water glow when they are disturbed, so you’ll see the water light up with a beautiful blue hue in the boat’s wake.
     
    2. Explore Old San Juan. As the oldest American city — founded by Spanish colonists in 1521 — San Juan has plenty of history to explore and the most intriguing is in the forts of Old San Juan. Visit El Morro, where you can walk among the ramparts and through the dungeons.
     
    3. Soak up the sun at Flamenco Beach. On the island of Culebra, Flamenco Beach is one of the most beautiful we’ve seen. The horseshoe-shape beach makes for great snorkeling, and the water is crystal clear. Vendors selling everything from clothing to food line the beach, and there are also lifeguard towers.
     
    4. Take a catamaran tour. Hop on a boat in Fajardo and head out to the smaller islands like Palominito and Icacos for some unrivaled snorkeling. Carve out a half-day trip and plan to see some top-notch underwater scenes. Many of the boats have food and drinks included in the package.
     
    5. Discover Gilligan’s Island. Whether you’re snorkeling through the mangroves or simply rafting and drinking the day away in the calm waters, this natural wonder is a must-do. You can rent snorkeling equipment in the nearby town of Guanica.
  • On August 29, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best places to eat in Puerto Rico?

    As Puerto Rico gains popularity, so does the culinary scene. With a pretty wide variety of cuisine, you can definitely find a restaurant in Puerto Rico to fit your fancy. Though many are in San Juan, there are also some scattered around the island. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the best places to eat in Puerto Rico:
     
    1. Dragonfly. This Old San Juan restaurant serves up a mix of Latin and Asian cuisine in a crimson-colored dining room. You can dine on everything from ceviche to Peking duck nachos, along with sushi, fried rice and tacos to satisfy your fusion cravings.
     
    2. Lima Restaurante. If you’re looking for Peruvian fare, Lima Restaurante is the place to go. With a whole portion of the menu dedicated to ceviche and tiradito, you can count on getting fresh seafood every time.
     
    3. Marmalade. Another Old San Juan locale, Marmalade is a restaurant and wine bar with an eclectic menu. Chef Peter Schintler, who worked at the famed Le Cirque in New York, strives for the cuisine to reflect Napa Valley, hence the wine bar. Opt for the 10-course tasting menu for a bit of Marmalade’s top offerings.
     
    4. Pikayo. It’s one of the more raved about restaurants on the island, and for good reason. Pikayo, now located in Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza, is Wilo Benet’s flagship restaurant, serving up international fare with a Puerto Rican flavor — think truffle cheese “empanadillas” and foie gras with ripe plantains.
     
    5. Aguaviva. A sister restaurant of Dragonfly, Aguaviva is the place to go for fresh-out-of-the-ocean seafood. Snag a seat at the raw bar and you can watch the chefs grab your oysters as you order them. The trendy restaurant is located in Old San Juan.
  • On August 29, 2012
    Forbes Travel Guide Inspector answered the question: Forbes Travel Guide Inspector

    What are the best places to stay in Puerto Rico?

    While San Juan has the highest concentration of hotels in Puerto Rico, there are plenty of spectacular places to stay all over the island. From boutique-style hotels to full-on resorts, there’s something for everyone. Here are Forbes Travel Guide’s picks for the best places to stay in Puerto Rico:
     
    1. W Retreat & Spa – Vieques Island. Sitting on the tiny island of Vieques, this W Retreat & Spa is unlike any other W Hotel. The seemingly private resort feels worlds away from civilization. With a restaurant by Alain Ducasse, two private beaches, tennis courts and a spa, you won’t get bored at this island retreat.
     
    2. El Conquistador Resort, A Waldorf Astoria Resort. This is a great place to go if you’re traveling with your family. You won’t even need to leave the resort to keep everyone entertained, thanks to its restaurants, waterpark and spa. The hotel even has its own private island that’s just a short, eight-minute boat ride away.
     
    3. The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Puerto Rico. Opened in late 2010, this luxurious beach resort has a Remède spa and an upscale seafood restaurant under the direction of Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Located on the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico, The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort is also home to a top-notch golf course.
     
    4. Horned Dorset Primavera Hotel. Across the island in Rincon lies Puerto Rico’s only Relais & Chateaux property, Horned Dorset Primavera Hotel. With just 22 suites, this boutique-style property is intimate and beautiful. It also doesn’t hurt that there’s a delicious restaurant on the property.
     
    5. Hotel El Convento. This Old San Juan hotel shows off Spanish Colonial architecture, while remaining luxurious with marble bathrooms and flat-screen TVs. The views of America’s oldest city — it was founded in 1521 — and San Juan Bay allow you to dive head first into the culture.