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My Trip To Puerto Rico What To See & Do

If Puerto Rico is on your travel radar, don’t think twice – it’s a destination that truly has something for everyone. As someone who’s had the pleasure of experiencing its wonders firsthand, I can confidently say that this Caribbean gem is a treasure trove of adventure and exploration. From lush tropical landscapes featuring majestic mountains and hidden waterfalls to endless stretches of pristine white sand beaches, Puerto Rico is a place where nature lovers will find their haven. And yet, it’s not just the natural beauty that sets Puerto Rico apart – its rich cultural heritage is woven throughout the island’s fabric, waiting to be discovered by curious travelers. Whether you’re an avid hiker or simply looking for a relaxing getaway, there are countless opportunities to create unforgettable memories in Puerto Rico. So go ahead, start planning your trip and get ready to fall in love with this enchanting destination!

How did I end up on a Vacation in Puerto Rico?

As I wrapped up my work trip in Orlando, I found myself craving an adventure beyond the Sunshine State. With a quick scan of affordable flights from there, Puerto Rico caught my eye – and I’m thrilled it did! The island’s rich cultural heritage, stunning beaches, and vibrant atmosphere made it the perfect addition to my Florida getaway. Before I knew it, I was devouring travel guides and making plans for an unforgettable Puerto Rican escapade.

Is Puerto Rico a State?

While not officially a state, Puerto Rico holds a unique status as a United States territory. This distinction has significant implications for travelers from the mainland, particularly those from the US, who can utilize US currency during their stay. As a result, venturing to Puerto Rico feels remarkably similar to embarking on a domestic journey – making it an attractive and accessible option.

How much English can you Expect to in Puerto Rico?

While English is an official language in Puerto Rico, along with Spanish, it’s still possible to get by without speaking much Spanish. In fact, many people in the city speak some English, making it relatively easy for visitors to communicate. However, as you venture into less touristy areas, the likelihood of encountering locals who speak English drops significantly. This is why learning a few basic Spanish phrases can go a long way in enhancing your experience and interacting with the island’s residents.

Old San Juan

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As I stepped into Old San Juan, Puerto Rico’s vibrant colours and pristine cleanliness immediately caught my attention. The picturesque cobblestone streets are lined with an astonishing 400 Spanish- colonial buildings, each one bursting with character and charm. Meandering through the area’s plazas, you’ll stumble upon shaded cafes and restaurants serving delectable cuisine, providing a perfect respite from the sun. With its rich 16th-century history woven throughout, Old San Juan is a treasure trove of photographic opportunities. While there are numerous attractions to explore in Puerto Rico, this seven-block haven offers an experience so immersive that I would highly recommend rising with the sun and beating the crowds to truly appreciate its essence.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

As I began my journey in Puerto Rico, I made a point to start with a visit to Castillo San Felipe del Morro, affectionately known as El Morro. This iconic landmark is not only one of the most popular attractions on the island but also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Perched along the coastline, this 16th-century fort was constructed to safeguard the city from potential invaders. With its rich history and stunning ocean views, I highly recommend making time for a visit to El Morro during your stay in Puerto Rico.

A Few Fun Facts about Castillo San Felipe del Morro…

Puerto Rico’s moniker ‘Rich Port’ stems from its significance as a hub for Spain to safeguard its vast riches garnered from the New World, comprising precious gems, spices, gold and silver from Central and South America. The island played a pivotal role in protecting these treasures by serving as a control point for Spain’s colonial empire across the Caribbean. Throughout the centuries, this Spanish fort withstood attacks from the English, Dutch, American forces, and even the fury of hurricanes. Despite the challenges it faced, the fort remains standing, embodying Puerto Rico’s pride and cultural heritage. As you explore the island on vacation, be sure to delve into its rich history, which is an integral part of Puerto Rico’s identity.

La Perla

La Perla, a vibrant neighborhood nestled just outside the historic city walls of Old San Juan, is an essential destination for any traveler to Puerto Rico. The community’s rich history and kaleidoscope of colors have captivated visitors since before the global phenomenon that is Despacito brought international attention to the area.

The impetus for change in La Perla predated the music video’s massive success, with residents taking initiative to repaint their buildings in the now-iconic hues. Similarly, local artists had already begun adorning the squares and streets with vibrant murals that add to the neighborhood’s unique charm.

La Perla’s prime location overlooking the Atlantic Ocean has long been a draw for tourists, but community leaders hope the area’s transformation will continue to attract visitors seeking cultural experiences. This influx of tourism can foster further growth and business development in the region.

As La Perla is situated between the storied forts of San Cristobal and El Morro – two of Puerto Rico’s most significant historical landmarks – a visit to San Juan would be incomplete without at least half a day exploring this captivating neighborhood.

Where to Stay

Hotel El Convento

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Originally constructed in 1646 as a convent, Hotel El Convento held a unique history that spanned over two centuries. For 252 years, the premises served as a sacred space for nuns, until its doors officially closed in 1903. The property then underwent a series of transformations, operating as a store, dance hall, and even a flophouse before finally reopening its doors as a luxury hotel in 1962. The notion that such a historic establishment could have stood the test of time is truly remarkable.

Is Hotel El Convento Haunted, or not?

The invention of the pendulum clock in the 1600s coincided with the United States being comprised of colonies. As a history enthusiast, I find this era fascinating. Interestingly, the location I stayed at was said to be haunted by some, but during my visit, I didn’t encounter any paranormal activity or unusual occurrences that would suggest otherwise.

What else is around Hotel El Convento?

Nestled in the heart of Old San Juan, Hotel El Convento offers an unparalleled base for exploring this vibrant neighborhood. As you stroll through its cobblestone streets, you’ll discover a treasure trove of museums, historical landmarks, and cultural attractions, alongside a lively dining and nightlife scene. The hotel’s prime location means that most popular spots are just a stone’s throw away, while the airport is mere 15-minute drive, making it an ideal choice for travelers seeking convenience and charm.

Are there Food Options Near Hotel El Convento?

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Patio de Nispero, situated within Hotel El Convento, impressed me with its gourmet menu of authentic Puerto Rican cuisine. What’s more, the staff accommodated my dietary restrictions, effortlessly preparing gluten-free and dairy-free meals that exceeded my expectations in terms of taste. A highlight of my culinary experience was discovering a variety of dishes that catered to my specific needs.I’m also grateful for Harold’s assistance in capturing my vacation memories through his photography skills. His expertise would be an excellent choice for anyone seeking high-quality photos. I highly recommend reaching out to him if you require a photographer.

La Concha Resort

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After indulging in Old San Juan’s rich culture, I sought to reconnect with the ocean’s serenity by staying at La Concha Resort. This luxurious haven is situated on Condado beach, boasting an array of amenities, including a full-service spa, infinity pools, bars, and restaurants. As one of Puerto Rico’s most sought-after tourist destinations, Condado Beach offers a unique experience that I highly recommend exploring during your stay. My own experience at La Concha was nothing short of enchanting, with multiple infinity pools to choose from – the one surrounded by wind-sculpted palm trees hugging the ocean being a particular favorite of mine. The breathtaking views from my oceanfront room were a treat each morning, as I gazed out upon palm-lined shores and crystal-blue waters stretching as far as the eye could see. Staying at a resort like La Concha can be an excellent way to immerse yourself in Puerto Rico’s stunning beaches, and exploring them all is undoubtedly a must during your vacation.

What Dining Options are at La Concha?

With its array of dining options, La Concha resort caters to diverse tastes and dietary requirements. One notable feature is the availability of a dedicated gluten-free menu, which showcases the property’s commitment to inclusivity. Among the culinary delights on offer, I highly recommend the gluten-free pancakes, a delicious and thoughtful touch that adds to the overall experience.

Go Surfing

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Puerto Rico’s west coast is an unexpected haven for surf enthusiasts, boasting some of the island’s best surfing spots between Isabela, Rincon, and Aguadilla. A glance at the map reveals the concentration of prime surfing areas, making it a paradise for those who crave riding the waves.

Getting Around Puerto Rico

While some vacations are all about relaxation, mine typically involve exploring new destinations and immersing myself in local culture. Puerto Rico was no exception – I spent most of my trip venturing out to discover its many wonders. If you’re planning a similar adventure, I highly recommend renting a car for at least part of your stay. With its winding roads and picturesque landscapes, driving around the island allows you to experience the full range of Puerto Rico’s attractions, from historic sites to natural marvels.

Random Facts about Puerto Rico

Among the world’s bioluminescent bays, five stand out, with three of them located in Puerto Rico. The most renowned, Mosquito Bay, can be found on Vieques Island off the eastern coast of the mainland. The remaining two, Laguna Grande and La Parguera, are situated on the north and southwestern sides of the island respectively.Puerto Rico is also home to an extraordinary astronomical treasure – the Arecibo Radio Telescope, the world’s largest telescope by diameter, spanning over 300 meters. Located within a sinkhole, this marvel has appeared in several notable films and television shows, including James Bond’s Goldeneye.Christopher Columbus’s ‘discovery’ of Puerto Rico is well-documented, having landed on its shores in 1493 and claiming it for Spain. At the time, the island was inhabited by the Taíno tribe. Following the Spanish-American War in 1898, Puerto Rico became a US territory.Contrary to popular belief, Puerto Rico comprises more than just one main island. The smaller islands of Culebra and Vieques – sometimes referred to as the Spanish Virgin Islands – lie between Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Meanwhile, the Dominican Republic is separated from Puerto Rico by the island of Mona, with numerous other small, uninhabited islands scattered throughout.

Puerto Rico Trip Vlog

If you’re eager to relive the excitement, I invite you to check out my latest video vlog from my recent adventure in Puerto Rico. Although it’s already available here, I highly recommend watching it on YouTube for its superior video quality and added features.

Visit the Beaches in Puerto Rico!

When exploring the best of Puerto Rico, a visit to its stunning beaches is almost a guarantee. With hundreds of options and an impressive 435km coastline, it’s little surprise that these stretches of sand are a major drawcard for visitors. In fact, you can’t truly say you’ve experienced all Puerto Rico has to offer without spending some quality time soaking up the sun on one (or several!) of its idyllic beaches. Case in point: the picturesque beach at La Concha Resort, which is just begging to be Instagrammed.

Borinquen Beach

Puerto Rico’s Aguadilla boasts a treasure trove of breathtaking beaches, with Borinquen Beach standing out as one of the most awe-inspiring destinations. As I traversed this expansive stretch of sand, I was struck by its sheer scale and visual splendor. A must-do is to embark on a leisurely stroll from the easternmost point to the western end, taking in the panoramic views and perfect vantage points that await. Your Puerto Rico itinerary would be incomplete without a stop at Borinquen Beach – an unmissable gem that will leave you with lifelong memories.

Isla Verde Beach

While many associate the name Isla Verde Beach with a single stretch of coastline, in reality, this popular destination comprises not one, but three distinct beaches. El Alambique, Pine Grove Beach, and Balneario de Carolina collectively offer an impressive five kilometers of sandy shores. This means that even during peak tourist season, visitors can still enjoy a relatively uncrowded experience, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a relaxing beach vacation.

A little fun fact about beaches in Puerto Rico…

While the term ‘balneario’ might evoke images of sun-kissed shores, it’s actually a government-run or public beach, distinguished by amenities like showers and restrooms. In contrast, those without such facilities may retain a more rustic, untamed charm, with a stronger emphasis on natural surroundings.


Piñones is a scenic gem located just minutes east of Isla Verde, boasting an impressive array of natural attractions, including pristine beaches, sprawling mangrove forests, and a 11-kilometer long nature trail. The area’s largest mangrove forest lies mere steps from the beach, providing a unique opportunity to explore this fascinating ecosystem. Moreover, Piñones is renowned for its plethora of open-air seafood eateries, where patrons can indulge in succulent dishes while savoring the laid-back atmosphere and washing it down with cold beer. In stark contrast to the bustling tourist zones of Old San Juan, Isla Verde, and Condado, Piñones offers a wilder, more natural experience that is quintessentially Puerto Rican. While swimming may not be ideal due to the strong tide and limited shallow water, the area’s culinary delights are plentiful, making it an excellent destination for those seeking a taste of authentic island culture.

Mar Chiquita

Along the northern coastline of Puerto Rico lies Mar Chiquita, a renowned natural pool beach that draws visitors seeking an unparalleled swimming and snorkeling experience. This picturesque cove is almost completely cut off from the surrounding ocean by jagged rocks, creating a tranquil atmosphere reminiscent of Greek isles. The enclosure not only provides shelter from the open waters but also makes it an ideal spot for both swimming and snorkeling. As I explored this enchanting beach, I couldn’t help but feel that Mar Chiquita was one of Puerto Rico’s hidden gems, its natural beauty rivaling some of Greece’s most iconic destinations.

What Else is Around Mar Chiquita?

Located approximately 45 minutes west of the vibrant city of San Francisco, this destination offers a tranquil escape from the hustle and bustle of daily life. The surrounding area is dotted with eclectic food stalls and coconut vendors, providing a charming atmosphere perfect for a leisurely afternoon spent exploring.

Things to remember about Visiting Mar Chiquita…

According to enthusiastic snorkeling enthusiasts who have shared their experiences on Trip Advisor, embarking on an underwater adventure at dawn, when the tide is at its lowest point, yields a more rewarding experience.

Go on an Adventure!

The lush tropical forests, breathtaking waterfalls, and natural swimming pools of this Caribbean island are a treasure trove for adventurers. I found exploring these hidden gems to be the highlight of my Puerto Rico experience. While some hiking trails are still recovering from Hurricane Maria’s devastation, most areas we visited were well-maintained, offering ample opportunities to discover the island’s secrets.

Gozalandia Falls

Gozalandia Falls, or Las Cataratas, holds a special place in my heart. This natural wonder boasts not one, but two breathtaking waterfalls – the taller of which stands at an impressive sixty feet. The rope swing and cliff jumping opportunities at these falls make them a thrilling spot to explore. Tucked away on Puerto Rico’s west side in San Sebastian, Gozalandia Falls is often referred to as a local’s gem. For travelers to Puerto Rico, I highly recommend adding this hidden treasure to your itinerary – you won’t want to miss it.

Is Gozalandia Falls Crowded?

While escaping the crowds can be a definite perk, popular spots like this one may still become congested during the peak summer months. To avoid the throngs, consider arriving early in the day when visiting during this time. This will give you a head start on beating the crowds and ensuring a more enjoyable experience.

What does Gozalandia Falls Cost?

While admission to the falls is complimentary, a $5 fee applies for parking. It’s possible that you may need to seek out parking attendants or, alternatively, visit the on-site restaurant situated near the parking lot to secure a spot.

Cascada Las Delicias

Cascada Las Delicias, a breathtaking tropical waterfall, is an absolute gem. Located in Ciales, the central town of Puerto Rico, this stunning natural wonder is well worth the journey. To get there, you’ll need to navigate winding roads and eventually arrive in Jayuya, where the real treasure awaits just off the road. A brief walk from the main road, Cascada Las Delicias is nestled within the picturesque Tres Picachos State Forest, its crystal-clear waters inviting you to take a refreshing dip.

Cerro Mime

For those seeking a more leisurely hiking experience in Puerto Rico, Cerro Mime in Orocovis County is an excellent choice. This scenic trail offers breathtaking views from its summit, making it a must-visit destination for nature lovers and photography enthusiasts alike. The hike itself is relatively easy, taking only 20 minutes to complete, and the payoff is well worth the minimal effort required. As you reach the top, you’ll be treated to stunning vistas of lush, green mountains, a surprise highlight that’s sure to leave you in awe. Be sure to add Cerro Mime to your list of must-see attractions and activities when exploring Puerto Rico.

Cayey Viewpoint

This hike, situated between Cayey and Salinas, is a must-visit destination for any hiking enthusiast. Despite being shrouded in clouds during our visit, the panoramic views of the mountains, surrounding towns, and the Caribbean Sea still left us in awe. This viewpoint stands out as one of the top options for hiking in Puerto Rico, offering breathtaking vistas that are hard to forget.

As you make your way through the trails, you’ll also have the opportunity to catch a glimpse of the iconic Arbol Solitario (or Lonely Tree), although we didn’t venture quite that far. Today, it’s become a popular spot for tourists, thanks to its stunning views and unique features like the swing situated precariously close to the cliff edge, where visitors can sit and take in the breathtaking scenery. It’s definitely one of the places I’ll make sure to visit again on my next trip to Puerto Rico.

Charco Azul

While hiking may not be everyone’s cup of tea, Charco Azul offers a more leisurely experience. The scenic drive through winding roads makes up most of the journey, with only a short, effortless walk from the road to reach this stunning natural wonder. Nature lovers and swimming enthusiasts will particularly appreciate this spot, as it boasts a picturesque natural pool that’s perfect for a refreshing dip.

Tucked away in the Carite Forest, approximately 20 minutes from Cayey, Charco Azul is one of Puerto Rico’s most renowned natural attractions. Its vibrant blue hue is undeniable proof of its namesake inspiration, making it an absolute must-see destination for any traveler.

What I Want to do Next Trip to Puerto Rico

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Puerto Rico, with its rich cultural heritage and breathtaking natural beauty, has left me yearning for more. While I was only able to scratch the surface during my recent visit, I’m already mentally planning a return trip to explore its many hidden gems. Here are some of the experiences that have piqued my interest:Paddling through a Bioluminescent Bay at night, surrounded by millions of organisms emitting a bluish glow, is an adventure I’m eager to relive. The chance to witness this natural phenomenon in the black Caribbean sea is sure to be awe-inspiring.Culebra Island, with its stunning beaches and nature reserves, has also captured my attention. A short flight or ferry ride from the mainland, this island offers a unique blend of relaxation and outdoor adventure. Its protected marine wildlife reserves are a must-visit for any nature enthusiast.Lastly, El Yunque National Forest is a treasure trove of biodiversity, boasting some of the highest concentrations of insects, mushrooms, ferns, and even bioluminescent organisms. From hiking to exploring the forest’s many waterfalls, there’s no shortage of activities to enjoy in this natural wonderland.Have you had the chance to experience any of these spots firsthand? What were your favorite moments from your trip to Puerto Rico? Let me know below!