Puerto Rico is a beautiful place and there are so many things to see and do! In this post, you will learn about 6 things to do in Puerto Rico.  I had the opportunity to fit in quite a bit during my quick 5-day trip while still allowing for some time to relax and enjoy the sun and beaches. After an extremely long and cold Chicago winter, Puerto Rico was the perfect place to go to recharge, get some Vitamin D, and enjoy the local culture. Puerto Rican people are friendly and were ready to share with us the best places to explore. We were able to take Uber practically anywhere we wanted to go. But many people also rent a car if you prefer to go with that option.

 

First, some history and information about Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States and Puerto Ricans have been citizens of the US since 1917. The official languages are Spanish and English, but Spanish is the predominant language. If you don’t speak Spanish, most people speak English fluently so you will not have any issues. And the currency is the US Dollar, so no concerns about exchanging money for this Caribbean island. Here are 6 of the places I visited in Puerto Rico that I highly recommend.

1. Visit Old San Juan

Streets and buildings of San Juan, Puerto Rico

Beautiful architecture in Old San Juan

Old San Juan is a must-see for one of the 6 things to do in Puerto Rico.  It has beautiful architecture and history. The colorful buildings are stunning and a great place to take pictures.  And, the cobblestoned streets transfer you back to the early days of Puerto Rico. We had fun just wandering the streets, taking in the beauty of the architecture, visiting some of the local shops, and of course stopping for delicious food and drinks.  Check out my post on things to eat and drink in Puerto Rico.

 

6 things to do in Puerto Rico, see the beautiful architecture in old San Juan

Lovely colored buildings in old San Juan


2. Tour the Bacardi Rum Distillery

The Bacardi Rum Distillery is a must if you are interested in learning how rum is made and the history of Bacardi Rum in Puerto Rico. They have a few different types of tours to choose from such as a rum tasting tour and a mixology tour. We chose the mixology tour which is a blast! We had the chance to learn how to make a few different rum cocktails, including my favorite, the Mojito!

6 things to do in Puerto Rico, visit the Bacardi Rum Distillery

The main building at the Bacardi Rum Distillery

 

The mixology tour and class gives you the ingredients to make 3 different cocktails

Learning to make 3 different cocktails on the mixology tour


3. Enjoy Nature at El Yunque Rainforest

If you are staying in San Juan and are looking to get out of the city for a day trip, El Yunque is a great place to go. It’s about 25 miles from San Juan. Activities include hiking, swimming in the waterfalls, and zip-lining. I would recommend booking a guided tour or renting a car and driving to places you want to see within the rainforest. Unfortunately, we did neither and took an Uber to San Juan.

6 things to do in Puerto Rico, visit El Yunque rainforest

The lush El Yunque Rainforest

Walking along the road in El Yunque rainforest

Beautiful views in El Yunque

We underestimated the size of the rainforest, it is massive! And Uber drivers are not allowed to drive into the rainforest, so they drop you off outside of it at a visitor center. We walked a very long way, mostly uphill, trying to reach a trail or a waterfall. We managed to reach a creek but by then we were exhausted and had hiked about 4.6 miles uphill! So, we know what to do for next time! Luckily, we did not have to walk all the way back. We had taken down some of the phone numbers of local guides and one of them was able to come to rescue us! Thank you so much, Ruben!

People swimming in a creek in El Yunque rainforest

Creek in El Yunque Rainforest

 


4. Relax at Luquillo Beach

6 things to do in Puerto Rico, visit Luquillo Beach

Taking in the views at Luquillo Beach

We happened to come across Luquillo Beach from a suggestion from our rescuer, Ruben! After being rescued from our long uphill hike in the rainforest, Ruben suggested Luquillo Beach. It is roughly a 15-20 minute drive from El Yunque and was a great place to rest our exhausted legs. There are a bunch of restaurants and the beach is gorgeous and clean. We even did a little souvenir shopping. We relaxed on the beach, rehydrated, and then had a mojito at the Mojito Lab. It’s also easy to get an Uber back to San Juan from Luquillo, so no issues there. One of my favorite things about traveling is stumbling upon a new place that you didn’t plan for in the first place.

Enjoying a mojito at the beach

Enjoying a mojito at Mojito Lab


5. See the Amazing Bioluminescent Bays

Puerto Rico is home to 3 out of the 5 Bioluminescent Bays in the world! These are rare ecosystems that have microscopic, single-celled organisms called dinoflagellates. These organisms grow in large quantities and glow when stimulated by movement. The three bays in Puerto Rico to see these glowing waters are Mosquito Bay, Vieques; Laguna Grande, Fajardo; and La Parguera, Lajas. Unfortunately, this was one adventure we didn’t get to see on this trip to Puerto Rico. But I plan to come back to this stunning island to check out these glowing waters next time.

The glowing water in Puerto Rico's bioluminescent bays

One of the bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico

 


6. Enjoy the Nightlife at La Placita

6 things to do in Puerto Rico, enjoy the nightlife in La Placita

Bars and restaurants at La Placita

If you are looking for a little nightlife while in Puerto Rico, then check out La Placita. Our waiter at Mojito Restaurant in Old San Juan recommended it since we were looking for some fun places to go on Saturday night. It was close to our hotel in the Condado neighborhood, so it was perfect. La Placita de Santurce has a lot of different bars to choose from. And you can sit outside and enjoy the fresh air. We were probably there a little early before all the action because the crowd started to grow as the night went on.


If you enjoyed this post, 6 Things to Do in Puerto Rico, be sure to check out 5 Things to Eat and Drink in Puerto Rico!  

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Dietitian, food lover, and world traveler! Veronica has been a registered dietitian for over 20 years, specializing in clinical and community nutrition. She enjoys wellness, trying new foods, and exploring the globe to learn about different cultures.

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