The best 10 things tourists should do when visiting in San Juan, nearby islands

Posted November 22, 2023


SAN JUAN, P.R. — Puerto Rico, located in the Caribbean Sea and consisting of the main island of San Juan, the island of Vieques, and Celubra, is a vibrant tourist destination known for its rich history, welcoming culture, beautiful natural landscapes, and unique cuisine. It is known to be one of the most popular islands for locals in the United States and is my most recommended vacation destination. Whether it’s natural culture or human history, whether it’s thrilling outdoor sports or relaxing vacations, or food and wine, we can cover it all in Puerto Rico. So, I recommend trying these 10 things in Puerto Rico.

Visit Old San Juan

Old San Juan is a strong visual experience for visitors, offering colorful buildings (Photos by Jingyi Hao).

Old San Juan is a charming and historic city that sits on the coast of Puerto Rico. Known for its colorful architecture, bluestone streets, and rich cultural history, this city was one of the first European immigrant settlements in Puerto Rico.

Visit Historic Fortresses

Walking through the streets of Old San Juan, you’ll be captivated by the brightly colored Caribbean-style buildings that resemble scenes from a fairy tale.

There, it is recommended that you take your time and enjoy a leisurely stroll, take beautiful photos, shop for souvenirs, or sit down at a street-side dessert store and savor the delicious flavors of an old and unique Puerto Rican atmosphere. Old San Juan is not only a historic city, but also a great place to experience the culture and history of Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico is home to two historic military forts from the colonial era: Castillo de San Cristobal in the east and Castillo San Felipe del Morro in the west. Not only are these two historic forts San Juan’s business card, but they also embody the essence of the city. Originally constructed by the Spaniards to protect Puerto Rico against the British invasion of Great Britain, they were subsequently inducted as a World Heritage Site. You can visit both castles on the same day with a $10 ticket. Encourage the purchase on the internet in advance or at the castle entry.

Savor Puerto Rican specialties at Raices Restaurant

Specialties of Raices Restaurant include mofongo, paella and a pina colada.

Raices Restaurant, which first opened its doors in May 2002, is renowned for its authentic Puerto Rican food and distinctive dining experience. Numerous patrons mention mofongo and pina coladas as delicacies.

Traditional Puerto Rican food is available at the restaurant, along with dishes that are vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diet friendly. Because of its delicious food, first-rate service, affordable prices, and pleasant ambiance,

Raices Restaurant has grown to be one of Puerto Rico’s most well-liked eating options. Due to its high popularity, Raices Restaurant is best viewed by making a reservation in advance or by walking in during lunch.

Raices Restaurant, 315 C. Recinto Sur, San Juan, 00901, 11 a.m.- 11 p.m., 787-289-2121

Bacardi Distillery Rum Tasting Tour

The largest rum distillery in the world, the Bacardi Distillery, is situated close to San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. In addition to producing Bacardi rum, this distillery is a well-liked tourist destination. Take a guided tour to learn about the fermentation, distillation, aging, and bottling processes involved in manufacturing rum. Additionally, rum in various flavors can be sampled. Tour prices range from $30 to $200, please book on the Bacardi official website at:

Experience Nature in the Yunque Rainforest

The scenery of the Yungue Rainforest is a strong attraction for visitors.

The United States’ only tropical rainforest national park is located in San Juan.

A verdant, leafy park featuring immaculate cliffs, waterfalls, rivers, and other natural features is the Yunque Rainforest Park.

Discover and take in the pristine forest scene here. The tall, dense woods will allow you to experience nature in a new way, and the view from the traditional island will be entirely different.

Kayaking in Bioluminescent Bay on Vieques Island

You can reserve day trips to the Yunque Rainforest on TripAdvisor and enjoy activities like swinging into the water from ropes or exploring the water slides’ natural rock formations. For these activities, life jackets are supplied, and numerous guides are on hand to make sure you stay safe.

Seeing as Vieques boasts the world’s brightest Bioluminescent Bay, this is the ultimate reason to visit. There are seven luminescent beaches worldwide, the most well-known of which is Mosquito Bay in Vieques, where, when the water is disturbed, a unique species of luminescent microorganisms releases fluorescence. Reach out and touch the lake; you’ll see glowing plankton that resembles fireflies submerged in the water. In Bioluminescent Bay, where transparent boats paddle across the water with shimmering lights on the bottom like shooting stars, tour operators offer kayaking programs. Savor the peaceful Bioluminescent Bay’s glow beneath the stars and the stars themselves.

Horse riding on the beach on Vieques Island

Horseback riding is a popular activity on Vieques Island.

A distinctive and gorgeous horseback riding experience can be had on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico, at Esperanza Riding Company.

The company provides horseback riding routes along the ridge lines of the island, along the cliff edges of their waterside ranches, and along dry riverbeds that lead to beaches that are only accessible on foot.

The Paso Fino horses that Esperanza Riding Company uses are native to the island. They have a smooth gait and are escorted by two instructors the entire ride, so even if this is your first time riding a horse, you won’t have to worry about anything.

The ride offers various views of Vieques Island. You can ride a horse and take in a breathtaking sunset over Vieques if you schedule a tour for 4 p.m.

Esperanza Riding Company, RT 966/201, Vieques, PR, 00765. 787-435-0073

Visit the black sand beaches of Vieques Island

Located in the eastern region of Puerto Rico, Vieques Island boasts a distinctive and captivating natural setting with its black sand beach. Geological activity has brought volcanic rocks and a high concentration of minerals to the island over time, making this black sand beach well-known. The Caribbean Sea’s azure waters contrast sharply with the black sand, resulting in an unusual scene.

Soak up the sun on Culebra Island’s white sand Flamenco Beach

Flamenco Beach on Culebra Island is a great place to unwind. According to Discovery Channel, it is the second most beautiful white sand beach in the world. It features sugar-white sandy beaches and jewel-green, crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean Sea—so clear you can see your feet and the coral and seaweed beneath them. It has become one of Puerto Rico’s most well-liked beaches as a result.

Snorkeling with Sea Turtles at Culebra Island

The sea turtles on Culebra Island, which have a lifespan of more than 200 years, are among its main attractions. There is nothing like swimming with turtles on Culebra Island, Puerto Rico. Explore the underwater world in detail. The underwater scenery is akin to a fantasy from a fairy tale; vibrant fish and other sea life abound, and coral is visible everywhere. It will make you feel as though you are in a scene from “Finding Nemo,” and it is an experience of a lifetime that should not be missed. You can choose to snorkel by yourself or sign up for a tour. The recommended snorkeling spot is Playa Sardinas, where you can easily meet sea turtles.

PR-252, Playa Sardinas, Culebra 00775.