Puerto Rico is a beautiful place filled with tons of fun activities to do. During our 10-day visit we saw and experienced so much of PR that we were left with a very impressionable mark by the end of our tour.
Our trip started out in Viejo San Juan, after arriving at the airport and collecting our bags we caught a cab to the hostel we’d be staying at for the next few days. The cab driver spoke some fast Spanish and drove even faster, which was a good indication of what to expect during our stay, except that it was contradictory to what real PR life seemed to be like- slow paced and laid back.
Viejo San Juan
You can really enjoy much of San Juan by simply walking the vibrant streets. Old San Juan is a historical colonial district which features some vivid colors, historical sites and attractive streets worth exploring. It was very nice walking down the stone paved walkways and seeing the preserved historical PR streets of the 1500’s. You almost forget that you are on a Caribbean Island that offers much more to explore.
After exploring the Old San Juan streets thoroughly and feeling content with the amount we saw for the first couple of days we began exploring the surrounding parts of the city. We checked out: El Morro, San Felipe del Morro Fortress, Catedral de San Juan Bautista and La Fortaleza. The forts are within walking distance from one another, each over looking the sea, they are beautiful sites that will teach you a lot of PR’s rich history.
After spending several days in Old San Juan we rented a car and began exploring the rest of the island. We had a full itinerary lined up ahead with plans to fully enjoy each new experience.
El Yunque and the Arecibo Observatory
We visited places like the Arecibo Observatory and El Yunque National Forest. It was really cool to see the world’s largest single-disc satellite in person, it was even more cool to recall seeing it in the Golden Eye 007 movie! There is also a museum onsite which is oriented towards teaching school children and those curious about space exploration.
We also visited the National Rain-forest on a separate day. The rain forest was definitely a fun visit but finding parking was such a hassle. It gets really busy and parking is limited so it’s best to arrive early or arrange a ride to and from this area. Hiking up and down the mountain was fun and relaxing but very taxing on the body. We were exhausted after spending the majority of the day hiking and exploring this area. It is totally worth a visit but it’s best to plan ahead by packing a lunch and arranging a ride. Since it is an island there are several lighthouses to be found, each one beautiful and unique.
There are so many beautiful beaches, if anything PR is a beach island! I’m not much of a beach goer but even I fully enjoyed my time in the water and laying on the sand. I experienced snorkeling for the first time and I absolutely loved it. The water is warm, the fish are plentiful and the beach sand varies from beach to beach.
There is beauty found all over PR, the flora and fauna makeup most of this islands allure. I love animals and listening to the coqui each night was very soothing. Seeing and hearing the bats at night was also a very nice change from mainland U.S. And there is flora galore for those that are into that side of nature.
Camuy River Cave Park
Perhaps my most favorite experience on this trip was visiting the Parque las Cavernas del rio Camuy also known as the Camuy River Cave Park. It’s like a small amusement park revolving around this natural attractions, it is the third largest cave in the world and a beautiful site to see. I felt like we were visiting Batman’s Bat-cave! If you visit PR do not skip this place, you won’t regret it!
We couldn’t pass up the chance to do the Casa Bacardi Factory Tour. I don’t drink but that didn’t stop me from enjoying this experience. It costs $15 per person for this tour and worth the visit whether you drink or not. It’s always nice to learn about the origins of world famous products and Barcardi is the forerunner in the rum world. For more information follow the link to book a tour: http://www.visitcasabacardi.com/tours/historical-tour/. You’ll get to try some complimentary rum, relax in the large outdoor lounge and participate in a walking factory tour. There’s also a really cool souvenir shop worth checking out before leaving.
For our last few days we visited Vieques- a small and beautiful island several miles away from mainland PR. We took a ferry to Vieques and moved around on foot or used taxi’s to travel around this small island. There are wild horses that roam the island which devour anything edible, they were like giant raccoons rummaging through the neighborhood garbage bins. They aren’t actually wild, in fact many families own the horses but allow them to roam freely! We came to the island to check out the Bio Bay, but unfortunately for us, it was under surveillance as the water was too unsafe to enter. We were really bummed to not get the chance this trip but will definitely make it happen on our next PR tour!
Downtown San Juan
We finished our trip to beautiful PR by returning to downtown San Juan and doing some last minute souvenir shopping and site-seeing. Overall we had an amazing time and would love to revisit this wonderful island again someday. We didn’t break the bank visiting this Caribbean Island and we created some long lasting memories all the while. PR is a pretty nice place. Happy Travels!