The Best Puerto Rico Guide – Puerto Rico is one of the top Caribbean destinations, with its warm hospitality and an island that is full of wonders. There are so many sights to see on the island. Puerto Rico is an archipelago made up of about 143 islands, cays and islets. The main island of Puerto Rico, Vieques & Culebra are the only inhabited islands. The offshore islands, cays and islets, are all very unique offering visitors the more natural side of Puerto Rico. You will not want to miss the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, the best art collection in the Caribbean. Take a day trip to the island of Culebra, explore the caves at Parque de las Cavernas del Rio Camuy, enjoy the sand and surf at Playa Flamenco, or paddle thru the Bioluminescent Bay off Vieques.
Puerto Rico has modern amenities and services, with world class hotels, gorgeous beaches, fun city life, historic sites and natural treasures. It attracts millions of tourists every year, many who come back year after year. Experience a different state of mind while in Puerto Rico, and allow the island to enchant you. Taste their food, move to their music, feel the warmth of the people and allow the beauty of the land to embrace you. There’s so much wonder in Puerto Rico, you’ll be coming back for more. The more you explore, the more you’ll fall in love. Puerto Rico is a great beach destination, and has so many wonderful beautiful beaches to explore. For more information on Puerto Rico’s beautiful beaches, visit our Greater Antilles Travel page, or visit us on Pinterest.
Puerto Rico Weather – When to Visit
The best time to visit Puerto Rico is from mid-April to June, right after the busy winter season and just before the rainy summer. Spring weather is also very pleasant, barely escaping the mid-80s on most days. The island sees its best weather in winter — which is partly why this is the most crowded and expensive time to visit — but with careful planning you might uncover a pretty good discount during those months as well. You could also plan an enjoyable and affordable trip for the fall, when hotels can be as cheap as $80 a night. However, keep in mind a fall visit leaves you susceptible to the effects of Atlantic hurricane season.
Top 5 Puerto Rico Beach Areas
Flamenco Beach stuns with its sparkling white sands and calm water that turns different shades of aquamarine throughout the day. Frequented by snorkelers and families, this popular shore boasts a campground and beach vendors selling authentic Puerto Rican cuisine. Underwater explorers will love snorkeling with manta rays and sea turtles at Playa Tamarindo, but if snoozing under a palm tree sounds more your style, opt instead for Zoni Beach.
A well-known surfing hub, Rincón boasts several beaches perfect for catching a wave. During winter, surfers flock to Domes Beach, Maria’s Beach or Steps Beach, where the waves can get up to 20 feet high. When summer rolls around, the water calms and these beaches become havens for sunbathing, sea glass collecting and snorkeling. Meanwhile, Rincón Balneario attracts swimmers and the popular shoreline of Sandy Beach is loved for its close proximity to bars, restaurants and lodging options. Regardless of where you decide to lay your towel, you’re in for a breathtaking sunset.
Conveniently located near several islands and cays, Fajardo is a great home base for day trippers. Travelers who are looking for a beach with plenty of amenities should consider Playa Seven Seas, a popular shore with calm water ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Those drawn to a more secluded atmosphere will enjoy Playa Escondida and Playa Colorá. Whether you’re taking a catamaran charter to Cayo Icacos, kayaking around the bioluminescent bay at Laguna Grande or snapping the perfect Instagram photo at La Zanja’s natural swimming pool – Fajardo has no shortage of awe-inspiring landscapes to choose from.
Named “Isla Nena” (Little Girl Island) by poet Luis Llorens Torres, Puerto Rico’s little sister sits roughly 10 miles off the mainland and is a haven for romantics. Take a kayak tour of Mosquito Bay, the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world, or sunbathe alongside Vieques’ free-roaming Paso Fino horses. Snorkelers should head for the glass-like waters at Esperanza Beach and La Chiva, while families enjoy the amenities at Sun Bay Beach, which offers food vendors, lifeguards and camping access. For an unforgettable experience, Playa Negra’s black sand beach is the perfect place to sink your toes in the sand.
This town on Puerto Rico’s northwest shore was made for uninterrupted days by the water. During summer, the lively atmosphere at Crash Boat Beach draws crowds looking to snorkel, scuba dive or play a rousing game of beach volleyball. Come winter, this action-packed shoreline is filled with surfers hoping to catch their next wave. Grab a drink and some sustenance from a nearby vendor and watch thrill-seekers jump from Crash Boat’s unique pier. Meanwhile, families will love the calm waves at Rompeolas Beach, but if you’re looking for more seclusion, Peña Blanca and Survival Beach are both great options.
Best Puerto Rico Restaurants (San Juan Area)
José Enrique $11 – 30
Though hidden in a pink house without a sign, you’ll have no problems finding one of the western hemisphere’s best restaurants – just follow the excited hordes in the know. Reservations aren’t possible, so be prepared to wait on the sidewalk; your meal is definitely worth the minor inconvenience. The menu changes regularly – so much so that it’s written on a white board and presented to each table. Look for favorites like fresh fish with sides such as malanga (a taro-root mash), and local cheeses served with an amazing guava and papaya salsa. Telephone: 787-725-3518 Web: Jose Enrique.
Cocobana Under $10
A mural of a cow with a toothy smile and a flower behind its ear will be the first sign that you’ve arrived at one of the best vegetarian restaurants in town. Cocobana has an extensive menu of innovative sandwiches, wraps, salads and smoothies – oh so many smoothies. Ingredients are fresh and local, prepared in an open kitchen, the bustling chef in full sight. Be sure to look beyond the menu though. The daily specials, served cafeteria-style, entice many meat eaters to the veggie side. The special includes a criollo main, rice and beans, salad, soup and a drink. All for 10 bucks. Swap in a smoothie for some extra change. Telephone: 787- 268-7758 Web: Cocobana.
Punto De Vista
Punto De Vista Restaurant & Bar specializes in authentic Puerto Rican food cooked to order! They proudly claim to have the best Mofongo in San Juan which is confirmed by the 600+ reviews on Yelp at their previous location. We offer Bacardi Mojitos and have many varieties of rum. The only rooftop restaurant and bar in Old San Juan. Telephone: 787-725-4860 Web: Punto De Vista.
Océano $11 – 30
Resting on a stunning beach front property that juts towards the ocean, Oceano combines the warmth of a Caribbean getaway with the vibrant energy of South Beach. For an oceanfront dining experience unlike any other, the menu combines an eclectic array of Puerto Rican and international cuisine infused with local herbs & flavors, matching your palate to the tropical breeze. Telephone: 787-724-6300 Web: Océano.
Pb Ysla $31 – 50
At the forefront of modern-day dining, PB Ysla embraces Jose Mendin’s famed hospitality culture of superb service, food and flavor, and brings to the Caribbean island an upscale-casual dining experience in a comfortable and trendy setting. Set in the heart of an up and coming neighborhood in San Juan, the restaurant is down the road from where Chef Jose Mendin was born and his culinary story began. Telephone: 939-355-0068 Web: Pb Ysla.
Best Puerto Rico Bars & Nightlife
El Farolito Bar
This small bar is located on Calle Sol in Old San Juan and to find it, just look for the purple building in the area. It is a regular spot for local writers to come together and share food and drinks. The bar features walls lined with Puerto Rican artwork and chessboards that guests are welcome to play. At El Farolito Bar, the staff are welcoming and are always happy to suggest the ideal cocktail or beverage to suit each person’s tastes. When visiting, make sure to try the chichaito. Web: El Farolito Bar.
Nuyorican Café, located on Callejon de la Capilla Street in Old San Juan, is a very lively place particularly after 11pm. There is a $5 cover charge on entry, but free salsa lessons are offered on certain days and drinks here are quite cheap, with cocktails costing $7. Try the tamarind margaritas to cool down from dancing and if you’re feeling like a late night snack, food is also available until 3am. Telephone: 787-977-1276 Web: Nuyorican Cafe.
El Batey meaning ‘gathering place’ is appropriately named as this bar really draws in a crowd. Located next to El Convento hotel in Old San Juan, this dive bar bar serves lots of beer at about $3 a pop as well as basic cocktails. Graffiti covers the walls and an old-time jukebox adds to the vibrant atmosphere that patrons love about this watering hole. Web: El Batey.
El Bar Bero
This local watering hole, located on Loiza Street, has a unique interior resembling a barber shop. Hanging light bulbs are adorned with mustaches and the walls are decorated with similar hair-related artwork. At El Bar Bero, the fantastic cocktails are made to your specification. Bees knees is an excellent concoction made with gin that is highly recommended. To make sure you’ve made the right, and informed, choice, the bartenders give in-depth explanations about your drinks and the staff are able to answer any of your questions. Telephone: 787-473-8161 Web: El Bar Bero.
Café Carli Concierto
This intimate bar is located in Old San Juan and has a very romantic atmosphere. The award-winning bistro has won the Table Chef’s Hat Award for four years straight. To create the romantic ambiance, jazz pianist Carli Munoz serenades his patrons while they savor their cocktails. At times, he is accompanied by a cellist or a quintet. If you visit this venue, make sure that you sample the sangria and the excellent mojitos. Cocktail prices range between $8 – $13 dollars, making this bar very reasonably priced. Telephone: 787-725-4927 Web: Cafe Carli Concierto.
Top Luxury Puerto Rico Resorts & Hotels