Are you looking for Puerto Rico visa?

Your guide to explore the best things to do in Puerto Rico

by Catherine Carey | March 8, 2024
Things to do in Puerto rico el morro fort

Ready for your trip to Puerto Rico? Got your visa for Puerto Rico? Then you are ready to discover this enchanting island. San Juan, Ponce and Rincon are just some of the places waiting for you. Learn all about the best things to do in Puerto Rico.

What to do in Puerto Rico: main things to do

Puerto Rico is a bewildering destination. There are so many things to do in Puerto Rico, that one can feel overwhelmed when planning the places and sites to see. Here we offer you a list of what to do in Puerto Rico and the main things to do in the cities of San Juan, Ponce, Rincon, Aguadilla and Fajardo.

What to do in San Juan Puerto Rico

In San Juan there is a mix of modern Puerto Rico lifestyles and old Spanish colonial history. In fact, San Juan is one of the oldest cities of America with a 500 year old history.

Seeing San Juan is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico, so be absolutely sure to add it to your itinerary. Here are some of the main things to do in Puerto Rico: 

Fuerte San Felipe del Morro

El Morro Fort, which juts out on a peninsula high above the shore, is a six-story fortress that began being built in 1539 and ended in 1790. Its main goal was to deter sea attacks. 

In this UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will be able to see a courtyard, a kitchen, a chapel, a lighthouse, some tunnels, barracks and prison cells, original cannons, ammunition, and other objects of the Spanish militia in Puerto Rico. 

In El Morro fort you will learn about Puerto Rico's history with its exhibitions, park rangers that are there to answer your questions and multiple tours. You will also have some of the best views of the Atlantic ocean. El Morro is quite large and it can take up to three hours to explore it on foot. We recommend wearing comfortable walking shoes. 

Things to do in Puerto Rico: El Morro fort San Juan Puerto Rico

The Old San Juan

The Old San Juan (el Viejo San Juan), which is the old-part and historic center of San Juan, will give you a glimpse of the past. You will be walking through cobbled streets, churches, colonial residences, historic fortresses and some old city walls from the 16th century. Apart from the El Morro, you must see the Castillo San Cristóbal. 

The castillo San Cristóbal is one of the two centuries-old forts guarding the walled city of San Juan (the other one is El Morro). El castillo San Cristobal is believed to be the largest Spanish fort built in the Americas.

If you are into fashion, you should walk down the Calle del Cristo, one of the most popular shopping and entertainment districts. You will find popular stores and also local vendors who sell their crafts. Another important site in Viejo San Juan is the Paso de la princesa, which is a pedestrian promenade and recreational area located next to the city walls, dating back to the 19th century.

Listening to local musicians, eating some traditional Puerto Rican food and trying some of the best cocktail bars are some of the fun things to do in puerto. All of these Puerto Rico things to do, you can do them in the Distrito T-Mobile, which is a modern entertainment venue in the Convention Center District. It has 10 restaurants and bars, concerts, a cinema and more!

You can visit Old San Juan on your own (look for free golf carts called Garita Carts that take you to those landmarks) or by joining a guided tour. 

Old San Juan

La Placita de Santurce

La Placita de Santurce, a farmer's market with music, culture, dancing and restaurant and drinking options, is another best thing to do in Puerto Rico. In Santurce neighborhood, you will be able to see the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo

Santurce is quite close to Old San Juan (only about 20 minutes from it) and it has become an arts and culture hub with many street graffities, and galleries of art made by local artists.

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico

The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, located in the bustling Santurce neighborhood of San Juan, houses more than 1,000 works of art created by Puerto Ricans. By just paying an entrance fee of $12, you will find pieces, some of which date back to the1600s. Be fascinated by sculptures, photographs, paintings, drawings and more across 24 exhibition galleries.

Cueva del Indio

This is the thing to do in Puerto Rico, if you want to learn about Taíno culture. Cueva del Indio is a prehistoric cave art composed of over 80 pre-Columbian indigenous petroglyphs made on the cave’s limestone walls between 1200 and 1500 A.D. 

Another fun thing to do in Puerto Rico is hiking towards the cave since you will see some of the prettiest coastal views, impressive cliffs and arches (the Siete Arcos). You can join different tours that take you to the area and combine this visit with other things to do in Puerto Rico like the Cueva Ventana and the Arecibo Observatory.

Puerto Rico things to do: Cueva Ventana

Things to do in Ponce Puerto Rico

In Ponce Puerto Rico, there are multiple things to enjoy. Some of the main things to do in Puerto Rico are: 

Ponce Museum of Art

One of our recommendations is to see Puerto Rican and other Latin American artists displayed at the Ponce Museum of ArtPuerto Rican pieces span from pre-Columbian times to contemporary art. Visitors can also see a variety of painters, sculptures, porcelains and old furniture from Europe.

This museum houses one of the Western Hemisphere's most important pre-Raphaelite collections, with works from Van Dyck, Reubens, Rodin, Delacroix, and Gainsborough.

You can access the museum for only $6.

Historic city center of Ponce

Another top thing to do in Ponce Puerto Rico is exploring the historic city center of Ponce. Ponce is a major city that is not on the normal tourist route through Puerto Rico, but its ancient city center, with 17th-century buildings and wide plazas, is a treat.

The Plaza Las Delicias is a good place for visitors to start because it has cafés and park seats for people-watching. This central square is  surrounded by colorful colonial buildings and the iconic Lions Fountain. 

Other noteworthy places to see in the historic city center of Ponce:

  • The red-and-white-striped Old Ponce Fire Station. The Parque de Bombas is a historic fire station-turned-museum, where you can learn about the history of firefighting in Ponce and see vintage firefighting equipment.
  • The Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Catedral Nuestra Señora de la Guadalupe is a neoclassical (from the 19th-century) cathedral. It is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Ponce's skyline.
  • The City Hall.
  • Paseo Tablado La Guancha. This is a pedestrian walkway with bars and restaurants.
  • The Casa Armstrong-Poventud. This is a 20th century preserved mansion that gives you a glimpse of the lifestyle of Ponce's elite.
  • Teatro La Perla. This historic theatre was opened in 1864 and it is still running. You must attend a performance.

Plaza las Delicias Puerto rico

Museo Castado Serrallés

Another thing to do in Ponce is visiting the Museo Castado Serrallés, which is a museum focusing on rum production. It is the former home of rum baron Don Juan Eugenio Serrallés and because it is very well-preserved, you can experience a genuine glimpse of a Puerto Rican estate from the 1930s. It also offers fantastic views of Ponce since it is set on a hill overlooking Ponce's historic district.

The museum complex includes the 2.5-acre property, gardens, a pool, a Japanese garden and the Cruceta del Vigía, a 100-foot-tall hilltop crucifix.

Things to do in Aguadilla Puerto Rico

The main things to do in Aguadilla Puerto Rico are surfing and sunbathing on the beaches. The beaches that you cannot miss are Crash Boat and Wilderness. Particularly known is Crash Boat Beach with vibrant blue waters and incredible scenery. You can enjoy some great waves whether you are a beginner or an experienced surfer. You can also swim, snorkel and sunbathe.

In Aguadilla you must also see El Parterre Park, ideal for picnics and outdoor activities. Las Cascadas Water Park is anothe things to do in Aguadilla. This park offers water slides and pools for a fun-filled experience. There is a wide range of water attractions, including water slides of varying heights and speeds, lazy rivers for floating, a wave pool and water play areas for children.

If you are into golf you must go to Punta Borinquen Golf Club, which is a scenic golf course overlooking the ocean. It offers challenging holes and stunning views of the coastline.

Lastly, you cannot miss the Aguadilla Ice Skating arena, the Aguadilla Farmer's Market to try fresh produce, local foods and see handmade crafts and the Ruinas de Aguadilla, which are ruins of an old lighthouse and a Spanish fort overlooking the ocean.

Things to do in Aguadilla Puerto Rico: ruinas

Things to do in Rincon Puerto Rico

Rincón is known amongst Puerto Ricans as a "Gringo Paradise" and "Pueblo del Surfing" (Surfing Town). Because this town is home to plenty of foreign surfers and other expats, English is the dominant language in the area.

Rincon rose to prominence as a surfing paradise following the 1968 World Surfing Championships, when photographs of Rincón and its frequent 15-foot-high waves were broadcast around the world. Not a fan of surfing? The majority of the town's beautiful swimming beaches are located to the south.

There are also whale-watching excursions from mid-January to March when the humpback whales visit, enchanting all marine lovers.

Punta Higuera lighthouse in Rincon Puerto Rico

Things to do in Fajardo Puerto Rico

Fajardo is a coastal town with access to various boat tours and excursions, some of them to the islands of Culebra and Vieques. Not only are there tours to these islands, but you can also experience Bioluminescent Bay Tours and explore these bioluminescent organisms. 

Other things to do in Fajardo Puerto Rico are snorkeling and diving and going on kayaking trips. 

Not only are there beaches to enjoy in Fajardo, but there is also plenty of history to discover. Some of the things to do in Fajardo Puerto Rico is visiting San Germán, which is Puerto Rico's second oldest city and with a similar vibe to Old San Juan. 

Walking through its streets full of historic colonial-era buildings dating back to the 16th century, seeing the Porta Coeli (a convent and church dating to 1609 that's now a museum of religious art) and entering the Iglesia San Germán de Auxerre will allow you to travel back in time and learn more about Puerto Rico.

A pro tip is to visit San Germán during the Fiestas Patronales de San German Auxerre in July. This is a festival celebrating the city's patron saint. 

Things to do in Fajardo Puerto Rico: Seven Seas beach

More best things to do in Puerto Rico

Discover Puerto Rico Beaches

One of the top things to do in Puerto Rico is swimming at its beaches. Some of the best beaches in Puerto Rico are the following ones: 

  • Flamenco Beach located on the island of Culebra.
  • Luquillo Beach located in Luquillo.
  • Playa Crash Boat in Aguadilla.
  • Condado beach located in San Juan.

Visit Piñones in Loiza

If you find yourself wanting to learn more about afro-Caribbean culture and enjoy great dishes you should go to the neighborhood of Piñones, a small community in the town of Loiza. Loiza was settled by formerly enslaved people from the African Yoruba tribe in the 16th century. 

Nowadays, it is known for the Festival of St. James in July, when dancers wear traditional vejigantes masks made from coconuts. It is also one of the places not so catered towards tourism and where local traditional Puerto Rican culture is fiercely protected. 

Loíza is a town where you can spend half a day, and it serves as a stopover if you're heading to El Yunque, Luquillo, or Fajardo. We recommend stopping by to try authentic street food, such as fresh fish, plantains, coconut water, crabmeat alcapurrias, and bacalaítos (codfish), which are sold by small dining stands called chinchorros.

Explore Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park

For just $5 you can enter one of the most important archeological sites focusing on the Taíno people in the Caribbean. This park is one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico since it offers any visitor who wants to discover more about the Taíno indigenous people, a small museum and excavated stone monoliths, plazas, and ceremonial ball courts. The game of batey has actually been designated a National Historic Landmark.

There you can also see petroglyphs dating to as early as the 13th century and recreated bohios, thatched-roof homes typical of those built by the Taínos.

Things to do in Puerto Rico: Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park

Stop by La Parguera in Lajas

La Parguera in Lajas is a village with many attractions worth visiting. Enjoy local food and drinks, snorkel in the nearby bioluminescent bay, scuba dive, hike, and go birdwatching – just a few of the activities to experience in Puerto Rico.

Additionally, you can try a cocktail in the Malecón, a waterfront area with colorful souvenir shops and beautiful views. Entertain yourself by finding different birds and sea creatures in Caracoles, Mata la Gata, or Cayo Enrique. 

Other important Puerto Rico tourist attractions are:

  • Bioluminescent bay in Vieques. You will be fascinated by the blue glow emitted by its waters and creatures that live within.
  • Culebrita island. There are some of the best beaches in Puerto Rico like Playa Tortuga, home to nesting sea turtles. 
  • El Yunque Rainforest, the only tropical rainforest that is part of the U.S. National Forest System. It is a forest that has more than 240 types of trees, unique birds, native species like the coquí frog, 25 waterfalls, several rivers, and ancient petroglyphs of Taíno deities.
  • The Camuy River, the third largest cave system in the world. It underlies parts of three towns: Camuy, Hatillo, and Lares.