Tuesday, June 27th, 2017

Puerto Rico Seriously Has It All


Kate in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Now that I’ve settled down in New York after five years of travel, one of my goals is to travel more within the U.S. I have a lot of cities I want to visit this year: Austin, Nashville, Portland. But the biggest goal of all? Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico was a priority for late February. Or sometime in March. After growing up in New England, that’s been the most frustrating time of year, when you’ve been dealing with winter for months and months and just can’t take it anymore.

I started planning — but it wasn’t going to happen. I spent a lot more on home furnishing expenses than expected, I couldn’t find any flights with my miles, and I didn’t know any receptive hotels. Puerto Rico would have to wait, I decided sadly.

Then the most perfectly timed invitation landed in my inbox from Puerto Rico Tourism. Four days exploring the island in late February and early March. Would I like to join the trip?

Would I like to join the trip?! Of course I would!

I ended up having a wonderful time in Puerto Rico and I was surprised at just how much it has to offer.

Boat off Culebra

It’s So Easy

Normally, I have no qualms about traveling internationally. That said, I appreciated how much less work I had to do in order to travel to Puerto Rico, which is a U.S. territory. If you’re an American, here’s why it’s easy:

  1. You don’t need your passport — a license or ID is all you need to fly.
  2. The currency is the U.S. dollar.
  3. While Spanish is the main language of the island, English is widely spoken and everyone in the tourism industry speaks English.
  4. Your U.S. phone plan will work normally without having to get a SIM card or paying roaming charges.

Additionally, there are direct flights to Puerto Rico from all over the U.S. (but especially on the East Coast). I was also surprised to see that you can fly direct to Puerto Rico from as far away as Frankfurt and London!

Puerto Rico Beach

The Perfect All-Around Island

Plenty of people fly to Puerto Rico and never go beyond the confines of their resort. Not my thing, but I get it. Sometimes you need a getaway where you do nothing.

But if you want more than just a beach, Puerto Rico has it all. If you’re visiting for just a few days, like I was, you can easily fit in beach time, adventure time, culture time, and yes, even hanging-out-at-the-pool time.

Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico

Beautiful Beaches

Of course, if you’re going to the Caribbean, you want to see some beaches!

Culebra island, east of the main island of Puerto Rico, is home to Flamenco Beach, which is frequently voted one of the best beaches in the world in travel magazines and on sites like TripAdvisor.

Meh. I’ll believe it when I see it, I thought. Could this beach really compete with the tropical beaches of the Philippines, the white sands of the Florida panhandle, the unreal urban beaches of Sydney, the raw and untamed beaches of South Africa’s Eastern Cape?


Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto RicoFlamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto RicoFlamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico

Flamenco Beach is easily one of the best beaches I’ve ever seen. Perfect sand, bright clear water, and even though I visited in the heart of high season, it wasn’t too crowded.

For what it’s worth, I’ve heard that the neighboring island of Vieques has even better beaches. I can’t wait to check those out! Caroline from Caroline in the City wrote a great guide to Vieques.

Amanda Ziplining in Puerto Rico

Adventure Galore

Zip-lining is a popular adventure activity in resort destinations, and for good reason: it’s easy and requires no skill. I got to experience zip-lining at Toro Verde Adventure Park in Orocovis, in the mountainous center of the island, and it’s the most beautiful and dramatic place I’ve ever zip-lined in my life. (Not gonna lie — it was also the scariest. I kept my eyes shut a lot.)

My trip coincided with the opening of the new longest zip-line in the world: The Monster! The Monster has a total distance of 1.5 miles, or 2.5 kilometers, or 28 football fields. You do it while on your stomach, like Superman, and can achieve speeds up to 93 mph (150 kph).

(I know a lot of places claim to be the longest or the biggest or the highest zip-lines in the world, but this one is absolutely the longest. The Guinness Book of World Records people were there to certify it.)

IMG_4190Orocovis, Puerto RicoKate and Javier Ziplining

Plus: if you get stuck on the line, Javier will come out and rescue you, dragging you back between his thighs.

If you’re up for adventure, there’s far more than just zip-lining: Lillie from Around the World L wrote about visiting El Yunque Rainforest, and Cam and Nicole from Traveling Canucks wrote about doing a bioluminescent kayak tour in Fajardo.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Legendary Culture

Puerto Rico isn’t just a pretty island devoid of personality — there is so much history and culture and art. While there are lots of cultural options all over the island, San Juan is the epicenter and an easy place to explore.

San Juan, Puerto RicoSan Juan, Puerto RicoSan Juan, Puerto Rico

If you’re looking to maximize your time, head to Old San Juan. Here, you’ll find the island’s only UNESCO World Heritage Site (La Fortaleza, or the three forts that protect the bay) as well as colorful buildings in the old town and a handful of museums.

If you time your visit to one of Puerto Rico’s legendary festivals, you’re in for a treat. Here are some of the better known ones.

Puerto Rican Food


I had no idea what Puerto Rican food was before arriving on the island — but I left having having experienced so many different flavors.

Some dishes to try:

Mofongo — A popular dish where a dome of mashed plantains (or cassava or breadfruit) surrounds a variety of fillings.

Lechón — The ultimate roasted pork! Piggy heaven.

Tostones — Mashed plantains formed into patties and fried.

BacalaítosBacalao, or salted cod, is popular here; bacalaítos are fried bacalao patties.

Morcilla — Every culture has its own blood sausage. This one is Puerto Rico’s.

Arroz con gandules — Rice and beans. With Puerto Rican spices.

Rum — Puerto Ricans love their rum! Try some Don Q.

Puerto Rican food is delicious — but be warned, it’s also very heavy. I don’t know how Puerto Ricans don’t all weigh 400 pounds. You might want to balance out your feasts with lighter meals. I waved a white flag and ordered ceviche on my final night.

Next time, I’d love to drive the pork highway, written about in this post on Twenty-Something Travel.

Ponce, Puerto Rico

Off the Beaten Path Destinations

There isn’t much in Puerto Rico that hasn’t been discovered — but there are plenty of lesser-visited corners.

With a packed four-day trip, I didn’t get too far afield, but I did get to enjoy the city of Ponce in the south. From the moment I saw it, I was entranced. It reminded me of Granada, Nicaragua, mixed with a little bit of New Orleans.

Ponce, Puerto RicoPonce, Puerto RicoPonce, Puerto Rico

An added bonus? Ponce and the south have a wonderfully dry climate, a major change from humid San Juan.

Santaella San Juan


One of my favorite parts of our trip was the final night in Placita, a collection of open-air bars in San Juan. (I was also thrilled my Puerto Rican buddy, Norbert of Globotreks, was in town and came to join us!) We went on a Thursday night and it was hopping, though Norbert told me it really gets going on Friday and Saturday.

If you go, be sure to check out Santaella. It’s one of the fancier places in Placita. My Puerto Rican friends say this place has the best bartenders in San Juan and they made me a delicious tamarind margarita.

The casual bars are equally fun and you can get local Medalla beers for around $2.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Where to Stay in Puerto Rico

San Juan is the perfect base for a trip to Puerto Rico — it’s close to the airport, the city is fun, there are lots of nice beaches, lots of tour providers will pick you up from hotels there, and it’s easy enough to get all over the island within a few hours’ drive.

On this trip I stayed at two Hilton properties in San Juan: the Hilton Caribe and the Hilton Condado Plaza.

Here are photos of the room, view, and grounds of the Hilton Caribe:

Hilton Caribe, San Juan, Puerto RicoHilton Caribe, San Juan, Puerto RicoHilton Caribe, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Here are photos of the room, view, and grounds of the Hilton Condado Plaza:

DSCF4359Hilton Condado Plaza, San Juan, Puerto RicoHilton Condado Plaza, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Both hotels are solid options — each has beautiful rooms, a nice outdoor space, ocean views, and beaches with calm, clear Caribbean water. But between the two of them, I greatly preferred the Caribe. It had much better pools, beachfront, and outdoor grounds, plus two Starbuckses on the premises (including one on the beach!). The Caribar has excellent tapas — I especially loved the ropa vieja arepas. That said, the rooms were better at the Condado Plaza.

Now — if you’d like something even more upscale, resort-like, luxurious, and secluded, check out El Conquistador Resort in Fajardo, on the east coast. This is a Waldorf Astoria property and it’s the largest resort in Puerto Rico. They even have their own private island!

El Conquistador, Puerto RicoEl Conquistador, Puerto RicoChocolate Cake and Champagne, El Conquistador, Puerto Rico

I didn’t stay overnight here, but I got to explore it one afternoon. And while I normally can’t stand hotel visits on press trips (“Look at this amazing hotel…but you can’t stay here. Please blog about us?”), I enjoyed my visit here so much that it left an enormously positive impression on me. I need to stay here on my next trip!! Also, the desserts at Chops are unreal, especially their mile-high chocolate cake and piña colada cobbler.

If El Conquistador strikes your fancy and you’ve got the cash, go for it. It’s a special place.

Puerto Rico Beach

The Takeaway

I can’t believe it took me 31 years to get to Puerto Rico! I honestly had no idea it had so much to offer until I got to see it for myself.

Between the ease of visiting and how much there is to do, I know this is only going to be the first of many trips to Puerto Rico in my future.

Essential Info: Puerto Rico has public transportation, but the best and most efficient way to get around is by renting a car. You can get anywhere around the island within a few hours. It was just 90 minutes from San Juan to Ponce on the south coast.

I visited Culebra on a one-day Culebra Snorkel Trip with East Island Excursions. The trip includes a snorkel stop next to the island and a two-hour stop at Flamenco Beach, plus a simple lunch, some snacks, and alcoholic beverages. The cost is $99 for adults and $79 for children under 12.

Personally, I think the snorkel trip is a little bit expensive for what you get, compared to similar activities I’ve done in similarly priced destinations, and not enough time is spent on the beach, but it’s a fun, fast, and easy way to experience Culebra for a day.

Do note that on this trip, you can only get to Flamenco Beach by swimming from the boat. This means that if you want to take photos on the beach, you’ll need a dry bag for your camera. They sell some smartphone-sized dry bags at the dock; instead, I recommend that you buy a high quality bag before your trip. This is a good dry bag that will fit a DSLR camera and it comes with a bonus smartphone bag. The crew will assist you if you can’t swim.

If you choose to visit Culebra independently, there are ferries from Fajardo, but it’s quickest and easiest to fly from the mainland.

I went zip-lining at Toro Verde Adventure Park in Orocovis. An eight-line zip-lining tour costs $85; The Monster costs a supplemental $175. There’s also a shorter version of The Monster, called The Beast, which costs a supplemental $65.

Rates at the Hilton Caribe start at $179. Rates at the Hilton Condado Plaza start at $179. Rates at El Conquistador Resort start at $199. These are all low-season rates; rates increase sharply in high season. Find other Puerto Rico hotels here.

As with all destinations, I highly recommend getting travel insurance before visiting Puerto Rico. I use World Nomads and never travel without it.


I visited Puerto Rico on a campaign with Puerto Rico Tourism. All opinions, as always, are my own. Special thanks to Amanda of A Dangerous Business for taking several photos of me for this post.

Have you ever been to Puerto Rico? What’s your favorite all-around destination?Puerto Rico has it all! (Seriously.)

Adventurous Kate contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase through these links, I will earn a commission at no extra cost to you. These commissions help reduce the ever-increasing costs of keeping this site active. Thanks for reading!


72 Responses to “Puerto Rico Seriously Has It All”
  1. I’ve never been to Puerto Rico, but boooy would I like to go! It looks very old world to me, those beaches are fantastic and the food sounds delicious! Great post, Kate!

  2. Rosie says:

    I know what you mean about heavy food – I just got back from Marrakech and because of the advice about not eating salads locally, I’m craving light, green stuff badly!

    Puerto Rico looks amazing – I had no idea it was a US territory 🙂


  3. Jen Hendrick says:

    You will love Portland! And I think you should add Santa Fe NM to your list. I’m dying to have someone I respect check it out and report back!

    • I actually went to Santa Fe, albeit briefly, back in 2008. I didn’t have enough time to get really into the scene, but I did enjoy the beauty of the town and the gorgeous Native American jewelry for sale.

  4. Thanks for the mention! Next trip, I want to do Ponce, Fajardo and Culebra. I didn’t get to do bio bay because of some miscommunications, but would definitely try again. Glad you had fun!

    • Liz says:

      The best Bioluminescent Bay in the world is in Vieques..I recommend spending a couple of nights here. There is only one electric boat on the bay and kayaks and it is very closely watched so it doesn’t get spoiled…

      • Liz says:

        Also Vieques has many beaches and they are only “crowded” on major holidays..many times people have the whole beach to themselves…there is only one major resort, The W, and no high rises. Very unspoiled…

      • Stephanie says:

        Any advice as to how to get from Culebra to Viaques? Only flying? Can’t one charter a private small boat? We are staying mid February.

  5. Carol says:

    They did a good job picking you for the trip – you definitely sold it! Looks like I’ll be adding Puerto Rico to the top of my tropical vacation list. Any thoughts on how kid friendly traveling in Puerto Rico would be?

    • Daphne says:

      Very kid friendly. I was raised in Puerto Rico and the people are very keen on kids. Particularly adult women. Sometimes too much for American taste. Very affectionately.

    • Gilda says:

      Puerto Rico is very kid friendly. If the kids are small, you can take them to some enclosed or partially enclosed beaches. They are surrounded by rocks and there aren’t many waves (like Escambron beach in San Juan). There are also small inexpensive waterparks in many of the major beach areas where they can splash around or enjoy some small water slides. and a major waterpark in Aguadilla. There are also a couple of kids museums. There’s the kid’s museum in Carolina and there’s a Science Museum in Bayamon. There are also many other kid friendly activities. For example, in front of El Morro in Old San Juan is a great place to fly kites. They sell them really cheap all around and kids love it.

  6. Cate says:

    @JenHendrick Yes you should totally visit santa fe- its very pretty and full of art and culture. I never knew puerto rico had so much to offfer! Definitely my next stop!

  7. Dylan says:

    Um, you’ve sold me. I’ve heard “one of the best beaches in the world!” thrown around a lot, but oh. my. god. Look at that place. So glad you ended up getting to take this trip! I can definitely commiserate after spending the winter in the midwest.

  8. RC says:

    Great post! you seem like a fun person! hit me up sometime! Im dying to go back to Puerto Rico.

  9. Jaswanth says:

    And I’ve fallen in love with Puerto Rico now, reading your write up Kate! Definitely on the cards, have a friend of mine too to meet up there, Pamela.

  10. Danny says:

    I have to admit – my enthusiasm for U.S. travel has never been as high as I would like it to be, but Puerto Rico is definitely one of those places that I would like to visit (even if it is technically a territory).

    I look forward to following you on more trips around the States and hopefully getting some inspiration, too! 🙂

  11. Oh my goodness … The colour of that water… The views from both hotels … Completely stunning! Great post, as always, Kate 🙂

  12. Nicole says:

    I was also skeptical about Flamenco Beach and was pleasantly surprised! Was just there in early February and loved it, spent 3 days out in Culebra and so glad I did. Flamenco is a great spot to visit at night as well under the the Milky Way. I didn’t have near enough time in Puerto Rico and had a quite different itinerary so I’ll for sure have to add that zip line on it for next time!

  13. Anna says:

    I’m currently “resorting” in Tunisia (you should visit Tunisia), gaining a whole new appreciation for this kind of vacation inmy old age :). You make a very solid case for PR – ziplining in particular looks super fun. Is it really worth the $250 price tag for what I assume takes only a few minutes?

  14. Jennifer says:

    Puerto Rico looks great – the buildings look very European. I’ve never been to that area of the world, but I’d love to explore.

  15. Mari says:

    Thanks for the wonderful review. The pictures you used along with the article were amazing.
    I do suggest you come again and visit the West side of the island. There is yet so much more to see!

  16. Kevin G.A.Melloy says:

    Thank you for visiting our enchanted island! As someone who lives between the mainland and Puerto Rico , I echo your enthusiasm and welcome you back. Please stop in my Melloy Gallery in the #elyun#elyunqueart on your way to the rainforest.

  17. Erin says:

    I visited San juan on a cruise once and it became one of my favourite parts of the cruise. The cobblestones reminded me of being in Europe. I always thought I would like to go back one day, this just reaffirms it!! 🙂 Love your pictures

  18. Brenna says:

    My mum was just there (at the same time as you!) as her boyfriend is probably renting a place there for a year. I really hope to visit – this post confirms for me that it is such a cool place!

  19. Roger Guilbert says:

    My wife and I have been to Puerto Rico several times over the past few years. My passport had expired, but wanted to go to the Caribbean. We went to Puerto Rico and absolutely loved it. We have stayed at a different part of the island each time we have gone. It definitely is the Isla del encanto. We are now looking at escaping New England winters for 6 months a year and spend that time there. People are wonderful. The natural beauty and the beaches are everything you want. Forget Cuba and all the current noise. Spend your money in Puerto Rico. It’s America!

  20. Michelle says:

    I’m SO glad you found a way to make Puerto Rico happen! I went for about four days in 2013 for a job interview and snuck in as much sight-seeing as possible, but zip lining didn’t make the cut — needless to say, it looks like I need to go back and tackle The Monster!

    If you ever make it back, I was a HUGE fan of night kayaking through the mangroves to the bio-bay and highly recommend it. House Hunters International seems to agree with Caroline that Vieques is a really up-and-coming place, particularly for northerners and Canadians to escape the winter. I still find it hard to believe how much there is to do on such a (relatively) small archipelago and can’t wait to go back!

  21. Miranda says:

    This beach looks so nice! I wonder about the surf scene here!

    • Wilmarie says:

      Hey Miranda. There is a strong durfing scene in PR, specially in the west coast (Isabela, Aguadilla, Aguada, Rincón). There are also numerous surfing tournaments held at various times during the year.

    • Kendra says:

      Check out Rincon, PR. It is one of the best places in the world. I can assure you will love it!

  22. Roger Guilbert says:

    For great surfing try the Rincon area in western P.R. It had been the site of international surfing championships.
    You’ll meet a lot of expats from California that brought their boards!

  23. Stephanie says:

    I went to Puerto Rico in January because I was travelling with a friend who didn’t have a passport. I was kind of annoyed that we had to stay in the States, but oh man was PR one of the best places I’ve ever visited. I could totally see moving there for a few years someday.

    Here are my pics from my trip: http://gothreetwentyfour.com/2016/02/05/unesco-world-heritage-site-20-la-fortaleza-and-san-juan-national-historic-site-in-puerto-rico/

  24. Ken says:

    I’ve heard that the ocean and snorkeling (as well as game fishing) is some of the best in the world, too. I live in Hawaii but have always wanted to visit PR. Great post. Awesome images.


  25. Ava says:

    Your trip sounded great! And not as difficult as I would have thought it would be.

  26. Great tips about a visit to Puerto Rico! It looks like a really easy place to have a great time and the island has a lot to offer to visitors.

  27. Lauren says:

    Wow I need to stop messing around and get to Puerto Rico!

  28. I was just in Puerto Rico for a week in February! You are right it is a great time of year to go. I am a New England native and I know exactly what you mean by those winter New England blues!

    I really loved Puerto Rico. It is so easy to visit, short flight, same currency, same language etc. I also found the food to be REALLY REALLY heavy, and I have never missed vegetables so much in my life! The diving was mediocre, but the water was warm and clear.

    Great post on Puerto Rico!
    Katie @ Katie Wanders

  29. Megan says:

    Hey Kate! I’ve read your blog for a while now (just not as often as I used to) and was thrilled when I saw this post! My husband and I moved to Puerto Rico from Arkansas a year ago and you’re right- the island does have it all! Living here, however, can be a bit hard… Island life is certainly a way of life, and it doesn’t always fit in with my type-A personality!
    It looks like you did what I suggest most first-time visitors do- the East. You get some pretty beaches, Old San Juan is always awesome- the rainforest and of course the islands! However the west coast is a whole amazingly different world that I definitely suggest you coming back to see. Rincon, Cabo Rojo, Isabela- they’re all stunning! And if you ever DO come back- please reach out to me. We miss our American friends so much, and it’s always fun to play tour guide for a day 🙂

  30. Andrew says:

    Wow. seriously beautiful photos. So far from Australia though lol!

    But has it all?? What’s the skiing like?

  31. Melissa says:

    I loved my trip to Puerto Rico in 2014. <3 I spent my time in Old San Juan and Vieques. The bio bays were the most incredible thing I've ever seen. I loved the food, even though it was heavy. Probably because it reminds me of Newfoundland food in that it's so starchy. Great comfort food. Not so great in hot weather.

    I need to make another visit soon and check out the beaches in Fajardo and Culebra, and the surfing in Rincon.

  32. Lauren says:

    No shit, seriously considering PR as my next move. This is adding fuel to the fire. Did you get a chance to mingle with the locals? Other than nightlife, you lil rascal 😏

    • I was on a pretty tightly scheduled media trip, so it was hard to be spontaneous, but I did try to chat with locals every chance I got! The night out was definitely the best part, though!

  33. I loved Puerto Rico – such a beautiful place to visit, very tropical, and FANTASTIC food! I split my time their equally between Old San Juan, Isla Culebra, and the El Yunque Rainforest. Naturally, the diving is pretty hard to beat as well!

  34. Kim says:

    If you’re looking for a place to stay in Old San Juan, Hotel El Convento can’t be beat …it’s the famous yellow building across from the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista. The hotel is gorgeous, there are two great restaurants on site and they have a wine and cheese happy hour every night for guests (as of last June when I went). It’s a bit pricey but worth it, as it has the second best rating on Trip Advisor. The cathedral (along with the hotel) is in a prime spot in Old San Juan and it holds the tomb of Ponce De Leon (and, based on the crowds, it’s a major attraction). The hotel also has an agreement with one of the larger Coronado Beach hotels , so guests can use that facility and hang out in the casino free of charge.

    My (female) friend and I felt very safe walking around at night but don’t be fooled, we look like locals and some of the streets can be deserted come dusk in Old San Juan because it’s a shopping destination. Our hotel was also a couple blocks from the restaurant where the original Piña Colada was created (can’t remember its name but the drink and the seafood was the best I’ve ever had). We also did a lot of great shopping and eating right in San Juan (along with local wares and fare, we bought out the Pandora store getting PR souvenirs!)

    Puerto Rico is such an overlooked gem. I’ll definitely be returning to explore more of this American treasure!

    P.S. While researching Puerto Rico, I read a few stories about the “dangers awaiting unsuspecting tourists” in Old San Juan’s La Perla neighborhood and, I must be honest, the overwrought accounts from frightened travelers made me nervous (and I’m a life-long city girl!). There is no need for alarm. To be clear, La Perla seems to be a very impoverished area (you can see it from the trolley than runs between the forts) but my view was limited because it’s (purposefully?) separated from the rest of the city. The neighborhood is located at the bottom of a steep hill, has very visable sinage with a distinct look(older- looking homes much unlike the stately brightly colored dwellings in OSJ, a basketball court donated by NBA star and ‘Rican Carmelo Anthony) and there’s a wall encircling the entire community (which, to be honest is very weird though it’s a historic element but very emblematic of the socioeconomic divide in the city). It’s like any other major American city with crime,etc. You can only end up there intentionally (apparently people go there for drugs, dunno, all I saw was tired ladies lugging home groceries!).

    Enjoy PR!

    • Daphne says:

      La Perla is kind of a subculture. The irony is that although it is suppose to be a “poor” area, has the best view. It reminds me of little villages in the Italian Riviera. If you do not live there, it is recommended that you do not wonder around.

  35. Paulina says:

    Next time, be sure to check out SpoonFoodTours.com 🙂

  36. EllenNewYork says:

    I haven’t been to PR in a long while, but went a fair number of times years ago when it was a regular long weekend spot for New Yorkers. I remember it as being a spectacularly beautiful island. Your pictures do it justice. Next time go to Ponce to see the museum there . It’s the best museum in the Caribbean. There are also little inns scattered around the island. Once I rented a car and drove from San Juan to La Parguera, in the south. I passed through coffee country. I’ve never been to Rincon, but I hear from people I know that live there, it’s not to be missed, especially if you surf. Thank you for this wonderful piece on Puerto Rico. I’m sure the tourism people are grateful they found you.

  37. Carla says:

    You can get to Flamenco by car or taxi. Please vlidate your info

  38. Alexis says:

    Thank you for sharing this post. I am from Puerto Rico and I lived there until 2012, when I move to Arizona. I miss the beaches and the mountains. I lived in Naguabo, a city on the east coast of the island, 45 minutes from San Juan, 15 minutes from Fajardo. You can visit the south part of El Yunque, and visit El Hippie, a river near the forest. Also, you can go to the beach and eat the famous Pastelillos de Chapin. There is many sea food restaurants in Highway 3. You can stay at El Conquistador or Palmas del Mar in Humacao, a major city south of Naguabo.

    Thank you for reminding me the beauty of my island.

  39. Ed Schultheiss Colón says:

    My Mom’s family is from Ponce, I grew up in the US but lived in PR for 9 years. So glad to see this article especially in light of all the financial issues the island has been having. Everyone must venture out to the west and southwest of the island as well, just beautiful. Yauco has an amazing restaurant La Guardarraya that makes Chuletas Can Can, deep fried 2 inch thick pork chops to die for. Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo, El Faro (MTV has used this as a location for reality tv shows) .

  40. Tiffany says:

    Pleeeeease tell me you went on the flavors of San Juan Walking Food Tour! If you didn’t you need to go back immediately and do it! It was amazing and the tour guide gives you a history lesson on Puerto Rico. I was amazed by the food and his knowledge, by the end of the tour I wanted to be Puerto Rican so bad lol.

    Side bar: I recently went to Belize in late January and did the 3 day ragamuffin tour because of you! I. HAD. A. BLAST! I made sure to let them know I found them from your site. Captain Kevin said “Tell my gyal Kate I said hello!”

    • That tour sounds awesome! I’ll have to do it next time.

      And that is AMAZING that you did the tour with Captain Kevin!! That’s odd, he called me Potato the whole time. 😉

  41. Liana says:

    I have lived in Puerto Rico most of my life and never get tired of its beauty. So much to do and for every budget. Bring your kids. Puertorricans love children and they are welcome almost everywhere. Its what we call “ambiente familiar”.

  42. Albert Hernandez says:

    I feel the same way. I lived in many places and right now I am in Austin TX. I ve also traveled most of Central and South America and many US cities, plus Europe. I must say that there are not many places in the world like PR. Yes they have it all plus everything is so close!!!! 15 minutes and you are in the rain forest, 20 minutes you are in teh beach, 40 minutes you are in the city, 1 hr, you are in the other side of the island, 1hr. ferry and you are in another Island (Culebra or Vieques). Too bad they don have good jobs for the people there. They also have high crime. Bars are incredible, food is amazing, prices are affordable, no taxes on properties, beaches are incredibly fun, hotels are pricey but great specially Conquistador, Horned Dorset, etc. I love sports and cannot wait to get out of Austin and live in PR.

  43. Kate you nailed it lady.I read your article and to tell you the truth you know Puerto Rico better then lots of Boricuas. Your knowledge of the island is amazing. I’ve seen other articles on P.R. and none were as accurate as yours. Your understanding of the people, culture, food and destinations is awesome. And i know. I’m a native that loves to travel my beautiful paradise. Keep it up, and be back soon. Mi casa es su casa.!!!!!

  44. Wanda says:

    Thank you so much for writing such a nice article about our beautiful island. Come back, you are welcome anytime!

  45. Cassie says:

    ¡Saludos! Great overview of the east coast/south of Puerto Rico. We moved from Colorado to Rincón, Puerto Rico on the west coast and it is quite a bit different from the east. I love that it is so laid back here. There are no toll roads unlike over there and not nearly as crowded. It’s also a little more rural which is great because we came here to start a little finca (farm) growing exotic tropical fruits and raising chickens and turkeys. I consider Puerto Rico my home now and love that you love it too! Hopefully you will have a chance to check out the west coast and the cool, laid back hippie surf vibe in Rincón.

    We have a blog if you want to check out our move to and life in Puerto Rico:

  46. I just booked a trip to PR in December! I’m going to be diving – but also will check out as mush as I can from your posts about the trip!

  47. Joanna says:

    My family of 3 are considering vacationing in San Juan, PR., for Spring Break in late March/early April ’17. We’ve never considered traveling there. Looks like a great fun place, to be!

    Now, I’m just researching local condos/villas/homes and or, hotels for our stay.

    Love the recap.


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  1. […] + Rule #8 Provide context…YES blogging is a very personal thing and for the most of it you are writing from your own perspective, but come on how hard would it be AND how helpful would it be to include someone, other than your own, opinion? […]

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