Before reading note that all prices were last updated in Fall 2022, and they might have changed since then. Read the comments or go to the official pages for the most recent prices. If an activity doesn’t show prices it means that it is free.
Beware that after storms many touristic places close down (El Yunque, the caves…) this information may not be reflected on Google Maps or even the site’s official websites, so try calling the places before going if in doubt and if they don’t pick up, they are probably closed
If you use Google Maps to navigate Tralei has a Pinned map list with all the attractions listed in this article that you can access by Clicking Here.
1. Old San Juan
The Old San Juan or the Historic San Juan is the main attraction in Puerto Rico. Full of colorful houses and great ambiance, mostly from Thursday, to Sunday.
The must-visits from old San Juan are:
Both fortresses can be accessed with a single ticket, no reservation is needed. The price for that is:
2. Camuy River Cave National Park
The Camuy River CaveNational Park can only be visited with a tour guide. The park is closed Mondays and Tuesdays and open Wednesday to Sunday from 9:00 A.M to 5:00 P.M, the last tour starts at 3:30 PM. Reservations are not required.
Tours are done in groups of 30 and you will have a headset that can be switched between English and Spanish (The Spanish version is cooler).
There is a mile walk downhill to the entrance of the cave but you can request a ride if you consider that you are not able to do it walking. The entire tour lasts for 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Inside the cave surfaces are wet and uneven so adequate shoes are recommended.
The opening of the park is not affected by rainy weather, only by hurricanes.
For any other questions or reservations (even if not required)you can call:
The price entry price is:
3. Bioluminiscent Bays (3 options)
There are 3 different options to go see this magical natural show, unfortunately, access to the 3 Bioluminescent bays is either, dangerous or inaccessible. So you will need to go on a tour.
(We tried accessing the Bioluminescent bay in La Parguera where there is an access in the middle of nowhere where you can walk a trail to the bay. When we got there, we saw some people on the side of the road that gave us a weird look as we passed by the trailhead with our car, and when we turned around and went back to park (1 minute later) they were gone.
So for your safety, as you probably don’t know the area and it will be dark, we recommend doing the tours.
The Options differ in location, the brightness of the bay, and how the tour is operated (In some places you can swim, and others offer kayak and boat tours):
- La Parguera: It is the one surrounded by the most touristy area of the 3, as it has a port with bars, food, and music where the tours depart from. All tours are done on a boat from the port to the bay, once in there, you will be able to swim/kayak. This is the only one where swimming is allowed, and therefore one with less brightness, as gasoline from boats and products on the skin from swimmers damage the microscopic organisms that produce the light.
- Fajardo: The location in Fajardo does not allow swimming, so it takes some pollution out, but still allows motor boats (as well as kayaks). This is the closest bay to San Juan (45min drive), but also the most crowded.
- Vieques: Vieques was awarded the Guinness World record for the brightest bio bay in the world. You are not allowed to swim and the only way to visit it is by kayak. The main inconvenience is that you will need to take a boat to the island (which we will cover next). There are no returning boats after the earliest tour so you will need to stay for 1 night on the island, and prices there are high, you will also need to pay for the ferry ($2 per person & way), car parking ($11.5 per day) and a taxi from the port to the bay side of the island (Which will run about $15-$20 each way). But in case you plan to visit Vieques anyway it is a great option.
4 . Vieques
How to get to Vieques?
Make sure to reserve a ferry before going to the port! There won’t be tickets left for the day if you don’t book in advance. You can buy tickets here. On many occasions you will see that all tickets are sold out, in that case, we recommend arriving at the port as early as possible before your trip, you can even go to the port days before your trip and purchase your tickets. You will be able to see how many tickets they have left on the counter from the website.
The Ferry to go to Vieques is located in Ceiba. You can get the exact location here. Ceiba Port. The ferry is very cheap and it is used by locals on a daily basis. You are not allowed to bring your own car to the island (this service is only for Vieques locals once a day, and rental companies don’t allow it anyways). So you will have to park your car. Parking is around $11.15 per day including tax and there are free shuttles that take you from the parking to the harbor (It’s a 2 min ride with the settle). Shuttle service might be slow at peak hours, which is why they recommend arriving one hour before your departure. The boarding process ends 10 minutes before departure. The ferry prices per way are:
What to see in Vieques?
Besides having the brightest bio bay in the world, Vieques has beautiful Caribbean beaches and a black sand beach. Here are the names and pictures of the best:
Coconut Beach, which has a beautiful swing.
That is all we know of as we only went to Vieques to see the bay and we arrived late because we didn’t reserve ferry tickets and we had to go on the last of the day. If you want to see what else to do in Vieques see this other article
5. Culebra island
Culebra is another small island on the East side of Puerto Rico, it has beaches with clear waters and abundant marine life.
To get there is the same process as going to Vieques, you will need to purchase tickets in advance, and leave your car in their parking. (Read the Vieques “How to get there” section for all the information). At tralei, we recommend visiting Vieques and Culebra together, although the ferry service between both islands only happens every last Sunday of the month. You can buy tickets here. (Just for Culebra) or from Vieques to Culebra here.
Once you arrive at Culebra you will probably need a vehicle. There is a local company that rents golf carts as most of the attractions are far from the harbor. The main attraction of the island is called Flamenco Beach, which features crystalline waters, and abandoned tanks on the left side of the beach. If you like snorkeling there is a beach where we saw 10+ sting rays, Sea Turtles, a Barracuda, an Octopus, and plenty of other fishes, it is called Tamarindo Beach and we spotted all of these on the left side.
6. El Yunque Natural Forest
El Yunque national forest is full of vegetation, forests, trails, waterfalls, and spots where you can swim in the river. Not to mention the coqui frog, the symbol of Puerto Rico, which you might not see, but you’ll definitely hear. (It sounds like a bird but is that high-pitched “co-qi” sound that you’ll hear all around Puerto Rico after dusk) There is a part of the forest that you will need a reservation way in advance to be able to access and those are, La Mina Falls, Juan Diego Falls, and Britton Tower. You can make reservations here:
In case you didn’t book in advance, that the park is closed or that you want to explore the free part of the forest we have an article dedicated to all the activities you can do around el Yunque that are free and always open. See The Post
Rincón is a beautiful coastal town in Puerto Rico, The atmosphere there is very relaxed and most afternoons there are kiosks in the main square selling local, art, necklaces, and hand-made souvenirs.
Rincon is the perfect place to disconnect and relax for a part of the day during your route or even to sleep at as it has great music and food around the main square.
8. Mar Chiquita Beach (Manati)
Mar Chiquita beach is a beach with very clear waters and a really cool shape from the air. There is sand on the coast so you can lay around but when you get above your hip into the water, the bottom becomes very rocky, which makes it a great place to snorkel, we were able to see lobsters in the bay area!
If you drive from San Juan it’s about 1 hour away, and there is free parking right on the beach.
9. Charco De los Moeones
Apparently, very few people know about this place in Puerto Rico, and it is not that hidden. It is right next to a road and it will only take 5 minutes to walk to the rock where the guy is standing.
As we arrived some locals recommended not to swim in the first part as the waterfall could pull you. After 10 minutes there, the locals left and the place was empty for another good 30 minutes.
To get here just go to this point in google maps, park the car to the right side and go down to the left.
Apart from the bioluminescent bays Fajardo also has some crystal clear waters and a huge port full of yachts and ambient life.
The nicest beach is called Seven Seas Beach which you can access here. If you go really early in the morning you might find parking spots on the nearby streets, otherwise, they have a big parking lot for $5 for the entire day.
There is another really nice beach called, Playa Escondida but don’t follow Google Maps directions to get to it,(You will end up on a dead end road with a police fence) you will have to go to Seven Seas beach and take the trail at the end of the beach to get there.
Gozilandia Waterfall (Extra)
Finally, Gozilandia waterfall is not that much of a must-see, but this is a good stop between the caves and Ricon.
The place is private so you will need to pay for the parking which includes the entrance. There are a total of 3 waterfalls you can visit and you are able to swim in all of them.
Thanks for reading! If you think we forgot to mention anything, don’t hesitate to write in the comment section!
We also have other articles about Puerto Rico, you can check them out here: Puerto Rico
Thank you for reading!