Puerto Rico Travel Guide

Puerto Rico counts as domestic travel for Americans, since it's technically a part of the United States, but the local culture is so strong that Puerto Rico vacations really feel like stepping into a totally different environment. Travel to Puerto Rico and surround yourself with a mixture of old and new you won't find anywhere else. Whether you want to explore historical sites or hit up the pulsing nightlife, a Puerto Rico vacation is all that you need and more. Puerto Rico tourism makes up a fair bit of the territory's income, and for good reason, because you won't run out of things to do on a Puerto Rico vacation. Rent a Puerto Rico vacation home convenient to your favorite activities and you'll have a full vacation. If you have tips for our Puerto Rico vacation guide, please send them to us.

What to Do on Your Puerto Rico Vacation

Puerto Rico Beach VacationIf you're looking to savor the Puerto Rico beach experience, you have plenty of choices. Whether you choose to visit the popular (like Boqueron Beach, a favorite for swimming) or the more obscure (like Caña Gorda Beach, right next to a little fishing village), you'll find there's a Puerto Rico beach for everybody. More daring visitors may choose to go surfing on Jobos Beach, located on the northwest coast. Stay in a Puerto Rico beach condo and you'll be just steps from the shore.

If you like history, you'll have your hands full visiting historical sugar mills; Puerto Rico is covered with them. Puerto Rico tourism usually involves a tour of at least one, so don't miss it. Check out some of the ruins of centuries-old missions (like the Ermita Espinar Ruins), or pay a visit to one of the many lighthouses (like the charming Maunobo Lighthouse on Punta Tuna) instead.

  • Montoso Gardens – A botanical garden and farm located on the slopes of Pico Montoso mountain. If you and your family are gardeners or just enjoy admiring the beauty of nature, this is a great choice where you can view a huge range of tropical flowers, tropical fruits, and other plants that range from the beautiful to the delicious. Best of all, entry is free for kids, making this an affordable choice too. Just call ahead of time to make a reservation.
  • Heladeria de Lares (Lares Ice Cream Parlor) – This delectable location is just as much a tourist experience as it is a place to eat! With over 1000 flavors to choose from, the parlor will keep even the most die-hard ice cream aficionados on their toes. Stick to basic vanilla or brave more unusual flavors like chicken or corn.

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Where to Shop and Eat on a Puerto Rico Vacation

Travel to Puerto Rico and you'll find out just why it's such a popular place to visit. Tourists from all over appreciate the expansive – but not expensive – shopping to be found here. Countless stores cater to all the Puerto Rico tourism that comes through looking for good deals. If you really want to save money on art and hand-crafted wares, avoid the huge malls and devote part of your Puerto Rico vacation to finding small stores or local markets.

  • Barrachina, Inc. - An enormous shopping area (10,000 square feet) selling a huge range of merchandise, from jewelry to liquor to paintings and more. If you're shopping for the perfect souvenir, you will find it here.
  • Centro Comercial Plaza del Caribe – An upscale shopping mall in Ponce that will keep you busy with well over a hundred shops and a food court. If that's still not enough, check out the six theaters to keep your family entertained.

puerto rico diningDining in Puerto Rico means everything from fast food to fancy surf-and-turf restaurants. Local specialties include the sweet Caribbean lobster (different from what you might dine on elsewhere) and conch, or, if you're away from the coast, pork is a popular ingredient in local cuisine. No matter where you go, you'll find plantains cooked, mashed or fried. Expect to pay top-dollar for the nicest restaurants, like you might expect in a tourist area. The Puerto Rican government has set up a Puerto Rico tourism program to encourage visitors to try local cuisine, which means you'll have at least thirty popular and affordable restaurants to choose from if you want to try the true Puerto Rico vacation experience. These are one of your best bets for high-quality food you can afford, without having to go far off the beaten path. If you're traveling on a budget, stay in Puerto Rico villa rentals and take advantage of having a full kitchen, so you can save money by cooking your own meals and only splurge on the occasional meal out.

  • Jungle Jane's Restaurant – There's more to this restaurant than just the cute name. It's an informal place to eat with different seasonal meals, and tables are outside but shaded by giant green sails. If you like art, don't miss the "Attabei" mural, painted by a local artist, that draws a crowd on its own.
  • El Jefe Burger Shack – While a burger shack may not sound like the sort of place you want to visit on a nice vacation, it combines low prices with some amazingly tasty food. It's kid-friendly but offers cheap beers and even cigars for the adults, all in a laid-back, friendly atmosphere. Don't miss the stuffed burgers!
  • San Juan St. Germain Bistro and Cafe – A very popular location with the locals, for good reason, this cafe serves up healthier, fresh foods from salads to pita-bread pizza. It's especially vegetarian-friendly, too, though it serves meat dishes to accommodate everybody in your family. The prices are a little high but the food's good enough to make up for it. And if you save room for dessert, you won't be disappointed!
  • Pasion por el Fogion – If you'd rather enjoy local cuisine prepared with local seafood, this restaurant is the place for you. Don't be put off by the unassuming appearance; here you'll be treated to delicious, upscale meals focusing on steak and seafood with local touches everywhere. Although this isn't a cheap place to take the kids, it's a wonderful choice for splurging on a romantic dinner.

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Don't-Miss: Puerto Rico Tourism Favorites

Visit the bioluminescent bay in Lajas. Although Puerto Rico has a few of these breathtaking bays, Lajas is the most popular and receives the most Puerto Rico tourism. Take a nighttime kayak ride (the darker the night, the better) and watch the water around you glow thanks to microscopic organisms that give off light like fireflies do. Whether you're introducing your kids to the marvel of science or just taking a unique, once-in-a-lifetime romantic date, you won't be disappointed – visitors to the bioluminescent bays consider them one of the highlights of Puerto Rico vacations!

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When to Travel to Puerto Rico

Because Puerto Rico has consistently temperate weather year-round, the ideal Puerto Rico vacation time hinges more on whether or not you'll run into hurricane season. Avoid the threat of hurricanes altogether and travel to Puerto Rico between December and April, though you'll have to deal with crowds and higher prices during peak season. Puerto Rico vacation rentals are your best bet for affordable accommodations no matter what season you come, though you will find better deals if you're willing to brave the off season.

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What to Know About Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico uses standard US currency, so you won't need to worry about changing money unless you're coming from outside of the US. Because Puerto Rico tourism is so common, you should have no trouble finding ATMs on the island, too. Rent a Puerto Rico vacation condo downtown and you'll be within walking distance of ATMs should you find you need a little extra cash.

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What to Bring to Your Puerto Rico Rental

The Puerto Rico beach is one of the area's biggest draws, so make sure you plan accordingly with swimsuits, sunscreen and other beach gear! If you stay in Puerto Rico vacation rentals, you may not have to pack some of your beach gear because some vacation rental owners include umbrellas and toys stored in their homes. Otherwise, plan for warm weather and (depending on the season) frequent rainfall.

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Local Services in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico tourism means that you'll find many tourist-friendly services. Stay in Puerto Rico vacation rentals and you'll have a whole range of personal grocery services who will be more than happy to stock your pantry before you arrive, giving you one less thing to worry about. You can also rent outdoor gear, beach gear and baby gear. If you need to hire a babysitter for a night out on your Puerto Rico vacation, you'll find bonded childcare services, too.

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How to Travel to Puerto Rico (and Around)

Fly into the main airport, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, in San Juan. Some major airlines fly into local airports in other cities, so if you intend to take your Puerto Rico vacation elsewhere, research the possibility of a more direct flight. Once you're there, you have many Puerto Rico travel options, like taxis (we recommend Puerto Rico Tourism Company-run taxis), rental cars (though parking is terrible in San Juan), trains and buses. Stay in a centrally-located Puerto Rico rental villa and you won't need to rent a car because you'll be able to walk most anywhere you need to go unless you want to leave the city to visit another!

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Why Puerto Rico Vacation Rentals?

Puerto Rico vacation rentals combine the very best of Puerto Rico accommodations: low cost, great location and a ton of amenities and perks. Whether you stay in affordable Puerto Rico beach rentals or opt for urban condos in downtown San Juan, you'll enjoy all the privacy and luxury of having your own space instead of staying in a crowded hotel room. Thanks to the popularity of Puerto Rico tourism, owners offer a huge variety of Puerto Rico vacation rentals of all shapes and sizes, so if you're planning to travel to Puerto Rico, you're sure to find the right place for you.

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