A few weeks ago, an Instagram follower asked me if I could recommend a few places for her and her husband to go to during a trip to Puerto Rico. I requested the help of my husband who knows more about where to go and what to do in Puerto Rico. There is much more beyond this list, trust me. I’m not a beach person so I only the know the popular ones for the locals. Do your own research and do not be afraid to ask the locals when you’re there. Puerto Ricans are amongst the friendliest people ever. Enjoy our warm coffee, lively coquis, and breathtaking greenery; you won’t regret it.
We are total foodies so you will see that food makes up a big place in this list. Also, please make sure you call these places ahead of time. It’s been 6 months since Hurricane Maria hit the island, though a lot of places are up and running, I’m not sure of all of them.
I included a few places outside of the metro area but the majority of this list is for the San Juan Metro area. There are other beautiful places to visit such as Mayagüez, Hatillo, Camuy, Rincón, Isabela, Fajardo, Ponce, Yauco (known for it’s coffee), Humacao, Naguabo, Lares, etc.
We recommend you stay at an Air B&B in the Condado or Ocean Park area and rent a car, you’ll have an amazing time. Don’t worry about the language, almost everybody is bilingual. After all, Puerto Rico is a US Territory.
- Old San Juan
- El Morro de San Felipe
- Fly a kite at El Morro (there’s always local vendors around selling, take cash)
- Museo de las Americas
- Bahía Urbana
- National Gallery
- San Juan Cemetery (Kind of creepy, I won’t lie but worth taking pictures)
- Plaza de Armas
- Cristo St. (lots of high-end shops)
- Children’s Museum
- Pigeon Park (Parque de las Palomas)
- Take cash as there are vendors selling corn kernels to feed the pigeons. They fly into your hand. Mind you, it doesn’t smell too good here.
- Casa Don Q
- El Convento Hotel (it’s absolutely gorgeous, it used to be a convent)
- Calle San Sebastián (it’s where the San Sebastián festival takes place every January marking the end of the Christmas season in Puerto Rico)
- Parroquia San Francisco de Asís (gorgeous Catholic church, don’t let the outside deceive you)
- Paseo la Princesa
- Señor Paleta (okay, this is a popsicle store but they’re amazing homemade popsicles with all-natural, local ingredients. Perfect treat on a very hot San Juan day)
- Old Harbor Brewery (microbrewery)We recommend parking at Paseo Portuario parking garage near the cruise ships and then walk your way up to see everything.
- El Morro de San Felipe
- Casa Barcardí
- El Yunque
- It’s worth a full day there; pack bug repellant, water and snacks in your bag.
- Museum of Art of Puerto Rico (5 minutes from Old San Juan in Santurce)
- Botanical Gardens at the University of Puerto Rico
- Botanical Gardens – Caguas (25 minutes away; my favorite botanical park)
- Plaza las Américas (biggest mall in the Caribbean)
- Casa de España (Old San Juan; it’s a Moorish palace, now wedding venue, donated to PR by the King of
- Spain) *This is where I got married so I am biased and think it’s worth visiting on your way out of Old San Juan, haha.
- Serrallés Castle (1 hour way in Ponce, PR)
- Cueva Ventana (This place is amazing, it’s a cave overlooking the Rio Grande, see pictures on Google, it is well worth the drive and walk/hike; 50 – 60 minutes from San Juan in Arecibo).
- Barceloneta Prime Outlets (if you want to do some shopping off the beaten path; mostly locals so no souvenir shops or anything like that)
- Mall of San Juan (New fancy mall, haha)
- Libros AC (Local bookstore with great coffee in the Santurce area)
- Culebra (Getting to Culebra island can be done by ferry from Fajardo (40 mins from SJ) or by plane from SJU). There you will find some of the best beaches such as:
- Playa Flamenco
- Recognized as one of the top beaches in the world for it’s clear blue waters. .
- Playa Carlos Rosario
- Playa Tamarindo
- Playa Flamenco
- Balneario del Escambrón (San Juan)
- La Posita Beach (Loiza)
- Ocean Park Beach (San Juan)
- Crash Boat beach (Aguadilla)
- Gilligan’s Island (Guánica)
- Vieques (also requires a ferry ride)
- Bioluminescent Bay
- Black Sand Beach
- Pelican Beach (Caja de Muertos Island, Ponce)
- Café Madeleine Bistro
- Bistro Café (Isla Verde, near the airport)
- Kasalta Bakery (Ocean Park area, also near the airport; President Obama had breakfast here)
- Café Cuatro Sombras (Old San Juan) (Coffee shop with breakfast items)
- La Bombonera (Old San Juan)
- Ocean Park Cafe
- Blonda (Condado area)
- Abracadabra Counter Cafe (Santurce area)
- La Mala Vida (Old San Juan and Santurce)
- Pinky’s Condado
- Casa Cortes Chocobar (Local chocolatiers; Old San Juan)
- Sobao by Los Cidrines
- Caficultura (Old San Juan)
- Latte que Latte (Coffee shop with breakfast items)
- La Taza de Iche (Coffee shop with breakfast items)
- Waffle-era Tea Room (Old San Juan, amazing sweet and savory waffles. Try the guava and local cheese one)
- Tostado (Santurce area)
- St. Germain Bistro (Old San Juan)
- Aguaviva (Old San Juan)
- Metropol (Cuban food; San Juan and Guaynabo)
- Nonna (Condado; make reservations)
- Cocina Abierta (Condado; make reservations)
- Gallo Negro (Santurce)
- El Mercado de Paseo Caribe
- Santaella (Santurce)
- Bottles (Guaynabo)
- Restaurante Los Olivos (Caguas)
- Serafina (San Juan)
- Perla Restaurant (San Juan)
- Sultan Abi (Turkish food in San Juan)
- Cayo Caribe
- Acapulco Taquería
- Pirilo Pizza (Old San Juan and Condado)
- La Madre (Old San Juan)
- Buns Burger Shop (Guaynabo and San Juan; better for quick lunch)
- Ropa Vieja Grill
- Aurorita Restaurant (Local place for Mexican food; San Juan)
- Mai Pen Rai (Amazing thai food; San Juan)
- Salitre Mesón Costero (Ocean views; Arecibo)
- Salpicón (Arecibo)
- Kaplash (Local place for empanadas/ great for lunch; Añasco, PR)
- Di Yukas (Fajardo, PR)
- Calizo Seafood (Fajardo, PR)
- Cocobana Restaurant (San Juan)
- Obrigado Café (San Juan)
- Berlingeri Cocina Artesanal (San Juan)
- FreshMart (Guaynabo)
- Peace n Loaf (San Juan)
- Café Berlin (San Juan)
Like I said, this is list only suggest a few places in the San Juan area mostly. There’s a lot more to do. We hope this blog post is a stepping stone for more research.
I found this amazing blog post from Passport and Plates with wonderful tips and tricks.
If you ever have a question about what to do/see/eat in PR, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I’d be happy to help.