Puerto Rico, also known as the Island of Enchantment, is full of charms that are delivered through its abundant natural beauty and its year round Caribbean tropical weather.
Its rich history, vibrant culture, stunning landscapes, and warm locals make it a unique and unforgettable destination.
But these are not the only reasons to visit Puerto Rico, it has so much more to offer.
In this guide, we share some of the top reasons to visit Puerto Rico and why it makes a great destination for any traveler.
- Reasons To Visit Puerto Rico
- 1. You can explore the oldest city in a U.S. territory
- 2. For its natural diversity and off the beaten path sceneries
- 3. To experience a blend of cultures
- 4. For its water sports and active adventures
- 5. Because it is not just one island
- 6. To enjoy delicious creole cuisine
- 7. To relax and have fun at its beaches
- 8. For Toro Verde Adventure Park, Home to One of the Longest Zipline in the World
- 9. For Salsa Dancing
- 10. It's refreshing and beautiful waterfalls
- 11. Home to Some of the World's Best Rum
- 12. For Bomba Music
- 13. For Bioluminescent Bays
- 14. There are Festivals ALL the Time
- 15. No Need For A Passport or Visa
- Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico
- Final Thoughts
Reasons To Visit Puerto Rico
1. You can explore the oldest city in a U.S. territory
Puerto Rico has been part of the United States since 1898. But before this, Puerto Rico had already been developing its cities during the previous 405 years under Spain’s ruling.
For this reason, Old San Juan is considered to be the oldest city in the United States. Its seven-by-seven-block grid of cobblestone streets is lined with pastel-colored colonial buildings, plazas, churches, parks, and military fortresses.
Some must-see attractions are Castillo San Felipe del Morro Fort and San Cristobal Fort, and a walk through Paseo de la Princesa.
2. For its natural diversity and off the beaten path sceneries
I’m still marveled by how such a small island can have such a diverse ecosystem.
While the north coast tends to be a fertile coastal plain, the south tends to be much dryer and quite hot. On the west coast steep mountains rise from the sea, while the east shores are full of sandy beaches.
Throughout the island you will find a tropical rain forest, a dry forest, bioluminescent bays, a subterranean river cave system, pristine beaches, and world-class surfing and diving spots; all less than a three-hour drive apart.
For a taste of the natural diversity and a way to get off the beaten path, drive the astonishingly scenic Ruta Panorámica (Panoramic Route) throughout the center of the island, in my opinion one of the most beautiful routes in the island.
3. To experience a blend of cultures
I believe Puerto Rican culture is somewhat colorful and dynamic.
As you experience the daily life, you will see and hear the cultural melting pot that characterizes the island in everything from the language, food, dance, traditions, and everything in between.
The cultural and racial origins come from the Native Taíno; which was eventually mixed with the Spanish conquistadors and African Slaves.
This tripartite mix composes the framework of Puerto Rican culture; resulting in a contemporary society with practically no racial problems.
4. For its water sports and active adventures
Being a tropical island, water sports are big among the locals.
Diving enthusiasts prefer the east coast, while surfers love the waves north and west off Aguadilla and Rincon. There’s also a wide array of places around the island to go deep-sea fishing, snorkeling, and sailing.
While inland, the subterranean river caves of Rio Camuy, the world’s third largest subterranean river cave system, makes for a great caving adventure; and so does hiking to the top of El Yunque National Rainforest, the only tropical rainforest in North America.
5. Because it is not just one island
Puerto Rico is commonly thought to be a single island, but in reality it is a group of islands, cays, and islets.
The main island, Puerto Rico, is surrounded by three small islands: Vieques, Culebra, and Mona.
In addition, numerous smaller islands and cays sprinkle the Atlantic and Caribbean seas, among those: Monito, Desecheo, Caja de Muertos, and Gilligan’s Island.
Island hopping is one of the ways locals love to explore the island on any given weekend. Vieques and Culebra are considered to be “the way Puerto Rico used to be” – and I agree!
6. To enjoy delicious creole cuisine
Although Puerto Rican cooking is somewhat similar to Spanish, Cuban, and Mexican cuisine, it has a unique tasty blend of African, Taíno, and American influences.
We know this as Comida Criolla (Creole food), and it is one of the reasons why I love to go back often.
Puerto Ricans adore well-seasoned chicken, pork, beef, fresh seafood such as fish and shellfish.
Most dishes are complemented with rice, beans, salad, and plantains. In fact, plantains are the single most popular side dish served on the island.
Desserts usually include some form of flan and coconut is among the most common dessert ingredients.
For drinks, natural juices and coffee are a common choice. Rum is the national drink, and you can buy it in almost any shade.
One thing you must try in Puerto Rico is plantains!
7. To relax and have fun at its beaches
Miles of publicly accessible shoreline is one reason most people visit Puerto Rico. It has many beaches with clean, golden sand and turquoise blue waters.
- Condado Beach is one of the most popular beaches in San Juan; great for people-watching since it is always active and full of tourists and vendors.
- Luquillo Beach has that postcard look with its beautiful half-moon shape.
- Isla Verde Beach is an award-winning beach known for its clean, soft sand and beachside resorts.
- And Flamenco Beach, in Culebra, is in my opinion one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico – three miles of pure beauty, waves, and sun.
If you like total seclusion, on the neighboring island of Vieques you can still find remote, almost-private-for-yourself beaches, like Blue Beach, Red Beach, and Green Beach.
In the end, it doesn’t matter which beach or sight you wish to experience, the best thing to do is to enjoy it, absorb the moment, and let yourself be enchanted!
8. For Toro Verde Adventure Park, Home to One of the Longest Zipline in the World
If you’re seeking an unforgettable adventure, then you’ll find more thrilling and adrenaline pumping activities on Puerto Rico as well.
Toro Verde Adventure Park is an ecological park that’s home to a world-class ziplining experience, which boasts being the longest single run zipline in the Americas, and one of the longest zip lines in the world.
As you soar through the lush landscapes, adrenaline rushes through your veins, and breathtaking views unfold before your eyes.
Toro Verde Adventure Park invites adrenaline junkies and nature lovers alike.
9. For Salsa Dancing
Known as the birthplace of salsa, Puerto Rico holds a rich musical heritage that pulses through its streets.
From traditional salsa clubs to lively dance festivals, Puerto Rico offers a diverse range of venues and opportunities to immerse yourself in this energetic dance style.
As you move to the infectious rhythms of salsa, you’ll feel the passion and soul of Puerto Rico come alive.
Whether you’re an experienced dancer or a beginner looking to learn, Puerto Rico has a lively salsa scene and is one of the best places in the world to get your salsa on.
10. It’s refreshing and beautiful waterfalls
Puerto Rico’s waterfalls are an irresistible draw. With numerous waterfalls scattered across the island, there’s no shortage of natural wonders to explore.
From the majestic Gozalandia Falls and the picturesque La Mina Falls to the enchanting Juan Diego Falls, each waterfall offers a unique and awe-inspiring experience.
The lush rainforests and rugged landscapes surrounding these falls provide a serene backdrop, making them perfect for relaxation or adventure.
11. Home to Some of the World’s Best Rum
Known as the Rum Capital of the World, the island boasts a rich history and tradition of rum production.
From renowned brands like Bacardi and Don Q having their distilleries here, as well as local companies, Puerto Rico is the place to be for rum lovers.
12. For Bomba Music
As well as salsa, visitors should make sure to immerse themselves in the captivating rhythms of bomba music.
Dating back over 400 years, bomba is the first native music of the island, rooted in the African heritage of its people.
Unlike other genres, bomba dancers set the rhythm for the musicians, creating a unique and interactive experience.
The pulsating beats of the drums, the melodic maracas, and the energetic dance moves all come together seamlessly. You can find bomba music all over the island, and it really adds to the overall atmosphere.
13. For Bioluminescent Bays
I mentioned that the nature in Puerto Rico is out of this world, but one of the most unique phenomenon of nature is Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays, where nature puts on a mesmerizing light show.
These rare ecosystems, found in Fajardo, Vieques, and Lajas, are home to microorganisms that emit a stunning bioluminescent glow in the water.
One of the most visited bioluminescent bay is Mosquito Bay, where it’s possible to see the glowing organisms from the shoreline.
Unlike other bioluminescent bays around the world, Puerto Rico’s can be enjoyed year-round, making it a perfect destination for any time of the year.
14. There are Festivals ALL the Time
If you haven’t figured it out yet, there is a lively and vibrant spirit in Puerto Rico which is best experienced by attending one of its lively festivals.
From the Fiesta de los Reyes Magos to the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián, the island offers a diverse calendar of annual celebrations that showcase its rich cultural heritage.
Dance to the rhythm of bomba and salsa, indulge in traditional food and drinks, and join in on lively parades and street parties.
Whether you’re attending the Casals Festival to celebrate classical music or joining the festivities during the longest holiday season in the world, Puerto Rico always has a party on.
15. No Need For A Passport or Visa
A vacation to Puerto Rico cannot be any easier, since you don’t need a passport (if you’re an American Citizen) or visa to enter.
It’s the most accessible tropical paradise from the states and
Once you’re there, it’s really easy to get around. Public transportation in Puerto Rico is reliable and connects most of the island, plus Uber operates on the island and is much cheaper than mainland USA.
Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico
The best time to visit Puerto Rico is from mid-April to June. This period falls after the busy winter season and before the rainy summer, offering pleasant weather and smaller crowds.
The peak tourist season is December to January, as many travelers come here to escape the harsh, cold winters of mainland USA.
Ultimately, with Puerto Rico’s year-round warm climate, you can enjoy the island’s beauty at any time, but travelers should be warned that hurricane season lasts from June 1 to November 30.
You can use the map below to help you find accommodation in your Puerto Rico destination.
I lived in Puerto Rico for over 23 years and I still get excited when I return to the island.
Going back gives me the chance to see the island both as a tourist and as a local, allowing me to enjoy its sights and beauty like if I was experiencing them for the first time.
I hope this guide helped you understand why Puerto Rico is worth visiting and why you should add it to your travel bucket list.
Bio: Norbert Figueroa is an architect always looking for new experiences and inspiration to design his world through travel and to build an adventurous lifestyle. He shares tips and experiences at GloboTreks and at his facebook fan page to inspire others to get out there and live the life they want.