15 Reasons To Visit Puerto Rico

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

Old San Juan Fortress Walls
Old San Juan Fortress Walls

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

Rapelling at Arecibo
Rapelling at Arecibo

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

Doves in front of Chapel of Christ the Savior
Doves in front of Chapel of Christ the Savior

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

man Kayaking at Guayama
Kayaking at Guayama

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

stick on beach
island views

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

a plate of creole food

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

peopel on Pine Grove Beach

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

two people 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

Doña Juana Waterfall plunging over cliff Puerto Rico
Doña Juana Waterfall, Puerto Rico

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

rum cocktail in glass
Classic white rum based Pina Colada cocktail with tropical flavours of pineapple and coconut traditionally garnished with pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry on black background

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

peopel swimming in beach

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

waves crashng into shore with old pretty town on cliffs

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.

Final Thoughts

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.

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29 thoughts on “15 Reasons To Visit Puerto Rico”

  1. Great guest post from Norbert. He’s awesome and fun to chat with. Puerto Rico is such a beautiful island and loving the food.

  2. PR….it could stand for Puerto Rico or the great PR job that Norbert performed in reporting about this wonderful city. It is definitely on my to do list!

    1. Good to hear that Christine. There is a lot to see and do in Puerto Rico that is not often shown to the world. I’m glad to have had the opportunity to show some of the environments and culture I love and that I grew with.

  3. ¡Hola!

    Got this blog in my inbox through a Google alert for ‘Puerto Rico’. Love it! I think I’m going to be busy reading and enjoying the photos for a while.

    Warm Regards from Juncos, PR,


    1. Hola Candy!

      So nice you found this through your Google alert! Hope it has served some good to you too, an experienced Puerto Rican. Enjoy Juncos, it is lovely there!

      Cheers from Carolina via New York! 🙂


    1. You’re welcome John! Glad you have enjoyed the post. It’s good to spread the word of the many good things the island has to offer. Without any doubt you will enjoy Puerto Rico when you have the chance to go.

  4. Hi happyfamilytravels!

    So cool you want to go there in the summer, nice choice! You will love it there!

    There are many spanish schools in the metropolitan area, especially in Isla Verde, Condado, and Santurce. Those are small districts between the airport and Old San Juan. I honestly don’t know how good or bad are most of them, but ones that I’ve heard mentioned constantly are Berlitz (right next to the airport), Inlingua, and PanAmerican. But they can be pricey. I recommend you check http://www.superpagespr.com (PRs yellow pages).

    I also recommend looking for a private tutor (since it’s for a family) or by checking with the University of Puerto Rico (they have spanish classes for the general public and is cheaper since it’s a public university). Or, once in Puerto Rico, check the mayor local newspapers like El Nuevo Dia and Primera Hora – they are packed with classified ads. I think Rosetta Stone can be a good option too.

    Let me know if you need any other recommendations or any help.

    Have fun there!!

  5. Norbert,

    I am so proud. You have painted a beautiful picture of the island to the people who have not been there. Thanks for making me remember the great things that make our island special.

    I haven’t been there in 4 years. This may be the year to return to visit family and friend. Also, to take my husband for the first time.

    1. Thank you so much Ruth! Like you said, the island is special, so it’s good for us to share it with the world!

      I’ve been out for three years, but I come and go often. You will surprised how much certain areas have changed in the last four year, but at the same time, other areas have kept that character that have made them unique. Yes, I do encourage you to go back. It will be great for you to rediscover the island while your husband experiences it for the first time.

      So good to have you around!

  6. There is only one thing I want to do in Puerto Rico, okay well two. The first is go to el yunque and jump off a cliff into the ocean and then go dance reggeaton. After that my life would be complete. Eso seria bien cabron! jajajaj 😛

    1. Marcello, you will enjoy a hike in El Yunque. I recommend you go to La Mina Waterfall and explore through some of the rivers. Really good for an adventurous experience. Many campers also say to have seen UFOs. Who knows?

      Cliffs… you will find most of them on the west, north-west part of the island. Many people go to several spots over there to do cliff diving. And last but not least, Reggaeton! If you want to dance Reggaeton, you must go to Carolina – its “birthplace”. This is the municipality right next to San Juan and there you will find the best night clubs with Reggaeton and Salsa. For other types of music, San Juan is your destination.

      hahaha! You know your Puerto Rican slang! 🙂

  7. So many reasons to go back to Puerto Rico! I had a lot of Puerto Rican friends in college and I had heard how amazing it was but had never gotten a chance to visit. Last year I finally did get to go, but it was a very brief trip. I definitely have to go back to experience El Yunque and some more of that delicious food!

    1. Hi Anis! So great you got to go to Puerto Rico. If you’re into hiking and outdoor activities, then El Yunque is a great option since it is near the metropolitan area. For delicious food, uff, there are so many choices… Old San Juan, Piñones, Guavate, Luquillo, Fajardo… yumm yumm yumm 🙂

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