Puerto RicoTravel Guide

 Puerto Rico is a paradise of pristine, golden sand beaches, towering mountains, warm island people and rich with cultural treasures. Art spills onto the city’s walls, sultry nights are filled with salsa dancing and you'll find delicious food  around every corner. A territory of the United States, this little gem of an island tucked into the Caribbean buzzes with variety. You could be finding herself through the medium of dance, a budding graffiti artist, hunting a dose of adrenaline, or simply needing a chill spot to unwind.. Whichever way you cut it, every visitor finds a piece of Puerto Rico to love and take home in unforgettable memories. It’s also a magical family-friendly destination where kids are made to feel welcome. 

Puerto Rico quick facts

Language

National language

English

Beverages

Bottle of Coke/Pepsi (330ml)

CAD $1.93

Local time

Thursday

3:30pm

Currency

United States dollar

CAD $1.00 = USD $0.72

Eating out

Restaurant meal (casual dining)

CAD $17.81

Electricity

Plug type: A

2 or 3 pins • 120V

Explore Puerto Rico

Where to stay in Puerto Rico?

The Metro Area is the most happening hub in Puerto Rico but other popular locations include El Yunque Rainforest − a great option for nature lovers − and Fajardo Port with its easy access to the islands and Puerto Rico’s most popular beaches.

This hospitality group offers a range of Puerto Rican properties from bed and breakfasts that offer you yoga under the stars, to self-catering apartments straight out of the ’70s that'll have you jiving under their  disco balls to retro beats pumping from vinyl record players. All are within walking distance of the main attractions, including the beach, cafés and shops. Features such as rain showers, superb views and strategically placed hammocks promise you a unique and exceptional stay.


If you're looking for an all-inclusive, family-friendly resort, El Conquistador is a winner. With its own waterpark featuring waterslides that will have even the most serious adult standing in line, a private beach, a long list of activities and a golf course, El Conquistador is your resort fantasy come to life.


Combining modern luxury with old world charm, Hotel El Convento evokes romance from a bygone era. Take in the stunning views of the old town and the sea from the balcony in your bedroom or the rooftop garden and pool. This historic hotel is also right on the cobbled streets of Old San Juan, within walking distance to all the historical sites, cafés and boutiques — and right in the middle of the action of the San Sebastián Festival in January!


Believe us when we say, this is just the start. Book your accommodation today!

  • Skyline view of skyscrapers and ocean in Puerto Rico
    • Aerial view of an old fort on the edge of a cliff in Puerto Rico
    • Woman standing on a rock next to a lake with greenery in the background
  • Skyline view of skyscrapers and ocean in Puerto Rico
    Skyline view of skyscrapers and ocean in Puerto Rico
    Skyline view of skyscrapers and ocean in Puerto Rico
  • Aerial view of an old fort on the edge of a cliff in Puerto Rico
    Aerial view of an old fort on the edge of a cliff in Puerto Rico
    Aerial view of an old fort on the edge of a cliff in Puerto Rico
  • Woman standing on a rock next to a lake with greenery in the background
    Woman standing on a rock next to a lake with greenery in the background
    Woman standing on a rock next to a lake with greenery in the background

Things to do in Puerto Rico

Explore rainforest waterfalls and centuries-old forts or wander down streets dotted with art and rich with Spanish-Caribbean architecture. When dusk descends you can experience Puerto Rico’s nightlife at its best in San Juan, with beach and street parties.

El Yunque National Forest is home to 240 species of plants and trees and offers excellent family-friendly hiking. Follow trails to the cascading La Coca Falls, or swim in the natural turquoise pool of Juan Diego Falls. Adrenaline junkies can whizz through the rainforest on one of the many ziplines in the area.


Puerto Rico is a hub of art and artists with an array of galleries and museums, street art that explodes with vivid colours all over the walls. There is no walk more Instaworthy than a stroll among these vibrant murals. The origin of the street-art movement is said to be the neighbourhood of Santurce (near Old San Juan), which is now one of the biggest art districts in the Caribbean. It's also where you’ll find the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo, a great place to see contemporary Puerto Rican artists, and the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, an art-lover’s mecca with 17th-century pieces right through to contemporary works, and a stunning koi pond where you can reflect on all you’ve seen.


Want to experience the bigger picture? The whole of the Caribbean? We recommend you do it in comfort and style by booking a Caribbean cruise. Make sure Puerto Rico is one of the highlights and remember to prebook your shore excursions.


Layers of history make Puerto Rico an architectural treasure trove for sightseers. Starting in Old San Juan, this Spanish, colonial neighbourhood epitomises old-world charm with its watercolour-paintbox buildings. Check-out the many cafés, galleries, shops and bars. Don’t forget to wander down Fortaleza Street − also known as Umbrella Street − where a canopy of bubblegum-coloured umbrellas is suspended above the cobblestones. Old San Juan is also where you’ll find two UNESCO Heritage forts that are more than 400 years old − the famous Castillo San Felipe del Morro and the larger Castillo de San Cristóbal that faces the city. Meander past moats, tunnels, dungeons and climb guard towers with panoramic views over the ocean.The Historic Zone in the city of Ponce on Puerto Rico’s south coast is another great spot for sightseeing. The striking Parque de Bombas (Old Fire Station building), with its black and red liquorish-like layers, begs to be snapped in a selfie. Round off your sightseeing by discovering the indigenous origins of Puerto Rico: view the enigmatic Taíno ruins at the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park in Utuado, or descend a wooden ladder into the Cueva del Indio in Arecibo − a sacred cave inscribed with petroglyphs where the Taíno people convened with the gods.


If you feel like dancing in white sand, cocktail in hand, to some Bad Bunny beats, then VIVO Beach Club in Isla Verde, Carolina, is the place for you. Next to San Juan, this party central is right on the beach and includes numerous music venues, restaurants, bars, the on-site beer brewery Ocean Lab Brewing Co. and everything you need for a crazy-amazing night. But don’t limit yourself! Explore the many nightlife options Puerto Rico has to offer. Dance your way through every night of the week to music from Salsa to Reggaetón in San Juan. Just like the art, music and dance spills out in impromptu street parties − the rhythm will find you! 


Looking for an immersive experience? Then a tour is the way to go.

Flights to Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico food and drink

There are so many flavours to explore on this little Caribbean island. Whatever tickles your taste buds, you’ll find it here, from fine dining to local fare and authentic pavement cafés.

A foodie adventure awaits at La Ruta de Lechon, or the Pork Highway, in the mountain town of Cayey. This route takes you to authentic, family-owned eateries or Lechoneras − think pavement picnic tables and century-old family recipes that celebrate the island’s traditional pork/lechon specialty. Whole pork is slow-roasted over an open flame until it is perfectly crisp on the outside, and melt-in-your-mouth tender on the inside. This winding mountain route becomes extra lively on the weekends when there is a street-party atmosphere. Best explored by foot  or car.


The vibrant culture of the Santurce neighbourhood in San Juan will draw you in with its dramatic street art and entice you to stay with its delicious street food at Lote 23. A marketplace atmosphere complete with twinkle lights and live music, Lote 23 is a foodie heaven of street-food stalls. Satisfy your appetite with juicy burgers, tacos, vegan delights and local specialties, as well as refreshing cocktails.


If you have Michelin stars in your eyes, then head to the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel’s 1919 restaurant in San Juan. Here Michelin star chef Juan José Cuevas creates delectable dishes such as duck truffle ravioli and warm Valrhoana chocolate cake. This socially conscious chef uses organic ingredients sourced from artisans and farmers on the island.


Yes, we know this is not about food, but Puerto Rico has some unique, must-try beverage experiences that we simply had to mention. Let’s begin with coffee, and what better way to explore this delicious black elixir than with a tour of one of Puerto Rico’s world-renowned coffee plantations? Known as ‘Coffee Haciendas’, these plantations deep in the mountains offer tours and tastings galore. Sandra Farms is an excellent choice − an eco-friendly coffee plantation that also produces their own cocoa and chocolate. Then there’s the Bacardi Rum distillery. That Barcardi logo of a black bat in the red oval is basically the Batman symbol for rum worldwide. Bacardi is one of the biggest internationally acclaimed rum brands, and it hails from fair Puerto Rico. Explore the distillery in San Juan with a tasting tour or upskill yourself with a mixology class to learn how to craft the perfect mojito.
 


Get a real taste for the local cuisine by booking a tour.

Puerto Rico through your eyes

Where to shop in Puerto Rico?

 Sometimes on vacation the malls are still calling. We get it. Plaza Las Americas is the Caribbean’s largest shopping mall and with more than 300 shops, including big US brands like JC Penny, Macy’s and Coach, all your retail therapy needs will be sorted. Ashford Avenue, Puerto Rico’s answer to 5th Avenue, New York, is where all the luxury shopping happens (or perhaps more accurately − window-shopping). Luxury brands like Cartier, Gucci and local luxury brand Nono Maldonado dot the streets with their designer creations. Not keen on malls and prefer outdoor shopping? La Placita de Santurce in San Juan’s art mecca is a food market where you’ll find delicious cheeses, farm-fresh fruits and veg and other artisan products. This venue also happens to turn into a party at dusk, so be prepared for people letting loose under the twinkle of the fairy lights – and join in! 

 

Looking for a safe and simple way to bring your money when you travel? Our Travel Money Card has you covered!

When is the best time to travel to Puerto Rico?

You'll find April till June is the best time of year to travel to Puerto Rico. Prices are more affordable, and it won’t be too busy as these spring months fall in the shoulder season. High season is from December to April, which coincides with their long vacation season − an epically festive time and the best time to visit for festivals. The San Sebastián Street Festival in January is a four-day party that includes live performers and elaborate (and sometimes creepy) papier-maché masks. Rainy season is from April to November and in full swing in August. These wet months are considered low season, which is the time to visit Puerto Rico if you're after low prices and good deals.  As far as temperatures go, they differ between the lower and higher elevations of Puerto Rico. Around 70 to 90°F (21 to 32°C) in the lower elevations, while in the central part the elevation is higher, and temperatures are between 61 and 80°F (16 and 27 °C) all year.
 

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How to get around Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a small place − you can drive around the entire island in just eight hours − so exploring by car is the most popular way to get around. Exploring neighbourhoods like Old San Juan, however, is best done on foot and more enjoyable. Uber is available in the Metro Area, but not in other areas of Puerto Rico. You'll find local taxi services are far more prolific and widespread. City Cab is one of the most popular − book your rides online on their website. They also accept payments by card (many other taxi services only accept cash). Otherwise just hail a cab − taxis can be found outside the main tourist attractions, at the airport, and around the main hubs. Save the numbers for the taxi services on your phone and prebook if you’re venturing outside the Metro Area. Tren Urbano and the AMA Bus Network are budget-friendly ways of getting around Puerto Rico’s Metro Area. Download the Tren Urbano App to check times and routes of this urban train. The metropolitan bus authority (AMA) has a network of routes throughout the entire Metro Area − find the bus route maps and schedules at the main bus terminal in Old San Juan − Terminal Covadonga San Juan. You can buy a transit pass that works for both train and bus at any Tren Urbano station. Ferries and high-speed catamarans from the Fajardo port will whisk you to the islands of Culebra and Vieques.

Let us help you organize your own wheels for exploring. Hire a car today.

What are the best beaches in Puerto Rico?

The abundance of beaches in Puerto Rico, from secluded stretches of sand to party zones − makes this island the ultimate beach vacation destination. We had to rein ourselves in to pick only a few:

One of the most popular beaches in Puerto Rico, Mosquito Bay is best viewed at night, on a kayak. Why? After dark, the waters glow an other-worldly neon blue. This spectacular phenomenon is known as bioluminescence and is the result of tiny plankton called dinoflagellates, which glow blue when agitated. There are only a handful of bioluminescent bays in the world and Mosquito Bay is the brightest! The best time to visit is under a new moon when the skies are the darkest. Take a kayak tour to experience this magical feat of nature… and if it’s not on your bucket list yet, it certainly should be!


Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo is a beach cove that has that deserted island feeling. Even though it’s one of the popular beaches in Puerto Rico, it does not attract crowds. With long stretches of untouched sand and wilderness, it is a peaceful place to sunbathe, hike and snorkel. You can spot Sea turtles  here from February through to August, which is their nesting season in Puerto Rico.


Culebra Island’s Flamenco Beach has palm trees lining a crescent of golden sand and the waters are shallow and calm, making for excellent family-friendly swimming, snorkelling and sunbathing. Surprisingly, tanks can be found on the far west shoreline − relics left over from the Americans in WWII that have been reclaimed by the salty air and colourful graffiti.


Experience swimming with leatherback and green sea turtles, at Tamarindo Beach on Culebra Island. It’s THE place to snorkel. Plan to go in during nesting season, from February to August. You can also beach hop − Tamarindo Beach is very close to Flamenco Beach – so make a day of it and give yourself time to visit both.


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