Top 10 Best Day Trips from Puerto Rico

Nguyen Kieu Trang 15 0 Error

Puerto Rico is graced with a wealth of fantastic beaches, year-round sun, limestone caves, and opportunities for diving, snorkeling and surfing as well as a ... read more...

  1. El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System but it is also a sacred place in Puerto Rican culture. This national treasure is an excellent destination if you want to immerse yourself in nature. Located at the main park entrance on PR-191, the beautiful El Portal Visitor Center is a great place to begin your journey into El Yunque. There is an accessible interpretive trail that circles the property, along with opportunities to spot the endangered Puerto Rican Parrot. Other amenities include exhibits, interpretive programs, restrooms, a gift shop, and a café.

    One of the most popular things to do in El Yunque is hiking to one of the natural pools to cool off with a swim. Head over to La Coca trail and hike down to one of several ponds along the route for the perfect way to cool off. For fun in the form of a rope swing, choose the El Angelito trail, where a 4km (2.5-mile) hike can end with a dive into its lagoon. There are plenty of additional options for trails with varying levels of difficulty throughout the park.

    During your day trip, learn about the 240 plant species endemic to Puerto Rico. Enjoy the park’s pure air and some of the best birdwatching on the Island. Hopefully, you’ll catch a view of woodpeckers, green mangos, and the Puerto Rican parrot.

    Want more “wow” during your visit? Drive over to the Yokahú Observation Tower. With an elevation of 1,575 feet, the expansive view is worth the trip. The blue beauty of the ocean in the distance and the vast lush green mountains will have you reaching for your camera.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5/5
    • Website:
    • Admission: $8 for adults, with children under 15 years entering for free
    • Opening Hours: Daily 7:30 AM - 6:00 PM
    • Address: PR-191 Río Grande, PR 00745

  2. The Arecibo Observatory is the home of one of the world’s largest radio telescopes, which is used to study the ionosphere and nearby planets as they pass overhead. Since its opening in 1963, this radio telescope has been in continuous operation and has made many significant scientific discoveries. And during your day trip to Puerto Rico, you can view this huge scientific instrument up close and personal. Once you arrive at the observatory, you’ll park in the parking lot, which is located below the exhibits and telescope. Be forewarned that you will have to walk up a fairly steep hill to get to the Observatory itself. The walkway is a combination of steps and an inclined sidewalk.

    Once at the top, get your tickets and go in to start learning. The place has a ton of hands-on exhibits explaining and demonstrating how and why things happen in the galaxy. They have the exhibits broken into sections – some about the earth and solar system, the stars and galaxies, and others on tools and techniques used in studying these natural sciences. They even have some meteors on display.

    Today, the telescope is used in the very important role of guarding human planet against the threat of asteroids. The Arecibo telescope has also played a key role in studying celestial events known as fast radio bursts which are split-second blasts of radio waves that appear in the sky and have traveled billions of light-years across the cosmos.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5/5
    • Website:
    • Admission: $15 per person (all plus tax).
    • Opening Hours: Daily 9:00 AM - 3:30 PM
    • Address: PR-625, Arecibo, 00612, Puerto Rico
  3. Few landmarks represent Puerto Rico's legacy within the Caribbean and the Americas than El Morro Fort. This fortification on the corner of the islet of Old San Juan now greets cruise ships as they leisurely sail in and out of the bay. During most of its nearly 500-year history, it was an important military outpost for Spain and later the United States.

    To get to El Morro, walk up a path that crosses the massive lawn in front of the fort. The National Park employees who charge the entrance fee greet you at the entrance. The fort is guided by park rangers in both English and Spanish, but you are free to explore the various levels and rooms on your own if you prefer. Barracks, kitchens, and other facilities used by soldiers are recreated in each section. Informative presentations paint a vivid picture of Puerto Rico's strategic importance in the Americas, as well as the evolution of El Morro and its artillery over the last five centuries.

    If you want to take some memorable vacation photos, go to the fort's lowest level, which is close to the water. You'll get a sense of the size and scope of this military installation. Across the water, you'll also be able to see El Cauelo, which is located on a small island. From the higher levels, you can see the Atlantic Ocean, Old San Juan, the cemetery, and La Perla, a neighborhood built outside the wall.

    From El Morro's dry moat, you can access an entrance to the Paseo del Morro, a pathway that follows the city's outer wall to the Gate of San Juan (approximately 1.5 miles). You can also linger for a while on the giant lawn in front of El Morro and fly a kite, a local tradition that has lasted through generation.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5/5
    • Website:
    • Admission: $3 for adults for one fort or $5 for both; free for ages 15 and under
    • Opening Hours: Daily 9:30 AM - 4:30 PM
    • Address: 501 C. Norzagaray, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico
  4. Luquillo Beach is one of Puerto Rico's most famous and most visited tourist attractions. The view from the beach is spectacular. It features a long gold crescent of sand lined by innumerable coconut palms with the hazy mountains of the rainforest soaring in the distance. Luquillo Beach is so beautiful that it has become a national and international place of favor – with good reason. Luquillo’s offshore reefs keep the waters calm and tranquil so that families can enjoy the water knowing that the lifeguards are on duty and that rough waters are far away.

    Luquillo Beach also has plenty of parking, changing, restrooms, and an abundance of souvenir and food stalls. Each stall seems to like its unique style of tropical music which plays all day long. There are also many colorful kiosk-type shops, which sell everything from bathing costumes to ice cream and ice-cold beer. Some of them have also transformed into small seaside restaurants where the menu may feature anything from local traditional seafood fritters to gourmet delights. The variety ensures that the tastes of even the most demanding connoisseurs are satisfied.

    Together with all the action and entertainment offered, Luquillo has made time once a week for the “Sea Without Barriers” program to help visitors in wheelchairs enjoy the cool waters with their friends and family. Luquillo Beach has been visited by residents from San Juan for generations and people from all over the world come here to enjoy the tropical feeling that it offers. A day trip in Puerto Rico would not be complete without at least setting foot on the sands of Luquillo Beach.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.0/5
    • Website: N/A
    • Admission: Free
    • Opening Hours: Daily
    • Address: 97MC+437, PR-3, Luquillo, 00773, Puerto Rico
  5. The Gozalandia Waterfall makes for one of the best day trips from Puerto Rico. It is possibly the most popular waterfall in Western Puerto Rico, if not the entire island, thanks to a pair of noteworthy falls that are ideal for families with children as well as adults. The lower waterfall was the more popular because it featured a tall 30m drop that was also unusually wide, as well as a refreshingly cool plunge pool that was popular with families, especially those who brought children.

    The upper waterfall, on the other hand, is a little shorter and more slender, but it has a rope swing as well as a deep plunge pool, and it attracts mostly adults because you have to hike a little further for it. Regardless, both waterfalls were quite easy and straightforward to visit.

    Indeed, rather than being an adventure, this waterfall experience was all about relaxing in beautiful surroundings. The main falls have a small half-submerged cave into which you can dive or swim. You can also take a risk and climb the waterfall to the point where the locals jump. The path can be slippery, but with water shoes and the help of the ropes that are tied off throughout the falls, it is definitely doable. This area also includes a shallow area where many families with children congregate; it is large enough for 30 or so people to comfortably hang out.

    The 'upper falls' has a great rope swing, and this area tends to be less busy since it's about another 1/4 mile hike from the main falls. A few rocks to jump off of as well but nothing compared to the high jump of the main falls.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5/5
    • Website:
    • Admission: Free. $10.00 parking fee
    • Opening Hours: Daily
    • Address: 9268+5GG, Sec Lechuza, San Sebastián 00685, Puerto Rico
  6. If you are willing to expand your adventure outside of Puerto Rico, you should check out Vieques Island. This small island is accessible by a ferry and is the perfect place to get away from the crowd. Among the top attractions that you will find here is the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge where wild horses, manatees, and sea turtles call it home. You can also go on a snorkeling tour.

    Aside from that, another attraction here that you don’t want to miss is Mosquito Bay. This bioluminescent bay is the brightest in the world as stated by the Guinness World Records back in 2008. You can also check La Parguera if you want to see more bioluminescence. Although it was affected by Hurricane Maria, Mosquito Bay lit up once more much to the delight of the locals and tourists. The best time to visit here is during the new moon phase when the waters light up.

    The best way to explore Vieques is to rent a Jeep so you can get around easily. Aside from that, go hiking through the verdant forest so you can be one with nature. Since you are on the island, you should not forget to appreciate the sandy beaches here. In fact, you should take advantage of the various water sports that you can do here. Among these are snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, and jet skiing. The clear water makes it easier to spot the various sea creatures that thrive around this island. On the other hand, you can go sailing to see the island from a different perspective.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5/5
    • Website:
    • Admission: Free
    • Opening Hours: Daily
    • Location: Vieques, Puerto Rico
  7. The Camuy River Cave Park is on the north coast of Puerto Rico. It is the third-largest underground river across the globe. What makes this a great destination for tourists is its extensive network of underground limestone caves. These have been carved by the river over the centuries. Although the cave system was first discovered in 1958, there is evidence that shows that the indigenous people living on the island found them first.

    So far, there are 10 miles of caverns, 220 caves, and around 17 entrances that have been mapped. Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg as the cave system is expansive. Experts believe that there is still 800 miles worth left to discover.

    You can look for a tour company that will take you to see the massive stalactites and stalagmites here. Take note that some of the caves and caverns are off-limits. Your guide will show you the best paths to fully appreciate the beauty of this subterranean world. That said, anyone who is looking for unique places to see should definitely add this cave system to their list. For sure, you will have a better appreciation of Mother Nature’s creativity.

    This is the perfect place to head to if you are planning a day trip to Puerto Rico. Once inside, you will be amazed at the massiveness of the main cave with its ceiling towering above you. Fortunately, there are walkways and plenty of lighting in these underground caves. Depending on the tour that you got, your guide can speak in English or Spanish. Aside from that, your guide will take you to the Sumidero de Empalme. It is a massive sinkhole that is quite stunning to look at especially with the sun’s rays penetrating it.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.0/5
    • Website:
    • Admission: Adults – $18.00 · Children Ages 4-12 – $13.00 · Seniors Ages 65 + $9.00 (With ID)
    • Opening Hours: Wed - Sun 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM
    • Address: Carr. 129 K. 18.9, Quebrada, 00669, Puerto Rico
  8. Whether you have some time on Vieques before or after a night at a bioluminescent bay or if you’ve decided to spend a few days there, Sun Bay is an excellent choice for a relaxing beach without big crowds. Sun Bay is near the Esperanza village and just down the road from Mosquito Bay. A long and wide cove with golden sand and coconut trees lining the shore can be found here. If you have the right type of vehicle, the road leading to the beach eventually merges with the sand, allowing beachgoers to park close and easily.

    Despite having all the facilities of a public beach, such as lifeguards, showers, and even a snack bar, Sun Bay never gets too busy to be enjoyed. The water is usually quite calm, the snorkeling is very good, and coconut trees provide natural shade. Just be very careful not to set up your towel under any coconuts – they do fall, and they are dangerous!

    There are a few other smaller and more secluded cove beaches a short distance away by hike for those who don’t feel like relaxing the whole day. The village of Esperanza can also be reached on foot if the snack bar is missing something or you want to do some shopping.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5/5
    • Website:
    • Admission: Free
    • Opening Hours: Daily
    • Address: Balneario Sun Bay, Carr. 997, Bo. La Esperanza, Vieques, PR 00765
  9. Toro Verde Adventure Park is located in the town of Orocovis, about an hour and 45 minutes from San Juan and hidden between rolling mountains covered in dense forest. The area boasts some of the most breathtaking mountain views on the Island, which you’ll see flying beneath you if you choose to go ziplining. Since the park opened in 2009, its network of ziplines and suspension bridges has steadily expanded, and now includes two enormous ziplines, The Beast at nearly 1.5 kilometers, and The Monster, the second longest zipline in the world, at 2.5 kilometers.

    Regardless of how you plan to arrive, reservations are required to visit the park. Toro Verde offers several tour options depending on how many zip lines you want to ride. The most popular is The Monster, followed by The Beast, then the Zipline tour, which includes 8 regular ziplines, each longer and higher than the previous one.

    The “Escape If You Can” tour includes two zip lines and four suspension bridges. More tours are currently in development, too. You can also ride the Toro Bikes. Bring the family and ride the 326-meter-long over the four tree-shaped platforms. Relish in the panoramic views of the central mountains and north coast while you experience this adrenaline-rushed adventure.

    If you're looking for a true culinary experience visit the Toro Verde Restaurant. The terrace overlooks the central mountain range and on a clear day you can see all the way to the coast. Besides, the coffeeshop offers locally grown Puerto Rican coffee, cold blended drinks, and beers, as well as snacks, desserts, and breakfast food. It’s perfect for when you're looking for a snack or other refreshments.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5/5
    • Website:
    • Admission: Regular tours bought directly through Toro Verde range from $42.50 to $135. Combos go from $62.50 (at the park) to $220 (with Ziplinepr)
    • Opening Hours: Daily 8:00 AM - 5:00 PM
    • Address: State Rte 155, Orocovis, 00720, Puerto Rico
  10. As mentioned, the little island of Vieques has much more to offer than just its glow-in-the-dark bays. Just take a look at the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, which is one of the most ecologically diverse places in the entire Caribbean.

    The refuge takes up basically the entire eastern half of Vieques, along with a bit of the west coast, for a total of almost 18,000 acres. This protected area is quite sparsely populated and developed. It leaves plenty of space for wild animals and plant life to thrive and creates an awesome environment for the responsible visitor.

    Some of the scenes found here are pristine beaches, dry forests, coastal lagoons, mangrove wetlands, and more. Another is where the beautiful manatees of the Caribbean live, and if you’ve ever had the experience of seeing one in Florida before, then you know how special it is to see this gentle giant in the wild. On the land, you can find brown pelicans, a species of freshwater turtle, and even wild horses! The inhabitants of this place are happy to share their beautiful home with you, as long as you pick up after yourself and don’t disturb them.

    As for activities, you’ll have your choice of fun things to do and amazing places to visit on both land and sea. If you want to splash around, you can swim, snorkel, and scuba dive; if you prefer to stay dry, you can go hiking, biking or horseback riding. You can also check out the visitor’s center for cool exhibits of seashells and manatee skeletons. Lots of people wonder what to do in Puerto Rico, but only a few realize the potential of a destination just a bit off the coast.

    • Tripadvisor Rating: 4.5/5
    • Website:
    • Admission: Free
    • Opening Hours: Daily
    • Address: 4JR4+QXF, State Rd 997 km 3.2, Vieques, 00765, Puerto Rico

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