Before you ask we must say YES: Puerto Rico is eager to receive travelers. Certainly, the island has been through a hard time, but we have proven to be resilient and now, we are on the phase where we definitely need visitors to help with our economy. If you are asking yourself what do you need to travel and what places you need to see while visiting the island, we compiled some of that in this list.
If you are a US citizen, you just need a valid ID to visit Puerto Rico. Passport is not required since Puerto Rico is a US territory. If you are a citizen of any other country, you’ll need a passport and check the visa requirements that USA has for citizens of your country. If you need a visa to enter the United States, you need visa to visit Puerto Rico as well.
Our main language is Spanish, even if English is our second language, is not as widely spoken as you might have imagined. In most areas you will find bilingual people but, be patient in case you go somewhere and you find that people are not totally bilingual. They will certainly make an effort to understand you and communicate.
In Puerto Rico, we use US Dollars. Be conscious that most of our prices are consistent (more or less) with prices in United States. Prices may vary by region.
When is the best time to visit:
Since our weather is tropical, you can visit all year round. The months that we recommend the most, since they are not as hot as other months are from November to February.
These are our top picks for places you should go:
If you want to have a glimpse of our culture, the first place that you should visit is Old San Juan. In the old city, you will find the forts, and we recommend you to visit San Felipe del Morro Fort. When you visit the forts, you will be able to understand a little of the Spanish colonial times in the city. Also, in every corner of the city you’ll be able to breathe our story. There is something new to learn and discover everywhere.
If you are looking for outdoor activities to do while visiting Puerto Rico, you should go ziplining in Toro Verde. Toro Verde is the biggest aerial park in the Western Hemisphere. Established in 2010, it has the highest zipline and the second longest in the world. This park has also rappelling lines, suspension bridges, among other attractions.
Some of their most famous attractions are the Beast and the Monster. The Beast is a single run zipline done in the fly position with a length of 4.745 feet (1.446 km). It takes speed of 60MPH. The Monster is the longest zipline in America. It is a 2.5km (2530m, 8300ft, 1.57mi) cable, which is equivalent to 28 football fields. If you are looking for adventure, you should definitely go ziplining.
Another amazing activity that you can do if you are looking for adventure, is to go hiking to Pico Rodadero. Pico Rodadero is a high peak up in the mountains of the southwestern town of Yauco. From the highest point, you can see the coast and towns nearby. This is an easy to find route to hike, it starts on the PR 2 road.
If you are planning on relaxing in our gorgeous beaches, these are the beaches you must visit.
Playa Sucia — Cabo Rojo
Playa Sucia, also known as Playuela, is one of the most scenic beaches you can find in the island. From there you can have a glimpse of the Cabo Rojo lighthouse. Its crystal clear water makes a it a bucket list beach.
Flamenco Beach — Culebra
Recognized by Travel Channel as one of the best beaches in the world, it’s an amazing location to practice snorkeling and also to camp. Its white sandy beach makes it one of the most gorgeous places in Puerto Rico.
Mar Chiquita — Manatí
Mar Chiquita is a natural pool beach located about 45 minutes to the west from San Juan. Its water shade range from emerald green to blue make it a must visit paradise.
Balneario Isla Verde — Carolina
This is one of the beaches closest to the San Juan area. Administered by the City of Carolina, on this beach you can find a water park for kids.
Playa Negrita — Vieques
This is one of the few beaches in the island with black sand, fact that makes it unique. If you visit Vieques Island, this one is definitely a must.
Jobos Beach — Isabela
Jobos beach is famous for being a surf paradise. Located in Isabela, at the Northwestern coast of the island, this beach vibe is pretty local since is not surrounded by resorts like some other beaches in the island.
Playa Crashboat — Aguadilla
Located in the Northwestern area of the island, Crashboat is a must see paradise. It occupies the site of a former military site and nowadays, is surrounded with lively bars making it a local favorite.
Puerto Rican cuisine is varied and influenced on its African, Spanish and Taino roots. Some of the dishes that you will find and that are definitely must try are:
Pernil is our traditional roasted pork. Typically, people will prepare this during Christmas feasts. If you want to try our best roasted pork, you need to visit Guavate in Cayey.
Pasteles are another of the traditional Christmas dishes. Pasteles are made with pork in adobo sauce filling inside green banana dough, wrapped in banana leaves, and boiled. It can also be made in a cassava dough. They can be found in Puerto Rican restaurants all over the island.
The mofongo is prepared with mashed fried plantain mixed with garlic. Sometimes, it is filled with some type of protein like: shrimps, chicken, or flank steak. Mofongo can be easily found in many restaurants around the island.
An alcapurria is a typical fried snack made with plantain, yucca and yautía (taro roots) dough filled with beef in our local Creole sauce. The most famous place in the island to try them is in Piñones, in the town of Loíza, only a 25 minutes drive from San Juan and most hotels around Isla Verde and the Airport. There are also buses available to get to Piñones. If for any reason you can’t visit Piñones, in La Placita in Santurce, one of the most vibrant places around San Juan, you will find La Alcapurria Quemá.
The tembleque is a coconut pudding thickened with cornstarch that has a jiggly texture. Its from its texture that gets the name tembleque, since the verb “temblar” could be translated to jiggle or to shake. These can be found as dessert in many restaurants.
Party and Drinks:
If you want to party while visiting Puerto Rico, you should certainly party in Calle Loíza in San Juan. In Calle Loíza you will find vibrant spots for your night outs such as El Tap, Pal West, La Coctelera and El Bar Bero.
Some of the drinks and cocktails that you should try on your nights out are Piña Colada, of which you can find many versions like one of the orgininals made with Ron del Barrilito. Also, you must try Medalla, our local beer.
There are some other drinks that are local and that you must try, but normally, you will find them while visit the central part of the island. Some of these are:
Maví is a traditional drink made out of sugar and the fermented bark of certain trees. Usually during its fermentation they also add anisse. It is popular in towns of the center of the island, where you can try fresh maví.
Guarapo de caña: Guarapo de caña or Sugarcane Juice is the syrup extracted from the sugarcane pressed. In many farmers market in the island, you will be able to find it.
If you visit during Christmas time, you must try some Coquito and Pitorro.
Coquito is a drink made out of coconut cream and rum that is one of the main dishes in the Christmas dinner.
Pitorro is an handmade distilled spirit which is much stronger than commercial rum.Both of them are part of the Christmas tradition and if you visit the island in December, you should definitely give it a try.
We hope we have convinced you to visit Puerto Rico soon. Tell us, what makes you more excited about visiting the island?