10 Things To Do In Puerto Rico, San Juan | Where To Stay?

In Caribbean countries, Puerto Rico, is one of the dream destinations for most travelers. 

Puerto Rico is a colorful city with historic culture, vibrant streets, unique architecture, white sand beaches, and many more.

Do you love historic places? 

Puerto Rico has a plethora of historic attractions that are worth visiting. From El Morro and San Juan National Historic Site to La Fortaleza and Casa Blanca, Puerto Rico offers many more things. 

By the way, I’m Zoe Grace, and I’ve been traveling for a decade, mostly on cruise ships. I have just started writing about major Caribbean countries; undoubtedly, Puerto Rico is one of them. Today, I will be your travel guide to Puerto Rico and cover the best things to do in this historic place.

Where To Stay In Puerto Rico?

Stay In Puerto Rico

Most people visit Puerto Rico via cruises and have little time to explore the city. But don’t worry; one or two days are enough for you to explore the major attractions of Puerto Rico. 

The nearest port where cruises mostly dock is San Juan Cruise Port. San Juan is the capital city of Puerto Rico, and historic attractions are mostly tucked away in the heart of this city. 

So, the first thing to consider before the excursion is the accommodation. Luckily, Puerto Rico is full of cozy hotels and rooms. 

Booking apps work perfectly here, so don’t forget to utilize them to secure your hotel reservation. Before booking, ensure the hotel is close to your cruise port; this will save your taxi fares and time. 

The nearest hotel to the cruise port is Sheraton Puerto Rico Resort. This inclusive resort is ideal to stay a night, and all the cool stuff you wanna check out is just a hop, skip, and a jump away from this place.

Condado Palm Inn San Juan is another best option for you if you’re traveling with families. This hotel offers all major amenities, from warm pools and a gym to private balconies and a kitchen. From the private balcony, you can enjoy the breathable ocean vistas. 

And if you want to inhale some fresh air near the beach, go with Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort. This stunning resort is famous for its scenic views and private beach access. 

10 Things To Do in Puerto Rico

1- Walking On the Colorful Streets Of San Juan 

Streets Of San Juan

The first thing is to explore the colors of Puerto Rico. Just walk through the streets and praise the historic architecture of houses and old buildings. 

The mix of hues of buildings and houses gives a more unique feel. Take some photos of old churches and houses from the colonial era. 

 Also, meet with the locals; they are super friendly. San Juan has a mixed culture of Taino people and European descendants. 

Among all the streets, Fortaleza Street is the most photogenic street; here, you will find hanging kits, umbrellas, and a large Puerto Rican flag. 

If you want to know more about the history of San Juan, book the guided walking tour (2 hours) and dive deeper into the culture of Puerto Rico. Don’t forget to keep yourself hydrated during the journey. 

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2- Explore History At San Juan National Historic Site

San Juan National Historic Site

The next thing you must do in San Juan is visit the National Historic Site– the hub of all colonial sights. You will find a fort, powder houses, and old city walls here. 

People come to this place to see the 400+ years old fort the Spanish built to protect their city. Generations of soldiers have lived and worked within the fort. 

The entire spot is very photogenic. From the fort, you can enjoy the mesmerizing views of the Caribbean Sea and immerse yourself in the nostalgia.

Just imagine the wars, how soldiers fought to get control, and how their defense system. This place is just insane; anyone who comes here ends up diving deep into the rich history of this region.

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3- Visit Governor House (La Fortaleza)

La Fortaleza

The old Governor House, known as La Fortaleza, is also a worth-it attraction to see in San Juan. This governor’s residence was constructed in the 16th century and renovated in 1846.

Good to know that this Governor’s house is nested at the end of Fortaleza Street, so if you’re strolling in this street, you can easily access this historical building. 

It’s a functional government building, and most conferences are held at this Governor’s house. Before going to La Fortaleza, you must book the guided tour. 

4- Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

The Castillo San Felipe del Morro is another incredible place to explore the history of Spanish art. There is an old Spanish fortification surrounding the green ground that looks like a carpet. 

Besides enjoying the views, you can also relax along the beachside; the wind here is always powerful, making the view more amazing. 

Explore the fort from the inside; a lot of information is hidden in it. But don’t forget to wear appropriate clothing because the weather here always remains hot. 

To capture stunning photos, visit the lower level of the fort, from here you can also enjoy the Atlantic Sea views, Old San Juan, and La Perla views. The monument is so massive and spread over a large area, so you have to do a lot of walks. Always wear comfortable shoes and keep a bottle of water in your hand. 

5- El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque National Forest

Check out El Yunque National Forest before you bid farewell to San Juan. 

This is a tropical rainforest with a bunch of hiking trails and waterfalls. All the hiking trails are doable and small. Even if you have kids, you can take them with you. The famous waterfall is only a five minute hike from the parking area. 

If you plan to swim, come early because the pools get crowded during the day. This natural place is very picturesque, but it got a little messy after the hurricane. I hope the government sorted it out and cleaned up the place.

6- Explore The UnderWater World With Snorkeling 

 Explore The UnderWater World

Every Caribbean Island is perfect for snorkeling and provides mesmerizing views. In Puerto Rico, there are also some snorkeling spots where you can explore the underwater hidden secrets and unique marine wildlife.

Even though the snorkeling spots in Puerto Rico are not very pristine, like Aruba and Cozumel, the marine life is superb.

If you don’t have any experience, you can book a guided snorkeling tour. In this one-and-a-half-hour guided snorkeling tour, you will see different colors of tropical fish, sea turtles, wildlife, and more. 

You will also get a free GoPro video of your snorkeling experience. So, if you want a unique experience in Puerto Rico, you must book this Snorkeling tour. 

7- Book A Food Tour 

Are you a food connoisseur? Book the San Juan food tour to experience the amazing culinary scene. There are a lot of local foods that you can try. 

This small group food tour will take you to the famous food joints in San Juan. If you are not a foodie, just enjoy walking with the tour and learning about the history of Caribbean tastes. During this tour, you will also see the colonial architecture and colorful streets of San Juan.

Book Food Tour

8- Visit Plaza Del Quinto Centenario 

Plaza Del Quinto Centenario 

The Plaza Del Quinto Centenario is an iconic square built in 1992 at the northern point of Old San Juan. 

A 40-foot large tower stands in the middle of this square called El Tótem Telúrico. And in front of it, a beautiful water fountain makes the entire area more attractive. 

Behind the tour, the stunning Atlantic Ocean views are worth seeing. It’s the perfect spot to soak in the breathtaking sunset and capture stunning photos with the tower.

9- Enjoy The Sunset At La Perla

La Perla

La Perla is a colorful neighborhood in San Juan– stretching about 600 meters along the rocky Atlantic coast. 

This neighborhood is considered a dangerous slum, so you should avoid visiting this area at night. You can book guided tours to visit La Perla. It’s an amazing place. 

You might encounter the Afro-Caribbean tradition in La Perla, with drummers playing old tunes. The locals exhibit a strong sense of camaraderie among themselves. The place boasts beautiful murals, perfect for snapping a few photos.

Undoubtedly, La Perla is a perfect spot to see Afro culture, but I always suggest you visit this iconic place during the daytime. 

10- Do Shopping From The Mall of San Juan

Mall of San Juan

Besides old-fashioned buildings and houses, some modern shopping centers in San Juan exist. So, shopping is the last thing you should do in Puerto Rico. For the best shopping experience, visit the Mall of San Juan. 

This mall is surprisingly cozy—I never expected San Juan to have such charming shopping spots. You can find all your daily essentials here.

The Mall of San Juan has the best bakeries, and the donuts are incredibly yummy. Foodies, head to the fourth floor for various restaurants to suit your taste. 

And, of course, don’t forget to grab some souvenirs to remember this place later.

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