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North Coast

Veering from a manicured coast of plush golf resorts and posh surf spots, this region rears up into the less-visited vine-tangled crags of karst country, where landscapes seem positively prehistoric with yawning cave systems, mogotes (vegetated, steep-sided hillocks) and undulating spreads of forest.

However renowned the teeing in the east (Dorado) and the paddleboarding in the west (Isabela), don't make the mistake of forgoing what lies in-between.

The sights here have neither the untouched exotic character of El Yunque nor quite the rustic allure of the Central Mountains, but the north secretes a glut of DIY adventures, plus its own generous share of world-class diversions. Goggle at the world's largest radio telescope, climb one of its tallest statues, descend inside some of its largest caverns or simply strike out on forest trail to a hidden swimming hole – and still, should you wish, make your dinner reservation in San Juan.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout North Coast.