Food and Drink
Many places cultivate coffee, but in Puerto Rico they strive to make this a riveting visitor experience. You can take a tour, kick back in an espresso bar and even stay within the fascinating, far-flung coffee haciendas here.
Dramatic scenery and isolation make the untrammeled forests here appealing to gutsy outdoor adventurers. Sure, few of the trails are marked or maintained, but that’s part of the fun, right?
The little towns seem lonely until you stumble on the right lechonera, where a plate of smoky pork and a spontaneous dance party appear out of nowhere.
Culebra & Vieques
World-Beating Beach Basking
Bar none, these are Puerto Rico’s loveliest and most diverse beaches – some of which, such as Culebra's Playa Flamenco, are commonly listed among the best in the world. Visitors splash around and soak up the essence of the Caribbean daydream.
The clear water, variety of fish and coral structures are mesmerizing, and this makes snorkeling particularly appealing. Unlike many destinations that require a boat, the best sights here are within a short swim of the sandy beach.
Both islands have a zany, sedate charm that is irresistible. A mix of characterful locals and long-term idiosyncratic expats combine to create an utterly mellow and distinctive lifestyle that seems a world away from the 'mainland.'
El Yunque & East Coast
The trails in El Yunque’s humid hills are loaded with surprises: misty waterfalls, the colorful shock of tropical birds or flowers and unexpected views of the canopy-covered hills. And El Yunque is only the beginning of the fabulous natural attractions here.
Though Puerto Rico is blessed with several bodies of glowing bioluminescent waters, the one at Laguna Grande near Fajardo is a favorite: the route there begins in a thick mangrove forest. Those who haven’t experienced the phenomenon will float along in awe.
It's not only El Yunque with incredible ecological diversity: at Las Cabezas de San Juan you can experience seven different ecosystems within a single reserve!
Caribbean's Top Swinging
Dorado’s long fairways, challenging courses and jaw-dropping views attract golfers from around the globe. You’ll find the best courses in the Caribbean within chipping distance of one another.
Surf and Turf
Rincón gets the glory, but many claim the serious surfing happens just to the north, near the seaside towns of Isabela and Aguadilla. Isabela's land-based action should not be underestimated either: superb golfing and horseback riding await.
The north coast boasts two of the strangest, most sizeable structures in Puerto Rico and the world. The planet's biggest radio-telescope crests a hill south of Arecibo whilst one of the world's tallest statues rears above the coastline east of the city.
Ponce & South Coast
A mix of elegantly restored colonial mansions, psychedelic experimental turn-of-the-century edifices and a bunch of tattered historic structures on the verge of collapse, Ponce has some of the most interesting architecture on the island.
Ponce hosts museums of political revolution, musical heritage and history, but the one that is worth the trip from San Juan in its own right is the recently renovated Museo de Arte de Ponce, the best art museum in Puerto Rico if not the Caribbean.
Just outside the southern capital is the largest Taíno site in the Caribbean, where quiet ceremonial ball courts and comprehensive displays pay homage to the island’s distant past and its pre-Columbian people.
The rollicking drinking and sensational eating of the Santurce district is reason enough to head out for the night in San Juan. Old San Juan is another great option; join locals and tourists dancing to the libidinous late-night rhythms of a salsa band. Still not done? The casinos are open all night.
In Old San Juan history of the Americas comes alive in full color. From the ramparts of grand forts, visitors take in pastel-painted facades and tight cobblestone streets in one direction and the endless sparkle of the Atlantic in the other.
Caribbean's Classiest Cuisine
San Juan's cool cafes and exquisite, inventive restaurants combine to make the city the Caribbean's most varied and exciting destination for foodies.
Food and Drink
Surfing and Diving
The Beach Boys didn’t sing about Rincón for nothing. The immaculate breaks near the point make for some of the best surfing on the planet. It’s a great place to dive, too, with trips out to mystical islands like Isla Desecheo.
Capes and Isles
The lonely Cabo Rojo and its forgotten roads are amazing for cycling; a scramble around the lighthouse-crowned headland and its swathe of bays and salt flats is heart-racing. The trip to Isla Mona, 80km out in the ocean, is undoubtedly Puerto Rico's most memorable odyssey.
Rincón's fabulous restaurant scene seems to improve by the week and a culinary range of quality and variety you would normally only find in a big city permeates this picturesque little town.