The island of Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory that draws travelers from around the globe with its postcard-worthy beaches, lush rainforests, colonial towns and piña coladas. Here are 10 sights to see in Puerto Rico, just to get you dreaming.
1. El Morro
Many tourists flock to El Morro, a cliff-top fortress built in 1539. Visitors can enjoy panoramic views, stroll through the stone corridors, barracks, and tunnels and step back into another time. Don’t miss the doodles on the dungeon walls.
Isla de Vieques has breathtaking beaches. Formerly a U.S. Navy base, today it is a wildlife reserve. Vieques is a magnet for ecotourists who prefer a laid-back, low-key, relatively undeveloped escape. Don’t miss the luminescent waters of Mosquito Bay.
3. Old San Juan
The colonial center of Puerto Rico’s enchanting capital is brimming with historic architecture, museums, restaurants and nightlife. The cobblestone streets are lined with colorful homes with decorative wrought iron terraces. Shady plazas are flanked by open-air cafes and craft shops. You’ll find the tomb of Ponce de León at the glorious Cathedral of San Juan Bautista.
4. El Yunque National Forest
Come here to explore the mountainous jungle’s beautiful waterfalls, crags, rivers and amazing dwarf forest. You can also spot rare birds, frogs and Taíno petroglyphs here. Various trails and paved paths offer a range of hiking excursions for all ability levels. Located less than an hour east of San Juan, this region makes a fun day trip or even an overnight camping trip.
5. Flamenco Beach
Located on the small island of Culebra. Many visitors to Puerto Rico will charter a vessel to sail the twenty miles to this island paradise. There are some amenities there, so you can grab a bite or a drink and make a day of it or stay in one of the vacation villas, or campground nearby.
6. Camuy River Cave Park
It is a scenic subterranean site on Puerto Rico’s northwestern coast. The cave park is filled with stalagmites, stalactites and incredible natural architecture. Visitors can boat along the Camuy River, the third-largest subterranean river on the planet, to tour the caves’ interior attractions.
7. Isla Palominos
It’s a private island an 8 minute ferry ride away, but the El Conquistador resort there welcomes day visitors. Scuba diving, kayaking and horseback riding along the beach are popular pastimes. You can also charter a glass-bottomed boat to enjoy the crystalline beauty of the sea here.
8. Arecibo Observatory
It is the world’s largest radio telescope. However, you don’t have to be an astronomy buff to come here. The visitors center does a good job of explaining some of its scientific achievements, including attempts to communicate with possible extraterrestrial life.
9. Museo de Arte de Ponce
Located in the city of Ponce on the island’s southern coast, this art museum contains fourteen galleries and a world-famous collection of Pre-Raphaelite art. Both European and Latin American artists are well represented.
10. Bioluminescent Bay
One of the most stellar sights to see in Puerto Rico is the bioluminescent waters found in a few special lagoons in Fajardo, Vieques and Lajas. Special plankton here glow when stirred, so if you swim around at night, it’s like an enchanting fairyland of starry sparks.
Which part of Puerto Rico are you planning on visiting?