One of the most popular Caribbean destinations, Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan, needs to be added to your bucket list…if it isn’t already! Rich with culture and history, San Juan has something for everyone and is the place to start when you visit this magnificent island.
Even though San Juan has everything you need from beaches to museums to nightlife, there are some amazing day trips in Puerto Rico available so you won’t want to miss venturing away from the city.
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Here's what we're covering:
- Day Trips in Puerto Rico You Can't Miss
- Best For Adventurers – El Yunque Hiking and Kayaking
- Best For Families – Cuevea Ventana and Gozalandia Waterfalls
- Best for Insta Worthy Photos – Rainforest to Beach Tour
- Best For Beach Goers – Luquillo Beach
- Best Island Getaway – Vieques
- Best Day Trip in Puerto Rico for Over 18s – Casa Bacardi
- Best City Day Trip in Puerto Rico – Old San Juan
- Final Thoughts
Day Trips in Puerto Rico You Can't Miss
Best For Adventurers – El Yunque Hiking and Kayaking
While checking out the spectacular nature of Puerto Rico, such as El Yunque, isn’t just reserved for adventurers, those with a little more adrenaline than most will want to take advantage of a day trip like this. The El Yunque Rainforest Off The Beaten Path and Bio Bay Combo Tour is one of the perfect day trips in Puerto Rico.
With El Yunque being one of the most stunning natural wonders in this region of the world, there are many ways you can see and enjoy it. As the only tropical rainforest recognized in the United States National Forest System, you will be guided through the lesser-known tracks along natural pools, through mud, and wading through rivers. Soak up the magnificent views of the Atlantic before arriving for a dip in the base of one of the many waterfalls, often untouched by regular hikers.
Later on, head further East for a night kayak in a bioluminescent bay. Paddle through the pitch-black darkness and be guided through the ecosystem in a two-person kayak, learning about the area, and being in awe of this light phenomenon.
From San Juan, you can also do exclusive night kayaking tours of Bio Bay.
Best For Families – Cuevea Ventana and Gozalandia Waterfalls
When travelling as a family with younger children, finding suitable guided day trips in Puerto Rico can be hard. Often you are left with hiring a car and driving yourself to the best spots. Consider doing an organized day trip that's perfect for those with little ones and get to see two of the most visited spots on the island.
Starting the day with a gorgeous hike to Cueva Ventana you will learn about the natural caves in the area. Then you will head to Gozalandia Waterfall where you can relax and check out the view or jump in for a cool off.
Best of all, this Day Trip to Cueva Del Indio and Gozalandia Waterfalls is just for your group. If your kids are still young, strollers are not recommended, so don’t forget a baby carrier or great shoes for your new little adventurer. The tour organizer can provide car seats on request.
Best for Insta Worthy Photos – Rainforest to Beach Tour
For one of the best photography day trips in Puerto Rico, head out of San Juan for the day to make your friends jealous at home, with all the Insta-worthy photos you are going to be taking. Your guide will know the best spots to visit, take photos, eat, and really see outside of the city.
You will love every second of this tour, so don’t forget to tale the photos.
Best For Beach Goers – Luquillo Beach
While most organized day trip tours head to this coastal spot, Luquillo Beach is a day trip in itself and one that can be done without a guide. Jump in the car from San Juan and head approximately 53 kilometres to the province of Luquillo.
There are two beaches in the area. One of them you will need to pay a small fee to access. In turn that provides you with facilities. Both are stunning and have nearby options to rent chairs and umbrellas if you didn’t bring your own. One thing is for sure, both beaches guarantee palm trees and a relaxing, tropical vibe.
This area is also a great spot for families as there are protected waters perfect for children to play in the shallows. For the more adventurous you can surf or rent snorkel or dive gear from nearby stores.
Foodies will not want to miss this Puerto Rico day trip as this area is a street food paradise. Shacks and food stalls are lined up ready to offer you the best Puerto Rican street food around. Make sure you try the ‘papa rellena’!
If you're feeling a little adventure, many visitors combine Luquillo Beach and the El Yunque rainforest as a day trip from San Juan.
Best Island Getaway – Vieques
As it states, Vieques is an island off the coast of Puerto Rico. While it is recommended that you don’t want to allow just a day trip to explore this stunning place, it is worth mentioning in this list.
There are only two ways to get to Vieques – by ferry or by air. And both have their pros and cons.
Air travel is convenient and quick; with flights departing all the main 4 airports around Puerto Rico. It is not the cheapest option and it pays to shop around for which airport is offering the cheapest flights (but consider the time to get to each airport too). Flight time is around 30 minutes and tickets start from around $80 per person. Make sure to check Skyscanner for options.
The ferry is a lot cheaper, with tickets starting from only $2. But the catch is that only 20% of tickets available are available for online advance purchase, so you need to take the risk and arrive early at the terminal to buy your ticket – like everyone else! It isn’t uncommon for many people not to get on at the desired time.
Once you are on the island you have immediately whisked away to paradise. Turquoise waters lap white sand, see wild horses in open fields, and museums aplenty await for you to explore. If you haven’t already committed to staying on the island for more than a day, then this is the point where you start changing your plans to have more time here.
Snorkelling and looking out for sea turtles in this gorgeous spot of Puerto Rico is also a must and there are plenty of places to hire or purchase gear as well as checking out options for local tours to make this one of the most unforgettable day trips in Puerto Rico.
Best Day Trip in Puerto Rico for Over 18s – Casa Bacardi
No trip to anywhere in the Caribbean is complete without rum. And what better way to experience rum than to head straight to the heart; Casa Bacardi Puerto Rico as a Puerto Rico day trip.
Casa Bacardi is the world's biggest rum distillery and is only a 20-minute drive by car from the city centre of San Juan. Alternatively, you can catch the Cataño Ferry, which is only 50c and takes only 10 minutes, departing Pier 2 in old San Juan.
Once you arrive at Casa Bacardi, there are a number of experiences you can choose from. Learn how to mix the perfect Pina Colada or Mojito in the Mixology Class or head around the distillery on a Rum Tasting Tour. Tickets can be purchased online for these experiences and are restricted to people aged 18 and over.
Best City Day Trip in Puerto Rico – Old San Juan
Your visit to the capital of Puerto Rico needs to be seen through the new and the old. Heading to Old San Juan as one of your Puerto Rico day trips to understand the history and the cities story, needs to be high on your ‘To Do’ list.
A walking tour of the city is a great way to see all the significant sites of Old San Juan and really be amongst it all. City guides are often locals and are extremely knowledgeable about all the places they will take you. If you are lucky they will also be able to give you some recommendations on where to eat and foods to try. Book a walking tour before you head to Old San Juan so you don’t miss a thing.
If you really love your food and are curious about Puerto Rican cuisine, combine history with your love of food and book a walking culture and cuisine tour. Here you will get a chance to taste many local dishes and then create one yourself along with a Puerto Rican rum cocktail, all while learning about the history of the town.
With San Juan already offering so much, it pays to plan the trips you want to take away from the city. With so many day trips already organized for you on offer, you will be sure to find exactly the one that combines everything you are wanting out of your day adventures from San Juan.
If you do only have a short time and organizing day trips in Puerto Rico seems a bit overwhelming, check out this 5 day Puerto Rico itinerary to make sure you see the best of everything.
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