Things to do in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a paradise in many a tourist's mind, and for good reason. A tropical Caribbean destination with cultural interests and lots of character thrown in, Puerto Rico certainly delivers on all fronts.

For those with a penchant for the outdoors, Puerto Rico will not disappoint. The country makes for a brilliant natural playground, offering beautiful islands, undeveloped beaches, caves, and a mountainous region to explore, as well as quaint villages and towns. Surfing and scuba diving are popular choices in areas such as Vieques's bioluminescent bay or on the western shores, while adventuring through the caves in the Camuy Cave Park is thrilling.

Apart from the obvious sun-soaking at the likes of Isla Verde or the Rincon shoreline, holidaymakers will also get the chance to indulge in Puerto Rico's interesting history. The fortress of San Felipe del Morro, built in 1540, makes for a great cultural excursion.

The historic San Juan, with its fascinating colonial architecture dating back to the 16th and 17th centuries, will delight history lovers. For those looking for art and culture, sculptures are a common sight in San Juan and there are wonderful museums such as Puerto Rico's showcase art gallery, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico.

Home to a diverse and vibrant nightlife scene, as well as many fine restaurants offering memorable fusion cuisines, a night out in Puerto Rico's San Juan will offer tourists some good fun and fantastic gastronomy. What's more, the tropical temperatures in Puerto Rico mean that visitors can enjoy its offerings all year round.

San Germán photo

San Germán

A historic town with a colourful past, San Germán was the second city founded in Puerto Rico by the Spanish. Its mountainous location made it an ideal escape for artists, poets an…

San Germán

A historic town with a colourful past, San Germán was the second city founded in Puerto Rico by the Spanish. Its mountainous location made it an ideal escape for artists, poets and revolutionaries, and present-day San Germán still carries that lively spirit. It has a number of pretty buildings dating back to the 16th century, including the Porta Coéli (Gate of Heaven) Church and the San Germán de Auxerre Church. Because of these, the town is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. There are also a few interesting museums, including the Lola Rodríguez de Tió Museum and the Ramírez de Arellano y Rosell Museum. San Germán also hosts several religious and cultural festivals throughout the year.

Old San Juan photo

Old San Juan

Encompassing about seven blocks, this area dates back about 500 years to the Spanish occupation when it served as a military stronghold that even withstood Sir Francis Drake's armi…

Old San Juan

Encompassing about seven blocks, this area dates back about 500 years to the Spanish occupation when it served as a military stronghold that even withstood Sir Francis Drake's armies. The original cobbles on the streets are blue-tinged and were originally used as ballast on Spanish ships. More than 400 restored 16th- and 17th-century Spanish colonial buildings fill Old San Juan, drawing thousands of tourists who walk the narrow, steep streets every day. The old town is enclosed by thick, high walls and features numerous attractive plazas bearing sculptures and memorials.

Fort San Felipe del Morro photo

Fort San Felipe del Morro

Built in 1540, the mighty six-level fortress of San Felipe del Morro towers 140 feet (43m) above the sea on San Juan Bay, its 18-foot thick (5m) walls having proved a worthy defenc…

Fort San Felipe del Morro

Built in 1540, the mighty six-level fortress of San Felipe del Morro towers 140 feet (43m) above the sea on San Juan Bay, its 18-foot thick (5m) walls having proved a worthy defence against many an invasion. One of the largest fortifications in the Caribbean, it is a maze of tunnels, dungeons, barracks, lookouts and ramps, offering spectacular views from atop its ramparts. In Old San Juan, stands El Morro's partner in defending the city, Castillo San Cristobal, built in the 17th century to a confusing and intricate modular design.

Website www.nps.gov

Opens 9am - 6pm

Museo de Arte photo

Museo de Arte

Puerto Rico's showcase art gallery is housed in a former city hospital in Santurce and offers a permanent and visiting exhibition. The aim is to highlight the island's heritage thr…

Museo de Arte

Puerto Rico's showcase art gallery is housed in a former city hospital in Santurce and offers a permanent and visiting exhibition. The aim is to highlight the island's heritage through the work of local artists, such as Francisco Oller, who studied in France with Cézanne, and Jose Campeche, a late 18th-century classical painter. The museum has been described as a living textbook of Puerto Rico, providing an overview of the island's history through the medium of art. The museum also hosts events such as concerts and festivals throughout the year.

Address 299 De Diego Avenue, Santurce

Website www.mapr.org

Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve photo

Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve

Located on three promontories on the extreme northeast corner of the island, Las Cabezas reserve is one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse natural areas in Puerto Rico.…

Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve

Located on three promontories on the extreme northeast corner of the island, Las Cabezas reserve is one of the most beautiful and biologically diverse natural areas in Puerto Rico. The reserve is close to Fajardo, a major marina, snorkelling spot and diving resort, located about an hour's drive from San Juan. The reserve contains seven different ecological systems, including coral reefs, sandy beaches, lagoons, mangroves and dry forest. It is also home to several endangered species. Boardwalk trails provide easy access to the different natural sites. A restored 19th-century lighthouse, El Faro, is situated on one of the headlands and offers incredible views of its gorgeous surroundings.

Casa Bacardi Visitor Centre photo

Casa Bacardi Visitor Centre

Undoubtedly one of the top tourist attractions in Puerto Rico, a trip to the Casa Bacardi Visitor Centre is a must for travellers to San Juan. Following exile from Cuba in the 1950…

Casa Bacardi Visitor Centre

Undoubtedly one of the top tourist attractions in Puerto Rico, a trip to the Casa Bacardi Visitor Centre is a must for travellers to San Juan. Following exile from Cuba in the 1950s, the Bacardi founders moved to Puerto Rico and set up a small rum distillery on the outskirts of San Juan. It now produces a jaw-dropping 100,000 gallons of rum per day and 21 million cases per year. Tours of the Casa Bacardi Visitor Centre last about an hour, as tour guides show visitors around a variety of exhibits and vintage rum stills, as well as explain the company's history. It culminates in a visit to an on-site, classically-styled bar, where a bartender will show you the proper methods of preparing Cuba libres and mojitos.

Address Bay View Industrial Park

Website www.casabacardi.org

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