Eco-friendly travel guide to Puerto Rico advises how to be a responsible tourist. Learn how to travel in a sustainable way and how to respect the local people and culture. Make your trip green by supporting locally owned hotels, organic restaurants and other businesses. Read more on how to protect the environment by making conscientious choices and how to travel green in Puerto Rico, Caribbean, North America.
- Air quality: 3.5 / 5
- Bus connections: 4 / 5
- Train connections: 3 / 5
- Hitchhiking: 4 / 5
- National parks: 5/ 5
- Outdoor activities: 4 / 5
- Locals' English level: 3.5 / 5
- Safety: 3.5 / 5
- Accommodation: US$100- $230
- Budget per day: US$40 - $173
- 1 Responsible Travel
- 2 Air Quality and Pollution
- 3 Respect the Culture
- 4 Top 10 Places to Visit
- 5 Explore
- 6 Eat
- 7 Drink
- 8 Activities
- 9 Accommodation
- 10 Regions
- 11 Cities
- 12 Getting There and Moving Around
- 13 Sustainable Shopping
- 14 Recycling
- 15 Work and Study Abroad
- 16 See Also
Puerto Rico officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and from 1898 to 1932 also called Porto Rico in English, is an unincorporated territory of the United States of America located in the northeast Caribbean Sea. It lies on a key shipping lane to the Panama Canal, the Mona Passage.
To play your part as a responsible tourist,
- You can stay at an organic farm on Vieques, a two-and-a-half-acre botanical farm guesthouse tucked in the hills at the heart of the island. Other than that there are plenty of green hotels too that you can book at a very reasonable price.
- Buy souvenirs from the local markets rather than going to the shopping malls where they sell internationally branded things.
- Learn about Puerto Rican’s history and cuisine while exploring the charming streets, and make food stops to taste local delicacies.
- Whether you are a local or a tourist, to get to know the area even better you can explore on foot or cycle with the local guides or the multiple tours conducted by the hotel you are staying in or you can book such tours on online sites. Not using a car or a bus will reduce your carbon footprint.
Air Quality and Pollution
The air quality is generally acceptable for most individuals. However, sensitive groups may experience minor to moderate symptoms from long-term exposure. The air has reached a high level of pollution and is unhealthy for sensitive groups.
A quick sweep over Puerto Rico air pollution: Real-time Air Quality Index (AQI):
- PM2.5AQI - 7
- PM10AQI - 7
- NO2AQI - 0
Respect the Culture
Puerto Rico is a beautiful blend of Spanish tradition, dynamic criollo culture, and recent Americanization. Most Puerto Ricans are broadly familiar with mainland US culture and behaviour, and you are unlikely to face the cultural misunderstandings that sometimes occur, for example, in rural parts of Mexico or South America. Much of Puerto Rican culture centers on the influence of music and has been shaped by other cultures combining with local and traditional rhythms. Early in the history of Puerto Rican music, the influences of Spanish and African traditions were most noticeable. The cultural movements across the Caribbean and North America have played a vital role in the more recent musical influences which have reached Puerto Rico
Spanish is largely spoken there and it will be helpful for you if you learn a few words of Spanish. It will not only simplify your trip to Puerto Rico, but it will also serve as a sign of respect to the local people.
Food operates as an expression of cultural identity. If you truly want to understand their culture, then do not forget to taste their local food from the stalls and vendors, known as ‘kiosks’. These are the best place to get the most local and most affordable food.
Top 10 Places to Visit
- El Yunque National Forest - El Yunque National Forest, formerly known as the Caribbean National Forest (or Bosque Nacional del Caribe), is a forest located in northeastern Puerto Rico. It is the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Forest System and the United States Forest Service. El Yunque National Rainforest is located on the slopes of the Sierra de Luquillo Mountains, and it is the largest block of public land in Puerto Rico. El Yunque is composed of four different forest vegetation areas: Tabonuco Forest, Palo Colorado Forest, Sierra Palm Forest, and Dwarf Forest. One of the most popular things to do in El Yunque is hiking to one of the natural pools to cool off with a swim. La Coca Trail, El Angelito trail you can choose any of these two to hike. There are plenty of additional options for the trail with varying levels of difficulty throughout the park. During your visit, learn about the 240 plant species endemic to Puerto Rico. Hopefully, you’ll catch a view of woodpeckers, green mangos, and the Puerto Rican parrot. You can also drive over to the Yokahú Observation Tower. With an elevation of 1,575 ft, the expansive view is worth the trip.
- Cueva Ventana - Cueva Ventana is part of a natural formation of limestone, known as karst, in the north region of Puerto Rico, where you can find pre-Columbian petroglyphs and stone engravings, hiking trails, and the cave’s iconic window-like opening that looks out over the lush surroundings. This is one of the most popular destinations on the island for both locals and visitors alike. To learn more about the flora and fauna, enjoy a guided hike led by trained biologists. Do take a guide with you, or you would not be able to enjoy the history of this cave. In addition to learning how the cave was shaped over centuries, you can meet the resident bat population and other species typical to the environment.
* Old San Juan - Visiting this historic city is like traveling back in time. Walk the twisting blue cobblestone streets of Old San Juan to find grand, pastel colonial architecture from the 16th and 17th centuries and old Spanish military forts. The area is full of restaurants, bars, and outdoor cafes. Be sure to stop by the 16th-century El Morro Fort, the neoclassical San Juan Cathedral, and the Fortaleza – but the whole city is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you wouldn’t want to miss this.
* Playa Flamenco - Flamenco Beach is a public beach on the Caribbean island of Culebra, a small island about 17 miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico. It is known for its shallow turquoise waters, white sand, swimming areas, and diving sites. It stretches for a mile around a sheltered, horseshoe-shaped bay. Playa Flamenco is often noted as one of the best beaches in the world. The beach’s name comes from the flamingos that rest in a nearby lagoon in the winter.
- Puerto Mosquito - This incredibly rare sight is not to be missed on a trip to Puerto Rico. It is located on the southern shore of the island of Vieques, one of the islands of Puerto Rico. The bioluminescent bay in Vieques was officially declared the brightest in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records in 2008. The glowing waters of Puerto Rico’s three bioluminescent bays are the result of a number of factors, including the water’s shallow depth, high temperature, low circulation, and high nutrients. These qualities combine to create a wonderful habitat for dinoflagellates, the plankton that creates the stunning star-studded sight of the glowing lagoons.
* Rincón - Rincón is a town on Puerto Rico’s west coast, known for its beaches. Punta Higuero Lighthouse overlooks Domes Beach, with its pounding surf. This famous surfing town is hugely popular with visitors and expats, getting it the nickname ‘Gringo Paradise’ by the locals. Central Sandy Beach is lively. Steps Beach is the site of Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, home to parrotfish and hawksbill turtles. Rincón is also one of Puerto Rico's main areas for whale watching excursions. The prime whale watching season is mid-January through to March when humpback whales are in the area.
* Ponce - Many consider Puerto Rico’s second-largest city to reflect the essence of the country. Take a walk through the Pearl of the South’s historic town center to see fantastic examples of colonial architecture and well-preserved mansions as well as about a dozen great museums – including art, history, music, and more.
* Rio Camuy Caves - This cave park is one of the largest cave systems in the world, covering 268 acres. The limestone caves and waterways have been carved out by the Río Camuy, the world’s third-largest underground river. There are numerous rooms featuring stalagmites, stalactites, and running rivers. Geologists hypothesize that there could be as many as 800 undiscovered caves there.
* Condado - Are you a sun-worshipper? Well, this is the place for you. This beach is extended for several miles east of Old San Juan in the Condado district. The district was originally developed as San Juan's first tourist zone in the 1950s, creating a mini Miami Beach on the doorsteps of the city. Lined with high-rises resorts, this beach is one of the must-visit places in San Juan.
- Desecheo Island - It is a small uninhabited island of the archipelago of Puerto Rico located in the northeast of the Mona Passage. About 12 miles from Rincón, is a top destination for divers wanting to escape the heavily crowded tourist areas. The tiny uninhabited island is wildlife and marine reserve managed by the US Fish & Wildlife Service. The lack of surface water limits its flora to thorny shrubs, small trees, weeds, and various cacti, including the endangered Higo chumbo. Fauna includes various species of seabirds, three endemic species of lizard (Ameiva desechensis, Anolis desechensis , and Sphaerodactylus levinsi), introduced goats and rats, and a population of rhesus monkeys. Desecheo is a very popular place for diving fans. The water is calm and translucent, with a visibility of around 80 feet, perfect for viewing the coral reefs and spotting bright fish in the water.
Rich history and culture, exceptional food, lovely parks, pristine beaches, majestic mountains, relaxation, adventure in sun-kissed Caribbean paradise, Puerto Rico have it all.
Puerto Rico is the home of an abundance of parks and plazas. If we go by the number it’s going to be more than hundreds of them. But these are the names that have made it to our list. The list is strictly based upon tourists’ reviews and personal preferences.
- Parque de la Palomas - The very first park on this list is a ‘pigeon park’. Yes, you read it right. Paloma means ‘pigeon’ and you’ll encounter hundreds in this tree-shaded cobblestone courtyard just next to the historical Capilla Del Cristo in Old San Juan. These pigeons fly in and out of holes in the wall. Some folks come to the park just to feed them; small children come to chase them. Buy bird seed from a vendor by the gate.
- Plaza Ventana del Mar - With its eclectic style and waterfront location, Plaza Ventana del Mar draws locals and tourists alike. The clean, conspicuous square leads to the west end of the public beach and features sculptures, fountains, and the city's very own Walk of Fame (look for Ricky Martin's star, among others). Explore the quaint restaurants, bars, and shops, dine on the local cuisine, and browse for souvenirs.
- La Marquesa Forest Park - Guaynabo City has created a beautiful forest reserve of approximately 600 acres for the enjoyment of locals and visitors to the island, called La Marquesa Forest Park. La Marquesa is the ideal place for the whole family, where everyone can enjoy a day trip, visiting its numerous attractions. And for those who enjoy extreme sports, there are facilities available for zip lines, rappelling, and hiking. Throughout the tours, visitors will be able to observe many other attractions such as the aviary, the butterfly farm, displays of macaws, cockatoos, Amazon parrots, peacocks, pheasants, and flamingos, among others.
- Arecibo Lighthouse and Historical Park - Arecibo Light is a historic lighthouse located in the city of Arecibo, Puerto Rico. It is also known as Los Morrillos Lighthouse because of its location on top of a rocky headland known as Punta Morrillos. The lighthouse was constructed and was lit in 1898. This was the last lighthouse built by the Spanish government on the island. It includes a replica of a Taino Indian Village, a replica of the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria, a Slavery Quarters, a replica of a Pirate Ship, a Pirate Cave, a Mini Zoo, various Salt Water Aquariums, a Playground, and a Water Park. The lighthouse is home to a small museum showcasing marine artifacts, the history of the lighthouse, and the Spanish–American War.
- El Faro Park - El Faro Park is located in Rincon. The beautiful spot above the domes Beach where surfers are a source of entertainment. A great place to spot dolphins. There are great views of the ocean, Desechato Island, Domes Beach to the north, and the coast and cliffs towards Maria's Beach to the south. It is up high on a cliff, so there are great photo opts everywhere. In season (Jan-March) it is a great spot for whale-watching. The 1921 Lighthouse adds to the charm of the park. There are walkways and benches, as well as ramps for wheelchairs - since the parking area is lower than the park proper. They sometimes hold events at the park - music, shows, etc.
- Luis Muñoz Rivera Park - Sprawling over massive 27.2 acres, this recreational park is the largest passive park in this metropolitan area of Puerto Rico. The park was named in honour of Puerto Rican statesman Luis Muñoz Rivera, a statue of him is located in the middle of the park.
- Sitio Histórico Nacional de San Juan - San Juan National Historic Site, in the Old San Juan section of San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a National Park Service-managed historic site that protects and interprets colonial-era forts such as Castillo San Felipe del Morro, bastions, powder houses, and three-fourths of the old city wall. This park and La Fortaleza have together designated a World Heritage Site on 6th December 1983.
- Parque Nacional Isla de Cabras Cabras - Isla de Cabras is an islet located at the entrance of the San Juan bay in Puerto Rico. It is part of the Palo Seco barrio of the municipality of Toa Baja. This land-connected small island has some of the best views of the Bay of San Juan and the Old San Juan area. On the island, you'll find recreational facilities and on-site parking. The park is a great spot for walking and fishing.
- Parque Jaime Benítez - Sitting alongside the calm waters of Laguna Del Condado, this park is a popular launching spot for kayakers and paddle boarders. Great place for a walk, sunset, and sunrise watching. A great place for walking, bicycling, kayak riding, roller skating, and family picnics.
- Cerro Gordo National Park - Located on the very edges of the Sierra Almijara, This is a unique stretch of near-virgin coastline in Malaga, which runs for 12km east of Nerja to La Herradura in Granada province and covers an area of 1,815ha, including a protected part offshore. Apart from small numbers of pine trees, holm and Kermes oaks, locust trees, and wild olives, the main vegetation in this area is Mediterranean scrubland, made up of lentisc, rockroses, dwarf fan palms, rosemary, and gorse. Mammals like the weasel, marten, fox, hedgehog, and badger and reptiles such as lizards and chameleons inhabit the area. The acantilados are rich in birdlife, particularly gulls, like black-headed, lesser black-headed, and herring gulls. Gannets, grey herons, and raptors such as black kites, Bonelli's eagles, kestrels, and buzzards can be seen wheeling overhead.
Puerto Rico and its surrounding islands boast some of the prettiest beaches in the Caribbean. From its capital San Juan to the nearby Isla Verde coastline, then there are islands like Culebra and Isla de Vieques, which are home not only to amazing stretches of white sand and turquoise sea, but also excellent snorkeling and diving thanks to a still-thriving coral reef system.
We have already mentioned Playa Flamenco beach in our ‘Top 10 places to visit’ segment. Other than that, these are the beaches we strongly recommend:
- Sun Bay Beach - Just eight miles from Puerto Rico's mainland, Isla Vieques is 21 miles long and five miles wide and is home to beautiful Sun Bay Beach. Easily accessible, with plenty of parking, as well as public toilets and showers, Sun Bay Beach is one of the island's most popular beaches on Vieques, with a wide stretch of sand.
- Crash Boat - A few feet away is El Natural, a famous diving spot with a huge reef full of marine activity. This is the most popular beach in Aguadilla. With a wide range of activities to do, like swimming, snorkelling, scuba diving, fishing, and -during the winter- surfing, Crash Boat is a playground for everyone.
- Domes - A true surfer's haven, Domes is located between a lighthouse and Puerto Rico's inactive nuclear reactor. With turquoise waters and golden sand, this beach is an excellent spot for whale watching during the winter.
- Luquillo Beach - The long crescent-shaped stretch of golden-kissed sand is lined with swaying coconut palms and backed by a usually calm stretch of turquoise sea that is great for swimming- sounds beautiful? Well, it is. The beach runs for nearly a mile and is popular with joggers and walkers as well.
- Playa Sucia - Located on Puerto Rico's southwestern tip, Cabo Rojo, Playa Sucia is the most beautiful beach in this area. It has clear turquoise water that is calm and perfect for swimming.
- Tortuga Beach - The wild beach is quite spectacular and a great option for anyone looking to just disconnect for a day and read a book on the sand. On Culebrita Island, which is close to Culebra Island, Tortuga Beach is only accessible by water taxi or boat that makes this beach less crowded even on weekends.
- Isla Verde - This beach resort area has a long stretch of sun-kissed sand beach that has a relatively calm blue sea, and you can swim here. If you're not staying at one of the resorts, you can rent beach chairs on the sand. There are also several water sports on offer, from jet skiing to parasailing. The beach has some decent surfing as well, and if you don't know what you are doing, a local surf school offers lessons.
Puerto Rico’s famous landmarks are not only awesome to explore, but they are also powerful reminders of its rich history and culture, here are some of the names of some of the places.
- Castillo San Felipe del Morro - Located on the northwestern-most point of the islet of Old San Juan, Castillo San Felipe del Morro is named in honour of King Philip II of Spain. In 1983, the citadel was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in conjunction with the San Juan National Historic Site. Over two million visitors a year explore the Castillo, making it one of Puerto Rico's leading tourist attractions. It was designed to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay and defend the Spanish colonial port city of San Juan from seaborne enemies.
- Parque de Bombas - The Parque de Bombas is a historic former fire station in Ponce, Puerto Rico. It is one of Puerto Rico's most notable buildings, with bright red and black, even some consider it ‘by far the most easily recognized landmark’ on the Island. It is located at the Plaza Las Delicias town square, directly behind Ponce Cathedral. Originally built in 1882 as a pavilion for an exhibition, it became Puerto Rico's first-ever fire station. In 1990, the fire station closed and was converted into a museum. It was listed in the National Register of Historic Places on 12 July 1984.
- Raices Fountain - One of the most romantic places in San Juan is the Raices fountain. Raíces means roots. The sculptural group represents the mix of cultures that shaped Puerto Rico, predominately the Spaniards, Africans, and the indigenous Taino people.
- La Fortaleza - Also known as Palacio de Santa Catalina, this fortress was built between 1533 and 1540 to defend the harbour of San Juan, it is the official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico. It was the first defensive fortification built for the city of San Juan and the first of a series of military structures built to protect the city which included Fort San Felipe del Morro and the Fort San Cristóbal. In 2011, Puerto Rican author Giannina Braschi wrote the dramatic novel the United States of Banana, featuring climactic scenes of revolution at La Fortaleza.
- Capilla de Cristo - Capilla Del Cristo, also called Capilla Del Santo Cristo de la Salud is a small chapel/museum located in the Old San Juan Historic District of Puerto Rico. Built-in the 18th century, the structure has become a cultural icon of Puerto Rico and was saved from demolition in the 20th century. Most of the articles located at its altar are from 1753. Capilla Del Cristo is listed in travel guides as one of the must-see places of Old San Juan. It is a one-story-high, brick and stone structure with a curved belfry atop. Structurally, it is a stone building. Its gate was added in the 1940s for the protection of its interior. The building is located at the end of Cristo Street, a cobblestone street, in the Historic District of Old San Juan not far from La Fortaleza, the residence of the governor of Puerto Rico.
- Serralles Castle - Castillo Serrallés is a mansion located in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, overlooking the downtown area. It was built during the 1930s for Juan Eugenio Serrallés, nowadays, the structure functions as a museum, Museo Castillo Serrallés, with information about the sugar cane and rum industries and its impact on the economy of Puerto Rico. It is also increasingly used as a venue for social activities, including destination weddings. The property was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1980.
- La Placita de Santurce - La Placita de Santurce, a grand public plaza at the heart of San Juan. During the day, it’s an awesome place to hang out and browse for fruit from local vendors. At night, the plaza explodes into life. It’s the best place to be once the sun goes down if you’re looking to dance the night away with locals.
- La Guancha Boardwalk - Paseo Tablado La Guancha is a boardwalk in the La Guancha sector of the Playa barrio in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, facing the Caribbean Sea. It offers the perfect opportunity to enjoy the fresh sea air, gorgeous ocean views, and, of course, plenty of local food.
- San Juan Cemetery (Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery) - Set along the coast, adjacent to El Morro, and high above the ocean, is the beautiful San Juan Cemetery. Elaborate tombstones, statues, and a circular red-domed neoclassical chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene are some of what makes this cemetery outstanding.
Puerto Rico’s history stretches from pre-Columbian civilizations through modern times, including contributions from Taíno, African, and Spanish peoples. Here are some of the most visited museums:
- Casa Blanca - Casa Blanca is a house museum located in Old San Juan within the historic colonial section of the capital of Puerto Rico. It served as the first fortification of the San Juan islet. It was the first governor's residence in PR when the capital was moved to the Islet of San Juan in 1521. In 1967, the complex was transferred to the government of Puerto Rico and declared a historical monument. In 1981, it was recorded in the Historic American Buildings Survey. Today, the house is a museum of 16th and 17th-century artifacts managed by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.
- Cuartel de Ballajá and Museo de las Américas - Ballajá Barracks (or Cuartel de Ballajá in Spanish) is a military barracks located in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was built from 1854 to 1864 for the Spanish troops established on the island and their families. These barracks were heavily used during the Spanish - American War and World War II. Today, the Ballajá Barracks houses several educational and cultural organizations, namely the Museo de Las Américas on the second floor of the building since 1992. On the first floor, there are music and dance schools and a library, among other things. The Museo de Las Américas has three permanent collections: African Heritage, the Indian in America, and Popular Arts in America.
- Museo Casa Cautiño - Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Casa Cautiño is a house museum in Guayama, Puerto Rico. This was a wedding gift from Genaro Cautiño Vázquez, head of the Cautiño’s family to his wife. This historic house has passed through generations and serves as a witness to Puerto Rico’s rich past and a beautiful example of 19th-century urban architecture. Many original paintings, woodwork, sculptures, and furniture pieces that are wonderfully preserved, this place is worth the visit.
- Museo de la Historia de Ponce - The Museo de la Historia de Ponce is a museum located in the historic Casa Salazar-Candal in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico. The museum depicts the city's ecology, economy, architecture, government, and elements of daily life. It seeks to promote the research, conservation, and dissemination of the historic heritage of Ponce and Puerto Rico. The building that was once a house of the Salazar family, became a museum in 1992 in commemoration of the 300th anniversary of Ponce’s founding (1692).
- Museo Castillo Serrallés - Museo Castillo Serrallés a.k.a. Museo de la Caña y el Ron is an agricultural museum in the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico, that showcases the history of sugar cane, its derivative rum industry, and its impact on the economy of Puerto Rico. The most notorious feature of the museum is the building it occupies. The interior of the house has been preserved so visitors can appreciate the lobby, rooms, patio, and terrace in their original condition, altogether a reminder of the cultural and economic changes that the southern side of the island was experiencing during the time.
The vibrancy of Puerto Rican culture comes alive in its dishes, a celebration of flavours that visitors have the opportunity to indulge in. Some of the favourites are mofongo, tostones, pasteles, Arroz con gandules, tembleque, and coquito.
Here are some of the traditional Caribbean dishes which you will find in food stalls as well as in restaurants:
- Alcapurrias - Alcapurrias is one of the most common traditional dishes you will find throughout the island. This beach staple is made with grated yucca or a batter of green bananas, which are then stuffed with lobster, crab, or shrimp. Not only you will find treats on the beaches, hotels and restaurants offer them too.
- Empanadilla - Another hugely popular Puerto Rican traditional dish, empanadilla is a snack which you will find everywhere, from traditional dish joints to bars to hotels and restaurants. The snack features dough stuffed with various kinds of meats, including shrimp, chicken, and ground beef. It is then deep-fried.
- Sorullitos - Sorullitos are made from cornmeal, and they are mostly used as a side dish or starter. Some might be stuffed with cheese or bananas before being deep-fried to have a crispy outer shell. A must-try when visiting San Juan.
- Pinchos - Meat skewers are a street staple in most countries, and the Puerto Rican version is the pinchos. This street favourite is made with chicken and then doused in a generous amount of thick, sticky marinade before being grilled on a smoky barbeque, making it different from other meat skewers.
- Relleno de papa - Relleno de papa is made from fried mashed potatoes, stuffed with ground beef, and then rolled into the size and shape of a baseball. It is then deep-fried to achieve a mouthwatering golden colour that makes you want to have a taste immediately.
- Tostones - one of the most popular traditional dishes, this dish consists primarily of double-fried slices of plantains.
They are a favourite fritura or snack by the locals, and this is mainly because they are delicious and easy to prepare.
- Chicharrones - Chicharrones is another traditional dish you have to try in Puerto Rico, especially if you love pork. It is a common roadside snack made from fried pork rinds or fried pork belly. This bite-sized treat is usually served with a slice of lemon and a special dipping sauce to add extra flavours.
- Piña colada - The national drink of Puerto Rico, mixologists’ strain (colada) juicy local pineapple (piña). Coconut water or cream of coconut is added along with crushed ice, and then blended with your choice of rum; perhaps Don Q or Bacardi, just a couple of the famous rums of Puerto Rico. Most often topped with a dab of whipped cream and garnished with a slice of pineapple and a maraschino cherry, it is a wonderful, anytime drink.
- Pitorro - Thanksgiving or New Year, without this drink, the celebration would be incomplete. Often infused with fruit or coffee, or blended with chocolate or hazelnut, you can find various flavours of pitorro at your local grocery store, to have the true pitorro experience you must try that which is produced by the locals.
- Coquito - the main ingredients of this drink include evaporated milk, condensed milk, coconut milk, cream of coconut, white rum, and spices like vanilla, nutmeg, and cinnamon. Lovely holiday bottles are sold at just about every store this time of year, and coquito is made in batches and shared with friends and family.
- Coco Frio - Driving down the roads of Puerto Rico, you will find many stands selling coco frio, or cold coconut water. Whole coconuts are kept in a cooler and then topped with a machete when purchased.
- Frappe - A blended drink much like the piña colada, frappes are a frozen drink made with fresh fruit and ice cream. Frappes can be found at roadside stands, kiosks, grocery stores, shopping malls, and just about everywhere in between.
- Mavi - Mavi is made with the bark of the Mavi tree that is boiled, sometimes with spices like ginger and cinnamon, or fruit is added for different flavours.
- Malta - Malta is an unfermented, lightly-carbonated malt beverage that is very popular with Puerto Ricans. Sold in cans and small bottles, it is a taste special to the Caribbean and may take some getting used to.
Tap water is treated and is officially safe to drink, though it tastes rather chlorinated; many opt for bottled water instead. Tap water may be unsafe to drink in Puerto Rico as many visitors experience diarrhea, even if they follow the usual precautions. Carry a bottle and refill it from the eateries when you stop by.
Puerto Rico is the perfect place for adventurous outdoor activities. Here are some of our favourite things to do other than sightseeing -
- El Yunque National Rainforest: Nature Walk Adventure
- Horse Riding at a Private Ranch
- 2-Hour ATV Adventure at Campo Rico Ranch
- Isla Verde, Puerto Rico: Jet Ski Tours
- Indulge in water sports, such as snorkelling, scuba diving, paddleboarding.
There are plenty of hotels, hostels, guest houses in prime locations in Puerto Rico. Nowadays, most opt for online bookings; don’t forget to read the reviews on them.
Here are some of the topmost Green Hotels in Puerto Rico -
- Casa Grande Mountain Retreat - The Puerto Rico Hotel and Tourism Association has named this hotel “Green Inn of the Year” four times. Green initiatives at Casa Grande include using cold water and biodegradable soaps, using energy-efficient light bulbs, maintaining a botanical garden, encouraging guests to reuse bath towels, timing outdoor lights, and placing recycling receptacles in all guest rooms.
- Hix Island House - This eco-friendly hotel has received the “2005 Green Hotel Award” and the “2002 U.S. EPA Environmental Quality Award.” It uses solar panels to reduce electricity usage. Waters collected in basins and drained from showers water guava plants, bananas, lemons, and other greenery.
- Embassy Suites Dorado Del Mar Beach and Golf Resort - Located just outside San Juan, this hotel features green initiatives that include recycling paper, plastic, and glass products, using cleaning products without harsh chemicals and proper disposal of office supplies containing chemical agents.
Hostels and Guest Houses
Hostels and guest houses come with a lesser budget as well as it helps the locals to earn extra. Puerto Rico offers a plethora of budget-friendly hostels and guest houses –
- Nomada Urban Beach Hostel
- Hostel H1 Miramar
- Santrucia Hostel
- MEDUSA’S Hostel
- Family guest house
- Avila Guest House
- Fortaleza Guest House
If you want to stay longer and want your privacy, renting apartments can be a good option for you. You may come across many tourists with whom you can enjoy the daily lives of Puerto Rico. You can book them online sites such as www.booking.com etc. On such sites, locals advertise their apartment, location, and connectivity with the transport modes. Read the reviews on them before renting one. To name a few apartments where tourists can stay –
- Vista del Mar Luxury Apartments
- Ridge Top Luxury Apartments
- Caparra Village Vacation Apartments
Couchsurfers share their homes, cities, and lives in profound, meaningful ways, making travel anywhere in the world a truly social experience. It is the best way to experience Puerto Rico like a local. Reach out to over hosts in Puerto Rico to discover unique places to stay, and locals to stay with. Use Couchsurfing to find accommodation in Puerto Rico, meet locals and travellers, and more. You will find many hosts if you want to couch-surf in Puerto Rico. There are multiple online sites such as www.couchsurfing.com which help tourists to take this option of staying. Still, if you want to opt for this option, extra precaution is necessary, especially for the females. Do not hesitate to ask for the details and the references of the host.
If you want to go for camping, these are the places recommended for you -
- Punta Maracayo Camping
- Campamento Del IPU
- Puerto Combate Cobo Rojo
|Northern Coast |
|Porta del Sol |
|Porta Caribe |
|Eastern Coast |
|La Montaña |
also known as Isla Nena or Little Island, is a small, rural island approximately 10 km east of the big island of Puerto Rico.
a tiny island off the east coast of Puerto Rico where you will find Flamenco Beach considered the second most beautiful beach in the world by Discovery Channel, and other touristic attractions.
|Northern Coast |
|Porta del Sol |
|Porta Caribe |
|Eastern Coast |
|La Montaña |
also known as Isla Nena or Little Island, is a small, rural island approximately 10 km east of the big island of Puerto Rico.
a tiny island off the east coast of Puerto Rico where you will find Flamenco Beach considered the second most beautiful beach in the world by Discovery Channel, and other touristic attractions.
Getting There and Moving Around
The easiest way to get to Puerto Rico is to fly, though the island is also connected to the Dominican Republic and the Virgin Islands by ferry. Puerto Rico is a city where you can find history in its every nook and cranny. If you want to divulge the originality of the city, you have to leave the usual transportation mode and look for a slower mode of transportation.
For travel within the United States, any TSA-compliant document, such as your state-issued driver's license or identification card, is sufficient identification to board a flight to or from Puerto Rico, as with any other domestic flight. Puerto Rico chooses to follow the Mainland US entry requirements. As with the Mainland, any non-US citizen must follow the Visa Waiver Program.
The island’s international gateway is the Aeropuerto Internacional Luis Muñoz Marín in San Juan, with numerous connections to the US and all over the Caribbean, while regional airports at Aguadilla and Ponce are increasingly accepting direct flights from the US mainland and nearby islands.
Puerto Rico has no island-wide bus service, but most of the island is accessible by public transportation. The Autoridad Metroplitana de Autobuses (AMA), or metropolitan bus authority, serves San Juan, Carolina, Cataño, Guaynabo, Trujillo Alto and Bayamón.
There aren’t any non-domestic trains running in Puerto Rico.
Though hitchhiking isn't the safest mode of transportation if you are not a local and don’t know the city well, still, when in Puerto Rico, it is one of the best transport modes that people consider. In Puerto Rico, locals say “pedir pon” in Spanish, which means hitchhiker. So they are quite used to this mode of transport. They are mostly friendly people, who would tell a million things about the island if you asked. Always learn a word or two of Spanish, this comes in handy when situations like this. But again, when hitchhiking, make sure that you are being careful about the surroundings so that you wouldn’t be tricked.
A commercial ferry service connects the west coast city of Mayaguez and Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic. This service is a very popular and convenient way to travel between both cities.
The concept of sustainable shopping is new to the world. People are trying to change their lifestyles and adopting eco-friendly practices that support the local community. As a responsible tourist, you must buy souvenirs and antiques from the local markets of Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is facing a waste crisis. Unlined landfills across the island are overflowing with uncovered waste, sending foul odors into homes, contaminating drinking water, and attracting rodents and other pests. To stop this, the government of Puerto Rico has taken many initiatives. The goal is to reduce, reuse and recycle the materials that are buried daily in landfills and sanitary landfill systems in Puerto Rico. It also seeks to minimize the impact they have on reaching estuarine waters and their ecosystem. They encourage the estuarine population to begin to reduce excessive materials, reuse materials that have expired their usefulness, and recycle the materials generated in their home, work area, and community.
The government has instructed many sanitization and recycling companies to offer convenient, affordable curbside pickup of their garbage and recycling. They offer a variety of service levels to fit the needs of any household as they serve almost all roads and private drives in the county, providing them with curbside service for the same price OR LESS than self-haul, so the people in Puerto Rico can save the time, money, and bother of hauling their garbage.
Work and Study Abroad
If you have a USA student visa, then it won’t be a problem if you want to study and work here. Puerto Rico is home to 152 accredited universities and colleges (21 of which are based in the capital city of San Juan), according to the Institute of Education Sciences. Puerto Rican universities follow the US system, awarding four-year bachelor’s degrees, as well as Master of Arts (MA) and Master of Science (MSc) degrees, and – more rarely – PhDs. Most courses are taught in English and Spanish. While most universities in Puerto Rico are recognized by the US, you should make sure to check the university you are considering has some kind of international and professional accreditation, and that your qualification will be valid in your home country and elsewhere.
If you are okay with part-time jobs, you can upload your resume on job sites such as www.indeed.com, www.simplyhired.com or you can ask the locals about any part-time job opening they know about.
As mentioned above, foreign student programs are very much available in Puerto Rico. All you have to do is, contact your home university if they have collaboration with the university here.
There are many Au Pair jobs available in Puerto Rico. To have a good salary or a likeable job you have to submit your resume to online portals like www.aupair.com, www.greataupair.com, www.topaupairs.com. The jobs they provide like, child care, old age home jobs, etc.
As a volunteer in Puerto Rico, you can do a lot to help communities rebound from Hurricane Maria and the 2020 earthquakes. Most volunteer programs focus their work on uplifting those communities and environments most affected by these natural disasters. As a volunteer in Puerto Rico, you can lend a helping hand to coffee farms, fishermen, displaced people, and others.