Related article: Best destinations in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico offers a great number of attractions in every region. If you’re visiting Puerto Rico for the first time, we have a list of the top ten attractions and must visit places. Most of these attractions can be enjoyed in one full week with proper planning and a car rental. We’ll provide approximate driving times with San Juan as a home base. Most of these attractions are world class, and unique to Puerto Rico, don’t miss them. These are only some of the best attractions, be sure to check our full attractions guide. Map is at the end of the page.
The first three attractions and place on the list are within the capital city of San Juan. We suggest you spend at least two full days in San juan to enjoy the forts and walk around the streets of Old San Juan, where you’ll find many other attractions, unique shop, excellent restaurants and cultural events.
Old San Juan – San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, the capital city of Puerto Rico is the most popular vacation destination on the island. Most visitors fly into the San Juan Airport, we highly recommend you stay in San Juan at least two nights, once there, be sure to head to Old San Juan, where history comes alive in a warm and festive way. Old San Juan is an open living museum that houses over 500 historic buildings that include churches, museums, great shops, excellent restaurants, plazas and relaxing cafes. It would take weeks to fully enjoy all the amazing attractions and places this historic city has to offer. We encourage you to take at least one day to walk around the streets of Old San Juan. Ditch the map and walk into the sights, shops and restaurants that catch your eye. Old San Juan is best enjoyed by foot, but you can get transportation to the major sights by taking the free trolley. More about Old San Juan, Puerto Rico. (new window)
San Juan National Historic Site – San Juan, PR
While in San Juan, be sure to schedule a visit to the San Juan National Historic Site, which include the forts of San Cristóbal, San Felipe del Morro, San Juan de la Cruz (El Cañuelo) and the city walls.
We include the forts of San Felipe del Morro and San Cristobal on the list of attractions you can’t miss. El Morro is one of the most beloved landmarks on the island rich in history, where many cultural events and weddings are held. Most Puerto Ricans have fond memories of flying a kite on the lawn, a must do while here. San Cristobal is the largest of the two and spectacular with it’s own unique architecture. Walk around the forts that helped protect the city, enjoy spectacular views, and get amazing vacation photos. More about San Juan National Historic Site.
Time to see sights: About 4 hours
Flamenco Beach – Offshore island of Isla de Culebra
Puerto Rico offers about 300 beaches, each offering something unique. Between Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands you may have visited, you may be thinking…how much better can a beach really get? Once you get to Flamenco Beach, you’ll understand why it’s one of the most glorified beaches around the world. Go to the little sleepy island of Culebra, located off the eastern coast of Puerto Rico, home to Flamenco Beach, often attaining the most coveted top rankings of best beaches lists. Be sure to make the day trip to Culebra, better yet, split your vacation by spending a few nights there and you’ll have bragging rights to visiting one of the best beaches of the planet. More about Flamenco Beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico.
Getting Here: You can take a short flight from the San Juan Airport, Isla Grande Airport or Ceiba Airport. We highly recommend you fly to Culebra in order to save time on travel. You may also take the ferry boat from Fajardo.
Time Needed: This is a wonderful day trip, plan on spending the full day in Culebra.
El Yunque National Rainforest – Luquillo
El Yunque, nominated as one of the natural wonders of the world is within reach. Cool, breezy, crisp air, lush greens and refreshing spring waters you can jump into. Whether you’re coming for a honeymoon or a family vacation, El Yunque National Rainforest is one of the places you can’t miss.
Getting Here: Driving Distance from San Juan: 45 minutes. You can drive to El Yunque or hire a tour operator. You can do both El Yunque and a bioluminescent bay tour at Las Cabezas de San Juan in Fajardo.
Time Needed: If you wish to explore the best trails, you’ll need a full morning and afternoon. Stop by a bakery (Panaderia) in town, get sandwiches and plenty of drinks.
Mosquito Bay / Bioluminescent Bay – Offshore island of Vieques, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico was blessed with 3 of the 5 bioluminescent bays in the world. This world class attraction has been included by many travel experts as one of the “things to do before you die”, and one of the most romantic experiences in nature. This place is often described as magical, come and see for yourself because it truly is. There are various charters that will take you to Vieques for the day, we encourage you to spend at least two nights in Vieques to experience the incredibly beautiful beaches by day and the bioluminescent bay at night. More about the Vieques Bioluminescent Bay.
Getting Here: We recommend you fly to Vieques from the San Juan Airport, you may also take the ferry but it requires more planning and time. Spend at least two nights in Vieques so you can also spend a day beach hopping around the island. More about getting to Vieques.
Time Needed: We highly recommend you stay at least one night in Vieques, that way you get to see the amazing beaches on the island. You may also go on a day trip by booking a charter such as East Island Excursions.
Note: If you can’t make the trip to Vieques, you can visit the bioluminescent bay in Fajardo or Lajas.
Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge – Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
The most scenic location on the island is located in the Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge. Plan on spending at least a full morning or afternoon here, then head over to the village of Boqueron for great nightlife. The Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge is an eco traveler paradise offering 4 attractions into one, hike along nature trails with scenic vistas, take a tour of the Salt Flats, visit La Playuela Beach, one the prettiest beach cove of the island, visit the elegant Los Morrillos Lighthouse, and walk along the limestone cliffs with breathtaking views of the Caribbean Sea.
Time Needed: Plan on spending a full morning or afternoon here.
Camuy River Cave Park “Parques de Las Cavernas del Rio Camuy” – Camuy, Puerto Rico
Even if you’re not into caves, you’ll be mesmerized by the Camuy River Cave Park, one of the most impressive natural attractions of Puerto Rico. Camuy River Cave Park is the third largest underground river in the world and not to be missed. More about Camuy River Cave Park
You can do both the Cave Park and the following Arecibo Observatory in one morning or afternoon.
Getting Here: Driving time from San Juan is about an hour with traffic. See maps on pages for directions.
Time Needed: You can do both the Cave Park and the following Arecibo Observatory in one full morning or afternoon.
Arecibo Observatory – Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Visit the largest radio telescope in the world high in the karst region of the town of Arecibo, one of the most interesting man-made wonders in Puerto Rico and the world. More about Arecibo Observatory
Caja de Muertos Island – Ponce, Puerto Rico
Caja de Muertos, located off the coast of the city of Ponce on the south coast of the island. This island is one of the most underated places of Puerto Rico and one place you probably won’t find on travel lists. Most Puerto Ricans have never stepped foot on the island and it’s still considered one of the unbeaten paths. This uninhabited island is home to Playa Pelicano which has won the Blue Flag award for many years. The island also offers a great hiking trail leading to lighthouse ruins, majestic views at the very top, and access to another secluded gorgeous beach. You can get here by ferry or charter boat and enjoy a full day of beach-combing, suntanning, hiking and snorkeling. More about Caja de Muertos, Ponce, Puerto Rico.
Time Needed: Island Ventures ferry leaves the dock at 8:30 and returns at 3:30pm. Driving distance from San Juan to Ponce is about 45 min to 1 hr depending on traffic.
Map of Puerto Rico’s Best Tourist Attractions
Click for Full page map – Map Use Instructions
More Attractions & Places to Visit in Puerto Rico
- San Juan Top Attractions & Places to Visit
- East Coast Top Tourist Attractions
- West Coast Top Tourist Attractions
By Municipality / Points of Interest
- Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico Attractions
- Isabela, Puerto Rico Attractions
- Ponce, Puerto Rico Attractions
- Culebra Island Attractions
- Vieques Attractions
Keep Exploring Puerto Rico
- Home - Puerto Rico
- Best Tourist Destinations in Puerto Rico
- Puerto Rico Destinations Guide
- Puerto Rico Islands
- Puerto Rico Attractions
- Puerto Rico Beaches
- Vieques Puerto Rico
- San Juan Puerto Rico
- Puerto Rico Facts