There’s no denying the beaches on the main island of Puerto Rico are beautiful, but the beaches of Vieques & Culebra are pure perfection. The rest of the islands and cays offer seclusion and lush green landscapes with little to no development in sight – that true “island life” feel Caribbean dreams are made of. IslandsofPuertoRico.com was the first website to bring the most complete guide to the offshore treasures of Puerto Rico. We consider them among the top treasures of Puerto Rico and we just had to share them with the world.
For your convenience, we’ve included a map at the bottom of this page of Puerto Rico Islands, Islets, and Cays that are most enjoyable, easily accessible and popular among tourists.
What is the difference between an Island (Isla), Islet (Isleta) and Cay (Cayo)?
The difference between an island and islet is strictly a matter of size. They are both “stable” since they are made of rock. Islets are simply very small islands made of rock.
Cays differ from islands and islets in the method in which they are formed (sand deposited over time on top of coral reefs). Cays are not made of rock and are “unstable”.
Theoretically, all three can and have been inhabited by humans and wildlife. Cays are the least stable and susceptible to erosion over time.
Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico
/ Commonwealth of Puerto Rico
Islet of Old San Juan(aka Islet of San Juan / Isleta de San Juan)
The Islet of Old San Juan consists of Old San Juan, the historical area in the western half, and the Puerta de Tierra government/business district in the eastern half. This once walled city is connected to the main island of Puerto Rico by bridges – 1 to the east and 2 in the southeastern corner. Old San Juan is the most popular tourist destination in Puerto Rico and the hottest cruise port in the Caribbean. Old San Juan is packed with world class historic attractions, excellent restaurants, and unique shops.
This colorful town is the cultural center of Puerto Rico, the best place to immerse yourself in the warm and vibrant culture of the island. Whether you choose to vacation in San Juan or another destination in Puerto Rico, Old San Juan is one place you can’t miss visiting during your stay. More about Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.
The Spanish Virgin Islands
Vieques, the bigger of the two sister islands is a unique island with unmatched beauty, winning various prestigious awards as one of the best islands in the Caribbean. Spend all day beach hopping on pristine beaches without a single building onsite or crowds. After dinner, the magic begins under a starry sky on the bioluminescent bay, where you can kayak over waters that light up like a science fiction movie. More about Vieques, Puerto Rico.
Culebra, an archipelago made up of smaller islands and cays is the sleepier of the two islands. Few get to make the trip to this gorgeous island, residents and Culebra lovers would love to keep it that way. This tiny island is home to Flamenco Beach, consistently included on “Best World Beaches” lists. Culebra’s coral reefs and superb underwater visibility make it a world class snorkeling and scuba diving destination. More about Isla de Culebra.
Culebrita is part of the Culebra Archipelago. You may book a charter for a marvelous morning or afternoon enjoying the pleasures of total seclusion. While visiting Culebrita you can spend the morning hiking to the lighthouse ruins with awe-inspiring views. After the hike, refresh with a dip on the tidal pools. Finally head over to Tortuga Beach, a gorgeous cove with clear turquoise tinted water and white sand popular for boaters and typically only busy during summer months when boaters from the main island head over to Culebra with family and friends.
Isla Palomino (Palomino Island)
El Conquistador, A Waldorf Astoria Resort, one of the top 10 resorts in Puerto Rico, offers guests exclusive privileges to spend full days on this dreamy island. At Palomino Island you can enjoy swimming on calm crystal clear waters, snorkeling, horseback riding, kayaking and other fun water sports. This may be a secluded island, but friendly El Conquistador Resort staff will serve you Piña Coladas and delicious healthy lunch options without having to get up from your lounge chair. Ohh…you can set up massages right on the beach too… More about Palomino Island, Puerto Rico.
Isla Caja de Muertos
With an hour drive from San Juan, and a scenic ferry ride, you could be at one of the most under rated places in Puerto Rico. Here you can spend the day suntanning and swimming at Pelican Beach, hike a trail leading to a lighthouse with heavenly views, go snorkeling and explore more unique beaches. More about Caja de Muertos.
Isla de Mona / Mona Island
If you dreamed of visiting the Galapagos Islands, you may want to consider making the trip to Isla de Mona. Mona Island is often referred as”The Galapagos of the Caribbean”. If you’re one of the lucky ones to set foot on this secret treasure, you can enjoy secluded beaches, explore impressive caves, and get lost in the beauty of the colorful world beneath the surface of the waters surrounding Mona. If you love camping, Mona on your bucket list. Stargazing is spectacular. More about Mona Island, Puerto Rico.
Isla Desecheo / Desecheo Island
You can’t step on Desecheo Island, but you may book a charter to take you scuba diving deep around it’s walls. Desecheo is right off the coast of the town of Rincon. More about Isla Desecheo / Desecheo Island.
Map of Puerto Rico Islands, Islets & Cays
Explore beyond the beauty of the main island..