The Unbeatable Two-Week Itinerary Around Puerto Rico
In reality, Puerto Rico is an archipelago that consists of a number of different islands in addition to the single island that bears its name. Smaller islands in Puerto Rico, such as Culebra and Vieques, are famous for the gorgeous beaches that can be found on them.
If you want to spend a few days in Puerto Rico, it is imperative that you pay a visit to one of these smaller islands. After being colonized by Spain near the end of the 15th century, Puerto Rico was sought by other European powers but continued to be governed by Spain for several decades after its initial colonization.
The United States did not officially seize possession of Puerto Rico until 1898 when they did so in accordance with the treaty that ended the Spanish–American War.
Puerto Rico is the ideal vacation spot for any kind of traveler because of its breathtaking natural scenery, year-round tropical climate, vibrant culture, and mouthwatering cuisine. Therefore, if you haven’t been there yet, now is the time to start making plans for your first trip to Puerto Rico!
This schedule includes some of the most popular things to see and do in Puerto Rico, such as its historic landmarks, stunning beaches, and scenic drives, as well as its world-renowned food and drink. You will be experiencing thrilling excursions, wandering around historic areas, going hiking, enjoying the ocean, and so much more!
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Want to Know More About Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico is a self-governing island commonwealth of the West Indies that is associated with the United States. Its official name is the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, although it is often known in Spanish as the Estado Libre Asociado de Puerto Rico.
It is the most eastern island in the chain of the Greater Antilles and is located around 80 kilometers (50 miles) east of the Dominican Republic, 40 kilometers (65 miles) west of the Virgin Islands, and 1,600 kilometers (1,000 miles) southeast of the state of Florida in the United States.
It has a northern coastline that faces the Atlantic Ocean and is located in the northeastern part of the Caribbean Sea. Vieques and Culebra, two small islands located in the Atlantic Ocean off the east coast of Puerto Rico, as well as Mona Island, located in the Caribbean Sea to the west, are administratively a part of Puerto Rico.
When compared to its neighbors in the Greater Antilles, Puerto Rico has a size that is approximately one-fifth that of the Dominican Republic, one-third that of Haiti, and only a little bit smaller than Jamaica.It has a shape that is similar to a rectangle and can reach a maximum length of 111 miles (179 kilometers) from east to west and 39 miles (63 kilometers) from north to south.
The city of San Juan serves as the capital. Puerto Ricans, often known as puertorriquenos, have a culture that is a fusion of Spanish, American, and Afro-Caribbean influences.
The social and economic conditions of the island are typically advanced by Latin American standards, mainly due to the island’s relations with the United States of America (including the presence of U.S.-owned manufacturing plants and military bases in the commonwealth).
Week 1 in Puerto Rico
Day 1- Explore Old San Juan
Old San Juan, the historic area of the capital of Puerto Rico, is a fascinating place to visit because it is home to a National Historic site as well as a site that is listed on the UNESCO World Heritage sites list.
Get up early and take a stroll around the streets of the ancient city. On your way, you should make a point of visiting the San Juan Gate, the historic wall that runs along the water and the Paseo de la Princesa, and the Raices Fountain. As you take a stroll, you’ll get to witness a lot of stunning architecture and sculptures.
Old San Juan is home to several truly stunning façades; you’ll want to snap a gazillion pictures of them and maybe even strike a pose in front of a couple of them! Appreciate the exquisite doors, windows, and balconies that are present.
Your finest opportunity to obtain stunning photographs will present itself quite early in the day, while the public spaces are still relatively empty. It is imperative that you arrive at the Castillo San Felipe del Morro by 9 a.m., which is the time that it opens to the public.
Simply referred to as “El Morro,” this fort is widely considered to be the most recognizable structure that was constructed by the Spanish in the Americas. The very first lighthouse to be constructed on the island of Puerto Rico can be seen here, and the ramparts and terraces offer breathtaking views of the ocean.
The stunning Castillo San Cristobal may be reached in just a few minutes by strolling down the promenade that runs along the ocean. You will be completely captivated by the textured walls, the tunnel with the antique painting, and the sentry boxes with their breathtaking vistas.
Day 2 - Rum Tasting Tour
You can’t visit Puerto Rico without taking a tour of the rum factory there. The sugar industry, which was the primary force behind Puerto Rico’s economic growth for many centuries, gave rise to the production of rum as a byproduct.
Although the last sugar mill in Puerto Rico shut down in the year 2000, the production of rum remains an important industry on the island. If you want to learn more about the process, you can visit Casa Bacardi, which is widely considered to be one of the most renowned rum distilleries in Puerto Rico.
At the distillery, you have the option to participate in a number of different activities, such as taking a historical tour of the property, which lasts for forty-five minutes. You could also go on a rum tasting trip, which lasts for an hour and a half and includes a historical tour in addition to the tasting of six different rums.
You could also attend a mixology session that lasts for an hour and a half and includes a tour of the distillery in addition to teaching you how to prepare three different types of drinks. Catao is the neighborhood where Casa Bacardi can be found; it is directly over the water from Old San Juan.
You have the option of driving yourself to the distillery if you have a car, taking an Uber or a cab if you don’t, or walking there. There is also the option of taking the ferry from the San Juan port; departures occur approximately every half an hour. After you get off the ship, the distillery is approximately two miles away, so you should hire an Uber or a taxi to go there.
Day 3 - Sunset Sail
Take a sunset sail across San Juan Bay for a trip that’s sure to be peaceful and rejuvenating. You might also participate in a guided evening walking tour of the ancient city to gain additional insight into the history and culture of San Juan and Puerto Rico as you make your way through the bustling plazas and winding alleyways paved with cobblestones.
At dusk and after dark, when all of the monuments and city walls are illuminated, and the pubs and cafés are packed with people having a good time, the atmosphere in Old San Juan takes on a mystical quality that is hard to describe.
If you do not want to participate in a guided tour, you should still make plans to do some exploring on your own to take in the atmosphere. In the event that you do not want to go on the sunset sail, another option available to you is to do a cuisine tasting and strolling tour in the evening.
The food in Puerto Rico is delicious, and taking a culinary tour with a native is a wonderful way to sample some of the island’s most famous dishes and drinks.
Day 4 - Visit A Bioluminescent Bay
To begin, head over to Casa Blanca, which is the only museum in San Juan that I consider to be an absolute necessity. The straightforward house was originally designed and constructed to serve as a home for the well-known Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon, and it does not take very long to go through it.
On the other hand, you won’t want to rush through the breathtaking grounds and gardens! The grounds, which have been thoughtfully designed with palms and other mature trees as well as a variety of tropical flora, encourage quiet strolling. From the gardens in the back, you can take in the breathtaking views of the water.
Booking a tour of a bioluminescent bay will provide you with an experience that is absolutely magical and unlike any other. On the entire planet, there are only a total of five bays like this one, and three of them may be found in Puerto Rico.
The eerie glow is brought about by the movement of dinoflagellates, which are microscopic organisms that dwell in the water. If you stir the water with something like paddles, for instance, you’ll see that the water takes on a bluish-green glow as a result.
The Las Cabezas Natural Reserves are a fascinating place to visit because of the variety of habitats that they contain, and Laguna Grande, which is located in Fajardo and is around 60 kilometers from San Juan, is one of those reserves. Due to its proximity to the nation’s capital, the bioluminescent bay is a destination that attracts a lot of tourists.
Mosquito Bay on the island of Vieques and La Parguera en Lajas Bays in the southwestern region of the island make up the last two bays in Puerto Rico.
Despite the fact that kayak tours are by far the most common type of excursion, visitors can also choose to participate in an electric boat tour or observe the glow from the shore, depending on the weather conditions that prevail on the evening of their visit.
If you want to have the finest time possible, you should go when there is very little or no moonlight. If you choose the tour that starts early in the evening, you will have time to explore the mangrove woods and look for wild animals until it turns dark. The coqui frogs will most certainly be audible to you.
Day 5 - San Juan Cathedral
The San Juan Cathedral is the second oldest building of its kind in the Americas. In colonial times, the cathedral served as the first stop for both newcomers and long-time residents on their way home. It had a peaceful interior and a lovely pale yellow exterior that was accentuated with white.
They traveled there by boat, entered the city through the San Juan Gate, and made a pit stop inside to express their gratitude for a safe journey. Your next destination is the stunning blue clifftop palace known as La Fortaleza, which performs its current function as the official residence of Puerto Rico’s Governor.
If you come during the week, you will have the opportunity to take part in a guided tour of the building’s interior.
Day 6 - Puerto Rico Capitol Building
It will take you around 20 minutes to walk from La Fortaleza to the Capitol building in Puerto Rico. A member of the staff will give you a tour of the facility and provide some background information about the stunning main hall and dome as they go.
It was well worth the effort! Additionally, the art shows are something that should not be missed. You could also choose to stay in the historic center and spend your time there shopping for authentic Puerto Rican mementos, such as jewelry, masks, coffee, and rum.
If you enjoy engaging in retail therapy, you may take your pick from a variety of stores, including high-end brand names, small boutiques, and art galleries. Or, if you would rather participate in an exciting aquatic sport, you may go snorkeling with turtles in the area relatively close to Old San Juan!
This highly regarded tour of jet snorkeling with turtles departs at Escambron Beach, which is conveniently located within walking distance of the old town. The underwater experience lasts for a total of 90 minutes and is led.
Day 7 - Guided LED Night Kayak Excursion
Consider going on this really well-liked guided LED night kayak tour in Condado Lagoon if you are searching for an evening activity that will keep you cool and will take place directly in Condado.
Paddle around the lagoon while basking in the glow of your kayak’s LED lights and taking in the breathtaking city lights that surround the Condado Lagoon. The adventure in a glass-bottomed kayak lasts for one hour and is a lot of fun. After the tour, there is plenty of time for beverages and dinner.
Week 2 in Puerto Rico
Day 8 - El Yunque National Forest
The only tropical rainforest that is a component of the National Forest system in the United States can be found on the island of Puerto Rico.
Even though Hurricane Maria inflicted extensive damage, which is still being repaired, it is still highly recommended that you pay the island a visit. At El Yunque, if you’re lucky, you’ll get to see some of the local wildlife, and you’ll also have the opportunity to get up and personal with tropical plants, flowers, and trees.
In the visitor center, there is a brief film on the forest, and you may learn about the different kinds of plants and animals that live here. Consider signing up for this tour if you want to get away from the crowds and see a different side of El Yunque.
It will lead you on a path through the forest and give you the opportunity to see some waterfalls that aren’t as well known as others in the park. You should wear suitable clothing and bring a dry pack because you are going to get wet and dirty. However, it is a wonderful experience for the daring individual who enjoys being outside.
Day 9 - Luquillo Beach
Luquillo Beach is a beautiful beach! It is not very far from El Yunque, and it is highly recommended that you drive there if you have a car.
Alternatively, you can choose to go on a guided tour that combines a visit to Luquillo Beach and El Yunque. The crescent-shaped Luquillo Beach features excellent silver sand and is equipped with many amenities.
Take a stroll around the breathtaking beach, snap some pictures of the clear sea framed by palm trees, or don your swimwear and dive right in. At the food stand right next to the beach, you may round up your meal with a drink that is presented in a pineapple.
Day 10 - Santurce
If you want to get a feel for the local culture, you should go check out the Santurce district, which has some seedy areas but is mostly packed with personality. The Condado neighborhood is known for its upscale shops and beautiful resorts along the coast.
Take advantage of the remaining daylight to go for a stroll in the neighborhood and check out the amazing murals. The street art in Santurce will blow your mind since it is so vivid, colorful, and lovely. Calle Cerra and Calle Loíza are definite must-strolls.
If you prefer museums, you should go to the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico because not only are the exhibits stunning, but you will also learn a great deal about the art, history, and culture of Puerto Rico. You might perhaps visit one of the many art galleries that are located nearby.
Do not miss La Placita de Santurce, which is a market during the day but a really active and exciting location at night. There are many wonderful restaurants and pubs there, as well as loads of live music and dancing, especially on the weekends.
Even if you are not a fan of going out to clubs and bars, you can still have a nice meal at one of the restaurants located on La Placita de Santurce before you head back to your hotel. Even if you have to wait to get a table at the casual Jose Enrique restaurant, you won’t be sorry that you did so because the food is excellent.
Day 11 - Condado
Condado is the posh section of Santurce, and it is where you should go if you’re more interested in shopping and beaches like those in Miami than in visiting museums or galleries.
You should go to Condado Beach and bask in the sun for the afternoon (or on the sun terrace of your resort if you choose to stay in Condado).
Day 12 - Culebra
Flamenco Beach, located on the island of Culebra, which has a total land area of a little more than 10 square miles, is widely regarded as one of the most stunning beaches in the world.
On the weekends, the horseshoe-shaped Silver Beach may get quite crowded, despite the fact that it has a picture postcard-worthy appearance. However, it is the only beach on Culebra that provides many amenities to its visitors.
Visit the Culebra National Wildlife Refuge if you want to view many sea birds and probably even sea turtles. This refuge is a great place to go if you enjoy looking for wildlife. Playa Flamenco is not the only beach on the island; and there are others that offer excellent snorkeling and are typically less crowded than Playa Flamenco.
Take a water taxi to Isla Culebrita, an even smaller island located off the coast of Culebra, for a unique and unforgettable experience. At this location, you can go snorkeling, swimming, walking on the beach, or looking for wildlife, including sea turtles.
Additionally, you have the option to trek to Faro Culebrita, a historic lighthouse that is now in disrepair.
Day 13 - Vieques
Vieques is a significantly larger island than Culebra, and it also has a significantly higher population density. It is home to a number of stunning beaches, but in addition to that, visitors may take in some views, participate in a wide range of land and sea activities, and observe many species of wildlife.
If you intend to spend the night on the island of Vieques and see the bioluminescent bay known as Mosquito Bay, make sure to book a trip in advance. This bay is considered to be one of the best in the world.
On this island, horses are allowed to roam freely, which makes for some wonderful photo opportunities. In addition, the island of Vieques is home to a National Wildlife Refuge, which is home to some of the island’s most beautiful beaches.
Isabel Segunda and Esperanza are the two towns that may be found on the island of Vieques. You can take a stroll through both of Isabel Segunda’s towns, as well as visit the charming lighthouse there. There are several delicious dining options available at Esperanza.
Day 14 - Ponce
Ponce, the second-largest city in Puerto Rico, is rich in history and brimming with allure. Ponce, which is found on the southeastern shore of the island, is referred to as “La Perla del Sur,” which literally translates to “the Pearl of the South.”
Ponce is a delight to explore because of its illustrious past and exquisitely preserved buildings.
KEY TAKEAWAYS ...🛪
Even though two weeks is a fair amount of time to tour the island, you may still have wonderful vacations in Puerto Rico even if you just stay there for a few days.
If this is your first time here, you should plan to stay for at least three days so that you may take in as much of this breathtaking place as you possibly can.
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