It was amazing to discover new places that we didn’t even know existed. This made me passionate about showing all the hidden gems of Puerto Rico on my Instagram. I’ve been so happy to contribute to the tourism profile of my country and to inspire others to visit this beautiful destination.
Why Puerto Rico should be on your Bucket List
Puerto Rico is an island in the Caribbean. It has been a territory of the United States since 1898 after the US defeated Spain in the Spanish-American war. Our island is classified as an “unincorporated territory” which means the island is controlled by the US but is still separate.
I would say Puerto Rico is one of the best travel destinations in the world. It offers a wide range of experiences that every traveler and adventurer can enjoy. For example, if you want to see history and impressive architecture then we have the incredible Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan.
If you want to relax and go swimming at the beach then you can find idyllic stretches of coast with crystal-clear waters in Aguadilla. Then there are majestic waterfalls at places like El Yunque National Forest. Puerto Rico really does have it all – including the happy and friendly Boricuas people.
My Favourite Place in Puerto Rico – Loiza
I have had the good fortune of being able to explore many beautiful places in Puerto Rico. Some of my favourite places include Lares with its stunning mountains and rivers, the White Canyon and rocks at Utuado, sunflower farm in Guanica and beautiful beaches at Loiza, Vieques and Culebra.
The place that really blows me away every time I visit is Loiza. Our rich culture and roots can be felt in this part of Puerto Rico. There’s a big Afro-Puerto Rican influence which can be seen in the music, dance and culinary traditions. Loiza also has some of the best beaches in the country.
Loiza is located just outside of San Juan – so it’s the perfect place to visit after exploring the capital city. You have to visit Piñones when in Loiza which is a beachside community. The frituras here are phenomenal!
Top 10 Things To Do in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is pure paradise. There’s no other way to describe it. From the mix of Spanish, American and African culture; to the beautiful beaches, warm weather and sea breezes – there is something for everyone to enjoy here. Below are my top 10 recommendations.
1. Travel to the Idyllic Flamenco Beach on Culebra
Flamenco Beach is without doubt one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. No words or photos can do this place justice. Located on the tiny Culebra island, it’s just a 20-minute flight or short ferry ride from Puerto Rico. The water here is crystal clear and the white sand sparkles in the sun.
2. Explore the Lush El Yunque National Forest
El Yunque National Forest is our national forest and is an absolute must-visit. Immerse yourself in nature on a soul-refreshing escape. Hike through the different trails and discover natural pools where you can bathe under waterfalls. El Yunque will be one of the highlights of your trip.
3. River Trek in the White Canyon of Utuado
Hiking through the river that traverses the White Canyon (Canon Blanco) of Utuado makes for a great adventure. The rocks are enormous and give off a unique white colour. Not only is the river a joy to experience but the surrounding mountains of Utuado offer fantastic hikes as well.
4. Discover the Hidden Gem of La Zanja in Fajardo
La Zanja (“the trench” in English) is one of the best hidden gems in Puerto Rico. Located in the northeastern region of Fajardo, this natural pool is surrounded by rocks which protect you from the surrounding waves. It’s a magical little spot to go swimming and cool off on a warm summer’s day.
5. Experience the Rich Culture and Cuisine of Loiza
As I said before, Loiza is my favourite place in all of Puerto Rico. There is a different vibe and culture here which can be seen in everything from the music and dance, to the art and food. You simply have to try Alcapurria which is a type of fritter dish and also Bacalaito which is a salt-cod pancake.
6. Wander through the Streets of Old San Juan
Old San Juan, otherwise referred to as “El Viejo San Juan”, is the most historical part of the capital city. Wander around old forts, discover colonial architecture, try the delicious food and take in the festive and romantic atmosphere. Old San Juan is an islet connected to the main island.
7. Soak up the Sun in Luquillo, Puerto Rico
Luiquillo is the official sun capital of Puerto Rico. There are many beautiful beaches to be found in this region. Some of which can be enjoyed on a 4×4 jeep beach adventure. I recommend visiting Luquillo Beach, La Bandera Beach, Mameyes Beach, La Pared Beach and Las Pailas Beach.
8. Swim in the Naguabo Natural Infinity Pool
Puerto Rico is full of amazing natural infinity pools and the pool at Naguabo is one of the best. The hike here takes between 2-3 hours but it’s worth it for the impressive views at the top. There are a few beautiful waterfalls which you can visit along the way to cool off and take a break.
9. Relax at the Gorgeous Ballenas Bay Beach
Ballenas Bay Beach is located in Guanica State Forest and Biosphere Reserve. Most of the time the beach is empty which makes it even more special. The white sands, turquoise waters and natural setting will take your breath away. Be sure to plan your visit for a calm day.
10. Watch the Sunset in Rincon, Puerto Rico
Tips for your First Visit to Puerto Rico
The people of Puerto Rico are really hospitable. This will make your visit a happy and welcoming one. We love to party so much that we can turn any situation into a party atmosphere. So bring your dancing shoes!
Food is a way of life for us and it’s one of the highlights of the country. Slow-roasted pork is a staple food on the island. When you walk around the streets you can almost smell the scent of this delicious dish in the air. The best place to try it is in Guavate – a barrio in the municipality of Cayey.
Puerto Rico is home to many spectacular Airbnb accommodations. One of the best is found in Vieques, namely: The Hix Island House. Hotels are everywhere too. I recommend Royal Isabela in the town of Isabela.
The most important thing about traveling to Puerto Rico is to give yourself enough time to explore the island. Even though it’s small – there’s still so much to see and do here. From spectacular beaches and majestic waterfalls, to vibrant nightlife and amazing historic towns – we have it all!