17 Cool Things To Do In Puerto Rico for First Time Visitors
As you all know, we are now selling our sailboat for bigger plans in the future. As we bid goodbye to our sailing life for a bigger, better, and bolder future, we are now set to find a place to live in Europe. We already have our flights booked (together with our 2 fur babies Ahab and Zissou) and our last stop for this sailing adventure in Puerto Rico.
We are currently anchored in Salinas, Puerto Rico. Jonathan and I have been on a cruise here last 2016 and this country have totally smitten us and we’re happy to be back. Before officially leaving this place and our sailing life, we decided to go on a tour around this beautiful Caribbean island. Tinggly Experiences, our travel partner since 2015 once again allowed us to experience Puerto Rico under their care. We couldn’t be any grateful for them! Anyway, here are 17 Cool Things You Can Do In Puerto Rico Some With Tinggly Experiences.
1. Experience Old San Juan By Taste And Sight In This Food Tour
Wouldn’t it be lovely to go around an old and exquisite town by sight and by taste? Puerto Rico is known as the ‘Island of Enchantment’ and it’s easy to see why with this guided tour. You’ll pass by stunning buildings and breathtaking plazas, seeing many of the city’s architectural gems, in between tastings at a variety of local favorites. Our favorite part aside from the food tasting (aka the best part) is listening to our local guides’ stories! It’s always fascinating to learn something from a local’s point of view.
2. Explore The Beautiful Culebra Island With A Catamaran For The Whole Day
Despite living out on the ocean, we still can’t get enough of it! Culebra is called the Spanish Virgin Island despite being located in Puerto Rico. It boasts turquoise blue waters, fine white sand, and beautiful snorkeling sites. This tour also gives participants a buffet lunch and unlimited Pina Colada and Rum Punch. Yum!!
3. Get A Mixology Experience At Casa Bacardi in San Juan
One thing you can’t miss in San Juan, Puerto Rico is a visit to the Bacardi Distillery and of course, learning what it takes to become a true mixologist alongside experts in the craft. This tour will let you prepare tasty Daiquiri, Mojito, and Cuba Libre yourself in the Cathedral of Rum! This gift experience begins with a complimentary cocktail and ends with a certificate and Bacardi glass to commemorate your visit.
4. Go On A Harbour Sail In Old San Juan
Sail on a magnificent 19th century-style schooner with a chance of seeing dolphins in the harbor. This tour will take you 500 years back as you admire the towns of Old San Juan, La Fortaleza, and Paseo La Princesa from the ocean. Drinks and snacks are served on board too!
5. Join an Afro Percussion Drum Workshop in San Juan
Learn about the history of the island’s iconic afro drumming music right in the studio of a talented professional percussionist in the artistic neighborhood of Santruce in San Juan. you’ll also get to learn how to bang your own rhythms whether it be Afro-Puerto Rican, Afro-Cuban or Afro-Brazilian drumming. You’ll pick up vital tips on how to find and keep the beat, and emerge with new skills, with no prior knowledge needed. If you want some good vibrations and positive energy flowing down your veins, this is the tour for you!
6. Go Kayaking in the Bioluminescent Bay at Parguera
One of my fondest memories in Puerto Rico is visiting the Bioluminescent Bay at Parguera– the sky sparkled as we kayaked along the mangroves in the dark and the water turned blue every time we touched it. No photo can ever do it justice. It was beautiful and I know you’d love to see it too!
7. Treat Yourself with Delicious Meals at Fogo de Chao in San Juan
If there’s one restaurant that I can eat at 3x a day, this is going to be Fogo de Chao. This is a Brazilian Steakhouse which serves freshly cooked steak with different cuts and sausages, chicken, and even lamb, you can have meat wrapped in bacon or a chicken wrapped in bacon! As if it’s not enough, they also have a buffet appetizer with salad, cheese, fruits, and whatnot.
Their steak is very tender that it kind of melts in your mouth and it explodes with all the natural flavor paired with perfectly seasoned saltiness. The buffet is also unforgettable, they have imported cheese, quinoa salad, every kind of salad you have in mind, potatoes, beans, and a whole lot more. More than the food, the staff is this restaurant’s asset. Everyone was friendly and everyone was eager to give an exemplary service you’d feel like you’re a king! 5 stars for this! P.S. Don’t be intimidated by the price. It’s absolutely worth it!
9. Visit the Caja de Muertos Island in Ponce
It was a slow day that day when I decided to go on a solo trip in Caja de Muertos Island with Island Venture Water Excursions. It’s a short boat ride from Ponce and I’m very happy I did since I met new friends– Alberto and Orlando who were traveling together then Madeleine and Rene (her father) who are all Puerto Ricans. It was a day spent beach bumming and playing water activities. There’s also a lighthouse which will give you a view of the sea. This is a paradise for beach lovers!
9. Enjoy the Night Life at Ponce
It’s such a shame that a lot of people skip Ponce considering that it is the second largest city in Puerto Rico. The same goes for us and we just discovered this city by chance. The locals that I’ve met in Caja de Muertos Island invited as to enjoy the nightlife in Ponce and it couldn’t be more fun! We went bowling, partying at a local pub, and played dominoes while drinking. Puerto Ricans definitely know how to party– that I can say for certain!
10. Visit the Museo de Arte in Ponce
Now that we’re in Ponce, why not visit this museum which houses a great collection of European and Puerto Rican art. It actually is the finest art museum in Puerto Rico and the largest in the Caribbean. It was even called the best in the Americas so it will be such a shame not to see it for yourself.
11. Go Hiking at the El Yunque Forest and Kayak Around the Fajardo Bioluminescent Bay
Everyone’s in search of the fountain of youth and let me tell you a secret– La Coca Falls located in the El Yunque Forest is known to be the Fountain of Youth ages ago! If that is not enough reason to go hiking, then hiking through the rainforest, taking a refreshing dip at the La Mina Falls, and seeing a superb view at the Yocahú Observation Tower should be enough! Of course, it will be amazing to end your night to see the glorious beauty of the Bioluminescent Bay in Fajardo.
12. Visit the Rio Camuy Cave Park and Arecibo Observatory
These are the two biggest attractions in Puerto Rico which is unmissable. You can easily book tours from San Juan where you’ll be bound to see stalagmites and stalactites which took hundreds and thousands of years to be built by nature. You’ll surely fall in love with it! From here, you can go straight to the Arecibo Observatory which will allow you to listen to radio emissions from the galaxy. Wow!
13. Relax at the Baños de Coamo Hot Spring
For just USD 3, you can totally get a mind, body, and soul rejuvenation in their pool filled with luxurious warm water. Since you’re already there, why not treat yourself for a massage too?
14. Spend Your Day at the Icacos Island
If you’re up for some beach bumming, this island is also one of the locals’ favorite. It has fine white sand and glass-like clear water. It’s a perfect snorkeling spot!
15. Walk Around Calle Sebastian in Old San Juan
If you’re a fan of art, then walking around this street will be a luxurious feast for your eyes. The streets are painted with vibrant colors and as if it’s not enough, you’d get to see beautiful art galleries too! Who knows? You could score a good painting made by a local!
16. Try the Monster Zipline aka The Longest Zipline in the World
With a total length of 7,590 feet, this is surely the longest zip line in the world as confirmed by Guinness World Records! You’ll go through lush forests as fast as 95 mph at an altitude of over 380 meters high. You’ll surely feel like a free bird in the sky.
17. Take Part in their Festivals
Didn’t I tell you the Puerto Ricans know how to party?? Make sure to plan your visit ahead and see it for yourselves! Here are some of the major festivals you might want to check out:
- Fiesta de Los Reyes Magos in Juana Díaz, Isabela, and other municipalities- January 6
- Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián in Old San Juan- Third weekend of January
- Festival de la Novilla in San Sebastian- Third weekend of January
- Carnaval Ponceño- Last week of February
- La Campechada in various municipalities- May
- Noche de San Juan- June 23rd
- Festival de las Máscaras de Hatillo in Hatillo- December 28
18. Find accommodation in Puerto Rico
To know more about Puerto Rico, visit the Country’s Official Tourism Website. Is there anything else I’ve missed? Let me know in the comments section below! 🙂
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