In the past couple of weeks, 5 colleagues have reached out to me asking what is there to do in Puerto Rico since they are going to be coming for some vacation soon. Given the interest, I figured I would blog my response for the benefits of other that are thinking of coming.
There's plenty to do here. It depends if you are a beach person, shopping person, etc. These are my favorite things to do in the island and that I encourage my friends to do while they are here:
- Day trip to El Yunque - the caribbean's only rainforest: http://www.elyunque.com/ Good for hiking, going into the waterfalls, and spectacular views
- Day trip to Arecibo Observatory / Camuy Caverns - The Arecibo Observatory was featured in movies like Contact and 007's Live Another Day. It's the largest radiotelescope of the world and it's operated by Cornell. (http://www.naic.edu/) It's main mission is to look for extraterrestial life and comets that may impact Earth one day. The caverns are the 3rd largest underground cavern system in the world. http://www.whattodoinpr.com/camuy.html
- Horseback riding: Hacienda Carabalí
- You have to check out one of the bioluminiscent bays: http://www.discoveringpuertorico.com/2010/04/puerto-rico-bio-bay-and-kayak-tours/
- For shopping, check out Old San Juan and Plaza Las Américas (and of course, PioMu)
- Visiting Old San Juan and El Morro is a must!
- Since I'm a pilot, I can take you on a plane ride around the island :D and let you fly the airplane (only 4 people fit at a time though)
Restaurants to check out:
- La Bombonera - good for lunch.. Spanish food, service is horrible but the food is great & awesome prices. Been there for almost 100 years
- Dragonfly - Great atmosphere for dinner. Definitely check it out on a Thurs-Sun
- Aguaviva - Another great one in Old San Juan
- Casa Dante - in Isla Verde... ask for the Mofongo.
- Eat some (http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/luquillo-kiosks/). The kiosks may look sketchy, but they are popular among locals :) (and the food is good)
- Another must-visit for local food is Guavate. Check out this article.
In terms of Beaches:
- Definitely check out Ocean Park, tons of young people and good atmosphere.
- If you like more deserted beaches, you may want to consider a day trip to Culebra and go to Flamingo Beach. It's #2 of Travel Channel's Top beaches.
- Depends on your budget and lifestyle. Good metro area hotels are: Condado Plaza (can walk everywhere), Caribe Hilton ( hard to walk to places ), Marriott Condado, and El San Juan Hotel in Isla Verde. If you like hotels that are secluded from everything, El Conquistador in Fajardo is a good choice.
There's some more good info here: http://www.discoveringpuertorico.com/