Known as La Isla Del Encanto, or the Island of Enchantment, Puerto Rico is the perfect place for a family vacation. Want to spend time on the beach, you got it. Visit a rainforest? Yep. Surf, got it covered. Get a history lesson, okay. With so many places to see and things to do, it’s no wonder Puerto Rico checks off the list for a great family vacation.
Here are some of the top reasons to visit Puerto Rico. This list is by no means exhaustive; as we mentioned, there are endless possibilities. These are just some items that we think families will love.
1. Puerto Rican Culture
Puerto Rican culture is probably best described as friendly, colorful, and worth getting to know more about. From endless festivals such as Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastián in Old San Juan to King’s day in January, there is no shortage of celebration of culture. Puerto Rico also is celebrated for its lively art scene. Visit the Museum of Art of Puerto Rico or the Puerto Rico Contemporary Art Museum. There is no shortage of ways to learn about the culture, from festivals to art, local craftsman, and food; Puerto Rico is teaming with a culture that shouldn’t be missed.
2. El Yunque National Forest
A rainforest might be a surprising addition to your Puerto Rican vacation but is a must, El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. forest service. Plan a full-day trip from San Juan or a half-day and head off to one of the many nearby beaches. The park contains a variety of hiking trails that are perfect for children and adults alike. If you don’t want to hike, you can also drive through large areas of the park. If your family can handle it, try your hand at climbing the Yokahu Tower, plan for a narrow steep climb up the stairs, however, the views are spectacular and worth it. You may need a reservation to visit the tower during your visit, you can check here.
3. The Amazing Food
Puerto Rican food is iconic, and where is the best Puerto Rican food (other than your Mom or Grandma’s house), you guessed it, Puerto Rico. With so many amazing restaurants to try and hidden gems, it will be tough to decide where to start. Here is a list of places your family might like to try.
- Visit Santurce, one of San Juans lively art districts and perfect for sampling Puerto Rican Street food.
- El Ladrillo in Durado a classic restaurant that specializes in prime meats and seafood.
- Try Hecho En Casa in San Juan, where the homemade food feels like you are in someone’s home.
- If you find yourself in Rincón, visit Jack’s Shack which supports the local food market.
- If your family are meat-eaters, a visit to the pork highway is a must. Open BBQ pits are a right of passage for meat lovers.
4. Kayak in Vieques’ Bioluminescent Bay
Take the ferry from the main island to Vieques and or Culebra to unwind and unplug. A visit to Vieques would be incomplete without a visit to the famous Puerto Mosquito, Vieques’s bioluminescent bay. The blue glowing water is due to an organism called Pyrodinium bahamense that brightly glows when the waters around it are agitated. Take a small group tour in a kayak and get the chance to experience what has been declared as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world.
5. Visit the best Beaches
- Check out Playa Buyé on Puerto Rico’s southwest coast, known for its clear water. It’s the perfect beach for a family stroll or building sandcastles.
- A Day trip from San Juan and worth the trip, Playa Sucia is a secluded cove near a lighthouse. Plan on being one of the only people there and enjoy the view.
- Just north of the well know surf haven of Aguadilla is Playa Punta Borinquen. A favorite hang out for local families for its perfect sand and watching surfers.
- Visit Crash Boat Beach in Aguadilla. Perfect for swimming, snorkeling, and diving.
- La Monserrate is popular with local families due to the calm waters and low tides, and it’s the perfect beach for kids. Located in Luquillo, don’t miss your chance to try the Kioskos (see more below).
- Combate Beach in Cabo Rojo is the perfect place for snorkeling, diving, and watching the perfect sunset.
6. Take a Ferry to Culebra
Take a day trip from the main island or take a few days of your itinerary and visit Culebra. Visit Playa Flamenco, one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico known for its white sand and picture-perfect crystal clear water. Make sure to grab a family picture with the abandoned brightly colored WWII tanks that speak to Puerto Rico’s storied culture. Don’t forget to pack extra sunscreen as the rays can get extra hot here during midday.
7. Soak up some history in Old San Juan
When you think of Puerto Rico, you might have the colorful buildings and cobblestone streets of Old San Juan as the picture in your head. Tire out the family with a stroll up and down the hilly narrow alleyways while enjoying the picturesque colorful apartments and beautiful balconies. Don’t miss the Paseo de la Princesa; the scenic walkway takes you to outdoor cafés, the Fuentes Raices fountain, and La Forteleza (the governor’s mansion).
8. Visit one of the iconic Forts
Constructed by the Spanish in the late 1400s and built to protect San Juan from Pirates and invaders, El Morro stands tall as the castle-like structure you visit today. Take a self-guided tour and make sure to check into the visitors center to watch a detailed film on El Morro’s history. Admission to El Morro includes access to the less-visited Castillo de San Cristobal. San Cristobal sits at the eastern gate, which is considered the land entrance to the city of Old San Juan. Take time to visit both forts; your family will not be disappointed by the views or the experience.
9. Salsa Dancing
It would be a crime to visit Puerto Rico without trying your hand at Salsa dancing. If your family has never tried salsa, sign up for a salsa class. Even if you don’t know how to dance, Salsa is forgiving, just feel the music and follow along.
10. Visit Camuy River Cave Park
Recently reopened after closing due to Hurricane Maria, take time to visit one of the largest cave networks in the world. Located along the island’s north coast, Camuy River cave park is about a 1-hour 20-minute drive from San Juan. Start your visit with a trolley tour down the steep zig-zag mountainside to the cave entrance. Children and families of all sizes will enjoy the trolley ride on its own; however, when you arrive at the cave, your adventure is truly just beginning. One of the most memorable parts of the tour is the Empalme sinkhole, a natural wonder that allows sunshine inside the cave 450 feet above. Make sure you dress comfortably and wear closed-toed non-slip shoes. You must call to make a reservation as spots are limited due to Covid-19 protocols.
A Puerto Rico Family vacation would be loved by all and is easy to plan. There is an abundance of hotels perfect for a family vacation. Including the Hilton Caribe in San Juan to the more exclusive Puerto Rico Ritz-Carlton in Dorado. If you are looking for privacy, Puerto Rico also has an abundance of villas and vacation rentals. Whatever you’re looking for in a family vacation, luxury, adventure, history, and mo
If you have a chance to take a Puerto Rico Family Vacation, what would be your mandatory stops? If you have been to Puerto Rico, please tell us where you must visit.
Already been to stunning Puerto Rico? Check out these Top 10 Caribbean islands for a family vacation.