Small in terr itor y but huge in offerings for to urists … this is Puerto Rico ! Miles of co ast line, an imposing central mountain range, plus a culinary, musical, artistic, and popular culture so divers e that it is almost imposible to do everything in a short amount of time. To make your stay the best, here is a suggested itinerary that includes some of the sites you should definitely not miss. In upcoming issues we’ll give our readers more routes so that their Puerto Rico experience is full of adventure and fun.

By Andrea Moya Muñoz

Day 1 Old San Juan

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No tour of Puerto Rico would be complete without a visit to the Old Walled City. Its cultural and historical wealth is the product of more than 500 years of history and includes castles, museums, and buildings worthy of UNESCO’s World Heritage Site designation.

Variety of Tours

Want to make the most of your time? Joining a tour is the best thing to do. Visit Sightseeing Tours for information on operators that offer both daytime and nighttime tours.

A walk will allow you to enjoy the beautiful architecture seen at the vast majority of Old San Juan’s iconic buildings— including Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristóbal, and Palacio de Santa Catalina (La Fortaleza). You can also take stunning photos of the Bay of San Juan as you walk along Paseo La Princesa. Take a well-deserved break and enjoy a refreshing piragua (shaved ice with your choice of tropical fruit syrups) while observing the walls of this centuries-old destination. If want to know more about Old San Juan’s most representative buildings, some guides offer specialized tours focusing on this particular aspect.

Want to discover Old San Juan in a different way? Sign up for a bike or Segway tour (the two-wheeled vehicle used by guards in some shopping malls). It’s a highly recommended experience! You can also enjoy our capital’s coastline by taking a boat tour—priceless for memorable photos or videos.

Be Your Own Guide

If you prefer to be your family’s guide, you can design an itinerary that takes each member’s tastes into consideration. You can walk through the cobblestone streets or hop on the trolley that takes passengers around Old San Juan. For suggestions or ideas just visit the Puerto Rico Tourism Company’s information center at the Ochoa building, located on 500 Tanca Street. You can also call 787-721-2400, extension 3901.

Forts – To learn more about the history of Puerto Rico, visit Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal, two forts where you can go in and take a tour or explore on your own. In front of El Morro you can fly kites with your children while enjoying the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean.

La Fortaleza – Also known as Palacio de Santa Catalina, it is the only colonial structure in the western hemisphere still in use since its construction in the 16th century. It is the official residence of the governor of Puerto Rico and his family. Located next to the San Juan Historical Archives, it received UNESCO’s World Heritage Site distinction in 1983. Free guided tours of both the indoor and garden areas are available. Call 787-721-7000, extension 2211 or 2323 for details on schedules and reservations.

Cristo Street – Begins at the Plaza del Quinto Centenario, where the San José Church and Pablo Casals Museum are located. Down the street is Hotel El Convento, where you can eat or have a drink in one of its restaurants or simply walk in and admire its elegant architecture. Just across is the imposing San Juan Cathedral—a jewel of neoclassical architecture—and next door there is a small square leading to the San Juan Gate. At the far end of the street you will find the iconic Christ Chapel and the Parque de las Palomas (Pigeons’ Park)—your kids will love feeding the resident birds—in addition to many factory outlets and souvenir stores.

San Juan Gate – Before crossing the San Juan Gate you should walk up to the Plazuela de la Rogativa, a small square from where you can enjoy a spectacular view of the Bay of San Juan. As you go through the San Juan Gate to the outer portion of the wall you can turn left and continue walking to Paseo de la Princesa, or turn right and walk along Paseo del Morro. This scenic route runs outside the city walls all the way to the back of El Morro fort.

Paseo de la Princesa – This is one of Old San Juan’s most beautiful areas. On weekends there are artisans and live music along the promenade. The Puerto Rico Tourism Company has its headquarters in an old building near the Raíces fountain, located at the end of the promenade. Do you want to take stunning photos? The spectacular view is truly breathtaking.

Other Options – Museum of San Juan, Felisa Rincón de Gautier Foundation and House Museum, Casa Blanca, Museum of the Americas, Pablo Casals Museum, and La Casa del Libro Library Museum. Visit Museums page to find a complete list of museums in Old San Juan.

Where to Eat?

In Old San Juan you can satisfy your cravings, day or night. There’s everything from local restaurants to cafes and ice-cream parlors, plus international food and specialty bars. There are even gastronomy tours that allow you to sample a variety of foods. For example, at Princesa Gastrobar you can choose from a 19th century-inspired menu with a modern and global twist. Information on eateries’ addresses and telephone numbers starts visit the Selected Restaurants page.

Where to Stay?

• Hotel El Convento
• Sheraton Old San Juan
• Hotel Plaza de Armas
• Hotel Milano
• Hotel Casablanca
• DA’ House Hotel
• Casa Sol B&B
• Villa Herencia
• La Terraza de San Juan
• Hotel Decanter
• Casa Isabel B&B

Get more details on these hotels on Lodging page.

Day 2 El Yunque and Luquillo

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A memorable experience you can share with your family is a visit to El Yunque rainforest, the only one of its kind within the U.S. National Park System. At El Portal Visitors Center you can get information on the different trails, tours, and other offerings. Grab a bite at the visitors center’s restaurant and buy souvenirs at the shop before setting off on your trek. Your hotel concierge can assist you how to get there and what tour operators are available. Go to www.fs.usda.gov/main/elyunque/home for additional information.

Past the Visitors Center, most begin their adventure by taking photos at La Coca Falls, and then stop at the Palo Colorado Information Center and picnic area. There you’ll find the entrance to several trails—the best known is La Mina. Along the way you’ll admire lush vegetation that ends at the namesake waterfall. After all that walking, take a well-deserved dip in the crystal-clear and refreshing water!

The observation tower located on the Mt. Britton trail offers a breathtaking view of the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. Definitely a sight you’ll want to capture in photos! Other lovely sites you should include as part of your visit: Baño Grande, Big Tree, Baño de Oro, Puente Roto, and Angelito. Some trails have a higher degree of difficulty than others, so check at the information center.

Go from the lavish greenery of El Yunque to the clear waters of Balneario La Monserrate in Luquillo, a public beach that boasts the Blue Flag certification. Beautiful palm trees adorn this idyllic beach that will win over both kids and adults. There are kiosks that sell food and rent umbrellas and beach chairs.

If the family wants to enjoy a country setting, the place to go is Hacienda Carabalí. This facility offers a variety of activities including horseback riding, tours to the foothills of El Yunque National Forest, rides on the beach, ATV adventures or racing go-karts on a 1,000-foot track. Hacienda Carabalí also features two restaurants. Visit Having Fun on the menu for details.

Where to Eat?

The famous Luquillo kiosks have become a gastronomic destination that should be part of your vacation in Puerto Rico. Try a delicious chapín (local fish) filled fritter, arepas (corn flour fritters) stuffed with octopus or conch, fresh fried fish, stuffed mofongo (fried and mashed plantain) or a three-course dinner. Want to eat like a local? This is the place to do it!

Where to Stay?

• Luquillo Sunrise Beach Inn
• Parador Yunque Mar
• Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Beach Resort & Spa
• Grand Meliá Golf Resort & Villas Puerto Rico
• Hotel St. Regis at Bahia Beach Resort

There are other possibilities, which you can check out on Lodging page.

Day 3 Condado, Santurce, Miramar and Puerta de Tierra

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Each of these urban areas of San Juan has its own personality and tourism attractions. There’s plenty for those who want to spend a day at the beach, admire art in museums and on the street or taste the latest in local cuisine. Add to that the exciting nightlife and…

Beaches

El Escambrón – This Blue Flag Beach is located at the Third Millennium Park. Kids and adults will enjoy the wonderful view that highlights the beauty of the Atlantic Ocean.

Ocean Park – After the corner of Kings Court St., Ashford Avenue becomes McLeary St. and the whole residential area called Ocean Park has an unbroken coastline with several access points where visitors can walk to the beach. The area is fantastic for sunbathing and letting kids play in the sand.

Playita del Condado – Across the Condado Plaza Hilton hotel there is a small beach with a stone reef that creates a natural barrier against the Atlantic Ocean. It is a popular destination for families and swimmers.

Natural Attractions

Paddleboarding and Kayaking – Vela Uno Paddleboarding and Sailing offers paddleboard and kayak lessons and rentals in the Condado Lagoon. You can get more details on Kiteboarding, Surfing and Paddleboarding page.

Paseo de la Baldorioty – If you want to exercise with a beautiful view you can run, jog or walk along Paseo de la Baldorioty that stretches from the Jaime Benítez Condado Lagoon National Park to the Dos Hermanos Bridge.

Third Millennium Park – Located in Puerta de Tierra, this park has two beaches, several walking trails among palm trees and ancient fortifications, a view of the Condado coast, and is often used to host events.

Luis Muñoz Rivera Park – Located right across the Third Millennium Park, it is popular with families who bring their children to ride a bike or skate or play at the concrete slides.

Ventana al Mar – This spacious park in Condado has a view of the Atlantic Ocean and is perfect for relaxing after walking the area. On the first Sunday of the month it features an Urban Market full of farmers and handicrafts. It also has several restaurants.

Parque del Indio – It counts as one of the entrances to the Ocean Park beach. During the morning there is a Tai Chi class in its square. It also has a children’s playground and a stunning ocean view.

Museums

Museum of Art of Puerto Rico – See the most important works by Puerto Rican artists, visit the temporary exhibits or stroll through its garden. The MAP also features a restaurant and a movie theater where presentations and events often take place. At www.mappr.org you can find more details on schedules and exhibits.

Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art – This is a unique space that organizes themed exhibits from its collection and presents temporary exhibits featuring the works of local and foreign artists. It offers a varied multidisciplinary activities program throughout the year that includes everything from concerts, film screenings, and theater to poetry and contemporary dance. For more information go to www.mac-pr.org.

Through the Neighborhoods

Loíza Street – This is a popular dining destination that begins on De Diego Avenue all the way down to where it becomes Isla Verde Avenue. There are restaurants and creative and traditional bars for all tastes, plus boutiques.

Miramar – This is a neighborhood of Santurce where you can walk among historic residential buildings and murals created by local and international artists, see a foreign or independent film in the Fine Arts Miramar cinema or check out one of the area’s dozens of bars and restaurants.

La Placita – A favorite among tourists and locals, you can go to La Placita de Santurce both during the day—its agricultural market is a very popular spot—and at night. After sunset it comes alive with restaurants and bars that offer a variety of ambiances. Visitors can go have a drink, sit down to dinner or dance to live music. It is an area that is very popular with locals, especially on weekends.

Where to Eat?

In gastronomic terms, the area that covers Condado, Santurce, Miramar, and Puerta de Tierra is rich in culinary diversity. It is common to see restaurants that masterfully blend different cultures and culinary trends. In these neighborhoods you’ll find everything from criollo local food with different twists, artisan cuisine, and experimental cuisine to international fare. For complete information on these restaurants go to Selected Restaurants page.

Where to Stay?

• Doubletree by Hilton San Juan
• San Juan Marriott Resort & Stelaris Casino
• La Concha, A Renaissance Resort
• The Condado Plaza Hilton
• O:live Boutique Hotel
• Condado Vanderbilt
• Casa Castellana B&B Inn

Other options can be found starting on Lodging page.

Day 4 Guavate and Carite

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If a succulent piece of lechón (roast pork) you want to try, you must visit a lechonera (roast pork eatery). These establishments’ forte is spit-roasted pork served with local delicacies. They feature a fun ambiance since they are places favored by locals, especially on weekends when there is live music. La Ruta del Lechón (Pork Route), named for the many lechoneras found along road PR184, is located in Cayey’s Guavate district.

La Ruta del Lechón (Pork Route)

You must get to Guavate while hungry and willing to try a little bit of everything. All eateries have a similar menu—but with their own idiosyncrasies—and all offer spit-roasted pork in addition to chicken and turkey cooked in the same manner. Any meat you choose must be accompanied with rice with pigeon peas or beans, fried yucca or covered in local mojo sauce, sweet potatoes, pickled green bananas, ripe plantains or mofongo. For the more adventurous palate there are morcillas (blood sausage) and cuajito (stewed tripe).

There are dozens of lechoneras along PR184: Lechonera Los Amigos, El Rancho Original, Los Pinos in Guavate, El Nuevo Rancho, and Lechonera El Mojito, among others.

Carite State Forest

This mountainous area is also home to the Carite State Forest, where you can enjoy the beautiful countryside scenery as well as ponds and lakes.

The greenery so characteristic of this area is a living example of the beautiful natural environment and diversity that tourists will find in Puerto Rico. Its 6,000 cuerdas of land spread between five municipalities and are filled with giant trees and lush vegetation that provide great photo ops. The sites you can visit include:

Guavate, Recreational Area – You can order your lechón to go and eat it at one of the picnic areas located within the forest.

Charco Azul – With parking on the side of the road, you get to Charco Azul (Blue Pond) through a paved trail. It has a camping area and you can go swimming in the pond’s distinctive azure-colored waters.

Los Tres Chorros – At the end of a short trail there are three pools where you can swim and a waterfall called Cascada Sobreviviente. It is located in the municipality of Patillas.

Carite Lake – A huge lake where you can go fishing.

Patillas Lake – Just seven minutes from Carite Lake is another excellent choice to go fishing and enjoy nature.

Day 5 Ponce

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A town with much history and great pride, Ponce is a mandatory stop if you want to get to know Puerto Rico. The pace of life, the flora, and even the sea are different in the southern portion of the island— something you’ll notice right away once you leave the central mountain range behind and see Caja de Muertos islet in the distance.

Places to visit

Castillo Serrallés – It was built in the 1930s and belonged to the founders of the Serrallés Distillery. Visitors can join a guided tour inside the castle where most of the family’s original furniture is on display. It also has several gardens and a butterfly habitat. For more details see our “Attractions” section.

• Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center – It is considered one of the most important indigenous archaeological sites in the Caribbean. The guided tour includes the botanical garden, the indigenous village (yucayeque), and the archaeological site (bateyes and ceremonial courts). It also has a museum and exhibition hall. For information call 787-840-2255.

Ponce Firehouse and Plaza de las Delicias – The firehouse is a museum commemorating the Ponce Fire Department’s service and is located on the town square, Plaza de las Delicias. First floor attractions include old machinery and on the second floor there are artifacts used by firefighters. Afterwards you can stroll around Plaza de las Delicias, take photos with the iconic lions painted by various Puerto Rican artists.

Museo de Arte de Ponce – With a permanent collection that includes more than 4,500 works of art and hosting impressive temporary exhibits in collaboration with the world’s best museums in addition to cultural and educational events, a visit to the museum provides a memorable experience. For details on daily schedules go to www.museoarteponce.org.

La Guancha – It is best known for its Boardwalk where there are different food kiosks selling fritters and local delicacies, plus a 50-foot observation tower where you can enjoy a spectacular view. At the pier you will find dozens of fish and pelicans waiting to be fed sardines that can be purchased in the area.

Café Lucero – For a different experience, visit this coffee plantation where you can take a tour and sample Ponce’s coffee. More details at www.cafelucero.com.

Hacienda Buena Vista – Learn the history of what the island’s corn and coffee-grinding agrobusiness was like during the nineteenth century. At Buena Vista you can also learn about the entire coffee process, from planting to processing. Reservations are required. Go to www.paralanaturaleza.org/en.

Caja de Muertos – This islet is located a few miles off the coast of Ponce. It is a nature reserve so its beaches and trails are well maintained and development-free. It is an excellent destination to relax on the shore or go hiking to the lighthouse. There is Pelican Beach, a certified Blue Flag. You get to Caja de Muertos (Coffin Island) by ferry departing from La Guancha at 8:30 a.m. and returning at 3:30 p.m. Go to www.islandventurepr.net/en for more information or call 787-842-8546.

Where to Eat?

In Ponce—also known as La Perla del Sur (the Pearl of the South)—you can enjoy an amazing culinary diversity. Whether in the downtown area, on the coast or at the shopping malls you’ll find delicious fare to please everyone in the family. Go to Selected Restaurants for a partial list of area restaurants.

Where to Stay?

• Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort
• Holiday Inn & El Tropical Casino Ponce
• Hotel Bélgica
• Hotel Meliá
• Howard Johnson Hotel Ponce
• Ponce Plaza Hotel & Casino

Day 6 Guánica and Lajas

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Two colorful southern municipalities with many places to visit. You can enjoy Guánica’s beaches and Dry Forest, evening dining at La Parguera, and end the night with a glass of wine at Bodega Andreu Solé.

Places to Visit in Guánica

Guánica Dry Forest – This subtropical dry forest is a great example of Puerto Rico’s soil and microclimate diversity. The forest features some 12 trails with varying degrees of difficulty, four of which can be explored while riding a bicycle. It is highly advisable to bring plenty of water and apply sunscreen. For more information see our “Attractions” page.

Finca El Girasol – Ten cuerdas filled with dazzling sunflowers await you. For a donation fee, visitors can enter the farm and enjoy the beautiful view. They also have sunflowers available for sale. More details and hours of operation available on the West Destination page.

Guánica Sugar Mill – Visit the ruins of what was once the largest sugar mill in Puerto Rico. Across it is a square with food kiosks where you can buy local fritters and snacks.

Guánica Village – This is a small area offering beautiful bay views and featuring a handful of eateries. You can stroll along the Boardwalk where you’ll find the Historic Stone that marks the spot where American troops disembarked on the island in 1898.

Bodegas Andreu Solé – A vineyard and outdoor wine bar overlooking the Bay of Guánica. Open only on weekends and on Sundays there are guided vineyard tours that include a glass of wine. They also offer live music at the bar. For more details, go to www.bodegaandreusole.com or call 787-951-9622.

Beaches Everywhere!

The beaches on the southern coast look out to the Caribbean Sea; many are hidden in cays, others are among mangrove trees. These are locals’ favorite beaches when they want something different and beautiful. Admire them more closely on a boat tour.

Playa Santa – This is Guánica’s most popular beach. It has a long coastline, the sand is white, and the water is crystal clear. It’s favored by young people, especially on weekends. There are eateries and bars at the entrance to the beach, as well as a small parking lot. At Pino’s Boat & Water Fun you can rent kayaks, floating tubes, or enjoy a ride on a banana boat.

Manglillo Beach – This is a small beach where you can swim among mangrove trees. It is located in the Playa Santa area.

Punta Ballena – This nature reserve has a beautiful and rarely visited beach within the Guánica Dry Forest. Its crystal clear waters and white sand are quite captivating. Getting there requires a hike from road PR33 but the trek is definitely worthwhile.

Balneario Caña Gorda – A wide beach accessible from road PR333, it has a parking area (charghing a $3.00 flat fee), picnic tables, and restrooms.

Tamarindo Beach – Another beach on road PR333 from which you can see the Dry Forest’s ecosystem. It features a recreational fishing area.

Gilligan Island (Cayo Aurora) – An idyllic little island accessible by ferry and surrounded by mangrove trees, it is perfect for snorkeling, kayaking or just relaxing in the water. Eco Action Tours offers kayaks tours.

Places to Visit in Lajas

La Parguera Natural Reserve – Located just across La Parguera village, this nature reserve features mangroves and cays. Its valuable marine resources include coral reefs, sea grass beds, mangrove forests, and a bioluminescent bay. You can see them up close on a boat or kayak. The reserve is also an excellent snorkeling and diving site. The most popular cays are Mata La Gata, Caracoles, and Cayo Enrique. There are several companies that offer trips to these sites and are featured on the Nature and Adventure page.

Piscina Playita Rosada – Located within La Parguera Natural Reserve, this is the Caribbean’s largest natural swimming pool and it boasts the prestigious Blue Flag designation. From a pier you go down to the pool and on the shore there are picnic tables, barbecues, restrooms, and showers. Open Tuesday through Sunday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. No entrance fee required. For information call 787-899-1855.

La Parguera – This coastal village is a fun destination for the whole family. Its picturesque boardwalk features artisan stands and food kiosks. The view of the cays is simply spectacular. At the pier you’ll find several companies that offer tours of the cays and the bioluminescent bay. On the streets there are dozens of restaurants and bars serving criollo local food, seafood, stuffed burgers, sangria, and local beers.

Where to Eat?

Being close to the sea, you might think that the food choices are seafood-based. But the truth is at La Parguera you can get everything from seafood to craft hamburgers, including tapas (small plates) and gourmet food. On the Selected Restaurants page you’ll find a list of area restaurants.

Where to Stay?

Guánica
• Copamarina Beach Resort & Spa
• Parador Guánica 1929

Lajas
• Estancia La Jamaca
• Parador Turtle Bay Inn
• Parador Villa Parguera

Day 7 Cabo Rojo

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This is currently one of the favorite tourist destinations among locals. It has exceptionally beautiful beaches, a town full of excellent restaurants and paradores (country inns), in addition to unforgettable sights. This is a place where you can disconnect, surround yourself with beauty, and recharge your batteries.

Places to visit

Las Salinas – They are a natural treasure. The Don Efrén Pérez Las Salinas Interpretive Center offers tours through this important ecosystem that includes lagoons, salt marshes, mangroves, and a dry forest. It also educates visitors about the area’s native birds, plants, and trees. There are three trails for hiking and you can explore the whole area while pedaling your bike. From the Mariano Rodríguez Flores observation tower you can take in the breathtaking panoramic view. Go to www.proambientepr.org or call 787-851-2999 for additional information.

Los Morrillos Lighthouse – Its privileged location offers visitors stunning views of the Caribbean Sea, the limestone cliffs, and the nature reserve. The tower, built in 1882 and still in operation, is ideal for photos and is a great place to enjoy the sun and the sea breeze. There are several trails in the area that can be enjoyed on foot or while riding a bicycle.

Isla de Ratones – This small island located near the coast of Joyuda is an ideal diving and snorkeling site. It has a dock, tables, barbecues, and showers. For information on operators offering trips to this and other neighboring islands (Mona and Desecheo).

Cabo Rojo’s Beaches

Many regard Cabo Rojo’s beaches as the most beautiful in Puerto Rico. The waters are crystal clear and tranquil, the coast is wide, and the sand is white and soft. The area’s most popular include:

Combate Beach – Peaceful and quiet, this white sand beach with crystal clear water is perfect for the whole family because it is not deep.

Balneario de Boquerón – This is a bustling beach complex ideal for your children to run to their hearts’ content. During the summer it is one of the locals’ favorite destinations. Located within walking distance down the beach is the village of Boquerón, where you can eat the famous ostiones (oysters) and grilled shark skewers at any of the area’s food kiosks.

La Playuela – Also known as Playa Sucia, this is a heavenly beach. Its tranquil ambiance makes it the perfect place for the whole family to spend the day sunbathing, diving in the crystal clear waters, and taking photos or videos. This beach is located at the foot of the Los Morrillos lighthouse.

Buyé Beach – You’ll want to allow the calm waters to soothe your spirits while the little ones enjoy playing in the sand. There is a strip of spectacular looking trees that showcase the island’s natural diversity.

Where to Eat?

The variety of fish and seafood that fishermen bring in from the ocean on a daily basis constitutes the core of most area restaurants’ menus. There are other options available, which can be found on the Selected Restaurants page.

Where to Stay?

• Cofresí Beach Hotel
• Parador Boquemar
• Parador Combate Beach
• Western Bay Boquerón Beach Hotel

Day 8 Rincón and Aguadilla

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The northwest corner of Puerto Rico has beautiful beaches both for swimming and surfing, as well as an unrivaled culinary scene and dozens of family-oriented water activities. As if that weren’t enough, the everyday pace is so relaxed that many visitors have opted to relocate here.

Places to Visit in Rincón

Rincón Lighthouse – The view is simply breathtaking. The surrounding park leads to Domes Beach and from it you can see the island of Desecheo. The tower is ideal for taking photos and features a visitors’ center open from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. daily. Call 787-823-5024 for additional information.

Plaza de Recreo (Town Square) – Many cultural events like the Rincón Art Walk take place here and on weekends you’ll also find artisans selling their work. Great restaurants, bars, and pizzerias are located around the square and there are art galleries and shops on nearby streets.

Unrivaled Beaches

The southern beaches of Rincón (near the Añasco town line) are better for swimming as they face the Caribbean Sea, while those in the north are more suitable for surfing. All are great places to sit on the shore and enjoy the sun, the sand, and the sunsets.

Recommended for Swimming

Balneario de Rincón – One of the area’s most popular beaches, it is ideal for snorkeling.

Playa Escalera – Takes its name from the concrete stairs found on the beach. Features a reef that is a perfect snorkeling site. During the winter surfing season this beach becomes dangerous for swimmers.

Playa Córcega – Located in southern Rincón.

Recommended for Surfing

Playa Domes – A world-renowned beach.

Playa Antonio – Located behind the Villa Antonio and Villa Cofresí paradores (country inns).

Other surfing spots: Pools Beach, Sandy Beach, Deadman Beach y Maria’s Beach.

Where to Eat?

The many nationalities of the tourists who visit Rincón— together with the customs and traditions of the local residents— is reflected in the area’s cuisine. You’ll find fish and seafood prepared in different ways and with unexpected ingredients, sushi, tapas, and fritters. In short, there are infinite choices. And if you add the ability to dine while watching a sunset, the experience will be amazing. In our Selected Restaurants page you will find a complete list.

Places to Visit in Aguadilla

The Ruins – This is a historic site with a beautiful ocean view. These ruins really belong to the Punta Borinquen lighthouse and are located in the former Ramey military base.

Paseo Real Marina – You can take a walk and find several food kiosks. On weekends the atmosphere turns very lively. There is parking, access to a sandy beach, and a ramp for boats and other watercraft.

Las Cascadas Water Park – This is Puerto Rico’s largest and most complete water park. It has attractions to suit everyone’s tastes: a wave pool, a lazy river, and a children’s area with slides, swimming pools, and other age-appropriate facilities. The park features several fast food kiosks as well as restrooms and showers. For more information call 787-819-1030.

Aguadilla Skate & Splash Park – This recreational park is divided into an aquatic area for children with water jets shooting from the floor and different pipes, another playground area with swings and a rubber floor, and a third area for skateboarding outfitted with concrete pools and spectator seats. Call 787-891-1460 for additional details.

Aguadilla Ice Skating Arena – It is the only ice rink available in the Caribbean. At night the track lights up and music fills the air, which makes the experience even more fun. For more information call 787-819-5555.

Beaches

Crashboat, Wilderness Shore Break, Surfer Beach, Playa La Ponderosa, Playa La Poza, Survivors Beach, Wishing Wells Beach, Gas Chambers Beach.

Where to Eat?

Fusion cuisine finds is maximum expression here. Many young chefs have created culinary concepts that have won over both locals and visitors. It is therefore common to see restaurants specialize in seafood also include dishes from other parts of the world on their menus, as well as other delicacies brimming with limitless creativity. You’ll find places that are perfect for formal dining and others that are great for an after-beach meal. Go to the Selected Restaurants page to find a list of area restaurants.

Where to Stay?

Rincón
• Beside the Pointe on the Beach
• Casa Isleña Inn
• Casa Verde Hotel
• Coconut Palms Inn
• Dos Ángeles del Mar Guest House
• Parador Villa Antonio
• Rincon of the Seas Grand Caribbean Hotel
• The Lazy Parrot Inn & Rest.
• The Pineapple Inn
• Villa Cofresí Hotel & Rest.

Aguadilla
• Courtyard by Marriott Aguadilla
• Hotel Cielo Mar
• Parador El Faro

Day 9 Arecibo, Camuy, Hatillo and Utuado

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Lakes, rivers, caves, and beaches… the northern municipalities offer nature experiences that are affordable and unforgettable. The four municipalities are located near each other so it is easy to visit several of the attractions listed below in one day.

Places to Visit in Arecibo

Ventana Cave – The entrance to Cueva Ventana is located on road PR10 in Arecibo. Companies specializing in nature and adventure offer tours where participants learn about Puerto Rico’s flora and fauna while enjoying the breathtaking view. For more information call 787-322-3554.

Cueva del Indio – Located on road PR681, admission is free. Although you can park on the curb, for your own safety it is better to pay and use El Coayuco’s lot. Be very careful when heading down to the cave as the limestone rocks found at the entrance are sharp and slippery when wet. The cave’s entrance is a hole with a 25-foot staircase. The cave itself is divided into several chambers, some with ancient indigenous petroglyphs and others overlooking the sea.

La Poza del Obispo – This is a sandy beach located behind the Arecibo lighthouse. It has a small pool for swimming and the site is also a popular surfing destination.

Playa El Muelle – Located across the Arecibo lighthouse, this beach has tranquil waters and is used by fishermen due to its convenient landing facilities.

Playa Casa y Pesca – This beach is ideal for boogie boarding and surfing.

Los Morrillos Lighthouse – The Arecibo Lighthouse and History Park features a cultural theme park on the grounds of Los Morrillos lighthouse in Arecibo. You can go inside and see original marine artifacts as well as enjoy breathtaking rooftop views of the Atlantic Ocean. For more information go to www. arecibolighthouse.com.

Place to Visit in Camuy

Río Camuy Cave Park – A unique experience for both locals and visitors! Guided tours explore three of its caves: Tres Pueblos Sinkhole, Cueva Clara de Empalme, and Espiral Sinkhole. The park also features gardens with native flora and waterfalls, a cafeteria, and a camping area. For information or reservations call 787-898-3100.

Places to visit in Hatillo

Quesos Vaca Negra – Make your own aged cheese after taking a tour of the facilities, learn about Puerto Rico’s milk and dairy products industry. Go to www.vacanegra.com for more information.

Playa Sardinera – A rock wall that separates the shore from the open sea protects this beach, creating a perfect site to safely enjoy the warm waters. It is covered with small smooth stones similar to those found in rivers.

Places to visit in Utuado

Dos Bocas Lake – It has a pier known as El Embarcadero where you can take a ferry to the lakeside restaurants or just enjoy a cruise around the lake. The tour takes about 20 minutes, runs every hour, and is free. The boats operate from 7:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and the lakeside restaurants are open on weekends and some holidays.

Tanamá RiverSeveral companies offer tours of the Tanamá River that include hiking the Tanamá forest, river trekking, body rafting, river tubing, and exploring the nearby caves. For the more adventurous there is cliff jumping and rappelling.

Where to Eat?

Local criollo food prevails in this region’s culinary offerings. From fish to meats prepared in different ways, a comforting meal at any of the restaurants listed on Selected Restaurants page will be the best reward after a fun-filled day.

Where to Stay?

Hatillo
• Parador El Buen Café
• Punta Maracayo Resort

Utuado
• Casa Grande Mountain Retreat

Day 10 Ciales, Orocovis and Jayuya

day-10Our tour ends in the heart of the island, in the towns known for their sausage and coffee. No matter where you go in this area, you will always be rewarded with spectacular views.

Places to Visit in Ciales

Paseo Lineal Juan Antonio Corretjer – This is a recreational area where you can walk and ride bicycles while enjoying beautiful views of the Río Grande de Manatí. There is covered seating for resting and exercise stations. The information office is open from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and provides information about the town’s historical sites.

Puerto Rico Coffee Museum – Your first stop should be at this museum dedicated to the history of coffee. They have one of the island’s best collections of old mills, rustic pieces used for pulping, hulling, drying, and roasting the grain. At the shop next to the museum you can buy and sample coffee. For more information call 787-313-0925.

Places to Visit in Jayuya

Café Nativo – After learning about the history of coffee, you can go to see how it is produced at Hacienda Café Nativo, the first certified agro-tourism farm in Jayuya. Tours of the farm are available and you can sample coffee or buy it to go at their on-site store. Open Saturdays and Sundays from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information call 787-315-7881.

Toro Negro State Forest – Beautiful Toro Negro Forest Reserve is located between Adjuntas and Jayuya, along the famous Panoramic Route. Spanning some 2,834 hectares in the island’s central mountain range, Toro Negro Forest Reserve is home to Puerto Rico’s highest peak, Cerro Punta. With exquisite views and fascinating wildlife, Toro Negro is a must for people visiting the island of Puerto Rico. The reserve has five marked trails that vary in length; one of them leads to the beautiful Doña Juana waterfall while another leads to an excellent lookout point.

Places to Visit in Orocovis

Toro Verde – Adrenaline fans will enjoy the eight zip-line adventures and tours at Toro Verde Ecotourism Park. You can choose to go rappelling, cross suspension bridges, and navigate obstacle courses. Their most recent challenge is El Monstruo (The Monster), the longest zip-line in the world measuring the equivalent of 28 football fields. You can also go zip-lining under the full moon on their Full Moon Tours. The park also has a restaurant. For more information call 787-867-7020 or go to www.toroverdepr.com.

Toro Negro River – Located in the Toro Negro district and bordering Orocovis, this river is a good alternative for diving, swimming, and having fun with friends and family. The road to get there is full of charm and you will see beautiful wooden houses.

Where to Eat?

In our “Restaurants” section you will find family-style eateries.

Orocovis

Ruta de la Longaniza (Longaniza Route) – The Longaniza (local sausage) Route covers roads PR155 and PR156 in Orocovis, and here you’ll find restaurants that specialize in or offer dishes made with this savory sausage. You can taste numerous dishes featuring longaniza, including pizzas, stuffed fritters, hamburgers, rice, and purées. An excellent option is going restaurant-hopping and enjoying the view from the mountains of Orocovis. Go to www.rutalonganiza.com to learn about participating restaurants.

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