Ola!!! Ready for a Puerto Rico 7 days itinerary and Puerto Rico attraction tour. Our aim today will be to take you through the places to see in Puerto Rico, the hidden wonders, where to stay in Puerto Rico, etc. The Island can really surprise its visitors. Puerto Rico is one of the beautiful Carribean islands. Well, I know a lot of people are of the opinion that since it is a Caribbean Island it’s all about beaches. But trust me it has so much more than beaches. Allow us to take you on this Island tour.
So Where is Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico is a small Island, east of Dominican Republic and is one of the points of the Bermuda Triangles, other than Miami and Bermuda. This island is a territory and not a state of the United States, however, the citizens of this island have been the citizen of the United States since 1917. The capital city is San Juan. The territories official language is Spanish and English.
Puerto Rico consists of the mainland Puerto Rico and other smaller Islands like Vieques, Culebra, Mona etc. and is also a part of the West Indies, popularly known as the Carribean.
Puerto Rico Vacation:
As we landed at San Juan international airport from New York at 5 PM we decided to go fancy with the choice of our car as the weather was favourable. We rented a Mustang Convertible from Herts Car Rentals as a honeymoon present to each other. We travelled in September even though it was a hurricane season in Puerto Rico. But we were so lucky that we received 90% of sunshine with few drizzles occasionally which actually made the climate cooler.
Best time to Visit Puerto Rico Attractions:
The best time to visit Puerto Rico is from mid-April to June. Hurricane season starts from late June to November. However, the good thing about hurricanes is, it comes with lots of warnings and starts to show its signs weeks in advance, I am pretty sure the weatherman would warn you if that is the case. Actually, the recent Hurricane Maria that came in 2017 occurred after 80 years. So, the Islands hurricane track record is not that bad if you plan between June to November like us.
Where to Stay in Puerto Rico:
The whole island stretch from east to west is only 177km wide and 65kms long from north to south. Hence, we chose to base ourselves in San Juan’s Mont Caribe guest house for our 7 days Purto Rico tour. Old San Juan has plenty of accommodation options, but, obviously, as per the location, it is slightly high on prices. The option we went with was a neighbourhood called Ocean Park which is centrally located in the city of San Juan.
Ocean Park had various lodging options as well as it was closer to the beach and also bars and restaurants around in the walking distance. The guest house that we chose was called Mont Caribe. I would rate the arrangement and the facilities as average to below average as it did not live up to the pictures that were uploaded. The owner was very friendly but probably because he was always high and happy:) The guest house had parking options included but it was limited to just 1 or 2 cars. The property has around 6-8 rooms in total. It was a 2 bedroom apartment that we were put up in but we were lucky that the other room was not occupied so we had the whole apartment to ourselves. I would give 4 stars location wise. Location wise Ocean Park worked best for us as it was easy to commute to and fro the below-mentioned places.
The Cost we paid for 6 days with Mont Caribe 392$ tax inclusive. (Prices may differ)
Puerto Rico 7 days Itinerary and Puerto Rico Attractions:
Day 1: Old San Juan and Castillo San Felipe Del Morro.
Old San Juan:
The ancient settlement within Puerto Rico, Old San Juan, is a Barrio (a district) of San Juan. This capital city even though has been commercialized will remind you of the ancient Spanish architecture, Where the city is characterized by its narrow, blue cobblestone streets, and flat-roofed brick and stone buildings, which dates back to the 16th and 17th century when Puerto Rico was a Spanish colony.
It is hard to miss the colourful apartments and the Spanish style setup of the houses and colonies.
Places to Visit in Old San Juan:
Enjoy the beautiful Caribbean beaches. The city has plenty to walk around and wander in its ancient lifestyle. Numerous dining bar, night-life and of course there is Castillo San Felipe Del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal, which are the 2 prominent tourist attraction. More on both the Castillo’s mentioned below. Parking here is like any other busy city centre. Hence we chose to park in one of the paid multi-storied parking and wandered around the capital in the peace of mind.
Castillo San Felipe Del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal:
Both these castles were declared a WORLD HERITAGE SITE by UNESCO in 1983. These castle has been preserved impeccably. You will get to see the original cannon barrels and the cannon balls from the Spanish Empire. This original fortress was built to defend the port of San Juan by controlling the entry to the harbour. Castillo Del Morro also hosts a lighthouse which overlooks the Caribbean Sea. To know more about World Heritage Sites in Sciliy click here
Time Needed: Dedicate one whole day for The Old San Juan as there are plenty of things to see.
Tickets Price for both the Castle: Total of 7$/person valid for 24 hours for adults.
Day 2: Cavernas De Camuy and Arecibo Observatory:
Cavernas De Camuy: What is Cavernas De Camuy?
The literal meaning of this Spanish name is Caves of the Camuy (River). Puerto Rico has about 2000 caves out of which 415 have been studied and explored and if I clearly remember the geologist from Cavernas de Camuy mentioned that only 199 are accessible for tourist. This natural wonder is going to blow you off your feet by its beauty.
Cavernas De Camuy formally named PARQUE LAS CAVERNAS DEL RIO CAMUY is one of the largest cave networks in the world and the 3rd largest underground cave system in the world. The main part of the cave is massive with a ceiling of over 10 stories high. The caves are formed due to the acidic river water running through massive limestone (Calcium Carbonate deposits).
The authorities of the park manage about 300 acres and offer both walking and a toy train tour. We chose the toy train and we recommend you to do the same. So, the tour obviously, starts with a toy train ride which takes you to the start of the Rio Camuy Caves.
As you ride down closer to the mouth of the caves you will notice a radical drop in temperatures due to the humidity as high as 95%. The entrance of the tunnel is steep descending steps, but later it is on easy walkways with side rails. This whole tour is guided and narrated by the experts and the geologist. After the ticket point, the caves can only be accessed by the guided tours.
Distance from San Juan City Center: 97km/60.2 Miles.
Follow your GPS or google maps as there is not much signage on freeways for any of the tourist attractions.
For timings and ticket info visit their official website. The price to enter the caves was around $12/person. (Price may change)
Tip: Wear good hiking shoes and carry spare clothing as the humidity is really high. The 1st tour starts at 10 AM and the last trolley leaves at 03:30 PM.
Time Needed: Allow about 2.5 to 3 hours for the whole trip.
The Arecibo Observatory.
What is Arecibo Observatory?
Before the Chinese took over in 2018 The Arecibo Observatory was the LARGEST RADIO TELESCOPE in the world. This observatory boast of 1000 foot wide radio telescope, which intercepts cosmic radio waves. The hurricane on the 21st of September 2017 caused major structural damage to the dish telescope. This place is still open for visitors but the repair works are in progress.
Distance from Cavernas De Camuy: 16km/10 miles.
Advice: Please download Google offline maps as mentioned earlier there are not many signs indicating any tourist attractions.
The last 5km of the drive is off the freeway, which is windy and beautiful and it takes you through dense forest and there is no mobile reception. And hence, offline maps.
Timings: Visit their official website for updated visitor hours.
Things to do in Arecibo Observatory:
There are several DIY or self-guided tours. Inside the observatory, you will find associates running demonstrations of their projects, who are extremely friendly and they would guide you through their subject.
I vaguely remember a table which carried a subject about Carbon. Their associate ran us through their whole project through live demonstrations and examples which was quite interesting and in a fun science project way they proved their experiments.
This will depend on your interest in the subject. Science lovers and geeks can spend the whole day in here.
What we preferred doing is taking a tour of the whole observatory keeping in mind the kiosks that we liked and then stopping only to those counters while briefly browsing to the others that were not of our interest. In that way, we could finish in about an hour an half max 2 hours.
There are cafes and small eateries inside. There is a viewing deck to see the dish telescope and the panoramic view of the observatory. Chance are they might be closed for renovation. There is a souvenir shop as well. If you have a drone this spot is ideal to get an aerial shot of the telescope.
Day 3: Cueva Ventana and Gozalandia Waterfalls.
What is Cueva Ventana?
Cueva Ventana literally means the window cave. To access this cave you will need to book a tour as these caves cannot be accessed without tour guides. Ensure you add this attraction in your Puerto Rico 7 Days Itinerary.
The tour leads to this beautiful window like a cave with the view of the Arecibo valley. This cave is carved out of limestone like Cavernas De Camuy, however, the views are unique to itself. But unlike Camuy caves this cave is smaller in size.
For Insect Lovers this cave is a paradise. The cave is home to cockroaches, snakes and bats. The tour takes you around the caves for about an hour giving you plenty of picture opportunities. This cave is also another natural wonder of Puerto Rico. You will be refreshed by the greens around as the walk is also through plenty of plants and trees, some of which are near extinction.
For timings visit their official website.
Should be around. 19$+ tax. ( Prices may have changed).
Things to do in there:
After the ticket point, the caves can only be accessed by the guided tour. The tour selection is simple, nothing much to choose its just a walking tour you can’t get wrong with.
Distance from San Juan City Center: 88km/54.6 miles.
Follow your GPS or google maps.
Allow roughly an hour for the whole tour.
After Cueva Ventana, we headed to our next stop Gozalandia waterfalls
Where are Gozalandia waterfalls?
It is considered as the hidden treasure of Puerto Rico. The water falls into a pool almost 20 feet deep. The falls are hidden in between the forest. Forest lovers, you would love the easy forest hike which smells of fresh leaves and woods. The end of the walk will reward you this hidden wonder. To more about the Hidden Treasures of Dubai click Here
Distance from Cueva Venta: 52km/32.3 Miles.
The route getting to Gozalandia falls could get confusing as it is not well-marked at all is windy and leads you through small villages. The drive can be beautiful as you will have a chance to interact with these villagers.
Things to do in Gozalandia waterfalls?
Enjoy the extremely cold water in this pool. This is a weekend getaway for the locals, so, chances are if you are here on a weekend you will see the falls crowded. There is a restaurant at the parking area, which serves good food, but the service could be slow as it gets crowded.
Day 4: Cueva Del Indio and Bacardi Distillery
Cueva Del Indio.
This is indeed an actual hidden treasure of Puerto Rico. This Cave can be visited without any tours or guides. Unlike the other limestone caves carved by rivers, these caves are carved by the sea into the limestone rocks and Tiano Indian drawings carved into the walls, that’s why the name, Cueva Del Indio.
When we visited, this place could be accessed free of charge, but as per the latest update, more and more tourist are finding this place and hence, they have started charging $5/person to visit these hidden treasure.
How to get to Cueva Del Indio?
To get access to the caves, you will have a decent hike onto huge seaside rocks. At the time there were no marked trails so we had to figure out our way. After climbing these gigantic rocks we got to the centre of the caves. Here, we found a wooden ladder left by adventure enthusiasts for others to climb down to a pit where one gets a closer view of the sea waves splashing against the cave walls.
Beware of honey bee hives at the pits.
Distance from San Juan City Center: 74km/46 miles. Follow GPS or google maps.
Time Needed: Approximately 1 hour. Or as much as you like.
After this adventurous hike, I am sure it’s time to fuel up our stomachs. We highly recommend you pay a visit to Salitre Meson Costero, Seafood restaurant Bar and grill. Seafood lovers this place is for you.
It is 4.2km East of Cueva Del Indio on the 681 highway. It is a very prominent place, hard to miss it. This also offers an unpaved helipad and people coming here to have food in their personal helicopters is a common site.
Wanna know where to buy fresh fish in a desert country UAE.
This is a must do of Puerto Rico. This is a historic tour. We were very unfortunate as one of the cons of travelling in September was this factory would close down very early around 2 PM. And we could never club it with another activity.
We strongly recommend you do not miss it and hence it is a part of this post. Please do leave us some pictures in the comment section when you visit there.
Day 5: El Yunque National Park:
El Yunque National Park formerly known as the Caribbean National Forest is a tropical rainforest. This park is the smallest rain forest maintained by the US forest services yet it is one of the most biologically diverse National Forests. The Forest is home to 400 different plants species. It is easy to spot small animals too which are only found here Like the Coqui frog.
There were Around dozen of well-maintained trails for hiking and picnic river and waterfalls and a visitors centre too. Currently, this National Park is closed for public visits after its facilities have been severely impacted by hurricane Irma and Maria. We recommend you check their website for updated details.
Things to do in El Yunque National Park:
The forest is filled with beautiful waterfalls like La Mina Trail Waterfall, Cocoa Falls, Yokahu Tower and many more.
You can take your car inside the national park. The roads were in very good condition. It is a good picnic spot. It is an ideal spot for picnics, for kids family. Plenty of walking around hiking. This will be your one-day nature tour.
Dedicate one whole day for El Yunque National Park. Also if you are not planning to camp overnight ensure to check with the forest rangers the closing time before which you will have to exit the national park. If you prefer a HALF DAY TOUR that too is possible.
Distance from San Juan City Center: 47km/29.3 miles.
The road inside the national parks is windy.
Day 6: Vieques Island:
Why Vieques Island?
Now, if you remember me mentioning that Puerto Rico consists of few other Islands and of it was Vieques. Vieques is on the south-east of Puerto Rico.
There are 2 ways to reach this island. By ferry and by air. The reason we chose Vieques is that Vieques Island has a Mosquito Bay which has been recorded in the world by GUINNESS WORLD RECORD for its BRIGHTEST BIOLUMINESCENT BAY.
Puerto Rico has 3 bays with bioluminescent, out if which the brightest is in Mosquito Bay in Vieques, The 2nd brightest is in Fajardo and the 3rd in La Parguera, the town of Lajas.
TIP to remember: If you plan your trip on a new moon day to bio bay you will be rewarded with the brightest bioluminescence. Darker the skies, brighter the bioluminescence.
Vieques won Best Island in the Caribbean both in 2012 and 2008 and Top 10 Islands of the Caribbean in 2013 and 2014. Unfortunately, after the hurricane in 2017, the island suffered major destruction which led to complete shut down. Since the storm, only a few bed and breakfast, restaurants and Airbnb have started service.
How to get to Vieques?
There are a couple of options to get to Vieques. You can take a flight from any of the major U.S cities. From San Juan, there are few airlines that fly to Vieques. The other option is to take a ferry from Fajardo. The ferry takes approximately 2 hours or less.
1 day for Vieques Island and 1 hour in the night for the bioluminescence tour.
Things to do in Vieques:
Bioluminescence is a must do of Puerto Rico. It is ones in the lifetime experience to see this natural wonder. Take the Kayaking tour as they take you to the spots where the boats can reach the bioluminescence is brighter. I strongly recommend that you DO NOT miss this natural wonder when you plan your, Puerto Rico 7 days Itinerary and Puerto Rico attractions.
Rent a bike and go around the island during the day. Please do respect and follow the bioluminescence and follow the guidelines for their safety and preservation.
TIP: As the name suggests Mosquito Bay there are plenty of Mosquitos around the bay. Please use a mosquito repellent before you start your tour.
Where to stay in Vieques:
As mentioned the island is not very big. The best place we suggest is Lazy Hostel. Very popular amongst the back-packers. A clean place to stay. The bar of this hostel faces the sea.
Staff in the Lazy hostel were extremely friendly and not at all lazy.
Food was good. They made good vanilla killer cocktails and chicken wings.
Stay for 1 night cost us 72.24$.
Day 7: Culebra:
One of the other Islands that I mentioned which was a part of Puerto Rico was Culebra. Culebra is east of Puerto Rico and north-east of Vieques.
Just unlike Vieques, this island has not gained its popularity. It is not easy to find tourists in this area. And hence it is on a quieter side another perfect place to unwind. In the north-west of Culebra is the Flamenco Beach which ranks the 3rd best beach in the world.
Culebra is known for its white sand, surfing, tanning. It is also a popular weekend destination amongst the locals.
How to reach Culebra?
Like Vieques, there are 2 ways to get here. By air and by water. There are ferries to Culebra from Fajardo and small airlines too. This time we chose to fly in one of the smaller planes. It took us around 10 mins to reach to Culebra.
Things to do in Culebra:
1) Renting golf carts was a fun way to see the island. We rented a golf cart for a day which was a quite exciting and unusual way to explore the island. It was the best way to get around Culebra.
Flamenco beach is a white sandy beach with Turquoise waters. Renting a golf cart from Carlos Jeep Rentals for 25$ day fuel excluded. ( Prices may have changed) Picture attached below. There are FULL DAY TOURS that you can consider to save on your stay and travelling cost.
Where to Stay in Culebra?
We stayed in Culebra Island Villas. It was a 1 bedroom apartment with a beautiful view of the creek. Stay for 1 night cost us 110$.
We only recommend Culebra if you are inclined to peace and quietness. The island is beautiful with plenty of water and beach activities.
Cost for the entire trip:
This section is only added to get an idea if you plan your trip to Puerto Rico. Bear in mind this is how much we spend. It may vary. Also, the time you travel the season etc plays a huge difference. So, please once again The cost mentioned above for the activities and the total cost below will be affected or might have changed. This is purely for an estimate purpose.
Total cost for the stay in Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra cost us: $572.24
Since we went fancy with the car, and also the car was parked for 2 nights in Fajardo ferry terminal the total cost of the car $1500. You can go for a less expensive car and cut the cost into half I would say.
Food and activities for 2 people for 7 days I would estimate around $700.
Total Cost of the trip for 2 people: $2,772.24
If you Plan to include Vieques and Culebra in your Puerto Rico 7 days Itinerary and Puerto Rico Attraction, I would suggest starting from these islands so you can save the cost for the 2 days of the car rental and parking fee.
We added these 2 islands later in the trip keeping in mind the new moon calendar for the Bioluminescence.
If you want to enjoy the popular nightlife of Puerto Rico then head to Conrado. Our evenings were usually spent at Conrado district in San Juan hopping popular bars and restaurants. Know more about the Nightlife in Dubai Here.
I hope you have enjoyed reading. Hope you enjoy as much as we did. Please share your pictures I would like to be a part of your experience through your pictures. Enjoy and Safe Travels. Do not forget to share this post if you like it and do follow us on any of the social media links.
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