Adventures in Paradise Part 1: A Puerto Rico Itinerary

You should devote an entire trip to Puerto Rico (here’s why)! If you are wondering what you would do while you are there, I’ve put together this quick and dirty two week Puerto Rico itinerary (this is part one). This is perfect for high energy travelers that enjoy the outdoors as well as history and culture. It has a little of everything (but lots of nature). If you aren’t so high energy, you can use this as a list of ideas of things that you might be interested in seeing. There is so much! Even getting this down to 14 days was hard.

Day 0: Arrive in San Juan
puerto rico itinerary

San Juan! (c) ABR 2015

Get in at the main airport, pick your car, and take some time to rest. Eat some delicious food in Old San Juan and sleep!

A quick note on driving in Puerto Rico: You will need to be very defensive. Take your time and expect the unexpected. Remember that your safety is your responsibility.

Day 1: Loiza and the Corredor Ecologico del Noreste
puerto rico itinerary

A Northeasten Corredor beach (c) ABR 2018

Take the 187 out of town to the east. This will follow the coast, and just outside of town there are some very beautiful (and popular, on the weekend) beaches that you can stop at. This area also has a lot of kiosks that serve wonderful street food.

Follow the 187 over the river and enter into the town of Loiza. Look for the Parque Historico Cueva Maria de la Cruz. In this little park, you can pay to take a tour of a cave and learn about music and dance in Puerto Rico. The central part of Loiza is also a great place during the weekend for shopping.

If you aren’t one for beaches and small towns, keep on working your way east to the Corredor Ecologico del Noreste. There is hiking and wild beaches here that have been protected by the communities of this area.

Stay the night in the Luquillo area.

Day 2: North El Yunque
puerto rico itinerary

A waterfall in El Yunque (c) ABR 2015

Today is the day for the famous north El Yunque. Strap on your hiking boots, and start early to avoid the crowds. Many of the trails are being repaired post-Maria but you can find updated information here.

If you have the energy, you might consider staying in Fajardo for the night, and doing the bio bay in the evening. 

Day 3: The Old 191 and Humacao
puerto rico itinerary

The closed 191 in South El Yunque (c) ABR 2018

Take the 53 down past Naguabo, get off on the 31 to Rio Blanco, and take the 191 up into the southern part of El Yunque. Local guides in the area can take you on some amazing trips in the rainforest here, or you can drive down to where the road is closed and hike/bike up from there to the landslide that closed the highway.

If you have time afterwards, visit the Reserva Natural de Humacao. If you drive into the reserve a little bit you can see some of the damage that the hurricane did to natural coastal areas. It is very sobering, but there is also a lot of new growth that should remind us all that nature recovers. There are also some neat historic things in the reserve from the sugar plantation days, as well as some coastal bunkers.

Monkey island is also in this general area, if you are interested in doing a tour.

Stay in Humacao.

Day 4: Lechones and Charco Azul
puerto rico itinerary

Along the path to Charco Azul (c) ABR 2015

Continue on the 53/3 to Palmas and then head north to the 184. This will take you up to Bosque Carite, where you should take some time to hike and swim at Charco Azul. If there is no one at the parking lot for this area, make sure that you take all of your valuables with you.

When you are done with a morning at the swimming hole, continue on the 184 through the forest. Along the way, as you get back into civilization, you will notice many restaurants along the side of the road serving lechones. If you eat pork, please stop at one of these. They are famously delicious and should not be missed.

Take the 52 down to Salinas and stay the night in the historic town.

Day 5: Salinas and Jobos Bay National Estuary
puerto rico itinerary

The view of Jobos Bay landscape from the old hotel (c) ABR 2018

Head over to the small town of Aguirre to enjoy the old central part of this historic area, and to access the Jobos Bay Visitor Center, which you will see along the main 705 road. You may want to try to schedule a tour ahead of time in this area as there is amazing kayaking in the National Estuary, as well as wildlife viewing opportunities. You can also hike and go horseback riding in the area.

Drive to Ponce and stay the night there.

Day 6: Ponce
puerto rico itinerary

Architecture in Ponce (c) ABR 2015

Enjoy a day in this historic city. There is beautiful architecture, museums, and plenty of food to enjoy in Ponce.

Stay in Ponce for second night.

Day 7: Casa Pueblo and the Central Mountains (Toro Negro)
puerto rico itinerary

Casa Pueblo (c) ABR 2018

Get an early start and take the 10 north from Ponce to the mountain town of Adjuntas. Here you can see some absolutely beautiful mining architecture and most importantly, visit the AMAZING Casa Pueblo. Be sure to support their organization by getting a souvenir and/or some coffee here.

Then you have a lot of different options (which all require some mountain driving).

There is a lot of agricultural tourism in the area, and if you are a coffee fan this is a great place to learn more.

You can also some cultural sites in Jayuya including museums about the Taino people and the revolutionary history of the area.

Toro Negro forest is here as well and there are some spectacular hikes here.

PART TWO COMING SOON!

In the mean time, please check out this amazing blog for more information on everything Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico Itinerary

puerto rico itinerary

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Why Visit Puerto Rico: 4 Reasons This Island Is Calling Your Name

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Adventures in Paradise Part 2: A Puerto Rico Itinerary


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35 Comments

  1. Michelle

    Great itinerary! I love how you incorporated such a variety of activities. Thanks!

  2. I must say, Puerto Rico was never on my list however after reading this post, I think it should be! Looks like there are so many different things to do from city to outdoors. Charco Azul looks like an amazing place to swim in!

    • waitingforrain28

      I hope that you get to visit! I know that you won’t be disappointed.

  3. Rob

    What a great itinerary! I’m so ready to go back to PR, particularly to visit Ponce (which I had to skip last time). Good mix of culture and nature with this plan.

    • waitingforrain28

      That is just what I was going for! Glad you think it has a good mix.

  4. Can’t wait for part 2! It’s good to see the island is picking up again after the hurricane.

    • waitingforrain28

      Puerto Rican people are amazingly strong, but I hope that the world will help them out how it can. For some, tourism is the way to bring money into communities.

  5. I hadn’t thought of Puerto Rico as a destination in the near future, but honestly this sounds so pleasant. I’d love to find some cool hikes through that Toro Negro forest for sure. Perhaps a bike trip through the country could be in the works!!

    • waitingforrain28

      There are some very good biking spots in Puerto Rico, particularly along the highway through El Yunque that has been shut down. Vieques and Culebra might be very nice as well for that.

  6. It is nice to know so much is there to explore from the natural places to the cultural and historical one. Seems like a perfect destination for any travelers.

  7. Mo

    I have visited Puerto Rico and I definitely think it’s one of the underrated destinations. From cave swims to island hopping, we had a blast. Thank you for highlighting the diverse activities to do on this island! I hope more people discover Puerto Rico.

  8. North El Yunque looks so beautiful! It reminds me of golden falls in Oregon. That would be a place I would totally visit! Thanks for sharing!

    • waitingforrain28

      You’re welcome! I hope you make it out there someday; you will love it!

  9. Wow, looks like there is so much to do. We only spend 3 days in Puerto Rico and had the best time of our lives. But after reading this I think I need to go back 🙂

    • waitingforrain28

      Yes! Puerto Rico has so much to offer. It can easily fill a week or two.

  10. I would love to do this trip — great chance to see more of Puerto Rico than just the beaches! Unfortunately I don’t drive…how is public transportation?

    • waitingforrain28

      Sadly, public transportation is not great/sort of non-existent. :/ There are alot of tours though, so that might be an option, although a bit more expensive.

  11. Puerto Rico is such a beautiful place, as a roadtripper and waterfalls lover I would love to explore Puerto Rico as you did. Hopefully I could come to visit here one day I would surely go to El Yunque. Such a lovely experience for you!

    • waitingforrain28

      Roadtrips are perfect for Puerto Rico! Plus if you love waterfalls, you will have a wonderful time.

  12. Ponce looks like such a beautiful town to visit! Looking forward to Part 2 and where else you’ll talk us!

  13. candy

    We love the outdoors but somedays just visiting a museum or something similar is fun. We like to make our itinerary as well so we aren’t missing out on a moment of our fun time. Looks like a great place to visit.

  14. Andrea

    I used to PR a lot when I was a kid but haven’t been in years. It is such an amazing place to travel, the history, the food and the crazy drivers:) I really need to go back I am sure our kids would love it too.

    • waitingforrain28

      I bet your kids would love it as well, and I am sure alot has changed since you last went.

  15. I would love to get to Puerto Rico someday myself. I am surprised that everything looks as good as it does after the devastation of Maria.

    • waitingforrain28

      People have been working extremely hard to come back since the hurricane. It really shows but there is still alot that needs to happen. Hopefully tourism can help a little by injecting some more money into small communities.

  16. chloe

    Your pictures are stunning and this waterfall is quite impressive!

  17. Sheena Moncatar

    I have heard so much about Puerto Rico. I should have taken the chance to travel this beautiful part of the world when I had the chance. Anyway, it’s never too late. I am making sure on my next trip to the US of A, I would definitely swing by Puerto Rico.

    • waitingforrain28

      You’re right, it is never too late. 🙂 You will definitely enjoy Puerto Rico, and it is really a world of its own when compared to the US. The culture is so unique.

  18. Wow such a beautiful mix of natural beauty and charm! I’ve always wanted to go to Puerto Rio, thanks for sharing.

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