PART TWO: WESTERN PUERTO RICO
So, we’ve already covered why you should visit the Island of Enchantment and what you can do on the eastern half of the island in a week, now, here is the second part of that Puerto Rico itinerary, which is going to bring you another five days of nature, hiking, beaches, and history around this beautiful country.
Day 8: Guanica
Guanica is a unique and perfect place for hikers and coast-lovers alike. This historic town is in a dry area of Puerto Rico, and this gives it a very special, ecological character that just can’t be found in other parts of the island. The Bosque Estatal de Guanica has a variety of trails through the dry, coastal forest and it is also home to a small, historic fort. Hiker or not, it’s a great place for a picnic and walk. The beaches in this area are quite beautiful as well, and Guanica is the perfect place to enjoy some mangrove forests, which are essential to coastal health and flood mitigation.
Stay the night in Guanica; the historic Parador Guanica 1929 is a good option if you can afford it.
Day 9: Rojo Cabo
Rojo Cabo is a really odd little peninsula in the southwestern corner of the island, and it’s a place that I just had to include in my Puerto Rico itinerary. This area has some kind of weird, shallow water environments, and a road that has a view of the ocean on two sides, as well as a very picturesque lighthouse at the tip of the peninsula. Once a salt mine, the area was slated to become a harbor, but was saved by local people who didn’t want to see its natural beauty destroyed. With their protection, it is now known that this area is absolutely essential for many bird species. If you are a bird watcher, Rojo Cabo is a must-visit location, but hikers and photographers will enjoy this varied landscape as well.
Stay the night in Mayaguez.
Day 10: Tamana River
The Tamana River weaves through the western interior of Puerto Rico, through the island’s mystical karst region. With a guide who knows the area and has the proper safety equipment, you can book river tours that take you through caves and tropical landscapes that will blow your mind. I highly suggest that, no matter your interests, you check out some of the tours you can take in this area, because they will be unlike anything else you have ever done.
Learn more about tours at Tamana River Adventures and Batey Zipline Tours (they do much more than ziplining).
Day 11: Rincon
Rincon is home to a thriving expat community, which has stolen some of the Puerto Rican charm from the town, however, that doesn’t mean this isn’t a gem deserving of a spot in this Puerto Rico itinerary. If you are a fan of surfing, Rincon is the prime location on the Island of Enchantment for your sport! Thanks to the hard-working members of the Surfrider Foundation, you can enjoy Tres Palmas Marine Reserve, which protects some of the last healthy elk horn coral in the world. It’s great for surfers, divers, and beach lovers alike.
The town itself, particularly the downtown square in front of the church is also a great place to check out, particularly during the weekly farmers market or during the many cultural activities that are hosted in Rincon throughout the year.
Stay in a small hotel in Rincon.
Day 12: Arecibo
The Arecibo area is a great place to bridge the divide between the coastal and mountainous worlds of Puerto Rico. There are two interior caves that you can access from this city (Cueva Ventana and Rio Camuy Caves ) as well as a coastal cave (Cueva del Indio, which is technically free if you reach it from the beach- it’s access point has been bought by a wealthy urbanite in what I would consider to be a legal grey-area. He charges for access to the cave, even though people are meant to have free access to the coast; he is also potentially trying to buy local people out in the area in order to consolidate his power- so I might hesitate to give him my money myself.)
The Arecibo Lighthouse and Historic Park is also in the area, as well as a several natural reserves which are home to trails and places for kayaking.
Stay in Arecibo.
Day 13: Rio de Abajo
Venture up into the mountains one last time. Make your first stop the Arecibo Observatory, which is one of the largest telescopes in the world. This is a feat of human engineering and is also a figure in astronomy and cinematic history. After this, I would suggest visiting the Rio Abajo Forest for some hiking in the forest. Then, you can top off your day by watching the sun set over Lago Dos Bocas.
Stay in Arecibo or one of the mountain communities near the lake.
Day 14: San Juan
Now’s your day to visit the famous San Juan. See the national park fortresses and Old San Juan for a day of Caribbean history, architecture, shopping, and unmatched food. San Juan is the perfect place to decompress after your long journey and prepare for your flight home.
Stay in San Juan.
Hope you enjoyed this Puerto Rico itinerary. If you enjoy your time in Puerto Rico, please do the island a favor and help let the world know how amazing the Island of Enchantment is!
Don’t forget to visit Flamenco beach in Culebra! You can take a boat from Fajardo and arrive there at no time, just be sure to arrive very early because the boat station gets very crowded. Fun fact: Flamenco Beach was one of world’s 10 best beaches in 2016 (from TripAdvisor). Don’t miss the opportunity to see it by yourself!
I am going to be posting on Culebra next week! I love Flamenco beach and the beautiful small towns!
I’d love to visit Guanica. The combination of beach and hiking trails is perfect for me! Looks like a stunning stretch of coastline too.
Same here! I really love that area so much!
Puerto Rico is absolutely beautiful. I would love to be able to visit one day. In the meantime, I will continue to live vicariously through your travels…
If you live in the US, it is a really attainable Caribbean location. So, I hope that you get to experience it someday and that you love it as much as I did.
Pureto Rico is one place we have not visited. Your photos are beautiful and I can see why many people enjoy going over and over again.
I hope you make it out someday!
Karla | KarlaTravels
¡Qué hermosa es la isla del encanto!
There’s just so much we can do in order to give the island and its inhabitants a boost and encourage them to keep going after what they experienced!
Its natural beauty and world-class attractions are definitely going into my bucket list 😉
Gracias por compartir!
Siiii! Y de nada. Puerto Rico deserves all the good attention that it can get. It is amazing!
Your photos are beautiful. I would have spent all of my time exploring the beaches of Puerto Rico. The coastline looks amazing,
The beaches are amazing and very different from one another as well. But the mountains are definitely worth a look as well. They are so beautiful and the people are so kind!
I never knew there was such a large expat community in PR! Wow!
There sure is!
Wow, another side of Puerto Rico. Looks very fascinating and definitely will be on my bucket list. Thanks for posting such amazing photos and this post as well.
You are very welcome! I hope you get to make it out there and love it as much as I do. 😀
I’ve got a trip to Puerto Rico in the spring. These are great tips. Thank you for talking about the investor and the cave. I’ll make sure to skip that. It seems shady.
Glad I could help! And yes, I am not a fan of his business model. I honestly wouldn’t mind paying to see the cave as a tourist, but I’d like that money to go to the local community and not some wealthy person from the city.
Never been here but I would love to visit Puerto Rico someday! Take note of this itinerary for future use. Thanks! Love your photos.
Glad I could help! I hope you visit someday; it is an amazing and vibrant country.