There’s so much natural beauty in Puerto Rico that you’ll run out of days, but not wonders to explore. And with more than 70% of the rum consumed in the US originating on this island, there’s a ton of local flavor to go with this marvel of a destination.
Explore the Only Tropical Rainforest System in the US
Being the only tropical rainforest system in the US, El Yunque delivers on the promise of enchantment. From trails guiding you up to the El Toro peak — offering sweeping views of the surrounding forest, and ones tempting you into a refreshing dip at the La Mina Waterfalls, El Yunque has all the hallmarks of paradise. Being under an hour away from San Juan is just another blessing.
Try a Glow-in-the-Dark Kayaking Experience
Puerto Rico is home to three of the world’s known biobays, where you can witness the unmissable phenomenon of bioluminescent waters on display. Yep, here the sea glows like the black sky filled with stars, and yep, this trip is magical as it sounds. Sign up for kayaking tours or electric boats that take you into the bay at La Parguera in Lajas, Laguna Grande in Fajardo, and Mosquito bay in Vieques, and get ready for the most memorable night of your life. The best time to plan this visit is at the waning of the moon.
Hike the dry Guanica forest
This subtropical dry forest couldn’t be more of a contrast to El Yunque’s rainforest. A UN biosphere reserve flaunting a variety of habitats, this region is home to 50 per cent of Puerto Rico’s bird species and 700 different plant species. To take in the breathtaking views, hike the Meseta trail along the coast, or Cueva trail through the desert-like landscape, or if you’re feeling particularly adventurous, Guanica forest is home to excellent trails for mountain biking, with bikes available to rent.
Dip into the treasures of the Dead Man’s Chest
Translated, Caja de Meurtos stands for coffin or dead man’s chest, but this island is anything but morbid. With five stunning and isolated beaches, this uninhabited natural reserve is your fantasy deserted island. You can hike the trails, swim the crystal clear waters, rent a kayak, and snorkel the gorgeous coral reefs surrounding the island. Boats ferry passengers between Ponce and Caja de Muertos during the day.
Tour the extraordinary Camuy Caves
The Camuy River Cave Park is open to a limited number of visitors five days a week, and covers over 10 miles of caverns, 220 caves and 16 entrances. These wondrous caverns, a part of a large network of natural limestone caves and underground waterways, are carved out by the third-largest subterranean river in the world, the Río Camuy. The grand and magnificent Cueva Clara, at about 170 feet in height, stands as the entrance to the tour that runs down to the Tres Peublos sinkhole, boasting a view to the infamous Rio Camuy. The park is a 90 minute drive from San Juan and the tour runs approximately two hours long.
Hike down the deepest canyon in Puerto Rico
The deepest canyon in Puerto Rico, San Cristobal Canyon, running 700 feet to the bottom, was formed by the Rio Usabon. A must-see destination for experienced adventure hounds, the hike down to the bottom of this canyon is a feat best accomplished with a local guide. With two rivers running through it, several refreshing waterfalls and swimming holes are available for hikers during this challenging climb and rappelling trip. Among the notable ones are the El Juicio, a 250 feet high waterfall, and the fittingly named Charco Azul — the blue pool.
Learn Puerto Rico’s best kept secret
Culebra, the lesser known cousin of Puerto Rico is a quiet island forgotten to modern times. Minus the five-star resorts, gourmet restaurants, high-end shopping, and nightlife, Puerto Rico’s best kept secret is an unspoiled refuge for wildlife and its inhabitants alike. The island has exquisitely scenic beaches, hiking and biking trails, boat tours and kayaks to enjoy the peaceful waters, and snorkeling to explore the untouched coral reefs. The Playa Flamenco (Flamenco beach), renowned for its beauty, is ranked among the top most exotic beaches in the world. Accessible by ferry from Fajardo or by air from San Juan, Culebra is a must-see destination for those seeking tranquility and serenity.
In addition to its limitless natural beauty, Puerto Rico has on offer a great variety of eco-conscious tours. So what are you waiting for? As the song goes — If you like piña coladas…