Travelers commonly have one thing in mind when traveling and that is that they want to experience life at its fullest. That makes traveling harder as well as it becomes harder to pick which of the hotspots across the globe truly deserve our time and effort. That is especially the case when it comes to looking for the next vacation spot in the United States. There are countless spots to choose from but one that you should really give thoughtful consideration to is Puerto Rico. We are sure that you have heard of the name. Puerto Rico is synonymous with parties, beaches, and more. Before anything else, though, we should at least take a gander at the place’s rich history.

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the U.S. located northeast of the Caribbean Sea and southeast of Miami, Florida. The entirety of Puerto Rico includes the huge main island as well as several surrounding small islands including Mona, Culebra and Vieques. With a population of approximately 3.4 million, Puerto Rico has become one of the liveliest islands not only in the U.S. but in the rest of the world in general.

The island was previously home to the indigenous Taino people up until it was colonized by Spain after Christopher Columbus arrived in 1493. In the following years, the French, Dutch and British contested rights to the island along with the Spanish. However, the possession of the island remained under Spanish rule for four centuries.

The rights to the islands of Puerto Rico was given to the U.S.in 1898 following the Spanish-American War. It was a part of the Treaty of Paris. Since then, the U.S. has helped developed the island’s economy and agriculture, allowing it to grow in the following centuries. The citizens of the island were officially recognized as U.S. citizens in 1917. However, do not be confused, Puerto Rico is not one of the states in the U.S.

This means it does not have a vote in the U.S. Congress. However, it does have one non-voting member of the house called a Resident Commissioner. This allows the island’s citizens to have a representative in the U.S. Congress. Despite its rather confusing political structure, Puerto Rico is able to stand on its own. However, it has been subjected to several debt crises in the past. What is good about Puerto Rico being a part of the U.S. is that people from the country no longer need an extra passport to get into islands.

This is just the tip of Puerto Rico’s long history. However, let’s move past this and take a look at what is important for you: the things you should know before traveling to Puerto Rico.

How To Get To Puerto Rico?

Getting to Puerto Rico is very easy and hassle free for U.S. citizens as they will no longer need any passport once they reach the island. The islands serve as the international airport hub of the Caribbean s it offers the most flights to major cities in the U.S. as well as in other parts of the world. The two international airports in the island are Luis Munoz Marin or most commonly known as the San Juan International Airport and the Rafael Hernandez Airport. These are the best ways to get to and from Puerto Rico.

Getting Around Puerto Rico

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San Juan, Puerto Rico’s skyline (Source)

Right at the airport, there are countless cabs waiting to bring you to where ever you want to go so long as it is in the island. A lot of the drivers are very knowledgeable to the island so they are most likely able to give you a ride to the hotel of your choice. If you want to travel around Puerto Rico’s islands, then you’ll need to book a few tickets for ferries ahead. There are cruise ships and even small boats that are bound for the various islands in Puerto Rico and if you  know where to look, you and your group can bag amazing discounts for island hopping.

When Is The Best Time To Visit Puerto Rico?

Honestly speaking, Puerto Rico is busy all year-round considering as it is one of the most popular hotspots in the world. However, there are some dates where there are fewer visitors and that might be what you want to look out for. Do take note that during this period, hotel and airfare rates are more expensive than other months.

According to travelers, the best time to visit Puerto Rico is from mid-April to June, just right after the busy winter season and right before the rainy summer in the island. The weather during these month is pleasant and right at the center, allowing you to fully explore the island in all of its beauty. While these months have higher rates than others, you could still bag great discounts if you plan your trip ahead.

If you are fine with heavy crowds and are looking for cheaper rooms, then you should try to visit during the winter months. There are some grand hotels in San Juan that you can book for less than $100 a night which is already a huge bargain. Be forewarned though that it could be chilly outside during this season.

If you want to avoid the rainy season to enjoy Puerto Rico at its fullest, then try to avoid planning trips scheduled for May and November. Rain ranges from light drizzles to strong drops so bring umbrellas and coats just to be on the safe side.

Now that you know all there is to know before traveling to Puerto Rico, it is now time to delve deeper into one of the U.S.’ most popular travel destinations. Here are some of the things you should do, see and experience in Puerto Rico.

What are the attractions and things to do that Puerto Rico can offer?

Puerto Rico may be known for its Pina Colada but there’s more to this country than that. In fact, Puerto Rico is one of the top places that has a lot of exciting activities waiting to be experienced. If you’re planning to visit this country, here is a glimpse of some of the popular things to do in Puerto Rico that will not just make your trip exciting and memorable but will also let you get to know the country all the more.

1Drink rum

Tourists on a rum tasting at Casa Bacardi (Source)

Aside from the Pina Colada, which the county is famous for, Puerto Rico’s rum is also a must try. As a matter of fact, 70% of the rum found in the liquor stores in the US originated from Puerto Rico. And where to try it out? The Bacardi distillery in Catano, San Juan is one of the best places to be. They offer rum tasting tours where you will be guided by their expert staff and here, you will also discover how they make their premium rums aside from the rum tasting activity. In addition to that, you can even get to learn more about the history of their company as well.

Don Q is also a popular rum among Puerto Ricans. In fact, it is known as the best rum in Puerto Rico. However, unlike The Bacardi, its distillery in Ponce does not give tours.

But if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, you can try out the pitorro, also known as the moonshine rum. This distilled spirit is often much stronger than the commercial rum we’ve gotten used to and you can find it in the small city of Anasco.

2Hit the beach

An aerial view of one of Puerto Rico’s beaches (Source)

Puerto Rico also has countless gorgeous beaches. In fact, it serves as a home to some of the best beaches in the Caribbean. Because of that, it has a booming tourism industry. Its sparkling clear waters and white sands can prove it. Also, its beaches can offer different activities too. And with that, hitting the beach is counted as one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico. But these beaches aren’t just for swimming and sunbathing as its beaches can offer a lot of unique and fun activities too. Here’s a short list of the best beaches in Puerto Rico where you can try out different activities.

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Snorkeling

If you’re up for some unique snorkeling experience,  La Parguera and Monsio Jose are the best places to be. This is because these beaches are home to abundant marine life and thriving coral reef. But what makes it even more interesting is that these are known as bioluminescent bays. Meaning, it is full of bioluminescent marine life. In fact, you can even go on a nocturnal snorkeling trip.

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Nope, this isn’t a scene from a magical movie rather a photo of of La Parguera at night (Source)

There are only 5 bioluminescent bays in the world and these two are some of which. Hence, snorkeling in these bays are one of the unique things to do in Puerto Rico that you shouldn’t miss.

Surfing

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A surfer doing stunts at Playa Aviones (Source)

Puerto Rico’s beaches may not be the first thing that will come to a surfer’s mind when talking about the best surfing spots. But to many people’s surprise, Puerto Rico also has good surfing spots that are worth talking about. Some of which are Playa Aviones, La Islita, Kikita, Cerro Gordo, Boca del Cibuco, and Los Tubos. These places have nice waves that are really great for surfing.

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Scuba Diving

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Beginners learning how to scuba dive (Source)

For scuba diving activities, Puerto Ricos has Vieques and Condado as two of the best diving spots where you can find beautiful marine life and abundant coral reefs. If you want a thrilling diving experience, head on to Cayo Lobito so you can dive with sharks. Mona Island and Desecheo Island both have underwater caverns for you to explore if you want a more unique scuba diving experience.

3Experience Parranda

Puerto Rican Parranda taking over a supermarket (Source)

Puerto Ricans know how to party as well. For that reason, witnessing and actually being a part of the festivities is also one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico. You’ll definitely have so much fun, particularly during the Christmas season.

In Christmas, Puerto Ricans celebrate parranda, an island tradition that’s also called “trullas navidenas.” Basically, this is a musical festival that happens all through the Christmas season holidays. This is not the kind of music festival that you have in mind, though. Rather, you will get to see groups of people who will make surprise visits to their friends’ houses late at night to serenade them with classic Christmas songs. In turn, the homeowners will feed them (usually with spit-roasted pig) and provide them drinks or gifts. The whole group will then carry on to their next “victim.” It’s definitely fun to see ()if you have friends who are local to the area) and it lets you peek into the traditions of Puerto Ricans.

The highlight of the festival is the Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian which is usually held on the third weekend of January. Basically, this is a parade of people with oversized paper mached heads that represent different historical and folk figures. It’s like Mardi Gras but a more wholesome version. It’s also a fun event to witness, especially for tourists.

4Walk the streets of Old San Juan

A glimpse of the buildings at the Old San Juan street (Source)

Puerto Rico also has a rich history and you can get a glimpse of that when you take a walk at the streets of Old San Juan. In fact, it is considered as the second oldest city in the Americas as it is already more than 500 years old yet it still displays its incredible beauty through its lovely colonial architecture that shows the Spanish colonial history that is mixed with present-day Puerto Rico. And because of that, the whole area is also considered as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Here, you can get to see hundreds of restored 16th and 17th-century Spanish colonial establishments. What’s even better is that you, as well as other visitors, can actually shop, dine, or even stay in some of these magnificent structures. Also one of the highlights in this area is The Narrow House, also known as La Casa Estrecha. As the name suggests, it has a distinct size and very eye-catching paint. This is considered as one of the 12 narrowest houses around the world. But today, it doesn’t serve as a house anymore. Rather, it is turned into an art gallery that’s called Elle Decor.

5Try out the tours that Puerto Rico Tour Desk offers

A peek at the tours that they offer (Source)

If you don’t have much activities and places listed on your Puerto Rico travel itinerary yet, why not try out the tours that Puerto Rico Tour Desk offers? No matter what your age and interests are, this agency can plot interesting tour packages for you. From city tours, extreme adventures, to even the off the beaten paths available in Puerto Rico, they have the right tour for you based on your interests. You will never run out of fun things to do in Puerto Rico with the tour offers from Puerto Rico Tour Desk. Also, you don’t have to worry about safety, though as they also make sure to focus on your security and they will provide trained guides for your tours. Of course, these tours don’t come for free, though. But you can rest assured that every penny that you will spend is all the more worth it.

6Go museum hopping

Museo de Arte’s exteriors (Source)

If you want to dig deeper into the colorful past of Puerto Rico, one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico is to explore its museums. With this, you’ll surely learn a lot about their culture. If you’re more into arts, the Museo de Arte de Ponce is for you. The artworks aren’t just the only sight to see but the building’s structure too. The El Museo Castillo Serralles is also one of the museums in Puerto Rico that are worth the visit because of how unique it is showcasing the country’s sugar cane production and rum industries and how it greatly impacted the country’s economy.

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These are just a gist of the things to do in Puerto Rico. This country, of course, still has a lot to offer and a day is not enough to fully experience the beauty of Puerto Rico. So if you’re eyeing gon this country as your next travel destination, you might want to plan your itinerary first as the full list of the things to do in Puerto Rico can be quite overwhelming. Still, there’s still a lot more reason to visit the place time and again, right?