Puerto Rico is a great destination to visit in the Caribbean. It is like being in two worlds, the Caribbean and the United States. That means it has a level of wealth and stability that other Caribbean islands might not have. And being part of the Hispanic Caribbean gives it that further exotic flavour.
So, in other words, you get the beautiful blue Caribbean Sea and Caribbean beaches that the world loves to enjoy. But you also get American roads, shopping, currency, banks, businesses, etc. It’s a nice combination.
Because Puerto Rico was a former sugar plantation colony, there are many African slaves there. That has led to a very different culture from their other Latin American countries which did not have strong inputs from the descendants of African peoples.
It is the Hispanic Caribbean which has given the world samba, merengue, rhumba, salsa, and other famous Latin American musics. (It is similar to the American South with its Afro-American population, which gave the world jazz, blues, rock and roll, soul, R&B, and so much more.) That mixture of Europe and Africa in the tropics has produced a lively and vibrant Creole culture wherever that occurred. It is really something for visitors to explore and discover.
If you are going to explore Puerto Rico on your own you may end up renting a car to do your sightseeing. Please be advised that driving in Puero Rico is a little crazy. Make sure that you are always checking all your mirrors, though, and you’ll be fine.
In terms of places to stay, perhaps the nicest thing is to find a hotel overlooking the beach. The Condado area, just to the south of San Juan on the north coast of the island has some great hotels like this.
A must see area is Old San Juan. You can easily spend a few hours walking around there. It’s a little hilly so maybe jump on the free trolley bus to El Morro (the fort) and work your way back down through the city.
There are lots of places to eat and drink, no matter what your budget is. One suggestion I have is to try Breakfast at La Bombonera (one of the oldest establishments in the city).
Another recommended place to visit is El Yunque (rainforest) on the eastern side of the island. Once you are there, you might as well spend the afternoon at Luquillo Beach.
If you want to see some attractive Puerto Rican architecture, you should go to Ponce on the South coast.
West of San Juan on the North Coast is the Arecibo Observatory. The James Bond movie Golden Eye and also the Jodie Foster movie Contact were filmed there.
Another place I would recommend is Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve on the northeastern tip of the island. You can have an escorted tour through the reserve on an electric trolley, but you have to book in advance.
There is plenty to do here. Once you are there, you should consider a side trip to the islets of Vieques or Culebra off the east coast. The beaches are amazing.
On the other side of the island, I would definitely suggest Rincon. It is a pretty laid back area – great beaches, good surfing, good places to eat, lots to do in the immediate vicinity.
Try the local food stands and just enjoy everything that the island has to offer.
Food wise, there is everything you can imagine. In Condado area for seafood try Miro’s. In Old San Juan try The Parrot Club for Caribbean style or Tantra’s for Indian cuisine.
If you are Single or travelling by yourself and are in your 30s, 40s, 50s, or active 60s, you might consider taking a weekend getaway vacation with other singles around your age group. It really makes exploring Puerto Rico so much more fun.
If you are interested in doing that, you can check out Singles Holidays Over 50s. We Answer Your Questions About the Best Place to Visit in Puerto Rico, Tourist Spots, and Puerto Rico Travel Deals.
Whatever you decide to do, make sure that you make the most of your trip to Puerto Rico.