5 Day Trips from San Juan You Can’t Miss

If you’re planning a trip to Puerto Rico, you’ll likely decide to stay in the nation’s capital, San Juan. This vibrant and exciting city has a lot to offer, but if you really want to get the full Puerto Rican experience, you need to venture out.

Fortunately, because the island isn’t too large, there are tons of day trips you can make from San Juan. Best of all, most of these places are within two hours of the capital, so you don’t have to spend too much time in a rental car or tour bus.

With so many things to do and see around the capital, it’s hard to narrow down a list. However, here are our top picks for the six best Puerto Rico day trips.

 

Day Trip 1: El Yunque National Forest

Photo Credit: Dennis van de Water

Time From San Juan: 40 to 60 minutes

One of the best things about Puerto Rico is the abundance of tropical backdrops that make you feel like you’re exploring the great Unknown. El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the US forest system, and it’s so massive and impressive that you likely won’t get to see all of it in one day.

There are a few ways to get into the park, and you need to book a reservation to get in through the main gate. The park has over 18 miles of drivable roads, but much of the area is only accessible via hiking. So, get your hiking gear ready.

 

What to Do at El Yunque Rainforest

Photo Credit: scratchyourmapa via Instagram

No matter what, you should bring a camera and high-quality hiking boots for your visit. You’ll be walking around most of the day, visiting highlights like:

  • Ziplining – Nothing beats exploring the tropical rainforest from the treetops. You can access ziplining from the town of Luquillo on the park’s northeastern side. The total time is three hours, so plan accordingly.
  • Waterfalls – What better scenery than a pristine waterfall, untouched by modern civilization? El Yunque has multiple waterfalls, but the best ones are La Coca Falls, Juan Diego Creek, and La Mina Falls.
  • Animal Sightseeing – El Yunque is home to over 240 native species of plants, and hundreds of unique birds, reptiles, and mammals. See if you can spot the elusive coqui frog during your excursion into the park.

 

What to Eat

There are no restaurants within the park, but once you get outside the lush greenery, there are tons of top-level eateries. We recommend bringing lots of water and plenty of snacks, as you’ll work up an appetite while hiking and exploring.

On the north side of the park is a local Puerto Rican restaurant called El Yunque Treehouse. The menu here is full of local favorites, so it’s the perfect way to end your day.

 

Day Trip 2: Orocovis

Photo Credit: LibniPhotos

Time From San Juan: 1.5 hours

Typically, if you’re going to visit a Caribbean island, you’ll want to visit the beaches and see the sunset over the water. However, Puerto Rico is unlike other Caribbean destinations. The island center is just as captivating and depending on where you’re standing, you can get some incredible views of the area.

Orocovis is in the geographic center of Puerto Rico, and it’s the perfect blend of modern society and untamed wilderness. You can definitely get lost here in the best way possible.

 

What to Do in Orocovis

As with El Yunque, nature is the primary attraction in Orocovis. There are a couple of spots you have to visit, including:

  • Toro Verde Nature Adventure Park – If you didn’t get enough ziplining already, Toro Verde offers some stunning views as you whiz by trees and brush. Plus, the park has its own cafe, which on a clear day, allows you to see all the way to the Atlantic and Caribbean oceans.
  • Toro Negro State Forest – If you don’t mind a bit more hiking, you can climb Cerro Dona Juan, which is the tallest point in Orocovis. Once you make it to the top, you won’t want to come down.

 

What to Eat

Orocovis has a few unique places to eat, but one of the most highly-rated spots is La Sombra, which is famous for its handmade sausages. You can also get soups, rice, and combo plates to help satisfy your appetite after a day of hiking and ziplining through the forest.

 

Day Trip 3: Vieques

Photo Credit: NickSpinder

Time From San Juan: 2.5 hours

Vieques is a secondary island off the coast of Puerto Rico, so that alone warrants a visit. However, what makes this island so special is that it’s like visiting your own personal tropical paradise, away from the “hustle and bustle” of San Juan.

This is the longest, but one of the best day trips on this list, but it’s well worth the trek. Plan to spend a full-day here.

 

What to Do in Vieques

As with the other spots we’ve seen so far, natural beauty is the main attraction on Vieques. Here, you can rent a kayak, go snorkeling, or visit one of Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays. The bio bay here is even better than the ones on the main island because the area is more lush and natural.

You can even go horseback riding on the beach, which is perfect for relaxing and trying to see what life was like before modern society kicked into high gear. Seeing the sunset on the beaches here is also transcendent.

 

What to Eat

Photo Credit: restaurantebili.com

Vieques is well populated for being so small, so there are plenty of restaurants on the island to try. If you’re in the city center, we recommend spots like Rincon El Sabor, Gracias, De Nada, and Buen Provecho. Also, if you’re on the south side of the island, Bili is an excellent place for seafood.

 

Day Trip 4: Laguna Grande Bioluminescent Bay

Time From San Juan: 45 minutes

If you haven’t been to a bioluminescent bay before, the experience is one-of-a-kind. As we mentioned, Puerto Rico has multiple bio bays, but Laguna Grande is one of the most beautiful places on the island. There’s nothing like seeing the algae from the back of a kayak, especially if you can make it just after dark when the sun is still setting.

 

What to Do in Laguna Grande

Photo Credit: cruet_luna via Instagram

Laguna Grande doesn’t offer much besides the bioluminescence. However, it’s just north of the town of Fajardo, so you can explore the area and see other sights like:

  • La Zanja – This place is off the beaten path, and it’s one of the best options for seeing aquatic life. The pool forms when waves crash from the Atlantic Ocean, so it’s super secluded and full of gorgeous scenery. Don’t let the translation (the Ditch) fool you, La Zanja is incredible.
  • Walk the Beach – Fajardo has some amazing beaches, and if you’re visiting a tropical paradise like Puerto Rico, you need to get some sand and surf. The best beaches are Playa Escondida and Playa Colora. They’re not too crowded because there’s a bit of a hike to reach them, but they’re worth the effort. You can also trek back toward San Juan and hit another gem, Luquillo Beach.
  • Visit the Lighthouse – The Fajardo Lighthouse is a holdover from Spanish colonization, and it overlooks the ocean. So, it’s a good way to get some magnificent views, especially in the morning or early evening.

 

What to Eat

Photo Credit: cinconudos via Instagram

Since Fajardo is next to the ocean, you might want to indulge in some world-class seafood. Our favorites include Pescaderia Don Candi and Cinco Nudos, but there are plenty of seafood spots in and around the town.

 

Day Trip 5: Casa Bacardi

Photo Credit: karenfoleyphotography

Time From San Juan: 20 minutes

If it’s your first time to Puerto Rico, you need to visit the Bacardi distillery. This world-famous rum destination is across the bay from Old San Juan, and it’s worth the ticket to the island. Even if you’re not a huge rum fan, there’s something special about visiting what amounts to holy land in the region. Plus, it’s just a 20 minute drive from the city center, so it doesn’t require too much of your time.

This high-end facility is designed to give you a good time, and you don’t even need a drink in hand! The tour is just over an hour long, so you can have plenty of time to explore the rest of Old San Juan and the surrounding area.

 

What to Do at Casa Bacardi

Photo Credit: casabacardirg via Instagram

There are three primary experiences you can have at Casa Bacardi:

  • Mixology Tour – Not only will you find out some history of Bacardi, you’ll learn how to incorporate this rum into a variety of standard cocktails like the pina colada. Plus, you get to sample your craft cocktails, so it’s a win-win!
  • Rum Tasting Tour – Explore all the different types of rum that Bacardi has to offer. You still get to know the history of the factory and get a trolley ride around the grounds.
  • Heritage Tour – If you’re visiting Casa Bacardi and don’t want to drink, you can take the history-only guided tour.

 

What to Eat

Since you’re still in San Juan, there are so many places to eat we can’t list them all here. But, we recommend visiting some of the historical spots in the city and finding some eateries nearby.

 

Enjoy All That Puerto Rico Has to Offer

With so much to see and do on this island, we highly recommend you take advantage of one or two of these day trip ideas. Since San Juan is a buzzing city with plenty to see and do, we know you’ll love staying here but to really experience what this magical island has to offer, be sure to get out into nature for a day!

Related posts

A Traveler’s Guide to Condado, Puerto Rico

Condado is one of the most popular towns in Puerto Rico, in the heart of San Juan, full of vibrant shopping, ocean…

Read More

A Traveler’s Guide to Santurce, Puerto Rico

In the last decade, Santurce has transformed into one of the hottest barrios in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Barrio is a Spanish…

Read More

Search

February 2024

  • M
  • T
  • W
  • T
  • F
  • S
  • S
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29

March 2024

  • M
  • T
  • W
  • T
  • F
  • S
  • S
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
  • 6
  • 7
  • 8
  • 9
  • 10
  • 11
  • 12
  • 13
  • 14
  • 15
  • 16
  • 17
  • 18
  • 19
  • 20
  • 21
  • 22
  • 23
  • 24
  • 25
  • 26
  • 27
  • 28
  • 29
  • 30
  • 31
0 Adults
0 Children
Pets
Size
Price
Amenities
Facilities

Compare listings

Compare