An unincorporated U.S. territory, Puerto Rico is one of the most exquisite islands among the Caribbean and is characterized by its diverse landscape that comprises lofty mountains, gushing waterfalls, plush tropical rainforest, and of course, the stunning Caribbean Sea. However, its landscape is not the only distinct feature of Puerto Rico. In fact, the culture in this paradisiacal island is a great mixture of Spanish, African, U.S., and Taíno ethnicity.
With a bustling capital city and a close proximity to mainland United States, Puerto Rico has been a prominent tourism hotspot for decades. While San Juan is definitely at the core of all tourist activities, Puerto Rico also comprises several smaller islands that are worth exploring.
Let us explore the island jewel in detail so you can plan where to stay in Puerto Rico during your visit.
Once an impassable fortified city, San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico and its beating heart. One of the top places to visit in the Caribbean, the city is known for its old-world charm and a bustling metropolis. Old San Juan, also known as the Old City, transports you back in time as you walk through the cobbled streets and amidst the brightly-colored homes. Century-old forts, intriguing museums, and a vibrant culture – Old San Juan has it all. Don’t miss a visit to San Juan National Historic Site and don’t forget to bring your camera. On the contrary, the New San Juan, comprising Condado and Ocean Park, offers world-class dining and shopping venues, and a thriving nightlife.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Castillo San Cristóbal, Casa Blanca, Museum of Art of Puerto Rico, Museo de las Américas, Fortín de San Gerónimo, and Museo de Arte e Historia de San Juan.
- Condado Vanderbilt Hotel – A minutes’ walk from the beach, this spectacular beachfront property features luxurious guestrooms with cozy beds, TV with pay-per-view channels and cable, seating area, and private bathroom. Start the day with a delightful breakfast at the on-site restaurant and take a swim at the outdoor pool to refresh yourself before you head out to explore the city. Afternoons can be enjoyed at the fully-equipped fitness center or at the world-class spa and wellness center. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- Hyatt Place San Juan – City Center – A short drive away from Old San Juan and Condado Lagoon, this classy hotel offers well-appointed, spacious guestrooms along with on-site amenities such as a swimming pool, a 24-hour front desk, a business center, a beautiful terrace area, and free Wi-Fi throughout the property. A complimentary breakfast is served daily. Suitable for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 5 members.
- San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino – A stone’s throw away from the beach, this elegant resort boasts a stunning oceanfront swimming pool, all-day buffet-style dining, a Gelato counter, and an expansive casino. A 24-hour fitness center equipped with all modern equipment is a great place to enjoy a workout. Complimentary breakfast is included in selected room packages. Perfect for all kinds of travelers.
Situated on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, Isla Verde is a typical “all-inclusive” resort destination with a central location that lets visitors explore the rest of the island as well as enjoy the excitement of this lavish beachfront neighborhood. San Juan Airport is a short drive away from the area which makes it convenient for travelers to head straight here after their flight. Home to several popular nightclubs, fine-dining restaurants, upscale shopping arcades, and world-class beaches, Isla Verde also offers plenty of natural attractions. Relax at the Isla Verde beach with your family, go club-hopping with your friends, or indulge in some extreme water sports (surfing, banana boats, jet-skiing) – there are countless ways of having a good time in this fancy neighborhood.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: San Juan Waterfun, Carolina Beach, Mall of San Juan, Plaza Las Americas, and Loiza Forest Trail.
- ESJ Azul – One of the best hotel properties in Puerto Rico, ESJ Azul offers fully-equipped, modern condo units overlooking the turquoise waters of the Caribbean Sea. 15 minutes from Old San Juan and 5 minutes from the airport, this stylish property houses a gigantic outdoor pool with lounge chairs, a café, a well-stocked bar, a game parlor, and a fully-functional fitness center. A complimentary American breakfast is served daily. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- InterContinental San Juan – A couple of kilometers from Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, InterContinental San Juan features state-of-the-art guestrooms along with magnificent on-site facilities such as an executive floor, a full-service spa, a 24-hour fitness center overlooking the sea, and 6 in-house restaurants. A lavish buffet breakfast is served daily (complimentary with selected room tariffs). Perfect for all kinds of travelers.
- Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan – A short walk from the beach and just a kilometer from Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, Hampton Inn & Suites San Juan offers opulent guestrooms fitted with latest amenities such as flat-screen TV with cable channels, a hardwood work desk, tea/coffee maker, and private bathroom with free toiletries. Additional facilities at the property include an outdoor pool, a swim-up bar, an American bar & grill, and a fitness center. Suitable for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 5 members.
One of the lesser-known gems of the Caribbean islands, Culebra, a small island within the Puerto Rican territory, is known for its tranquil atmosphere and unmatched beauty which, even though close to the bustling life of Puerto Rico, feels like an entire world away. A popular destination among nature lovers, Culebra offers plenty of activities to keep visitors entertained. A natural refuge kept away and safe from the perils of commercialization, the island allows brilliant opportunities for snorkeling, kayaking, beachcombing, diving, as well as hiking in a peaceful, solitary atmosphere. The highlight of Culebra for many travelers is Playa Flamenco (Flamenco Beach), one of the most popular and stunning beaches in Puerto Rico.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Culebrita, Museo El Polvorin, Culebra National Wildlife Refuge, Playa Soni, Playa Tamarindo, and Playa Resaca.
- Club Seabourne Hotel – Offering marvelous views of Fulladoza Bay, Club Seabourne Hotel houses fully-furnished villa units fitted with a private pool, seating area, flat-screen TV with satellite channels, free Wi-Fi, and a balcony that overlooks the ocean. Guests can indulge in water sports activities that can be accessed from the hotel dock or laze in a hammock in the garden. A fabulous complimentary breakfast is served daily. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- Culebra Island Villas – A pleasant stroll from the beach, this charming property features well-appointed apartment units with ensuite bathroom and kitchen. Located on Culebra island, the property also offers boat access to other parts of Puerto Rico. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.
- Villa Ensenada Honda – Boasting world-class hospitality, Villa Ensenada Honda features wonderfully-decorated apartment units with a balcony that come with a barbecue area, TV with satellite channels, seating area, kitchen with microwave and refrigerator, and ensuite bathroom with free toiletries. Perfect for families and groups.
The third largest city in Puerto Rico, Mayaguez carries a distinctly European vibe and is regarded as the “capital” of Puerto Rico’s West Coast. A sub-neighborhood of Porta del Sol, the area is famous for its ports and the many tuna factories. Interestingly, Mayaguez is home to the only zoo in Puerto Rico – Zoologico Dr. Juan A. Rivero. A great place to hang out with the kids, the zoo classifies its inhabitants into two primary categories – the African Savannah and the African forest. After several of its important structures were destroyed in an earthquake in 1918, serious efforts have been made to restore the area. Plaza de Colon, or simply the Plaza, is the town square and is one of the most charming plazas on the Puerto Rican island.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Tropical Agriculture Research Station, Mayaguez Mall, Parque de los Proceres, Teatro Yaguez, and Cabo Rojo Beaches.
- Holiday Inn Mayaguez & Tropical Casino – Situated within minutes of splendid Caribbean beaches and the buzzing attractions of Porta del Sol, this fascinating property features an on-site restaurant and bar, an outdoor pool, a fully-equipped fitness center, and an in-house casino. The well-appointed rooms and suites are fitted with brilliant amenities such as free Wi-Fi, flat-screen TV with cable and pay-per-view channels, and private bathroom. Perfect for all kinds of travelers.
- Mayagüez Resort & Casino – Featuring a full-service à-la-carte restaurant specializing in local dishes, a bar and lounge, a fitness center, a spa and wellness center, and a casino, Mayagüez Resort & Casino is located close to several important sights, including Puerto Rico’s Zoo. Guestrooms here come with comfy double beds, private bathroom, and cable TV. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- Howard Johnson Downtown Mayaguez – Set in the center of Mayaguez, Howard Johnson Downtown Mayaguez features well-appointed guestrooms along with swanky on-site facilities such as an indoor pool, a Bonsai Sushi Bar, snack shop, business center, and a 24-hour reception desk. Mayaguez Cathedral is located opposite the property. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.
Puerto Rico’s top luxury beach resort neighborhood, Rio Grande is known for offering lavish beach resorts with private beach access and a limited crowd. Situated in the Northern Coastal Valley, this beachfront neighborhood is home to the famous El Yunque National Rainforest. Expanding over 28,000 acres, the National Rainforest is the most visited attraction in Puerto Rico and is a part of the U.S. National Forest system. One of the largest secluded areas in Puerto Rico with a beach (Coco Beach), Rio Grande is also known for world-class golf courses and countless spas. Fajardo, a nearby town, is famous for its bioluminescent bay, Laguna Grande, and is perfect for a night tour.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: La Coca Waterfall, Cascada La Mina, Juan Diego Falls, Las Paylas, and Historical Park Cueva María de la Cruz.
- Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort – A ritzy beachfront resort with avant-garde amenities, Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort has 3 outdoor pools, 10 restaurants, 13 tennis courts, 2 golf courses, and spa and wellness center. The spacious guestrooms come with TV and satellite channels, private bathroom, and an exclusive view. Guests can enjoy several activities, including water sports, Sea Turtle Nesting, and Iguana feeding. Great for all kinds of luxury travelers.
- Margaritaville Vacation Club Wyndham Rio Mar – Featuring fully-equipped, spacious deluxe studios fitted with ensuite bathroom, kitchenette, and cable TV, this extravagant property offers private beach access along with an on-site restaurant, a tennis court, a games room, and a casino. Golfing and snorkeling are popular around the premises and bikes can be hired to explore the area at the 24-hour reception. Suitable for all kinds of luxury travelers.
- Ocean Villa Yunque Mar – Located in the heart of Rio Grande, Ocean Villa Yunque Mar offers full-service apartment units with barbecue facility, kitchen, cable TV, free Wi-Fi, and private bathroom. The property features a private beach area and an expansive outdoor pool. Great for families and groups.
Known for its postcard-perfect sunsets and world-renowned surf breaks, Rincon is a beach town in the west coast of Puerto Rico. A huge hit for destination weddings and honeymoons, this neighborhood offers the best laid-back, beachside atmosphere on the island. Summers here are lazy and quiet, but come winters, pro surfers from all around the world arrive here with their boards, ready to fathom the waves. Dome’s, Rivermouth, and Maria’s are some of the well-known breaks for advanced surfers whereas Sandy beach and Marina Beach is the perfect location for begginers. Steps Beach, one of the many in Rincon, is regarded as one of the best snorkeling spots in summer. Punta Higuero Lighthouse Park is a perfect photo-op location and is great for enjoying sunsets and spotting humpback whales (during winters).
Good for: All kinds of travelers, especially surfers.
Other Highlights: Corona Pro Circuit Surfing (March), Plaza of Rincon, Rincon Cultural Center, and Isla Desecheo.
- Rincon of the Seas Gran Caribbean Hotel – A short drive from the town center, this luxurious property features well-appointed guestrooms with satellite TV, mini refrigerator, safety deposit, and private bathroom. Guests at the hotel can enjoy a refreshing swim in the outdoor pool or take a stroll in the well-manicured gardens. Live cooking on weekends and an à la carte menu is available at the on-site restaurant. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- Rincon Beach Resort – Featuring spacious guestrooms with a bright and attractive décor, Rincon Beach Resort is located on the gorgeous Añasco Bay and offers a swimming pool, an à la carte restaurant, a poolside Bar & Grill, and an extremely friendly front desk staff who can help you arrange water activities such as surfing and scuba diving. Perfect for all kinds of travelers.
- Villa Cofresi – Boasting an outdoor pool, a games room, a beach bar, and an on-site restaurant specializing in seafood, Puerto Rican cuisine, and steak-style delicacies, Villa Cofresi is located on the Rincon Beach and offers well-appointed guestrooms with cable TV and refrigerator. A complimentary breakfast is served daily. Suitable for all kinds of travelers.
A hidden gem, Isabela is a beautiful beach town with a gorgeous coastline and extremely-friendly locals. A popular choice if you wanted to set up a holiday home in the Caribbean, Isabela is filled with scenic spots and non-touristy restaurant and bars. Considered a modernized version of Culebra, the beaches at Isabela are its main attractions. Whether you plan to relax in a lounge chair and catch up on some reading, or you want to finally pick up that surfboard and learn how to ride the waves, the beaches here have it all covered. Surfing and swimming is possible throughout the year. In fact, the natural shallow pools of Isabela let’s your toddlers play in the waters and stay safe at the same time. If you are here during winters, you may have to walk miles before you see another soul. Playa Jobos, also known as Jobos Beach, is popular among the locals and is revered as one of the most prominent surfing spots on the island’s west coast.
Good for: All kinds of travelers, especially surfers and nature lovers
Other Highlights: Playa Middles, Playa Pozo De Teodoro, Pozo de Jacinto, Guajataca State Forest & Del Viento Cave, and Paseo Lineal.
- Parador Villas Del Mar Hau – A short drive from the Rafael Hernandez Airport, Parador Villas Del Mar Hau offers tropical villas near a private beach. Guests can enjoy wining and dining at the on-site restaurant and use the in-house convenience store for buying snacks and drinks. Tennis, kayaking, and horseback riding are some of the popular activities available around the property. Great for families and groups.
- Villa Montaña Beach Resort – Set along 5 kilometers of pristine beaches, this lavish resort offers fully-equipped villas, suites, and guestrooms with free Wi-Fi access. Guests can enjoy a swim at one of two outdoor pools or rejuvenate yourself at the on-site spa facility. Additionally, there is also a well-equipped fitness center, a tennis court, and two restaurants. Picnics can be arranged by the beachfront. Perfect for all kinds of travelers.
- Secret view – The wonderfully-designed guestrooms at Secret View come with a kitchen, a seating area, private bathroom, and a balcony that overlooks the sea. The on-site swimming pool overlooks the surrounding greenery. Great for couples, families, and small groups.
Home of the famous Laguna Grande Bioluminescent Bay, Fajardo is a quaint neighborhood located on the eastern coast of the Puerto Rican island. A great base if you plan to indulge in island hopping, Fajardo’s biggest claim to fame (apart from its bio bay) is El Conquistador – A Waldorf Astoria Resort. The resort, with its world-class service and unparalleled natural surroundings, is deemed as one of the most-sought after holiday properties in Puerto Rico. For a truly surreal experience, book a kayak tour of the bio bay at night and be amazed at what unfolds around you. Cayo Icacos, a small islet off of Fajardo coast, is a part of Cordillera Keys Nature Reserve, and is a great spot for snorkeling and sailing. El Yunque Rainforest is a short drive from the town.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Isla Palomino, Natural Reserve Cabezas de San Juan, Seven Seas Beach, Coqui Water Park, and Playa Escondida.
- Fajardo Inn – A stone’s throw away from Fajardo Bay, Fajardo Inn is a swanky resort property with a state-of-the-art fitness center, a tennis court, mini golf, a swimming pool with a whirlpool and slides, and 2 on-site restaurants, one of which is known for its Tex-Mex specialties and cocktails. Horse riding, snorkeling, and scuba diving can be arranged for the guests on request. Great for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 6 members.
- A Seascape Guest Room – A short drive from the famous El Yunque Rainforest, this property features elegant guestrooms with a flat-screen TV, tea/coffee maker, outdoor furniture, and a balcony that offers remarkable views of the sea. Snorkeling and diving are highly popular in the area. Suitable for solo travelers and couples.
- East Island Waterfront Suites – This 4-star beachfront property provides stylish suites fitted with a flat-screen TV with satellite channels, a kitchen and dining area, safety deposit box, outdoor dining area, and private entrance. Additional facilities at the hotel include an outdoor pool, a multi-cuisine restaurant, barbecue facility, and an airport shuttle. Great for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 6 members each.
Officially, there are only 5 bioluminescent bays in the world, and Puerto Rico has 3 of them. Mosquito Bay, in Vieques, is not just one of the 5 bio bays in the world, it is also the brightest. And, there is absolutely no way you could ever leave Puerto Rico without kayaking through the waters of Mosquito Bay and experiencing this “life-altering” natural phenomenon. Despite being home to one of the greatest attractions on planet earth, Vieques is the perfect opportunity to unwind, let go, and start fresh. Walk along the pristine beaches, taste the best Puerto Rican delicacies, and admire the history of a town that is reportedly older than the original native Arawak tribes. Of course, the beach town also offers the usual – swimming, snorkeling, scuba diving, boating, biking, hiking and much more. However, the neighborhood’s laid-back atmosphere, its natural resources, and its amusing history (that dates back to that of India and Egypt) are the biggest draw. There are also the Military Bunkers from World War II to explore.
Good for: All kinds of travelers.
Other Highlights: Ceiba Ecological Coastal Park, Vieques Wildlife Refuge, Vieques Conservation and Historical Trust, Faro Punta Mulas Lighthouse and Museum, and Puerto Ferro Archeological Site.
- The Wave Hotel – A pleasant drive from the world-renowned bioluminescent bay, the Wave Hotel offers comfortable guestrooms with air-conditioning, TV, wardrobe, and balcony with a sea view (in selected rooms). The on-site restaurant specializes in American, Mexican, and seafood delicacies and also offers vegetarian, dairy-free, and gluten-free options for guests with special dietary requirements. Perfect for all kinds of travelers, including big groups of up to 8 members.
- Esperanza Inn – Within a walking distance of the sea, Esperanza Inn features well-decorated guestrooms (some with disability access) with facilities such as outdoor furniture, washing machine, board games, and private bathroom with free toiletries. Guests can relax at the outdoor pool or enjoy cooking a meal at the shared lounge. A sumptuous breakfast is served daily. Great for all kinds of travelers.
- Acacia Guesthouse – Boasting a well-manicured garden, a terrace area, a kid’s playground, and free Wi-Fi throughout the property, Acacia Guesthouse is only a few hundred meters from the beachfront. Each guestroom at the property is equipped with a kitchen, a seating area, and a private bathroom. Fishing, cycling, and horse riding can be enjoyed around the guesthouse. Suitable for solo travelers, couples, and small families.