With the devastation from the hurricanes that brought destruction to Puerto Rico, the island’s tourist industry took a turn for the worse. Many months later, though, officials are reporting that the tides are finally turning, and the tourism industry is rising steadily. As a homeowner in Puerto Rico, CEO of Wolf Media Group, Greg Wolf, recently took a trip and saw the transformation firsthand: “The weather, beaches, and restaurants are incredible. However, the spirit, resilience, and warmth of the people are the real beauty of the island.”
Next time you’re thinking about taking a trip, consider booking a flight to Puerto Rico! To help you get inspired, we compiled a list of some must-see sights and popular things to do in Puerto Rico – Greg Wolf approved.
Old San Juan: This popular and beautiful destination is an enchanting attraction for tourists and locals alike. As one of the most visited historical sites in Puerto Rico, Old San Juan is a great way to immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of Puerto Rico. Besides the bustling and upbeat nature of the town itself, visitors can also see the centuries-old military forts, stay in any of the ornate hotels, and try out some excellent Puerto Rican cuisine. No matter what you’re in the mood for, Old San Juan will be sure not to disappoint!
Calle De Cristo: While you’re visiting Old San Juan, you have to take a stroll down Calle de Cristo. As one of the most popular shopping destinations in Puerto Rico, Calle de Cristo boasts high-end stores such as Coach, Ralph Lauren, Burberry, and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as being home to several amazing art galleries and eateries. Hop on the free trolley that runs up and down the bustling street and get ready to bring back some amazing souvenirs.
Flamenco Beach Day Trip: For an incredible day trip, grab an inexpensive 20-minute flight from the main San Juan Airport-– or better yet– the small Isla Grande Airport and fly to the island of Culebra to visit Flamenco Beach. Flamenco is consistently rated one of the top beaches in the world. Flamenco Beach draws in thousands of tourists and beachgoers each year. If you don’t think one afternoon will be enough, check in to one of the many tropical hotels or bed and breakfasts nearby. One of the best parts about Flamenco Beach is that it is simply that – a beach. You won’t be distracted by a bustling town, rowdy casinos, or hoards of people. Instead, you’ll be able to sit back and relax in peace in the sun.
A quick Jeep ride from Flamenco Beach is another extraordinary, virtually uninhabited beach called Zoni. Take your cooler, though, there are no services on Zoni.
Snorkeling and Scuba Diving: Speaking of beaches, what better way to explore their natural beauty than a snorkeling or scuba diving excursion? With its plethora of white sand shores, Puerto Rico has tons of snorkeling expeditions offered at several different locations, mostly on the east and west sides of the island. Check out Crash Boat for diving in the west and Palomino Island on the east shore. For more information, check out TripAdvisor for some of the top-rated day trips from travelers just like you.
El Yunque Rainforest: In what could easily be one of the most incredible natural sights in Puerto Rico, El Yunque Rainforest is located on the eastern end of Puerto Rico, about 20 miles from San Juan. From tours through nature reserves to fishing and camping, there are tons of different ways to fully experience the rainforest. For more information and a full gallery of breathtaking pictures, check out the official El Yunque Rainforest website here.
Where to Stay and Where to Eat: While the attractions are important to make your trip memorable, one of the most important things to consider is where you’ll be staying. Hotels are a great way to ensure that your trip is relaxing, but I’ve found throughout my travel experiences that I get the most value out of my trips when my accommodations are authentic and take on the spirit of the place I’m visiting. Besides, breaking out of your comfort zone while traveling is an incredibly rewarding experience and will ensure that you’ll remember the trip forever. Instead of booking a hotel, try looking on Airbnb for accommodations. Not only are these options usually a lot cheaper, but staying in someone’s home or a backpacker’s stop will truly help you to appreciate the unique aspects of Puerto Rico and a chance to interact with more of the “locals.”
A little known fact about Puerto Rico is that they have many incredible restaurants. When in San Juan, try Santaella, Mario Pagan, Compostela, or Casa Italia. The food is as good as anything you have ever had anytime– anywhere.
While things on the island are slowly improving, there is still a lot of work to be done. “Power is out in several locations throughout the island…so although the media likes to portray everything as ‘getting back to normal’ on the island, things are far from normal,” says Greg.
By planning your next trip to Puerto Rico, you will not only be able to experience its natural beauty, you will also be helping the people who live there and need support and resources to restore the life they once knew.
For our experienced and travel-loving readers: What are some of the best types of attractions that you seek out when traveling? Tell us your story for a chance to be featured in our travel section!
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