It took 11 years since we moved to the US for my husband and me to visit this island. It used to be on the top of our US places to visit list but since there are so many islands in the Caribbean to visit we thought… Puerto Rico can wait. Oh boy… little did we know that we were missing so much and if we had known better then we have flown there the moment we had the chance.
I am from the Philippines, a beautiful tropical island while my husband originates from Cape Town, one of the most charming cities on earth so you should figure out that yes, we would know what a perfect travel destination looks like. In that regard, we have to say that yes… Puerto Rico definitely counts as one…
Let me start with the weather, ease, and security
Puerto Rico is a tropical destination so expect to get warm weather whole year round but also a fair bit of rain. Yes, it rains almost every day somewhere on the island even if it’s just for a couple of hours. The Islands of Puerto Rico travel guide gives you great information on the weather which can help you to plan your travel.
For those of you who are US based, you should rejoice, after all, it is a US territory. There are non-stop and direct flights from all over the US to the main airport of San Juan and double easy because you don’t need a passport (your US Driver’s License or State ID should do but it is still recommended for foreigners to bring proof of immigration status). Additionally, you don’t need to change currency, there are no foreign transaction fees, they speak English – even though the main language of the island is Spanish – and your phone works without those nasty roaming charges. Yay! Even your health insurance should still cover you while you’re there so likely the travel insurance you have with a credit card will suffice (I always recommend you have some level of travel insurance to cover those unexpected events that can happen while on the road).
Puerto Rico is generally safe but of course, you have to exercise some precautions. We felt very safe as we walked around San Juan and also while we were driving around the island.The local driving habits are laid back island style but without that disregard for traffic laws often associated with Latin America and the Caribean so I can say it is a pretty pleasant experience and is well within the comfort zone of all but the most timid of drivers. I recommend that you consider hiring a car which will open up more possibilities to explore and discover the island – as well as getting those impulsive photo shots along the way.
Back to the issue of safety… here are few suggestions to keep you safe during your trip:
- Always be on alert with your belongings. I always suggest using a sling or belt bag and keeping a low profile. People wearing high-end name brands or expensive jewelry are often the targets of opportunistic thieves.
- Take tours from reliable operators; you can get a suggested list from the tourism office or your travel agent can help you find one.
- For health and safety use insect repellents to avoid the spread of the likes of the Zika virus.
Let us talk about adventure
Seriously, they packed a whole lot of adventure into one small island. What kind of adventure do you want? Name it and they have it… Diving? Snorkeling? Caving? Rafting? Trekking? Hiking? Ziplining? Snow boarding errrrr no. We did few of these activities with the kids and they were fun and full of discoveries for all.
Of course, you can’t miss the El Yunque National Park, the ONLY tropical rainforest in the National Forest system. We decided to take a hike to see La Mina waterfalls, we took the Big Tree Trail which is rated moderate difficulty and we saw both young and old on the trail. Well… the kids are naturals. They looked like they were locals 🙂
During our walk, we saw huge trees, beautiful out-of-the-ordinary ferns, palm-sized snails, birds (you hear a lot more than you see) and lot mores. Fun indeed!
Turn around a bend and suddenly we see the waterfalls… the raging and roaring La Mina waterfalls. There were heavy rains the night before we visited so the water wasn’t safe for swimming.
El Yunque Rainforest, simply your perfect place to be with nature. We ended our visit with a delicious local meal at one of the pitstops in the mountains.
Tip: Visit early morning to avoid the crowds. This is the most popular attraction in Puerto Rico so it can get very crowded. It won’t stop you from enjoying this amazing place but it may be harder to snap that perfect family shot.
Christopher Columbus arrived in Puerto Rico in 1493. Let’s face it… It is rich in history and culture.
Old San Juan is the main center of history, a walled city which represents the past and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Spending a day or 2 in the city can be fun for everyone – young and old but it can be tiring too. So, make sure to wear comfortable shoes and wear your best attitude:) Take breaks in the many pictureque squares, observe the artworks or the locals, savor some street food, chill in one of the many cafes or even let the kids feed the birds while you look on.
Tip: There is a free trolley that helps you get around the city but take note that it can be busy especially during peak season or when cruise ships are in the port. Walking is still a great option and you never know what gem you may discover in the many picturesque alleys.
Sunset is beautiful so you might want to go to the Fort just before the sun goes down.
Fact: Old San Juan is populated by many stray cats. Apparently a long time ago, the city had problems with rats, so cats were brought to the island to help get rid of those rats. Well…. they did their job but unfortunately, they breed out of control. The Save the Gato organization is trying the help with their various programs.
The PR beaches will keep you wanting to keep coming back
If you have been following my blog, you’ll know my family and I are suckers for the beach. Just put us on the beach and we are all great. If you are in the Caribbean then, of course, you’ll want to see beautiful beaches. In this regard, Puerto Rico offers up one of the most pristine beaches in the world, Palomino Island. My family got the chance to visit this private island which is owned and operated by El Conquistador, A Waldorf Astoria Resort and Spa.
Where to stay? Well…there are a lot of options for you, from the modest to the luxurious. Depending on what budget and what type of activities you want to do while on the island, varied choices of accommodation are available – from hotels & resorts, Small Inns and Paradores de Puerto Rico. The Paradores is a network of small inns located outside the metropolitan area, run by Puerto Rican families with their distinctive warmth and charm, highlighting the history, gastronomy and cultural diversity, while emphasizing the roots of their Puerto Rican hospitality.
During our visit, we stayed at El Conquistador Resorts & Spa, a beautiful Waldorf Astoria property. It is perched atop a cliff, overlooking the Caribbean Sea on one side & Atlantic Ocean on the other. The gorgeous views, the private island which is Isla Palomino, relaxing Waldorf Astoria spa, beautiful golf course or the water park – it’s all part of this Caribbean bliss.
We had a wonderful time on the property and wish we could have stayed longer.
The resort has a collection of major works of art, paintings and sculptures from famous artists.
The best part for the kids is the Coqui water park; a major plus especially if you have kids who love the thrill of water slides. Mine just couldn’t stop… Well… Daddy had a blast as well:)
Food is so rich and so good…
I didn’t know before but wow…. Puerto Rican food is so delicious; actually, some of the dishes are similar to those in the Philippines probably thanks to the Spaniards who colonized both. Below are a few of the popular food items that we tasted.
Fact: Pina Colada is the Puerto Rican National Drink and this iconic cocktail was invented in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico, you had me at Hello!!!
So, I don’t know with you but since it is so easy to visit Puerto Rico from the US and now that I know how much there is to do, I am sure that this is just the start of many trips to this beautiful island.
If you want to know more about Puerto Rico and needed help for your next family getaway, please don’t hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com.
Happy and Safe travels.
Thanks for sharing informative content.
Thanks for sharing informative content.
Absolutely love your photos <3 you've inspired me to visit puerto rico for sure!
Thank you for dropping by!!! Please let me know if you plan a trip there, I can help you plan and I know some amazing people who can help your trip memorable:)
It’s very evident that you and your family enjoyed your vacation in puerto rico. Those pictures of food had me hungry!
We had a blast!!! PR feels like Philippines:)
Great post! I loved puerto rico when i visited last year, i’ll definetely be back 🙂
Thanks for dropping by!!! YES, it’s one of those places that I do love to go back again and again:)
I really wish I could go to Puerto Rico but it’s just so far from here..The flight itself would set me back by too many $$$$. I loved your article. It’s in depth and covers all aspects of travel. The tree hugger pic is simply awesome.
Ooooh… where you from? Thanks for reading… If you visit, make sure to stay longer:)
I have been to San Juan and loved it (I also blogged about it). Beautiful photos!
Thanks:) What’s your favorite? I wanna go back and go diving and ziplining:)
wow puerto rico looks so great! I never really thought to visit but now i’m actually pretty interested. I love places with a mix of beautiful beaches, hiking, good food, nice culture… looks really amazing actually!
it’s interesting to see about how you loved it so much…and your family vacation looks very sweet
however, i’ve heard a lot of people talk about how run-down puerto rico has become because of their status as an american territory without much socio-political power or aid. did you see anything that might have coincided with those types of thoughts?
Looks like there are a ton of activities to dive into! Thanks for the safety tips too!
I love reading posts about Puerto Rico and I never get tired of it. I love your post on it too as you have such insightful things to say. And oh, absolutely beautiful photos.
travel lifestyle passion
Love la isla! It’s where my mom is from and I’ve been every summer from as far back as I can remember. Makes me miss it since i don’t go as often anymore.!
What a great place to go on vacation – especially with kids! Your photos look amazing, especially the food and that resort! Glad to see you had a good time!
Puerto rico is hands down my favorite place to visit. I’m glad you and your family had a good time there. I’m sure the kids will remember it their whole lives. (Oh and the food!! Those pictures are making my mouth water…I need to book a flight again soon…)
I HAVE BEEN TO SAN JUAN SEVERAL TIMES WHILE CRUISING. tHE RAIN FOREST IS ON MY TO DO LIST! tHANKS FOR TAKING ME BACK TO THE STREETS OF SAN JUAN AND THE HISTORY THAT IT OFFERS. aS AN aMERICAN, IT IS EASY TO TRAVEL TO AND AS YOU ADVISED, USE SOME COMMON SENSE WHILE TRAVELING. i HAVE NEVER FELT UNSAFE STROLLING THE STREETS OF SAN JUAN, BUT KNOW THAT IT’S IMPORTANT TO BE AWARE OF MY SURROUNDINGS. tHANKS FOR SHARING YOUR LOVE OF A FUN ISLAND!
Thank you for dropping by:)
WOW, your photography here is so pretty ( i seriously love that photo of the vines on the tree).
Puerto rico sounds so fun, and that resort looks stunning!
Thank you … credit to my hubby who took most of the pictures:) PR is definitely bucket list worthy:)Keep me posted if you wanna go…i’ll hok you up to the right people and right place:)
Wonderful mix of history food and fun. I like such family travel Destinations. Everybody’s requirements and interests are well taken of.
It is definitely an all-star island:) There are a lot of things to do for everyone – young and old:)
I have wanted to visit Puerto Rico for some time now but it continues to get bumped. That water looks perfect! I had no idea there is a rain forest and I am a big fan of waterfalls. I need to make this trip happen!
YES!!! Make it happen…. soon:) You know whom to call:) I’d be happy to help out. Happy and safe travels. xoxo
Well i had no idea puerto rico was a territory of the USA so i learnt something new! And wow it also looks like an absolutely beautiful destination with so much to see and do – and eat!
It is… so as Guam:) Time to hit this part of the world:) Happy and safe travel… xoxo
What an awesome trip! We have been looking into Puerto Rico for a family trip too! Love the beautiful beaches and the rainforest
You have to make it happen:) I think you’ll love it especially your teenagers:) Just buzz me anytime; here to help. Happy and safe travels. xoxo
We went to Puerto Rico on our honeymoon! What a beautiful island. We had the pleasure of hiking El Yunque, kayaking the bio bay in Fajardo and then road tripping to the west coast of aguadilla! Your post brought back great memories!
Wow… that’s sound like a memorable trip:) Maybe it’s about time to go back… hit me up; I can help you plan and hook you up to amazing people I know in the industry:)
I love puerto Rico!! It has such a distinct culture and such a diversity of food and things to do. Probably one of my favorite islands in the carribean. Love the rainforest and history there!!
Right… it is now our favorite island in the Caribbean:)