Puerto Rico Eco-Tourism Activities Kite-Surfing El Morro El Yunque Camuy Cave Bio-Luminescent Bay Kayaking Tropical Rain Forest.

 

 

 

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We love diversity & variety! These act ivies below are grouped by areas to help you plan your day trips. Most of them are within minutes by car. So, come explore Puerto Rico & take advantage of San Juan's convenient location. Click on the pictures below & read all the fun things about them.
1) Old San Juan
Distance: 8 mins by car, 30 - 40 mins by bus, 1.5 hours by walking
Cost: Rental car varies, bus $0.75 per person exact charge, no dollar bill
Duration: 1 - 2 Days + Evenings
Though recently it has gotten touristy and expensive, Old San Juan is still perfect for a day visit! If you are traveling around Jan 20, enjoy the week-long famous celebration of San Sebastian Festival. Lots of music, parades & locals dancing on the streets. The entire old city fills with live and spirit!

Visit El Morro & San Cristobal Fortresses (1/2 - 1 Day)
By touching the walls of both fortresses, it will remind you of the history and wars they stood for. Both fortresses offer hidden passages for you to explore. In June, bring along a kite & join the locals for the annual Volantín Festival. Let your kite take flight on the wide-open breezy slopes in front of El Morro Fortress.

Casa Blanca & Fortaleza (2 - 4 hours)
A short tour of Casa Blanca will show you how Ponce de Leon used to live in the 16th century. The guides are very detailed and informative. This nice little tour is not to be missed. Or enjoy colonial interiors and stained glasses in Fortaleza where our governor of Puerto Rico lives and works. There is also a nice garden overlooking the bay of San Juan.

Sofo & Nightlife (Evenings)
Dine stylishly near the SOuth of FOrtaleza street in restaurants such as Dragonfly, Parrot Club, Agua Viva and Tantra (belly dancers).
For nightlife, try Nuyorican Cafe (live music of Spanish Rock, Salsa, Merengue & Raggaeton), Rumba (Salsa & Meregue) & Club Laser (young crowd). Also there are parties near the dock and in the touristy Señor Frog & Hard Rock Cafe. Besides, don't forget to ask us about the hidden cafes & budget criollo restaurants where the real sanjuaneros gather.

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2) Bacardí Rum Factory
Distance: 30 mins by car
45 mins by ferry & taxi
Tour Cost: FREE!
Duration: 1 - 2 hrs
Get a free tour of the facility & rum tasting. You could get there by car, or take the AquaExpress ferry ($0.50) to Cataño from OSJ & then take a taxi ($10).

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3) Shopping
Distance: Plaza Las Americas - 6 mins by car, Belz Outlet - 15 mins

Besides Old San Juan’s artisan galleries and factory outlets such as Polo & Coach, there are great shopping in the malls of Plaza Las Americas (BCBG, Anne Taylor, Armani Exchange, Old Navy's, Zara, Border's & souvenir stores) & Belz Outlet (Calvin Klein, Izod, Geoffrey Beene, Nike & Mikasa), especially on a day with not-so-perfect weather.

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4) Museums
Distance: 20 mins on foot
Cost: Museo de Arte: $6
Museo de Arte Contemporaneo: FREE!
Duration: 2 - 3 hrs

Museo de Arte exhibits Puerto Rican paintings & sculptures. Museo de Arte Contemporaneo features mostly latin-american arts. On the way to either museum, stop by Plaza de Mercado (market square) in Santurce for lunch. This traditional market was recently renovated. There you will find one of our favorite seafood restaurants, El Pescador ($ - $$). Try their Arroz con Calamares. It's always packed with locals. Lunch & early dinner only.

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5) Escambrón Beach
Distance: 5 mins by car
Cost: $4 Parking
Duration: 1/2 - 1 Day
Difficulty Level: Beginner - Intermediate

What a surprise that this tropical urban beach with pristine water serves also as a natural fish nursery!
Escambrón Beach is one of the enlisted blue-flag beaches (there are only four in the entire Puerto Rico including Culebra & Vieques). Schools of colorful baby fishes are within your grasps. The beach is on the way to Old San Juan, on the side of Caribe Hilton & Normandy hotels.

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6) Botanical Garden
Distance: 20 mins by car
Cost: FREE!
Duration: 1/2 Day

Unfortunately due to UPR's lack of funds to maintain the garden, it is no longer in any presentable shape. We would notrecommend it. However you could still go to the new one in Caguas or visit Bosque Marquesa. Please ask us for directions.

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7) Piñones & Biking
Distance: 8 mins by car
Cost: COPI $6 per hr per bike
Duration: 1/2 - 1 Day
Difficulty Level: Beginner - Intermediate

Just east of Isla Verde, Piñones is one of the best places to see local culture & flavors. Stop by one of the colorfully painted wood-shack style kiosks where they still cook with charcoals. Enjoy the popular fritters like alcapurrias de jueyes (crab meat), arepas con bacalao (salted cod fish) or piononos de carne (meat).

If you like biking, this is a real treat for an ultimate tropical experience. Rent a bike in Pinones & take the 11 miles boardwalk trail along the beaches of Isla Verde & Pinones. Then through the Pinones Forest Reserve & naturally-formed gigantic rockpools, you finally reach the miles-long totally untouched savage beaches near the town of Loiza. On the way at one of the kiosks, try a coco frío - you drink the juice right out of a raw chilled coconut. Highly recommmended!!! A nice photo will make a great souvenir for yourself.

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8) Ocean Park Beach & Watersports
Distance: Walking
Cost: Varies from different schools
Duration: 1/2 - 1 Day
Difficulty Level: Beginner - Experts

Of course don’t forget to relax on our beach and work on your tan to show your friends & co-workers.
Or try either kite or windsurfing. The kite-surfing school is right on the beach meanwhile Vela Uno on Loiza Street also provides classes at the Puntas Las Marias Beach which is 5 mins away by walking.

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9) La Respuesta
Distance: 5 mins by car
Cost: Varies from shows
Duration: Evenings
Salsa Classes, Yoga & Capoiera Studios.

For artsies, try to catch live music by local musicians in La Resuesta, an artistic space in Santuce. Also recharge your spirit in a yoga or capoeira session either on the beach or in the studios nearby our guest house.

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10) El Yunque Rain Forest
Direction: East to Rio Grande
Distance: 30 mins by car
Cost: $3 entrance per car
Duration: 1/2 - 1 Day
Difficulty Level: Beginner - Experts

 

The rain forest is open all year-round & it's an excellent way to re-connect with the nature. We recommend the La Mina Fall trail where you can hike half-way & take a dip at the La Mina Waterfall. The trail is about 1 hour each way. If you would like to ascend to the top, prepare 3 - 4 hours for each way. There is also a secret rock slide...

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11) Catamaran Snorkeling Tour
Direction: East to Fajardo
Distance: 40 mins by car
Cost: $69 per person
Duration: 1 Day
Difficulty Level: Beginner - Intermediate

Enjoy an exciting catamaran ride to a couple of small cayes & coral reefs near the northeast of Puerto Rico. Fishes will be coming to you as you feed them with bread. Sandwiches, snacks & all piña coladas are included. Please ask us for details. The tour is from 10am - 3:30pm.

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12) Bioluminescent Bay in Las Croabas
Direction: East to Fajardo
Distance: 40 mins by car
Cost: $45 per person
Duration: 1 Evening
Difficulty Level: Beginner - Intermediate

 

 

 

Kayak thru the hidden mangrove channels in the evening & observe this rare phenomenon. The planktoms emit tiny dots of green lights when you touch the water. See yourself glow in the dark. On the way, you will be greeted by friendly iguanas on the tree branches. A truly unique experience - highly recommended! You could easily combine this activity with the rain forest or the catamaran tour.

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13) Camuy Caves, Space Observatory, Caguana Park
Direction: West to Utuado
Distance: 1.25 hrs by car
Cost per person: Camuy Cave - $10, Obervatory & Caguana Park: FREE!
Duration: 1 Full Day

 

 
 
 

This trio makes a great 1 day tour near Arecibo. Take the well-organized tour to the lime-stone caves & sink hole in Rio Camuy, the third longest underground river system in the world. Enjoy spectacular stalagmites & stalactites formations in this gigantic natural sink hole. Then stop by the largest satellite dish in the world & its small space exhibit in search for extra-terrestial life forms. Finally relax & experience yourself in the Taino native's Caguana Ceremonial Park. There is a small museum & replicas of early indian native pictographs.

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14) Lago Dos Bocas, Lago Caonillas, Toro Negro Rain Forest & Panoramic Route
Direction: West to Utuado
Distance: 1.25 hrs by car
Duration: 1 Full Day
 
 
 
 
 
 

Enjoy scenic lake views in Lago Dos Bocas by riding an electric boat around the lake. Stop by one of the restaurants & sample local dishes. Or rent a pedal boat in Caonilla Lake surrounded by tropical mountains. For off-the-beaten-paths, leave your foot prints on the trails of untouched Toro Negro Rain Forest. Unlike El Yunque, you can even camp there. At last, go by the Panoramic route near Jayuya. Since it's near the highest mountain in Puerto Rico, you will be able to enjoy both north & south coastal breath-taking views on the same road. Also stop by a plantation & check-out what a coffee plant, bread fruit tree & banana tree flower look like before their fruits are collected.

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15) Indian Cave, Cambalache Forest & Arecibo Light House
Direction: West to Baceloneta
Distance: 30 mins by car
Cost: Indian Cave - $1 for parking, Cambalache Forest - Free, Arecibo Light House - Adults $9 / Children $5
Duration: 1/2 - 1 Day

This is another great surprise! Cueva del Indio is a cliff with sink holes & rock pools by the beaches in Barceloneta. Just so happened there are indian pictographs in one of the sink holes. Contrast to Rio Camuy Cave's guided tour, this area is totally uncharted & very interactive! It's a completely different experience altogether. It's a great place to explore both geology & archeology and for everybody from kids (under guidance) to adults. We had so much fun by trying to walk on or climb these rugged terrains & secret tunnels - just like an Indiana Jones adventure.

For biking experts, take these Cambalache Forest trails & show your skill & stamina. It's very challenging - the trails are unpaved & they are full of karst, roots & mud. Yearly competitions are held in this forest. You will need to rent a car with roof rack & a BMX bike from Hot Dog. Also there is a camp site for families.

Or take your family to the theme park in Arecibo Lighthouse. Your kids will have a blast in this "Pirates of Caribbean" fantasy land. There is also a mini-zoo & a beach right at the entrance.

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16) Museo de Arte Ponce, Serralles Castle & Tibes Indian Park
Direction: South to Ponce
Distance: 1 hr by car
Cost per person: Museo de Arte Ponce - $12, Serrallés - $4
Duration: 1 Full Day

 

 

 

 

 

Spend a couple of hours in the Museo de Arte (enjoy a drink at their relaxing courtyard). Then take a tour to the Serrallés family mansion & garden if you like architecture & history. On a sunny day, you will be able to view the entire town of Ponce. Also take a photo of the Parque de Bombas in the town square as well as the old colonial houses in the nearby streets.
Then explore the Tibes Indian Park - this major pre-historic site dates back to 400 A.D. An impressive museum & archaeological grounds will keep you entertained.
Also on the way to Ponce, stop by Guavate to have lechón (roast pork meat) or the Coamo hot spring baths in a winter evening.

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17) Culebra Island
Direction: East of Puerto Rico
Distance & Cost per person: 1.75 - 2 hrs by car ($$) / taxi ($80) & ferry ($2) in Fajardo, 10 - 20 mins by plane ($75 each way) from San Juan / ($35) from Fajardo
Duration: 1 Day or more

Culebra Island
This is a really long 1 day trip but really well-worth it. Flemenco beach is enlisted as one of the top 10 beaches in the world (also another blue-flag beach). Absolute nature's beauty! Please ask us for info & check ferry schedule in Que Pasa magazine.

(Flemenco Beach)

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18) Southwest & West
Distance: 1.5 - 2 hrs by car
Duration: 1 Day or more



In the southwest, you could enjoy fresh seafood like clams & oysters in the town of Boqueron. Or enjoy the best coral reefs snorkel & dive near Parguera (colorful & abundant aquatic lives with superb visibility).
There are also other fun sightseeing places like the zoo in Mayagüez, Porta Coeli in San German - one of the oldest churches in the western hemipshere, an ice-cream parlour in Lares offers the strangest flavors such as corn & rice, a mineral bath that claims to heal your body in Cabo Rojo, & the Dry Forest Reserve in Guánica where large iguanas & land crabs roam freely & cross the roads.

You may have realized by now that Puerto Rico has A LOT to explore! Many of these humble but enchanted offerings are easily overlooked. We hope you'll have a wonderful travel experience here by trying one of these suggestions mentioned above. Enjoy and have a great time! :)

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If you want to explore Puerto Rico but have limited holidays, we would recommend this excellent 7 days day trip itinerary from San Juan:

1. Old San Juan + Rum Factory

2. Art Museums + Market Square

3. Rain forest + Luquillo beach + Bio-bay Kayaking

4. Camuy Caves + Observatory + Indian Ceremonial Park

5. Ponce + Panoramic Roads

6. Relax at our beach or Snorkel at Escambrón Beach

7. Piñones Boardwalk + Bike Tour

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