Introduction to Puerto Rico
Planning a trip for 4 Days in Puerto Rico can be fun but overwhelming, especially because there is so much to see and do in a short time during your trip to the island.
I love Puerto Rico. It is my absolute favorite travel destination. So it is super exciting for me to put together a 4-Day Puerto Rico Travel Itinerary for you.
This Puerto Rico itinerary will include my favorite things to do, delicious food to try, and some insider tips to explore the island in and out of San Juan (the capital city) during your 4 days in Puerto Rico.
Before we go any further, let me introduce myself. I am Kristina, and I have been traveling to Puerto Rico since I was a little girl.
I created this 4 day Puerto Rico itinerary to help guide you on your vacation, whether traveling solo, with friends, or with family. So let’s get started planning your Puerto Rico vacation!
4 Days in Puerto Rico Itinerary
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Day 1 in Puerto Rico: Old San Juan, Rum Tour & Dancing
Old San Juan is my favorite area of San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is full of Puerto Rico’s old-town charm and is so romantic. Am I the only one who is a total sucker for cobblestone streets!?
It is home to El Morro Fort, Paseo de la Princesa, trendy Fortaleza Street, and La Fortaleza, the governor’s residence.
Be prepared to walk ALOT in Old San Juan and wear sneakers or sandals (the streets are old and mostly cobblestone).
You will want to use an uber for this day of your trip. Traffic and parking can be difficult in Old San Juan. Using Uber will be much easier than using a rental car.
Breakfast at Chocobar Cortés
Chocobar Cortés, affectionately known as Chocobar, serves up a delicious breakfast. It opens every day at 8 am, and most dishes are infused with chocolate!!
Yelpers love their Fried French Toast and Chocolate Waffles. They also have a location in Condado in the lobby of the Condado Palm Inn Hotel.
Morning Adventure: Old San Juan
When you are done with breakfast, take a walk around Old San Juan. When you reach Calle del Cristo, you can find Parque de Las Paloma or Pigeon Park, trendy shops, restaurants, and more.
You will be within walking distance of La Fortaleza, the governor’s mansion, located at the end of Fortaleza Street.
Fortaleza Street is known for its canopy that hovers overhead. The theme changes frequently.
Be sure to visit San Felipe del Morro, a 16th-century Spanish fort and Unesco world heritage site. The fort is massive and gives insight into the rich history of the incredible island of Puerto Rico. It costs $10 to enter for anyone over 15 years old. Kids are free.
When you look east of El Morro fort, you will see the Old San Juan Cemetery (Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery). This cemetery is where many famous Puerto Ricans are buried.
When you finish exploring El Morro, head to Paseo de la Princesa. This promenade offers breathtaking views overlooking San Juan Bay along the city walls.
There are also plenty of great places to shop in Old San Juan. Mariel Arts and Crafts is a great place to check out, especially if you’re looking for Puerto Rican crafts or jewelry.
There are also many walking tours here that can help you see the most in just a few hours.
Lunch: Mofongo, please?
Old San Juan has several excellent restaurants. Be sure to stop at one for lunch.
This is a great time to sample traditional food, specifically mofongo: a dish made of plantains that are mashed and then fried. No trip to Puerto Rico is complete without trying it!
Some of the best places in Old San Juan to try mofongo:
El Jibarito PR: Try their trifongo (mofongo made of green plantain, sweet plantain, and cassava). This spot is an Old San Juan institution!
Cayo Caribe: Popular with locals; for a good reason, their food is delicious!
Afternoon Adventure: Ron De Barrilito Distillery Tour
No trip to Puerto Rico is complete without a visit to a rum distillery! So hop in an uber from Old San Juan and head to the Ron de Barrilito Distillery in Bayamon.
It is a short ride away.
Most tourists gravitate towards the Bacardí Distillery. But most Puerto Ricans know Ron De Barrilito is a hidden gem known by a few tourists but worth the trip!
The rum is one of the most popular brands in Puerto Rico, and they offer tours of their distillery in Bayamón.
I love that they offer a much more affordable tour with a complimentary cocktail at the end (Bacardí used to do this, but they stopped after the pandemic).
Ron de Barilito also provides pricier mixology classes and rum tastings.
Either option is great.
Dinner & Dancing at La Placita
Get your dancing shoes ready because we are headed to La Placita de Santurce, also known as La Placita. This is a market (by day) that converts into one of the hottest nightlife spots in Puerto Rico!
My favorite restaurant in Puerto Rico is located in La Placita. La Alcapurria Quemá is a small restaurant specializing in alcapurrias: fritters made of root vegetables stuffed with meat.
This is a great, casual and affordable place for dinner. Everything I have ever ordered here is mouth-watering, and you will be eating some of the best Food in Puerto Rico.
If you want something more upscale in La Placita, check out Santaella!!
After dinner, walk around and enjoy the music and atmosphere. Bad Bunny and Salsa music will be playing everywhere.
There is plenty of dancing to be had! You cannot leave Puerto Rico without a night in La Placita!
Day 2: El Yunque Rainforest
Breakfast at a Local Panaderia
Head to a Panaderia for Puerto Rican Breakfast before heading to El Yunque National Forest.
My favorite bakery close to El Yunque is Puertorrican Bakery in Rio Grande. Try a couple of different types of pastries, and don’t forget the coffee!
Puerto Rican coffee is some of the best in the world, and you can find it everywhere on the island. It’s usually served hot (café con leche) and is delicious.
I recommend ordering a question (phyllo pastry stuffed with sweet cream cheese) or a ham, egg, and cheese sandwich on Pan Sobao. Pan Sobao is a soft, fluffy Puerto Rican bread perfect for sandwiches.
Morning Adventure: El Yunque Rainforest
Puerto Rico is home to El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest system. El Yunque is a must-do on your 4-day Puerto Rico Itinerary.
Be sure to book your reservation for El Yunque Rainforest as soon as possible because they sell out fairly quickly. Check the website regularly for the dates of your trip.
Entrance only costs $2, and the cost is per vehicle, NOT per person. In addition, the only road after the welcome center is paved, safe, and easy to navigate; therefore, you can enter with your rental car.
You cannot visit El Yunque via uber. You risk getting stranded with no ride back.
There are many ways to explore El Yunque. You can take a guided hike or explore on your own.
Visiting Waterfalls in El Yunque Rainforest
My favorite activity is to take a dip in one of the many waterfalls in El Yunque. So bring your water shoes, a swimsuit, and a towel.
Some falls require a longer and more strenuous hike than others to reach. Still, there is something for everyone, no matter their experience level.
If you are traveling with children, are short on time, or are not an experienced hiker, visit Juan Diego Falls. This waterfall is so easy to reach!
Juan Diego Falls is close to the main road and is only a 0.4-mile hike round trip. The trail is direct and easy to follow for the most novice hiker.
When you reach the falls, you can enjoy the cool refreshing water or the view. It is accessible to most people.
If you are an avid hiker, check out more advanced trails, such as Mt. Britton Trail (45 minutes one way) and La Coca Trail (1.5 hours one way and probably the most intense). At the end of La Coca Trail, you will reach La Coca Falls, one of the most popular falls in El Yunque Rainforest.
Always use your judgment. People have been lost, injured, and even died because they overestimated their abilities on some of these trails.
There are two great lunch options when visiting El Yunque Rainforest.
The first option is to pack a lunch from your hotel or Airbnb and enjoy a picnic in the park. There are designated picnic areas within El Yunque National Forest, so this is an easy and affordable option for those traveling on a budget.
The second option is to stop at the El Punto del Rico Coco food truck. This is one of the highest-rated food trucks on the island and serves up some of the best food you will have in Puerto Rico.
Unfortunately, it is only open on weekends, so El Yunque Food Truck Family Park is a fun place to check out if it is a weekday.
There are various vendors, which is an excellent alternative since it is open daily.
Afternoon Adventure: ATV Tour or Luquillo Beach
Option A: Spend the afternoon at Carabalí Rainforest Park on an ATV or horseback riding tour.
Option B: Spend the afternoon at Luquillo Beach.
Both options are great. It just depends on what you’re in the mood for.
If you choose to go on the ATV tour, you’ll get to explore the El Yunque Rainforest in an all-terrain vehicle. So you can see the forest from another angle without hiking for miles.
Your second option is to spend the afternoon at Luquillo Beach; you’ll get to relax in calm waters and soak up the sun.
Luquillo beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island, so it does get crowded, especially on the weekends.
The view of the mountains in the distance is unbeatable.
No matter what you choose to do, you’re sure to have a great time. If you are ambitious, it is possible to visit El Yunque, the ATV tour, and Luquillo Beach in one day (I know from experience)!
Dinner at La Estacion in Fajardo
After a long day of exploring, you’ll want a good meal, and I recommend La Estacion in Fajardo for dinner. It has been voted one of the best restaurants in Puerto Rico by Condé Nast Traveler and one of the top ten restaurants in the Caribbean by Fodor’s.
The restaurant is located in an old gas station, which is part of its charm. The food is also excellent, and they have a great selection of Puerto Rican BBQ dishes.
The service is good, and the portions are large, so it’s a great option if you’re looking for a filling meal. Be sure to make a reservation because this place is popular!
After dinner, head to your San Juan Hotel to get some rest or head to Laguna Grande, a Bioluminescent Bay in Fajardo.
If you explore the bay, remember that you’ll have to make it to the Culebra ferry early the following day. So, you may want to book a hotel in Fajardo or Ceiba for the night.
Day 3: Flamenco Beach, Culebra
Culebra is a small Caribbean island off the east coast of Puerto Rico known for its beaches.
Blue clear waters and excellent snorkeling are characteristic of the island.
Flamenco Beach is Culebra’s most famous beach and is also consistently ranked as one of the top beaches in the world. The water is crystal clear, and the sand is powdery white.
Flamenco is a must-see when visiting Puerto Rico. I was so excited to include it in this 4-Day Puerto Rico Itinerary.
Getting to Culebra
There are a few ways to get to Culebra, but the most popular and affordable is the ferry from Ceiba. The ferry ride takes about 45 minutes.
If you get seasick, the ride can be choppy, so come prepared. Your doctor can help you with preventative treatment before your trip.
The ferry must be booked ahead of time. If you do not have a ticket, you can arrive at the ferry terminal as early as possible and try to get on a ferry, but there are no guarantees. Seats are limited, and priority is given to residents.
The ferry currently costs $2.25 one-way for non-resident adults and $1 for non-resident children, seniors, and those living with disabilities.
You can also pay a small fee to bring beach umbrellas, coolers, and other items on the ferry to make the most of your beach day.
Other options to get to Culebra include flights from San Juan or private charter boats.
Things to Do in Culebra
Once you arrive in Culebra, you’ll have plenty of time to relax on the beautiful pristine beaches. You can spend the day snorkeling, swimming, and sunbathing.
How to Get Around Culebra
The best way to get around Culebra is to rent a golf cart or a jeep. This will allow you to explore the island at your own pace and make stops.
You can also charter a boat to see Culebrita, a smaller island of Puerto Rico, or take the ferry to Vieques. Vieques is home to a bioluminescent bay and tons of fantastic beaches. These stops are both great additions to your Puerto Rico itinerary.
Where to Eat in Culebra
There are a few restaurants on the island, but not many. One of the best restaurants on the island is Zaco’s Tacos, which serves delicious Mexican food. The tacos are some of the best in Puerto Rico, and they’re reasonably priced.
Another great option is Lechonera La Criolla, a food truck specializing in Puerto Rican Food. The roast pork is excellent, and the prices are affordable. This is a no-frill spot!
There are limited upscale dining experiences, but you will find many casual places where the food is excellent.
Day 4: Mountain Adventure and North Coast
Breakfast at Kasalta
Grab breakfast at Kasalta in San Juan before heading out for the day. Kasalta is a local favorite and has served delicious Spanish, Cuban, and Puerto Rican Food for decades.
The breakfast sandwiches are excellent, and the coffee is delicious.
If you’re looking for something a little heartier, order the Mallorca. This breakfast sandwich is made with ham, cheese, and an egg on a sweet roll with powdered sugar sprinkled on top.
If you’re not in the mood for a sandwich, Kasalta also has excellent pastries if you’re looking for something sweet. The guava and cheese pastries are a must-try!
Barack Obama had breakfast at Kasalta on his visit to Puerto Rico as president! You can even sit at the booth where he ate.
After breakfast, make your way to the central region for a morning of adventure in the mountains.
Morning Adventure: Toro Verde Adventure Park
You will find other zip lines at Toro Verde Adventure Park for different levels. The most grueling, El Monstruo, is the longest zip line in America.
This is an excellent activity for those who love adventure and are looking for a thrill.
This adventure park is one of the most popular things to do in Puerto Rico. However, there are also many other activities to choose from.
One of them is the Toro Bike, a cycling adventure where you Pedal a zip-line cable. There are also climbing walls and other fun for the family.
After an adventure-filled morning, it’s time for lunch. Make your way to Casa Bavaria on your way back to San Juan. The restaurant is super unique and specializes in German cuisine.
It has been around for years, and the view from the patio of the mountains will blow you away.
The bratwurst is excellent, as is the schnitzel. The restaurant also serves traditional food from Puerto Rico.
The portions are large, so come hungry! The beer is also excellent, and they have a wide selection to choose from.
Afternoon Adventure: Mar Chiquita
Head to Mar Chiquita, a popular beach on the North Coast of Puerto Rico in the municipality of Manatí. Spend the afternoon relaxing, swimming, and sunbathing.
This is the perfect spot to wind down and relax on your last day in Puerto Rico. It is popular among locals so that you can enjoy an authentic vibe.
Depending on the day, you may even want to pack your snorkeling gear. Just be sure to check out rip tide conditions.
You will often find a few food trucks in the beach area if you want something to snack on or drink while there.
Typically you can find fried pastelillos (Puerto Rican empanadas), pinchos (kebabs) and even tacos!
If you want to head back to San Juan earlier, check out Isla Verde Beach. It is one of Puerto Rico’s most popular tourist beaches and is close to San Juan.
Dinner in Piñones
Head to Piñones, a popular area on the ocean in Loíza, close to the San Juan area, for dinner.
Here you can find street food at its finest. You will find many eateries and food stalls serving delicious food.
Most people who visit Puerto Rico or San Juan explore Piñones because it is known for authentic eats.
This place is nothing fancy; it’s on the water and is a great place to end your trip to Puerto Rico.
Barhopping in Old San Juan
After a long day exploring Puerto Rico’s countryside and beaches, you may want to grab a drink in Old San Juan.
La Factoria is one of the best bars in Puerto Rico and has been ranked as one of the best in the world!
They have an excellent selection of craft cocktails. The bartenders are very passionate about their work and make incredible drinks.
It feels like a speakeasy with a unique and historic vibe. The back room typically features live music and salsa dancing.
The bar is located on Calle de San Sebastian, a strip in Old San Juan with plenty of bars to hop around.
Another stop worth making while bar hopping Old San Juan is Barrachina. They claim to be the home of the first Piña Colada (though the Caribe Hilton would argue the iconic drink was invented at the hotel bar)!
4 Days in Puerto Rico FAQ Section
Is 4 Days in Puerto Rico Enough Time?
Absolutely! 4 days is the perfect amount of time to get a taste of what Puerto Rico has to offer and to experience so much of the culture without feeling rushed.
There is so much to do on the island that you could easily spend weeks, if not months, here and not get bored.
But if you only have 4 days, don’t worry! This guide will help you make the most of your time in Puerto Rico.
This 4-day itinerary will help you figure out what to do, where to stay, and what to eat during your 4 days in PR. I will ensure you make the most of your short time there.
Who is This Itinerary Best For?
This itinerary is best for first-time travelers who plan to visit only for 4 days in Puerto Rico.
This itinerary includes various activities to please all interests, such as:
- Hiking in El Yunque tropical rainforest
- Relaxing on sandy beaches
- Touring a Rum distillery with an optional rum-tasting tour
- Visiting a Unesco world heritage site in Old San Juan
- Eating some of the most delicious food on the island
This Puerto Rico vacation itinerary is flexible and can be rearranged to suit your interests and travel style better.
At the end of this article, I have also listed alternative/additional activities if you want to swap out an activity on the itinerary or wish to extend your days in Puerto Rico.
This is especially helpful if you want to explore outside of the San Juan area.
Is Puerto Rico safe?
Puerto Rico is a safe destination, but as with travel anywhere, there are always some risks. Here are a few safety tips to keep in mind:
- Be alert if walking alone at night.
- Keep an eye on your belongings, especially in crowded areas and beaches.
- Be aware of your surroundings.
- Stay in well-lit and populated areas.
- Don’t leave your drinks unattended, ever.
- Trust your gut instinct.
- Always be aware of water conditions before swimming. It may be a red flag if you do not see anyone in the water. Rip currents often occur, so look up warnings before heading out.
Following these safety tips and using common sense, you should have no problem enjoying your trip.
I have never felt unsafe in Puerto Rico.
Getting to Puerto Rico
The best way to Puerto Rico is by flying into the main airport, Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport. The airport is located in Carolina, close to San Juan.
If you’re flying into Puerto Rico from the US, you don’t need a passport, just a valid photo ID.
Getting Around Puerto Rico
Uber is an excellent option for getting around the San Juan metro area. This is my preferred way to move around when in the city.
In addition, most US phone service carriers work on the island. So, you should have no trouble using your cell phone and data plan to access the Uber app while on the island.
If you are leaving San Juan, Isla Verde, or the metro area, do not use Uber. You will most likely have a tough time finding a ride back to San Juan and may find yourself stranded.
When you leave San Juan, use a rental car or pre-arranged transportation service. A road trip or day trip is a great way to see PR!
Where to Stay in Puerto Rico + Hotel Recommendations
The San Juan area is the best place to stay. So, if you are traveling for just a few days as a first-time visitor. In that case, you will be close to many activities, restaurants, and nightlife nearby.
It is also close to the airport and has many fantastic places for a quick day trip within driving distance.
There are many different accommodations to stay in San Juan. Depending on your budget and preferences, you can easily find somewhere to meet your needs.
Aside from hotels, plenty of Airbnbs in San Juan are listed at reasonable prices. So, check out the Airbnb site for deals on local accommodations.
Where to Stay in the San Juan Area
This very touristy beach area is located in Carolina. It is located close to the airport. There are plenty of restaurants and bars in the area. You can also find cheaper hotel options here than in other areas.
- Best luxury hotel: Fairmont El San Juan Hotel
- Best budget hotel: San Juan Water and Beach Club Hotel
Old San Juan: Old San Juan is charming. You will find many historical sights within walking distance and plenty of restaurants and bars. This is a place for history buffs and those who appreciate old architecture.
- Best luxury hotel: El Convento
- Best budget hotel: Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel
Condado: Condado is known for being a more upscale area of San Juan. This neighborhood is located on the beach. Along Ashford Avenue, you will find plenty of restaurants and bars. In addition, you will see more luxury options for accommodations here.
Beaches in San Juan
The beaches in San Juan, especially Condado, can be rough and unsafe for swimming (even at hotels!!). Always check local rip tide warnings.
The following beaches are located in San Juan and are consistently safe for swimming:
- Balneario del Escambrón
- Playita del Condado.
What Foods to Try While Visting Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico has some of the best food in the world. You’ll find a “criollo” mix of Spanish, Taíno, and African influences in the cuisine.
Walk into any local panaderia (bakery) and try some delicious café con Leche made from local coffee. Puerto Rican coffee is something you must try. The coffee is strong and flavorful, and the beans are grown in the mountains of Puerto Rico.
While at any panaderia, take the chance to try a quesito. A local pastry made of fluffy phyllo dough stuffed with sweet cream cheese (ask if they have it with guava!). You can find panaderias everywhere on the island!
At most eateries, you’ll find some of my favorite dishes like:
- Mofongo (mashed, fried plantain)
- Arroz con gandules (rice with pigeon peas)
- Pernil (roast pork)
- Frituras (yummy fried snacks typically bought on the street or at roadside stalls)
- Puerto Rican Chinese food, try the tostones al ajillo (crispy plantain fritters served in garlic)
My Favorite Restaurants in San Juan
San Juan is a foodie’s paradise. There are so many great restaurants to choose from it can be hard to decide where to eat. But don’t worry; we’ve got you covered. Here are some of the best restaurants in San Juan:
La Vergüenza: This restaurant has two locations, one in Condado. But my favorite is located in Old San Juan, overlooking la Perla, with breathtaking ocean views.
It features three levels with a rooftop and is known for its Puerto Rican cuisine.
Casita Miramar: This restaurant is a bit more expensive, but it’s worth it. The food is authentic, and the setting is beautiful.
It is designed to look like you are dining in someone’s home and gives cozy vibes. Great for a fancier date night.
Pinky’s: With a couple of locations in San Juan, this spot is perfect for grabbing breakfast on the go. The dishes are all made to order, and do not disappoint!
These are just a few of the many great restaurants in San Juan. So no matter what you’re in the mood for, you’ll be able to find it here.
What Language is Spoken in Puerto Rico?
Spanish is the primary language spoken in Puerto Rico. However, English is also widely spoken, especially in San Juan.
Finding someone who understands English or can translate for you is usually easy, but knowing some Spanish will be helpful!
What Currency is Used in Puerto Rico?
The United States dollar is the official currency of Puerto Rico. ATM machines are widely available, and credit cards are accepted at most establishments.
I have had the experience where a merchant who accepted cards told me their card machine was not working! So, it would be best if you still carry cash on you at all times.
What is the Best Time to Visit for 4 Days in Puerto Rico?
The best time to visit Puerto Rico for a 4-day trip is from January to June. These months offer comfortable weather with low chances of rain.
The high season is Mid-December-Easter, so I love visiting during May or June because you still get great weather but fewer crowds.
I would avoid visiting Puerto Rico from July through November. This is hurricane season, and you run the risk of a hurricane.
Even if there are no hurricanes to hit the island during your trip, the weather is unbearably humid, and you will get much more rain.
Things to Do if you Have More than 4 Days in Puerto Rico
If you have visited before or have more than 4 days in Puerto Rico, here are some alternative things to add to your Puerto Rico itinerary. These day trips will allow you to discover Puerto Rico outside of San Juan:
- Head to the southern coast and visit Ponce, known as La Perla del Sur, one of the larger cities in Puerto Rico. Be sure to check out the museums and La Guancha boardwalk.
- Head to Rincon on the west coast for some of the best surfing beaches in Puerto Rico.
- Cabo Rojo is known for its beaches. It is a tropical paradise. Cabo Rojo is where you should go if you are looking for a sandy beach!
- Vieques is an island off the East Coast, close to Culebra and the Virgin Islands. Here you will find awesome snorkeling and a bioluminescent bay.
- Charter a boat in La Parguera (close to Cabo Rojo) to visit some beautiful cays off the southwest coast of Puerto Rico, or check out their bio bay at night!
If you have the time, of all the things on this list, prioritize a trip to Cabo Rojo or La Parguara!
Puerto Rico After Hurricane Fiona
Parts of Puerto Rico are still rebuilding after Hurricane Fiona struck the island in September 2022. The hurricane destroyed some areas, particularly in the southwest part of the island. Still, most places are back in business and operating.
You should have no hesitation about visiting. The San Juan area, in particular, is completely back to normal.
If you have questions, contact hotels and tour operators ahead of your trip, but you should have no problems visiting.
Wrap-UP: 4 Days in Puerto Rico Itinerary
Like most Caribbean Islands, Puerto Rico is home to beautiful beaches full of palm trees and amazing tropical weather. The island even has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Playa Flamenco on Culebra Island.
In addition to beaches, there’s something for everyone on the island. If you want to connect with nature and local culture, you will love Puerto Rico!
You can explore everything from the El Yunque Rainforest to the historic sites in Old San Juan.
With just a few days in Puerto Rico, you may feel challenged to get the most out of your visit to this beautiful island, but 4 days is just enough time to see a lot.
Puerto Rico is a relatively small island and so easy to get around. This Puerto Rico itinerary is perfect for travelers who want to experience the most they can during a short 4-day trip.
What are you waiting for? I know you will love Puerto Rico!!
Start planning your trip to Puerto Rico today!