best areas in puerto rico for hiking: utuado

17 Best Areas in Puerto Rico to Visit (2023 Guide)

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Are you looking for the best areas in Puerto Rico to visit? This island in the Caribbean offers something for everyone, regardless of your idea of a perfect vacation.

San Juan, the capital city, features stunning architecture, vibrant nightlife, and a variety of tourist attractions. And venturing out of the city offers some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and the world. From the crystal clear waters of Culebra to the calm natural pools in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico has a beach for every kind of traveler. There are also hiking, nature reserves, caves, and rivers to explore.

This article highlights the 17 Best Areas in Puerto Rico to visit in 2023.

Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Sightseeing

1. Old San Juan

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico for First Time Visitors, History Buffs, Romantic Getaways, Families, and Instagram Photo Ops

Old San Juan is the old, colonial part of San Juan that you often see in photographs. The streets are mostly all cobblestone, and the buildings are bright colors. It is easy to stroll around and get lost in the charm of the area of Puerto Rico. 

There is a lot to see and do here, including museums and El Morro, a 16th-century fort that is a UNESCO world heritage site. You will also find some of the best restaurants in San Juan here!

This is the best areas in Puerto Rico if you love history or are a first-time visitor.

old san juan best areas in puerto rico for history buffs

Best Hotels/Lodging in Old San Juan

El Convento: El Convento is a beautiful old convent, now home to a hotel. It has retained much of the old-world vibe characteristic of Old San Juan. However, it is the most expensive hotel in the area, so it is a bit of a splurge.

The Gallery Inn: This artsy inn is central to the sites and nightlife of Old San Juan. It is a more affordable option, and the rooftop deck makes this place stand out! They claim to have a pool, but it is more for wading than swimming.

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Old San Juan

  1. Castillo San Felipe del Morro: a massive fort built in the 16th century
  2. Castillo San Cristobal: 18th-century fortress that was the largest built by the Spanish in the New World
  3. Take a Walking History TourLearn more about the old city’s colonial history 
  4. Stroll Paseo de La Princesa: Take a walk along this pedestrian walkway along the old city walls
  5. Museo de las AmericasMuseum dedicated to the history and culture of the Americas

Best Food & Drinks in Old San Juan

Best Breakfast in Old San Juan

Chocobar Cortes: a cute cafe with plenty of yummy dishes dedicated to the love of chocolate. Try their Fried French Toast, Churros, Avocado Toast, and Lava Cake!

Mallorca: come here to try a Mallorca, a savory breakfast sandwich made on sweet bread and topped with powdered sugar. Try their ham, egg, and cheese Mallorca sandwich and the cafe con leche!

Best Lunch/Dinner in Old San Juan

Cafe Manolin: this is a place to sample some traditional Puerto Rican foods while taking a break from the heat and sightseeing. Try their skirt steak, shrimp mofongo, and sancocho soup!

Marmalade: looking for something fancy and a bit more upscale? This spot is one of the best in Old San Juan and is perfect for a date night. Try their passion fruit sangria, popcorn shrimp, gnocchi, and homemade rigatoni!

Best Bars/Nightlife in Old San Juan

La Factoria: Ranked as one of the best bars in America and the world, you will not want to skip a visit here! The vibe is chill; don’t forget to try a craft cocktail prepared by one of their expert mixologists. Try their lavender mule, shaken piña colada, and old-fashioned. 

Cons of Staying in Old San Juan

  • It can get crowded
  • Paid parking if you rent a car, and it will be hard to explore other parts of the island if you don’t rent a car
  • No easy beach access

Best Areas of Puerto Rico For Nightlife

2. Santurce

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Partiers, Younger Crowd, Art Lovers, Night Owls

Santurce is the hip and artsy part of San Juan. The nightlife is bustling, and you will find no shortage of places for a good time. It is also close to Condado, so the beach is close by and within walking distance!

There is also an established and growing art scene, including the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (the Puerto Rican Art Museum) and fabulous street art.

If you love a great bar scene and appreciate local art, check out Santurce! This is the best area of Puerto Rico if you love nightlife or are interested in the local arts scene.

best areas in puerto rico for nightlife and art: santurce

Best Hotels/Lodging in Santurce

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel San Juan: This is a no-frills hotel located around the corner from trendy Calle Loiza and within walking distance of La Placita. It is also just a few blocks from the beach!

Santurcia Hostel: This trendy hostel features private and shared rooms in the heart of Santurce and is within walking distance of some of the best restaurants. They also have a rooftop bar and co-working space, which makes this an ideal place to stay for digital nomads.

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Santurce

  1. Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico: Spend the day at this beautiful art museum featuring a sculpture garden.
  2. Go Dancing at La Placita de Santurce: Market by day, hotspot by night; you will find bars and nightclubs with great dancing and music.
  3. Bar-hopping on Calle Loiza: Grab a drink on this hip strip of bars, lounges, and restaurants.
  4. Check Out a Show at Centro de Bellas Artes Luis A. Ferré: This is a theater in Santurce with various concerts, shows, ballet, and operas to check out!
  5. Check Out Live Folkloric Music at Esquina Watusi: Every Thursday night, head to Esquina Watusi, a bar on Calle Cerra, to hear live Plena Music. Go early and check out the street art and murals along Calle Cerra! 

Best Food & Drinks in Santurce

Best Breakfast in Santurce

MUSA: Fabulous brunch on Calle Cerra that gets busy on Sundays! A local hot spot. Try their Passionfruit mimosas, Chicken & Waffles, and their Cream Cheese, Bacon-Caramel Stuffed French Toast!

Abracadabra: Come here for simple, classic, but delicious breakfast dishes. Their menu includes gluten-free options, which are challenging to find in Puerto Rico! Try their omelets, Nutella french toast, and Montecristo sandwich!

Best Lunch/Dinner in Santurce

La Alcapurria Quemá: this is one of my absolute favorite restaurants in Puerto Rico. The food is some of the best you will have on the island, and it is located in the center of La Placita, making it a great place to dine before a night on the town. Try their alcapurrias, carne frita and arepas de coco (my personal fav)!

Santaella: The cuisine is creative and Puerto Rican. This restaurant is fine dining at its best, so make a reservation. Try their watermelon mojito, grilled octopus and crisp red snapper.

Best Bars/Nightlife in Santurce

La Placita de Santurce: La Placita is one of the hottest spots on the whole island for nightlife. You will find bars, restaurants, nightclubs, and lounges blasting music and crowds dancing throughout the blocks surrounding La Placita de Santurce. It does get more crowded on the weekends and empties a bit during the week, so plan accordingly!

Cons of Staying in Santurce

  • The neighborhood is a bit gritty, urban, and less touristy; this may or may not be your thing, but I love it!

Best Areas of Puerto Rico For A Beach Vacation

3. Rincon

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Surfers, Beach bums, Free Spirits, Hippies, Artists

Rincon has always been the place to surf in Puerto Rico. Over the years, it has become popular with travelers visiting the island who want to escape the hustle and bustle of San Juan. It is also close to Aguadilla and Cabo Rojo, making it a central location on the West Coast!

You can find lots of surf shops and excellent dining options. Also, nothing beats the beauty of the Western side of the island.

 If you are looking for sleepy beaches with nearby yoga classes and vegan food options, Rincon is the place for you!

best areas in puerto rico for surfing, rincon puerto rico

Best Hotels/Lodging in Rincon

Villa Cofresí: This beachfront hotel is a great spot for families. The pool is beautiful, and they have an excellent on-site restaurant. Be sure to order their infamous El Pirata rum drink, served in a coconut!

The Horned Dorset: The Horned Dorset is a luxury hotel, great for couples. The decor is minimalistic with Eastern influences. You will love it here if you want to escape it all!

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Rincon

  1. Snorkel at Steps Beach: Nice beach with limited parking but fantastic snorkeling.
  2. Surf at Domes Beach: Hot spot for surfers; take a class or watch the surfers!
  3. Watch the Sunset: Rincon is known for some of the most beautiful sunset views on the island. If the day is clear, head to a beach or The Beach House Restaurant and enjoy!
  4. Charter a Boat to Desecheo IslandBeautiful island off the coast of Rincon with excellent fishing, scuba diving, and snorkeling.
  5. Visit Punta Higuera Lighthouse: Take in the beautiful views from the lighthouse.

Best Food & Drinks in Rincon

Best Breakfast in Rincon

The English Rose: The drive through the mountains here is curvy, but the food is worth it! Try their Passionfruit mint tea, breakfast burrito, and salmon benedict!

Rincón Beach Cafe: Healthy breakfast options close to Playa Doña Lala Beach! Try their acaí bowls, smoothies, and chai tea!

Best Lunch/Dinner in Rincon

Casa Isleña: Great place to dine on the beach and features live music most nights. Try their ceviche and surf & turf!

Bakku Japanese Eatery & Crudo Bar: This new spot features fresh sushi, cocktails, and ambiance in Rincon. Try their spicy tuna cones, Korean bbq short ribs, and sushi.

Best Bars/Nightlife in Rincon

Hielo de Luna: Cocktail bar close to the beach with great drinks. Try their mojitos!

Blondies Bar: Bar in the center of town with a great vibe and energy. Try their passionfruit mojitos!

Cons of Staying in Rincon

  • Rincon is from the Luis Muñoz Marin airport, where most folks arrive. You will need to rent a car or arrange transportation to this part of the island; another option is to fly into Aguadilla on the island’s northwest side.
  • You will need a car to get around. Uber is limited, and beaches/sites are pretty spread out.

4. Isabela

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Surfers, Beach bums, and Those Looking for a Local Vibe

Isabela has gained more popularity recently as one of the top beach locations in Puerto Rico. Located close to Aguadilla in the Northwest area of the island, it is the perfect place to check out many popular beaches. It is also close enough to Rincon for a quick day trip.

You can find lots of beaches and excellent dining options. This part of the island is beautiful and features a gorgeous rugged coastline.

If you are looking for a fun beach town with an authentic, local island vibe, Isabela is the place for you!

best areas in puerto rico for beaches

Best Hotels/Lodging in Isabela

Royal Isabela: This beachfront hotel features luxe cottages. Each casita has a private plunge pool! The hotel is on a golf course and has an on-site restaurant. 

Parador Villas del Mar Hau:  This is a more affordable option with beautiful ocean views for travelers on a budget. There are cabins to stay in with modest accommodations.

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Isabela

  1. Jobos Beach: Popular beach with the local crowd, has bars and restaurants nearby.
  2. Montones Beach: Less crowded than Jobos; it still has amenities and plentiful parking! Come during the week to have the beach all to yourself.
  3. Shacks Beach: This is an excellent beach with a smaller crowd. No dedicated parking lot exists, but this beach is worth checking out. Park off the road and enjoy a day here. Great for snorkeling! 
  4. Túnel de Guajataca: You can visit an old, historic tunnel and walk through to access fantastic ocean views. You can see the Tunnel in the Bad Bunny El Apagón music video party scene.
  5. Cara del Indio: Beautiful roadside statue of the face of an indigenous Taino, the native people of Puerto Rico.

Best Food & Drinks in Isabela

Best Breakfast in Isabela

The Coffee Spot is great for grabbing coffee and delicious breakfast options! Try the Macarena, a fried egg and turkey sandwich served on French Toast, or the strawberry granola pancakes.

Blessings Cafe: This is a cozy, quaint coffee shop close to the beach! Try their chai lattes, pancakes, and pastries!

Best Lunch/Dinner in Isabela

La Parada de los Surfers: Great little kiosk serves up typical Puerto Rican frituras (savory fried snacks). Try their pizza empanadilla or crab empanadilla!

El Cliff Sangría Bar & Restaurant: This spot features some of the best ocean views in Isabela. Try their seafood platter, chicken stuffed avocado, and arepas.

Best Bars/Nightlife in Isabela

Ola Lola’s Tiki Bar: Cute, open-air bar with great burgers and tacos. Try their Rum Punch!

Jobos Mojito Beach Bar: This oceanfront bar has excellent drinks, food, and breathtaking views of Jobos Beach. Try their (you guessed it) mojitos!

Cons of Staying in Isabela

  • Isabela is about an hour and a half from San Juan. So you will have to fly into San Juan and drive or into Aguadilla, which has fewer flight options. 
  • You will need to rent a car since public transportation is limited.

5. Cabo Rojo

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Laid Back Travelers, Crytal Clear Water Beaches and Local Vibes

Cabo Rojo is known for some of the most beautiful, calm, clear water beaches in Puerto Rico. This reputation comes because Cabo Rojo is home to the best beaches on the island outside of Vieques and Culebra. 

Cabo Rojo is a 2.5-hour drive from San Juan, so if you plan to fly into the metro area, be prepared to rent a car. In addition, you can fly into Aguadilla or Ponce. 

Cabo Rojo is the place for you if you are looking for postcard Caribbean beaches away from it all!

best areas in puerto rico for beautiful beaches cabo rojo playa buye

Best Hotels/Lodging in Cabo Rojo

Hotel Aquarius Vacation Club Boqueron: This hotel has a great pool and is close to the best beaches. It is in the town of Boqueron, where you will find some of the best restaurants and nightlife in this part of the island!

Hacienda Tres Casitas:  Rustic bungalows and suites located in the countryside. Prepare to get away from it all and allow the coqui frogs to sing you to sleep.

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Cabo Rojo

  1. Buyé Beach: Spend the day at one of the best beaches on the island. It gets busy on the weekend so arrive early!
  2. Faro Los Morillos: Visit this historic lighthouse, first lit in the late nineteenth century, and hike down to Playa Sucia (a popular beach on the southwest tip of the island)!
  3. Combate Beach: This beach will not disappoint; you will find powdery white sand and clear, warm waters. 
  4. Visit the Salt Flats: Check out the pink waters of the salt lagoons in the Cabo Rojo Wildlife Reserve. You can’t swim here, but it makes for awesome Instagram pictures! 
  5. Check out La Parguera: Take a 25-minute drive to La Parguera in Lajas. You can charter a boat and spend the day at the beautiful cays off the coast.

Best Food & Drinks in Cabo Rojo

Best Breakfast in Cabo Rojo

Estratos Café & Açaí Bar is a food truck located in Cabo Rojo! They offer fantastic coffee and breakfast items! Try their matcha, spicy french toast, and avocado BLT!

Boqueron Bakery: Traditional Puerto Rican bakery serving up typical breakfast! Try their quesitos, breakfast sandwiches, and their cafe con leche!

Best Lunch/Dinner in Cabo Rojo

Buena Vibra is named Buena Vibra for a reason; this spot has good vibes! It feels super beachy here, and they serve fantastic Puerto Rican food. Try their ceviche, churrasco and mojitos!

Joyuda: This is not a restaurant but an area of Cabo Rojo known for its oceanside seafood restaurantsYou cannot go wrong here, but if you want a recommendation, try Nautica Restaurant!

Best Bars/Nightlife in Cabo Rojo

Poblado de Boqueron: The town of Boqueron gets active on the weekends with tons of restaurants and bars. You will find people dancing in the street into the night hours. Head there for a local vibe; there are almost no tourists from outside the island as this is a local travel destination for Puerto Ricans. You are sure to have a fabulous time!

Cons of Staying in Cabo Rojo

  • It is far from San Juan, and you will need a car to get around!

6. Isla Verde

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Quick Getaways and Those Looking to be Close to all the Action

Isla Verde is one of the most popular tourist areas to visit in Puerto Rico. It is a beach community in Carolina, the municipality next to San Juan, home to Luis Muñoz Marin Airport. Most Isla Verde hotels are within a 5-minute drive of the airport.

You can find everything you need within walking distance or a quick Uber ride away. In addition, you will be close to all the tourist sites and action in San Juan.

If you are looking for a fun touristy beach area close to the airport, Isla Verde is the place for you!

best areas in puerto rico for tourists, isla verde beach

Best Hotels/Lodging in Isla Verde

Residence Inn by Marriott San Juan Isla Verde: This hotel opened in the Spring of 2022. It is new, beautiful, and clean. This hotel is an excellent option for couples and families. 

The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan:  If you have the budget, this 5-star resort is one of the best places to stay in Puerto Rico. Enjoy luxury accommodations close to everything.

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Isla Verde

  1. Isla Verde Beach: Spend the day at one of the best beaches in the metropolitan area. 
  2. Check Out San Juan: Visit Old San Juan and do some sightseeing!
  3. Get Outdoors and Take a Tour at Campo Rico: Hacienda Campo Rico offers ATV Tours, Ziplining, and Horsebackriding. Fun fact: Part of the movie Wakanda Forever was filmed here! Be sure to arrange transportation here.
  4. Foxwoods CasinoTry your luck and see if you can win big here; this casino offers 1500 square feet of slots and tables! 
  5. Piñones: Located near Loiza, Piñones is famous for its strip of oceanside eateries. Take a quick ride from Isla Verde and find some of the island’s best criollo cuisine. You will find traditional foods with a local vibe.

Best Food & Drinks in Isla Verde

Best Breakfast in Isla Verde

Bistro Café is extremely popular with both locals and tourists! So don’t be shocked if you walk away claiming this is one of your best breakfast meals! Try the avocado toast, pistachio & white chocolate pancakes, and mimosas!

Panadería Las Canarias: Great local bakery with traditional breakfast! Try their quesitos (sweet cream cheese stuffed puff pastry)!

Best Lunch/Dinner in Isla Verde

Alambique Beach Lounge: Beachfront eats with Puerto Rican dishes and strong drinks. Try their mofongo and arroz mamposteo!

Hijole- Cocina Mexicana: This spot features some of the best Mexican food in the metro area. Try their fish tacos and margaritas.

Best Bars/Nightlife in Isla Verde

Club Brava: Busy, Popular nightclub located in the Fairmont Hotel. 

Patio de las Flores: Craft cocktail bar serving creative drinks in a chill atmosphere. Try any of the drinks on their menu!

Cons of Staying in Isla Verde

  • Isla Verde can get super busy, so if you are looking for a more laid-back and relaxing vacation, you will not find it here. You will find lots of noise and crowds, especially on the weekends.
  • This area caters to tourists, mainly from the States. You may not experience much local culture if you spend most of your time in Isla Verde. 

7. Condado

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Travelers Who Want to be Close to it All, Partiers, Couples, and First Time Travelers

Condado is known for its oceanfront luxury hotels and fine dining. Located between Old San Juan and Santurce, this beachfront neighborhood is an excellent base for first-time travelers.  

Condado is a 10-minute drive from the Luis Muñoz Marin Airport, so if you plan to fly into the metro area, you can easily use an Uber to get around the metro area.

Condado is the place for you if you want access to beaches, great restaurants, nightlife, and sightseeing!

best areas in puerto rico for tourists in san juan, condado beach

Best Hotels/Lodging in Condado

San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino: This hotel has a great pool and is right on the beach. It is within walking distance of some of the best restaurants in San Juan!

Condado Vanderbilt Hotel: Similar to the Marriott Stellaris, this hotel offers a fabulous pool and is in the middle of all the action. It also features some top-rated restaurants on-site!

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Condado

  1. Condado Lagoon: Spend the day paddleboarding, kayaking and checking out the manatees in the Condado Lagoon! I recommend a night tour in a light-up kayak!
  2. Old San Juan: Take a quick Uber ride to Old San Juan and take in all the sights and architecture of the old city.
  3. El Yunque Rainforest: The rainforest is about 45 minutes from San Juan. Book a day trip or rent a car to visit the only rainforest in the US park system!
  4. Dance and Drinking at La Placita: Head to Santurce and spend an evening dining, drinking, and dancing at La Placita.
  5. Snorkel at La Playita del Condado: Spend the day at this small public beach next to the Condado Plaza Hilton. The water is clear and great for snorkeling.

Best Food & Drinks in Condado

Best Breakfast in Isla Verde

Pinky’s is a popular breakfast spot with delicious breakfast! The portions are large, and the food is good! Try their Mallorca sandwich, salmon scramble, and the big ol’ breakfast burrito.

Pannes: This is a favorite among tourists! It is close to all the big hotels and serves American breakfast items. Try their lox platter or the French mess, an egg, bacon, and cheese sandwich served between french toast.

Best Lunch/Dinner in Isla Verde

Jose Enrique is a well-known favorite for Puerto Rican cuisine in San Juan. Chef Jose Enrique does not disappoint, and the food is spectacular. Try their pollo chupa plato, and fish of the day!

Serafina San Juan: Looking for delicious Italian cuisine in San Juan? This spot serves the same fabulous food as their sister location in NYC! Try their pizzas, pasta, and Aperol spritz!

Best Bars/Nightlife in Isla Verde

Fifty Eight: Currently the hottest nightclub in all of Puerto Rico, Five Eight is the place in Condado to party. Located in La Concha hotel, doors open at 10 pm every weekend night.

Cons of Staying in Condado

  • It is very touristy, and if you stay in this area, you will not get a feel for the local, authentic culture.
  • It is hard to get parking, and traffic can be heavy, so you will want to rely on public transportation/ride-sharing, such as Uber.

8. Fajardo

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Beach Bums, Couples, and Adventurous Travelers

Fajardo is on the Northeastern coast of Puerto Rico, located close to some of the best beaches in the area. From Fajardo, travelers can also hop to some of the most excellent beaches and clear waters in Puerto Rico.

Fajardo is about an hour from the Luis Muñoz Marin Airport, so you should rent a car or arrange transportation. A car would be ideal since it will make it easier to get around the area.

Fajardo is the place for you if you love lounging on beaches without much else to do!

best areas in puerto rico for vacation: fajardo pr

Best Hotels/Lodging in Fajardo

El Conquistador Resort: This Beautiful resort is on a cliff overlooking the ocean. While there is no direct beach access, guests have access to a free ferry that will shuttle them in 10 minutes to Palomino Island- a beautiful island with clear waters just for hotel guests. 

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Fajardo

  1. Charter a boat to a Icacos IslandJump on a boat for a quick ride over to Icacos, an uninhabited island off the coast of Fajardo. The water is warm, clear, and perfect for snorkeling.
  2. Playa Escondida: It will take about a 20-25 minute hike to reach this beach, but once you do, it will be worth the trek. 
  3. Cabezas de San Juan: Spend the day in this beautiful tropical nature reserve. You can choose to hike or swim, or both! As of November 2022, the lighthouse is temporarily closed, but when it opens back up, be sure to stop there for beautiful views.
  4. Bio Bay: Take a kayak tour of the bioluminescent bay at the Laguna Grande Nature Reserve. Prepare to be blown away- this is one of 5 bio bays in the world!
  5. Seven Seas Beach: Great local beach to pass the time lounging, snorkeling, and swimming.

Best Food & Drinks in Fajardo

Best Breakfast in Fajardo

Las Vistas Café is close to some of the best beaches in Fajardo, and the friendly staff will make you feel at home! The food is delicious and fresh! Try their coconut banana pancakes, fruit bowl, and coffee.

Dulce Aroma: This is a local favorite in the town of Fajardo! It is a quaint café serving some of the best breakfast in town. Try their Nutella waffles, omelets, and ham & cheese sandwich.

Best Lunch/Dinner in Fajardo

La Estacion is one of the 21 top-rated restaurants in Puerto Rico, according to Condé Nast Traveler, and one of the top 10 restaurants in the Caribbean, according to Fodor’s Travel. 

Even if you are not staying in Fajardo, this spot is worth a trip! They serve up “Nuyorican BBQ,” Barbeque prepared on open fires of wood smoke and natural charcoal! 

Best Bars/Nightlife in Fajardo

Te•Qui•La: This margarita bar is close to Seven Seas Beach and a great stop after a day at the beach. They serve a variety of flavored margaritas with fun add-ons like ginger and jalapeño.

El Chinchorro de J: This is a no-frills local spot with cheap drinks and live Puerto Rican music on the weekends! The ocean views are beautiful, and you can experience the local culture.

Cons of Staying in Fajardo

  • You will have to rent a car or arrange transportation to get here since it is far from Luiz Muñoz Marin Airport. You will also need a car to get around as there is limited Uber and public transportation here.

9. Dorado

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Luxury Travelers, Golfers, and, Travelers WITHOUT a budget

Dorado is known for million-dollar oceanfront homes, luxury homes, and some of the finest dining on the island. The beaches are beautiful, and there are plenty of golf courses.

There is a lot to see and do here, but the best part is that Dorado is only 30 minutes from San Juan. So, you can enjoy your vacation away from it all but be close enough to explore San Juan’s tourist attractions.

If you are looking for luxury accommodations, Dorado is one of the best areas in Puerto Rico for your upcoming trip.

Best Hotels/Lodging in Dorado

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve: If you want to spend big and experience the ultimate in 5-star amenities, this Dorado Beach Hotel will blow your mind. Choose from a room, suite or villa, and be sure to indulge in their spa!

Hyatt Hacienda del MarWhile this hotel is not technically in Dorado, it is only a short drive away and one of the best places to stay in the area. Enjoy their pool and direct beach access!

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Dorado

  1. Fish with Puerto Rico Sportfishing Charters: check out their fishing boat charters and enjoy a day on the water!
  2. Golf: Dorado is home to some of the best golf courses on the island.
  3. Nouvelle D’SpaEnjoy a variety of massages, facials, and body treatments.
  4. Shop at Local StoryCheck out beautiful locally crafted gifts to take home from this adorable boutique!
  5. Engage in watersports with Goodwinds DoradoThey offer lessons and experiences on everything from surfing to kiteboarding, stand-up paddle boarding, and more!

Best Food & Drinks in Dorado

Best Breakfast in Dorado

Grecafé: quaint spot with cute decor serving fantastic brunch items and coffee. Try their Salmon benedict, passionfruit mojitos, and traditional Puerto Rican coffee served in a greca!

COA: Upscale beachfront Sunday brunch at the Dorado Beach, a Ritz Carlton Reserve Hotel. 

Best Lunch/Dinner in Dorado

ROMBO Asador Playero: Off the beaten path casual spot with delicious dishes and creative cocktails. Try the lobster pastelillo, ceviche, and shrimp tacos!

Pirilo Pizza Rústica: looking for decent pizza? Check out the Dorado outpost of this San Juan favorite! Try the La Pampa pie topped with Argentine sausage, churrasco, and chimichurri sauce or the Rosada pink vodka sauce pie.

Best Bars/Nightlife in Dorado

Tres Palos Bar & Grill: Open-air, laid-back spot with good drinks, live music, and karaoke. Try their coconut-passionfruit mojito. 

Cons of Staying in Dorado

  • It can be pretentious, and you will want to come ready to splurge.
  • Exploring other parts of the island will be hard if you don’t rent a car.

10. Arecibo

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Travelers Off the Beaten Path, Beach bums, and, Travelers who are Looking to Experience Local Culture

Arecibo is on the island’s north coast, along the Atlantic Ocean. The beaches are rugged and feature a dramatic coastline. However, some of the beaches in the area can be rough, so they are best for lounging.

There is no shortage of delicious, traditional Puerto Rican restaurants and incredible sights to try here. If you want to learn more about the island’s history, visit the historical park at the lighthouse and Cueva del Indio! You can also go hiking while visiting Arecibo at Cueva Ventana.

If you are looking to dive into local Puerto Rican culture and stay close to the beach, Arecibo is one of the best areas in Puerto Rico for you to check out on your upcoming trip.

Best Hotels/Lodging in Arecibo

Lodging in Arecibo is limited. So if you are interested in staying, it would be best to book an Airbnb here or stay close by and make this a day trip!

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Arecibo

  1. Hike to Cueva Ventana: Explore this cave with a guide! Prepare to reach a window-like viewpoint over a cliff with breathtaking views of the forest and a beautiful valley!
  2. Playa La Poza del Obispo: Beautiful beach with pristine waters; it is an excellent place for snorkeling and swimming when the water is calm, but it can get rough, so use precaution. 
  3. Check out The Arecibo Observatory: This was once the site of the world’s largest single-dish radio telescope. The telescope was destroyed in 2020, but you can still visit and tour the visitor center and learn more.
  4. Enjoy the Arecibo Lighthouse and Historical ParkView the beautiful lighthouse but also check out the historical park where there is so much to do for the family. View exhibits about Puerto Rico’s rich history, including exhibits on the indigenous Tainos and slavery on the island. There is also a mini zoo, aquarium, playground, and more for the kids!
  5. Cueva del Indio: Visit this historical area on the beach that features prehistoric rock art.

Best Food & Drinks in Arecibo

Best Breakfast in Arecibo

Bonjour Café & Sandwiches: Laid back café serving breakfast and brunch. Come with time to spare and enjoy the local experience! Try their french toast with Nutella, omelets, waffles, and chai lattes!

Bermudas: One of the best spots in Arecibo for excellent coffee and breakfast. The menu is short, but everything is delicious. Try their oatmeal, ham sandwiches, and their fried eggs with ham!

Best Lunch/Dinner in Arecibo

Arrecife 681: Rustic beachfront casual spot with breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean. Try the fish tacos, spicy crab montaditos, and piña colada!

Islote Beach Restaurant is another excellent beachside restaurant with water views, serving traditional Puerto Rican eats. Try the fried fish, mofongo, piña colada, and pistachio flan.

Best Bars/Nightlife in Arecibo

La Distilleria: Cocktail bar serving tapas and good drinks, featuring a fantastic happy hour. Try their Moscow mule, old-fashioned, and passion fruit cocktails. 

Cons of Staying in Arecibo

  • Beaches in this area can be rough, and you may have to travel to find calmer beaches. It is always helpful to check water conditions before heading to the beaches in this area. 
  • You will need a car to get around as public transportation is limited here.

11. Humacao


One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Families and Travelers Looking for Creature Comforts Outside of San Juan

Humacao is on the island’s east coast, south of Fajardo and close to Ceiba, where you can find the ferry to Culebra and Vieques. It is also home to Palmas del Mar, an upscale beach resort community with places to stay and many amenities.

You are close to El Yunque, the beach, and other attractions, so there is plenty to do!

If you are looking for a beach vacation but want to avoid the hustle and bustle of San Juan, Humacao is one of the best areas in Puerto Rico for your trip to the island.

Best Hotels/Lodging in Humacao

Wyndham Palmas Beach and Golf ResortCaribbean beach resort located in the Palmas del Mar community with a beach, pool, and dining onsite.

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Humacao

  1. Spend the day at the Humacao Nature Reserve: Explore this beautiful nature reserve. There are plenty of walking trails, or rent a kayak or bike!
  2. Visit Vieques or Culebra: Take a ferry from Ceiba, located about 35 minutes from Humacao, and visit one of these beautiful islands off the east coast of Puerto Rico.
  3. Check out The Pterocarpus ForestThis is a 51-acre swampy forest located at Palmas del Mar. Enjoy the Pterocarpus trees and take a free group tour!
  4. Hang at the Resort Pool: What better way to spend your Caribbean vacation than to lounge at the pool? Spend a day or your whole trip relaxing at the resort pool. 
  5. Go skydiving with La Zona Puerto Rico: Jump from a Cessna 206 from 10,000 feet in the sky and choose the beach landing for a memorable experience!

Best Food & Drinks in Humacao

Best Breakfast in Humacao

El Kafe: Charming local cafe featuring a 2-for-1 mimosa deal! Try their churrasco steak & eggs, chicken and waffles, and guava cream french toast!

Doña Lola Café y Bistro: Great breakfast spot with fabulous art covering the walls. Try their French Toast roll-ups stuffed with cream cheese, guava paste, and bacon.

Best Lunch/Dinner in Humacao

La Brochette: The Steakhouse in Palmas del Mar has excellent views and a nice ocean breeze. Try their steaks and surf & turf options.

ODD Kitchen is a food truck close to Palmas del Mar with a creative menu of noddle and rice bowls. Try the shy-knees Asian inspired pork bowl with jasmine rice or their take on risotto topped with chicken and sweet plantain!

Best Bars/Nightlife in Humacao

Gädes Cigar and Hookah Lounge: Chill spot at the Wyndham resort featuring hookah, cigars, and some of the best cocktails in town. Try their Moscow mule, old-fashioned, and passion fruit cocktails. 

Cons of Staying in Humacao

  1. Beaches in this area aren’t the most picturesque on the island 
  2. You will need a car to get around because public transportation is limited here.

12. Lajas

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Travelers Looking for Beautiful Beaches, Boaters, and Off the Beaten Path

Lajas is located on the island’s southwest coast, east of Cabo Rojo. It is off the beaten path and a true hidden gem known by a few tourists outside Puerto Rico.

It is home to La Parguera, a waterfront area lined with stilt houses, bars/restaurants, and docks where you can charter a boat to take you to the clearwater cays off the coast (this is probably my absolute favorite thing to do in Puerto Rico). La Parguera is also home to a beautiful bio bay!

If you love clear water beaches and want to experience Puerto Rico like a local, Lajas is one of the best areas in Puerto Rico for a vacation!

Best Hotels/Lodging in Lajas

La Jamaca HotelModern rooms close to La Parguera with an outdoor pool and on-site restaurant.

Top 5 Things to See/Do in La Parguera

  1. Charter a Boat and go cay-hopping: Hire a boat company and spend a few hours visiting the small islands off the coast of Lajas. The water is crystal clear. You can spend the day swimming and hang out on the water! Most charters let you bring your own food and drink!
  2. Visit the Bioluminescent BayAt dusk, head out with a tour operator to see the sparkling waters of La Parguera; they even let you swim in the water here!
  3. Check out street art and mural in Yauco: Yaucocromatic is a community art project in Yauco, about 30 minutes from La Parguera. You will find murals and a community of homes and buildings painted in beautiful, bright colors. Walk the Instagrammable streets and take tons of pics.
  4. Jump Aboard a Floating Bar: La Barra Salada offers small group excursions on the floating bar; this is a fun and unique way to spend a few hours on the water.
  5. Rent a Kayak and Explore La Parguera: If you love to kayak, book a kayak tour and head out to explore the waters off the coast of La Parguera.

Best Food & Drinks in Lajas

Best Breakfast in Lajas

M&M Bakery & Deli: Traditional Puerto Rican Bakery serving classic breakfast dishes! Try their eggs, french toast, coffee, and pastries!

Best Lunch/Dinner in Lajas

Papos Pinchos: Serve delicious kebabs (pinchos) close to the boating docks in La Parguera. Stop here for quick, good food after a day on the water.

Vintage PizzaCasual pizza joint with outdoor seating and great eats close to town in La Parguera. Try their vegetarian pizza, ham & mushroom calzone, and their cold cut (charcuterie) appetizer).

Best Bars/Nightlife in Lajas

El Mangle Bar & Tapas: Great mojitos and drinks in the center of La Parguera. Come for dancing and great music!

Frozen G Spot: Check out this bar in La Parguera. Try their frozen sangria and mixed drinks!

La Parguera: All over town, you will find bars and restaurants full of local tourists dancing and having a great time. Nightlife does not lack here!

Cons of Staying in Lajas

  • To reach the best swimming waters here, you will need to charter a boat!
  • No public transportation is available, but if you stay in town you can do a lot on foot!

Best Areas of Puerto Rico Off the Beaten Path

13. Vieques

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Travelers Looking for Isolated Beaches and Want to Get Away From it All

Vieques is an island off Puerto Rico’s east coast, south of Culebra. It is accessible via plane or ferry. The ferry is the cheapest and best way to get there! You can catch the ferry in Ceiba, but you will want to book your tickets ahead of time.

There are many beaches to explore on this small island, and Vieques is known for the beautiful wild horses roaming the beaches there. In addition, you will find isolated, beautiful beaches with crystal-clear water.

If you want to get away from it all, Vieques is one of the best areas in Puerto Rico for a vacation!

Best Hotels/Lodging in Vieques

Finca VictoriaFinca Victoria is a rustic yet chic boutique hotel with morning yoga and vegan breakfast. You will feel like you are in a tropical paradise.

Hacienda Tamarindo: This hotel is casual, decorated with Caribbean flair, and comfortable for a reasonable price. They have an on-site pool and offer fantastic hilltop views.

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Vieques

  1. Snorkeling: Vieques offers some of the best snorkeling in Puerto Rico. Plenty of beaches and tours are available for snorkelers of all levels to explore crystal-clear waters full of a diverse array of marine life.
  2. Visit the Bio-bay: Unlike La Parguera, you cannot swim in the bioluminescent bay in Vieques, but you can kayak and take a tour to see the glimmering waters. 
  3. Crab Island Rum DistillerySample some fabulous rums at this handcrafted rum distillery. (Open Thursday-Saturday)
  4. Visit Culebra: You can take the ferry from Vieques directly to Culebra, home to one of the world’s most beautiful beaches, Playa Flamenco. 
  5. Beach hop: There are many beaches to explore across the island, especially in the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. Enjoy picturesque palm tree-lined beaches with roaming wild horses and beautiful clear waters. 

Best Food & Drinks in Vieques

Best Breakfast in Vieques

Rising RoostWithin walking distance of the ferry, this spot features classic breakfast dishes and great mimosas. Try their acaí bowl, french toast, and avocado toast

Best Lunch/Dinner in Vieques

Gracias de NadaUnassuming food truck with fantastic staff that serves delicious fresh sandwiches! Try their Monte Cristo, Cuban, and hot dogs (they offer a ton of yummy toppings!).

Mango Public HouseBeautiful restaurant with a great vibe serving bar food, beautiful views, and outdoor seating! Try the Mahi Mahi bites, Cuban, and hot dogs (they offer a ton of yummy toppings!).

Best Bars/Nightlife in Vieques

Most places in Vieques close early as compared to the main island. You will find that most spots close before midnight. 

Saint Voodoos Mar Azul: Popular bar close to the ferry terminal, open on the weekends, serves great sangria and spectacular ocean views.

Robins Mojito Bar and GrillHidden gem with local vibes, delicious food, and strong drinks. Be sure to try their 33oz mojitos!

Cons of Staying in Vieques

  • Vieques is a remote area, so you will have to fly from San Juan or take the ferry, adding extra time to your trip or making it hard to fit into your itinerary as a day trip.  
  • The Ferry tickets are limited, so it would be best to plan ahead of time. You will want to buy tickets before your trip to guarantee a seat on the boat.

14. Culebra

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Travelers Looking for Isolated Beaches and Want to Get Away From it All

It is also accessible via plane or the ferry in Ceiba. The ferry to Culebra takes a little longer than the one to Vieques(45 minutes v. 30 minutes)

The island of Culebra is more remote in Vieques. Therefore, you will find fewer amenities and more isolated, beautiful beaches. Culebra is also home to one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, Flamenco Beach.

If you want beautiful remote beaches and to feel like you are away from it all, Culebra is the best area in Puerto Rico for your upcoming trip!

Best Hotels/Lodging in Culebra

Aleli CottagesComfortable cottages and bungalows offer some of Culebra’s most beautiful sunrises and sunsets. 

El Navegante de Culebra9 Room hotel with a view of Ensenada Bay, an on-site restaurant, and close to everything in Culebra. 

Top 3 Things to See/Do in Culebra

  1. Flamenco Beach: Flamenco Beach is the most popular beach on Culebra Island, and for a good reason! This beach is rated as one of the most beautiful beaches in the world time and time again. You can expect white powdery sand, palm trees, and clear blue waters.
  2. Culebrita: Hop on the water taxi (about $65 per person) and take a quick trip to the small island of Culebrita. You will find some of the most beautiful beaches you’ve ever seen.
  3. Relax: This list is short because the best thing to do in Culebra is to relax. Visit one of the beaches, watch the sunset, move slower, read a book, disconnect, and be in the moment on this beautiful island.

Best Food & Drinks in Culebra

Best Breakfast in Culebra

Blac Flamingo CoffeeA cozy coffee shop with fantastic breakfast, but make sure to get there early because they get busy and close for the day once they sell out. Try their coconut honey lavender cappuccino, croissants, breakfast tacos, and avocado toast.

Culebra CoffeeCharming spot with lots of healthy and vegetarian/vegan options. Try their acaí bowls, smoothies, and avocado toast.

Best Lunch/Dinner in Culebra

Zaco’s TacosCraving tacos and margaritas? If so, this is the spot for you! Try their pork belly tacos, fish tacos, and spicy cucumber margarita!

Lechonera La CriollaCasual spot with limited weekend hours that serve delicious, traditional Puerto Rican food. Try the roast pork, blood sausage, and pasteles (like a Puerto Rican tamale)!

Best Bars/Nightlife in Culebra

La LobinaLocal spot on the water with music and karaoke that stays open later than most spots in Culebra (2 am on weekends).

The SpotLaid back bar, open daily and late. Frozen mojitos, margaritas and more!

Cons of Staying in Culebra

  • Culebra is a remote area, so you will have to fly from San Juan or take the ferry, adding extra time to your trip or making it hard to fit into your itinerary as a day trip.  
  • The Ferry tickets are limited, so it would be best to plan ahead. You will want to buy tickets before your trip to guarantee a seat on the boat.

Best Areas of Puerto Rico to Explore Smaller Cities

15. Ponce

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Return Visitors Looking to Explore More and Travelers Off the Beaten Path

Ponce is one of Puerto Rico’s most significant cities on the island’s southern coast. In addition, it is home to various museums, great restaurants, and beautiful Caribbean beaches within driving distance (in Guanica). 

There is a lot to see and do here, and it is a great stop when exploring Puerto Rico off the beaten path. You will also find some of the best restaurants outside San Juan here!

If you are anything like me and love traveling to and exploring new cities but want to get away from touristy San Juan, Ponce is the best area of Puerto Rico for you!

Best Hotels/Lodging in Ponce

Holiday Inn Ponce & Tropical CasinoBasic but comfortable accommodations from the Holiday Inn brand with an onsite restaurant, pool, and casino.

Aloft PonceModern and stylish rooms with two restaurants (including a Hard Rock Cafe!), an infinity pool, and a hot tub. Enjoy drinks on their rooftop bar after a day in the city.

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Ponce

  1. Parque de Bombas: Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this former firehouse was once Puerto Rico’s first fire station. Visit the museum and check out the unique design!
  2. Museo Castillo Serrallés:  Visit and take a guided tour of the mansion of the Serrallés family, owners of the famous Puerto Rican rum company Don Q. It was built in the 1930s and was featured in the Disney movie Princess Protection Program.
  3. Museo de Arte de PoncePonce has always had the reputation of being an artsy city; check out the art museum that features art from both European and Puerto Rican artists.
  4. Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes: Native Taino archaeological site with a small museum with artifacts excavated from the site. 
  5. Cruceta del Vigía: 100 Foot-tall cross across from Museo Castillo Serrallés offers breathtaking views of the city. 

Note: La Guancha is a popular boardwalk area in Ponce that has been under construction and experiencing periods of closures since the pandemic and various hurricanes hit the island. Be sure to research what is open or not before heading there!

Best Food & Drinks in Ponce

Best Breakfast in Ponce

La Nueva Pastelería: Colorfully decorated, casual bakery and cafe serving great coffee and traditional breakfast. Try their Mallorca breakfast sandwich on sweet bread topped with powdered sugar!  

Melao Coffee Shop: Cute coffee shop in a hotel located in Ponce’s plaza, central to many museums and the Parque de Bombas. Try their bacon waffle, and breakfast burger!

Best Lunch/Dinner in Ponce

Lola Eclectic Cuisine: Classy, sexy spot centrally located, serving up creative dishes and delicious cocktails. Try the shrimp mac and cheese, Lola tostones, and pork belly bites.

El Rastro Internationally inspired eats in a cozy setting with excellent service and top-notch drinks. Try the pork belly noodles, risotto, pad thai, and coconut mojito.

Best Bars/Nightlife in Ponce

Chango Bar: Fun dive bar playing 80s, 90s, and rock music! 

Asturias Lounge Bar: Moody, bohemian spot with a great wine selection and excellent cocktails. Come dressed well and expect an older crowd.

Cons of Staying in Ponce

  • Few flights fly direct to the Ponce airport, and the city is about a 2-hour drive from San Juan. 
  • You will need a car to get to most beaches (but most beaches win driving distance of the city are stunning and worth the drive!)

Best Areas of Puerto Rico for Families

16. Rio Grande/Luquillo

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Families with Kids, First-time Travelers, and Nature Lovers

Rio Grande/Luquillo is a 45-60 minute drive east of San Juan, making it a great place to explore if you are a first-time visitor. 

You will be close enough to explore all the tourist attractions in San Juan and also experience Puerto Rican culture outside the city. This area is also home to El Yunque rainforest, making it very popular with most first-time travelers.

If you want to explore Puerto Rico outside of San Juan and are traveling with a family, this area of Puerto Rico is perfect for your upcoming trip!

Best Hotels/Lodging in Rio Grande/Luquillo

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar Puerto Rico Golf & Beach Resort: Oceanfront full-service resort with pools and restaurants, close to El Yunque rainforest. 

The St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort: 5-Star resort located on a former coconut farm. If you are looking for a luxury stay, look no further. The St. Regis is a fabulous resort, close to it all, with pools, a spa, and excellent dining options. 

Top 5 Things to See/Do in Rio Grande/Luquillo

  1. El Yunque: Visit El Yunque, the only US National Park system rainforest. Make sure to snag a reservation ahead of time!
  2. Carabalí Rainforest ParkCarabalí is a fun place to take the kids. They offer ATV/UTV and horseback riding tours in the foothills of El Yunque. 
  3. Luquillo Beach: Luquillo Beach is one of the most popular beaches on the island. The waters are calm, and it gets pretty crowded, especially on the weekends. The is a beautiful view of the mountains and El Yunque from the beach. You will find many kiosks serving fried snacks and Puerto Rican food along the road by the beach.
  4. Explore San Juan: Head to San Juan for the day and explore the city’s many sights. 
  5. Tour a Working Cacao Farm: Cacao La PruVite offers tours of their farm after sample some treats made from chocolate grown at the farm- the hot chocolate is to die for!!

Best Food & Drinks in Rio Grande/Luquillo

Best Breakfast in Rio Grande/Luquillo

Ekelekua-Trendy Puerto Rican brunch and tapas spot with European influences. Try their guava french toast and smoked salmon benedicts!

Vive La Vida Brunch & Waves-Great food truck close to Luquillo Beach, serving delicious quick breakfast items. Try their tripleta (3 meat) omelet, pancakes, and coconut coffee. 

Best Lunch/Dinner in Rio Grande/Luquillo

El Punto del Rico Coco is one of the best food trucks on the island. It is close to El Yunque but only opens on the weekends. If you are looking for some of the best Puerto Rican food check out this spot! Try their mofongo, fish tacos, and coconut rice!

Best Bars/Nightlife in Rio Grande/Luquillo

The Dirty Cowboy: Fun, themed outdoor bar with a fabulous and extensive whiskey selection. 

Brew!!! Taller Experimental: Local craft brewery with excellent service and a laid-back vibe. Open until nine pm on weekends.

Cons of Staying in Rio Grande/Luquillo

  • A bit more touristy than other locations outside of San Juan
  • You will need a rental car to get around.
  • Less picturesque beaches than in the southern/western areas of the island

Best Areas of Puerto Rico for Connecting with Nature

17. Utuado

One of the Best Areas in Puerto Rico For Nature Lovers and Travelers Looking to Get Away From It All

Utuado is a remote mountain area in the Central Mountains of the island. Time slows down, and the views will take your breath away. Be prepared to disconnect from your everyday life and connect with nature. 

There may be less to do in this area, but the reason to come here is to slow down and take in all the region’s beauty. The roads to get around are curvy but worth the experience of life in the mountains of Puerto Rico.

If you love to hike, want to explore nature, and get away from it all, Utuado is the best area in Puerto Rico for you.

Best Hotels/Lodging in Utuado

Casa Grande Mountain Retreat: Adults-only hotel located in the mountains of Utuado, close to hiking trails and waterfalls- features a saltwater pool and farm-to-table food on site.

 Hacienda Horizante: Adults-only ecolodge located on a working coffee plantation.

Top 3 Things to See/Do in Utuado

  1. Explore Caves and Tanama RiverThere are spectacular caves in Utuado to explore via adventure tours with experienced guides!
  2. Hiking: Get outdoors and in touch with nature. There are plenty of hiking trails throughout the area to take in the beauty of the Central Mountain region.
  3. Disconnect and Do Nothing: This is the perfect area in Puerto Rico to disconnect and get away from it all. The surrounding areas are breathtaking. All you need to reenergize is to head to the nearest hammock with a good book. 

Best Food & Drinks in Utuado

Best Breakfast in Utuado

Café JumaoCafe & Bakery in the town center serves fresh Puerto Rican breakfast daily from 9 am-4 pm. Try their lattes, pancakes, and egg dishes! 

Golden DonutsClassic Puerto Rican bakery serving a variety of yummy donuts! Try their breakfast sandwiches and guava-filled donuts!

Best Lunch/Dinner in Utuado

Bier GardenCool beer garden with a small beer selection and yummy food! Try their churrasco, chicken and shrimp mofongo, and coconut flan!

Hijos Del JoscoQuiet, riverside eats in the mountains with delicious Puerto Rican-Mexican Inspired eats. Try their fish tacos, tacolao, and mojitos!

Best Bars/Nightlife in Utuado

Nightlife is limited in Utuado, and places will close pretty early! So while you may find some spots open a bit later on weekends, there are fewer nightlife options here than in other areas of Puerto Rico. 

Cons of Staying in Utuado

  • This area is remote and in the mountains, so it will take longer to get around because you must navigate curvy mountain roads.
  • Because this area is in the mountains and central area of the island, there are no beaches close by, and most will require an hour’s drive to get to
  • Because this area is less populated, there is less variety of dining options. Places will close earlier than other parts of the island.

Best Areas in Puerto Rico: Crime & Safety

Puerto Rico is one of the safest travel destinations in the Caribbean. I have never felt unsafe traveling around the island, especially outside of San Juan. I am aware of my surroundings when visiting any place and avoid being alone in isolated areas at night. The island is safer than many areas in the U.S., and as long as you practice common sense, you will be safe while traveling in Puerto Rico.

Getting Around

When you are in San Juan, Uber is an excellent option to use instead of a rental car. You will save money and time avoiding traffic. Your phone service should work in Puerto Rico (check with your carrier to be sure), and you can access the app as you do at home.

However, you will want to rent a car if you plan to leave San Juan and the metropolitan area (Old San Juan, Isla Verde, Condado, Ocean Park, and Santurce). Public transportation and Uber are limited outside of the city. However, the roads are in excellent condition and paved, and your GPS service will work here, making Puerto Rico a fun place to go on a trip.

Best Areas in Puerto Rico Wrap-Up

There you have it! A comprehensive list of the BEST areas in Puerto Rico to visit in 2023. Puerto Rico is my absolute favorite travel destination because of the variety of things to do. From sightseeing, beautiful beaches, energetic nightlife, remote mountain retreats, and excellent food- you will not be disappointed.

Whether you plan to visit for just a few days to a couple of weeks, you will feel the enchantment of this tropical paradise!

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