Puerto Rico is rich in history and beauty. If you love the outdoors, island life and a visit to the city this is the place for you. The forts of Old San Juan offer history and education, while the waters are teaming with tropical fish. If you love the night life you won’t miss out here either. This large Caribbean Island even has outlet malls and casinos. Something for everyone is offered up in Puerto Rico!
One of the most unique features of Puerto Rico is the El Yunque National Forest. It is large with paved trails and many bus tours are offered. Plan to spend a day or at least a half day at this natural beauty. Located on the northeast part of the island, plan to leave in the morning, because there is some traffic on the main roads.
It is recommended you make a stop at the visitors’ center. Be sure to pick up the rainforest map showing all of the stops along you way. You’ll see 1,000-year-old trees, strange plants, and thick vines. Be sure to visit the Yokahu Tower which is a 69 ft high observation tower, great for taking beautiful photos of the NE side from coast to the mountain peaks. Another must see is the La Mina Falls, take the Big Tree Trail down to a swim at the base of the falls. The park offers is food concessions, picnic shelters, restrooms and short trails. With all of these features, the El Yunque National Forest is a must see for a first time visitor of Puerto Rico.
The Forts of Old San Juan is another must see for first time visitors. Many tours are offered, or you can go on your own. Puerto Rico contains its long history within the seven feet thick walls of Fort San Felipe del Morro. Near Fort San Felipe del Morro is the Casa Blanca, a palace on land which belonged to the family of Ponce de Leon. This historic site has a great visitor center, where you can watch a short film to catch you up on this island’s rich history. Be sure to bring drinking water, and be ready for a walk. This outing will easily take you about a half day. Enjoy stepping back in time, among the architectural beauty of the historic forts of Old San Juan.
Luquillo Beach is one of Puerto Rico’s most popular locations to visit. . The view is spectacular; all encased with a line of coconut palms with mountains of the rainforest just a glance over your shoulder. This beach has good parking, shopping, and dining. Go sunbath, swim, eat and shop at Luquillo beach. Easily a must see for the Puerto Rico first time traveler.
All of these activities are located from the North to North East side of the island. If you want to stay within a short distance to the rainforest and Luquillo beach the Río Grande area is recommended. It is located in the Northern Coastal Valley, only 30 minutes from San Juan, just west of Luquillo.
A first time trip to Puerto Rico will be enjoyable and memorable for years to come. The island offers so much more than what is mentioned here. A 7 day trip will fly by quickly, leaving you wanting more.