- Puerto Rico
Check out these awe-inspiring locations and experience the natural beauty of Puerto Rico.
Slow down, look around and appreciate the moment. You’re on island time now. That means taking the time to explore a lush rain forest, a spectacular bioluminescent bay and a rustic surfer town.
Exploring the Wonders of El Yunque National Forest
El Yunque National Forest, a rain forest preserve that’s less than an hour outside San Juan, is a must-see. Some of the top spots are just off the main road: Explore the forest’s history at scenic Baño Grande Observation Point, marvel at the stunning La Coca Falls cascading down a sheer rock face, and climb the iconic Yokahú Tower for a panoramic view. Those wanting a more challenging hike should venture to Mount Britton Tower (at an elevation of over 940 meters). The steep, 2.6-kilometer (round-trip) hike has a major payoff: heavenly views of the coastline and surrounding lush mountains. Next, take a short hike down Angelito Trail, leading you to Las Damas Pond, a refreshing natural pool enticing you to take a cool dip.
After a day of exploration, stop by El Yunque Treehouse – the spot for authentic Puerto Rican cuisine with a creative spin. Chef Víctor Rosado, trained by premier chef José Andrés, knows how to tempt adventurers and locals alike. The ambiance certainly lives up to its name with decor that makes it feel like a treehouse, but the most memorable details are on the menu. Feast on red snapper ceviche, corn fritters, coconut flan and more.
La Coca Falls, one of several gorgeous cascades in El Yunque National Forest
Magical Night Kayaking in Mosquito Bay, Vieques
The easiest way to get to this secluded island is by plane, which will get you there in 20 minutes, but boat charters and ferries are also available. First impressions run deep – a gorgeous turquoise sea surrounds this 34-kilometer-long island getaway. Dotted with gorgeous beach coves, the island also has surprises in store: wild horses roaming the beaches and its glowing bioluminescent bay. Mosquito Bay is recognized as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world by Guinness World Records. Sign up for a nighttime glass-bottom kayak tour for optimal viewing. It’s a fantastical experience, where kayakers can gaze at the bluish, luminous water as they paddle. The island’s minimal development also makes it a winning locale for stargazing. Looking up at a constellation-filled sky is almost as dreamy as the mystical glow of the bay.
As you amble around Esperanza, the main town, take advantage of charming dining spots. Try Chez Shack, a rustic pink shanty known for Caribbean crab cakes, or El Resuelve for authentic criolla (Spanish-influenced) cuisine. Being on Vieques feels like you’re privy to one of the best kept travel secrets in the USA.
The magical bioluminescence of Mosquito Bay
Surf’s Up in Beautiful Rincón
On the west coast in laid-back Rincón, it’s all about sunsets, surfing and Coco Pirata (the famed local drink featuring four kinds of rum served in a coconut). The sea green waters of the Atlantic Ocean are the well-spring of much of this town’s entertainment from surfing to snorkeling to beach lounging. If you’ve come to spot sea turtles, you’re in luck. Snorkel the Elkhorn coral reefs in this breezy coastal paradise, and you might catch sight of these adorable creatures. Experienced surfers will want to hit the waves at Steps and Domes beaches. Don’t shy away if you’re not a big wave rider; you can always sign up for lessons at the Rincón Surf School.
For a break from the beach, make the car ride up a hill to The Beach House, a lively locale known for its signature rum punch and sweeping views. Park yourself in an Adirondack chair and watch a brilliant sunset with a fruity island concoction in hand. You can see El Faro de Punta Higüera, Rincón’s lighthouse, and Desecheo Island in the distance. This outstanding scuba and snorkeling destination is known for its clear waters and coral reefs.
Surfers ready to catch a wave in Rincón
Fly into Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport in San Juan, Puerto Rico and rent a car to drive to El Yunque National Forest and Rincón. Vieques is a short plane ride or boat ride away from San Juan.