Experiencing Puerto Rico was fun and two weeks was a good time to go around and explore the island. It could be less as well if you have less time.
I flew to San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, from Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. It was the shortest flight of my life, only 30 min from departure to landing. Carribean Island hopping is the easiest by plain. There are boats/ferries available but it takes a lot of time to travel this way.
Puerto Rico is very small so you can easily see it in two weeks depending on how quick you can be and what you want to see. I was travelling with a friend and we took it easy. We stayed longer in the El Yunque national forest because we like the nature. You can get from one side of the island to another by car in roughly 3h.
In this blog post, I will give you a short overview of the schedule and places we visited during the two weeks. At the end will include some thoughts and tips & tricks. Part two of Puerto Rico blog will have more details.
- San Juan (2 night)
- El Yunque national forest (3 nights)- from there Luquillo
- Ponce (2 nights)- from there Guanica
- Boqueron (2 nights or more to visit all the beautiful places around)- from there La Parguera
- Cabo Rojo area the rest of the trip, but you could still go to Rincon (recommended by locals)- just travel time to the airport a bit longer. We stayed in the Corozo area
- One night airport sleep- very early morning flight so we just slept at the airport.
- Rent a car is a must. It’s comfortable enough driving around, mostly good roads and drivers bearable, everything in reach and very close to each other. However, from previous experiences elsewhere, I feel it’s very expensive to rent (end price with taxes and insurance) but gas is super cheap. You have almost no other options but to rent because there is no public transport except in San Juan.
- I have a feeling that Puerto Rico is one of the easiest countries to go to in the Caribbean, especially for people that don’t travel often. That has probably a lot to do with the fact that they are part of USA. Their influence is felt in many ways.
- They say water from the tab is good in Puerto Rico and I tried. For me it was fine but I travelled already a lot in my life and tested my stomach for many things so I’m used to it. In Airbnb’s, they advised buying water so you need to know for yourself what is best.
- I do think is better to book accommodation in advance but it’s also possible to just search for a place as you move. We were booking a few days in advance but it has proven difficult on the weekends because many locals also travelled, especially in the summer holidays. In the end, we only had the most expensive options or the ones with bed bugs :(.
- I usually use offline Maps.me application but in Puerto Rico, it was not so reliable. Afterward, we downloaded and used offline Google maps and that was more accurate.
- Most of the things come to life in the evening. In the mornings almost nothing opens before 12 and the locals are hiding inside.
- We did not really see consequences of the hurricane anymore. In the natural forest not all hiking paths are open yet but enough. There are some governmental buildings, hotels and shops that are abandoned as they do not have money to finish everything. Private things are mostly fixed as nothing happened. With your travelling to the island, you help them improve the infrastructure even more and they are grateful you are there.
- A lot to do for anyone: from the mountains to the beach. Puerto Rico is a beach lover’s playground. There are over 300 beaches to enjoy year round, no two are alike.
Take the chance to learn more about the history of colonialism here. Puerto Rico was one of the biggest and strongest Spanish fortresses and a strategic point to conquer the New World. It’s very interesting to go in depth on the topic. Some locals say they are still colonialised, just by USA. Politically they have two parties- one for independence from USA and one for staying. I recommend experiencing this part of history.
More details of the trip coming soon in my PART TWO of the blog.