When visiting Puerto Rico, people usually ask me what they should not miss. But the thing is, I never had an immediate answer. It took me one year out of my country to really appreciate the things that I love about it. It’s summer all year long and nothing can top that. So I’ll tell you some things you can’t miss when visiting Puerto Rico. From delicious food to breath-taking views, I’ve got you covered.
1. Viejo San Juan
Let’s start with the most common, but hard to miss ones. Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan) is a village on the Spaniards left on the island many years ago. It has a fort and Spanish style buildings, and it all looks as if you’re in a different era. Walking through the streets you’ll find different colors, markets, and great local food. Also, you’ll find Barrachina, the founders of the famous drink ‘piña colada’.
2. Eating ‘mofongo’
In the Caribbean, plantain is a must when we talk about food. ‘Mofongo’ is a local dish made with fried plantain. We eat it plain, or with meat, with sauce, basically with whatever you want to add to it. It’s one of the main dishes in our cuisine, and you can’t miss it when visiting. The plus side for this is that you can find it mostly in any local restaurant that serves Puerto Rican food.
3. Piñones and Luquillo kiosks
If you want a beach, relaxing and good food all at the same time, Piñones and the kiosks in Luquillo are your place to go.
If I need to put happiness into just one word, it would be Piñones. You get in your car, drive through a road where you have a beach on one side and the best street food on the other. Can life get better than that? The top food choice is always ‘alcapurria’, which is basically a plantain fritter filled with meat. You order an ‘alcapurria’, with coconut water (served in the coconut) and you have successfully visited Puerto Rico.
The kiosks in Luquillo are the same concept, where you have the beach and good street food all in one place, but this actually gets better. You don’t have to drive to go from one kiosk to another. They are all one beside the other, and as well as in Piñones, you can try the best local street food while on the beach. They also have music in many of them, and at night can enjoy a few drinks with live music.
4. La Parguera, Lajas
Another thing you won’t want to miss when visiting Puerto Rico is La Parguera. This is a seaside village, where you can find top-notch street food. I mean, let’s face it, anywhere you go on the island, you’ll find awesome food. That’s our specialty.
But La Parguera is commonly known because it has one of the few bioluminescent bays in the world. It’s best to visit when there is no full moon, cause the light of the moon won’t let you see the particles in the water. Also, it’s been dying throughout the years, so if you were thinking of visiting, this is your moment.
5. Flamenco Beach and Playa Negra
It’s commonly known that the Caribbean has beautiful beaches, and Puerto Rico is not an exception. All around the island, you can find different types of beaches. One of the most common ones that people don’t want to miss when they visit Puerto Rico is the beaches on Vieques and Culebra.
If you didn’t know, Puerto Rico is an archipelago. The country consists of three main islands. The main island, then there’s Vieques and Culebra, two little islands on the east of the main one.
In Vieques, there’s Playa Negra (Black Beach) and it’s called that way because the sand is, yes, black. It has a scenic view and its 100% worth the 15 minutes hike.
Culebra, on the other hand, has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world, called ‘Flamenco’. Flamenco is known for its white sand and turquoise water.
Both islands are one boat trip away from the main island, so there’s no excuse to miss it.
6. Sunset at Rincón
Rincón is one of the towns in Puerto Rico highly known for surfing. Everything about this town screams beach life. It’s located west, at the very corner of the island. It means that it has the best sunsets than anywhere else.
Its scenic view is breathtaking, and you can see it from many spots in the town. Virtually any beach there has the perfect view, it can be either Sandy Beach, Domes Beach or Tres Palmas. But also you can go to El Faro Park, located near the historic lighthouse, or in Isla Desecheo, a small island located to the west of the coast.
The sunset view will definitely be worth the 3 hour trip from the metro area when visiting Puerto Rico.
7. El Yunque Rainforest
Visiting Puerto Rico comes by default with at least researching on El Yunque, the national rainforest, and one of the main tourist attractions. The rainforest is known for its rare trees and birds. It’s perfect for going on a hike since it was one of the best mountain views. It has many trails, rainfalls, and rivers.
8. Ruta del Chinchorreo
Okay, I’ll first have to explain to you what ‘chinchorreo’ means, to then explain to you what the ‘Chinchorreo Route’ means cause this is a MUST when visiting Puerto Rico.
So we have talked about street food, and good food, and going from place to place to eat. We take it so seriously that we made up a word for it. It’s called ‘chinchorreo’. It means you go with a group of people to eat local food. It can be ‘alcapurria’, ‘bacalaitos’, ‘arepas’, rice, pork, you name it, they have it.
So the ‘Ruta del Chinchorreo’ or ‘Chinchorreo Route’ it’s literally a route where you can stop in different spots to eat the best food. Think of it was bar hoping, but it’s food instead of drinks. I mean, there are drinks involved (of course) but the main attraction is food.
Many people when visiting Puerto Rico miss this opportunity, and I can assure you is a great gastronomic experience, as well as social.