The best time to go to Puerto Rico is from the months of January through to June as the weather is hot, sunny and tropical. To get the best prices regarding flights, hotels or resorts, consider travelling to the region from mid-April to June. Prices dip after the peak season and you should be able to pick up bargain.
As the temperature and climate stays almost at a constant year-round between 26°C-27°C, planning a trip to Puerto Rico is perfect at anytime of the year.
Hurricane season is generally between the months of June to November with most of the severe storms developing in these latter months.
Peak season runs from December to June when Americans escape for a winter getaway and then all of July and August when the holiday season commences for the Puerto Ricans. If travelling at these times, make sure to book well in advance to avoid the higher costs.
Puerto Rico or ‘Rich Port’ translated in Spanish, is an archipelago located in the northeastern region of the Caribbean, in the greater Antilles, just east of the Dominican Republic. It is made up of the mainland of Puerto Rico with various smaller islands of Vieques, Mona, Culebra, Caja de Muertos and Desecheo.
It is an unincorporated nation of the United States with most of the population from a Spanish descent. Puerto Rico is of a mountainous landscape where you can take in an incredible view from El Yunque, Puerto Rico’s highest peak or relax on one of the many luxurious white sandy beaches.
Capital City: San Juan
Currency used in Puerto Rico: US Dollars with most establishments accepting MasterCard and Visa.
Main Airports: Rafael Hernandez International Airport | Luis Munoz Marin International Airport | Jose Aponte de la Torre Airport | Mercedita International Airport | Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport | Antonio Rivera Rodriguez Airport
Visa & Entry Requirements: Entry into Puerto Rico is the same when entering into USA. You must have a valid passport and return ticket. Nationals of Croatia, Bulgaria, Poland, Cyprus and Romania also require a Visa.
For any further requirements you may need, click here.
Average temperature in Puerto Rico: The hottest month is August with an average temperature of 24°C and January is the coolest at an average of 17°C.
Puerto Rico is a place for a perfect getaway where you can discover beautiful palm-fringed, white sandy beaches. Dive into warm turquoise-coloured waters with incredible swells, perfect for swimming in or visit one of three bioluminescent bays where the waters produce a fascinating night time light show for boat tours.
Explore inland and come upon El Yunque National Forest, a lush rainforest with captivating waterfalls or be awe of historic Spanish colonial buildings that are rich in history and culture.
Whether your trip away is about exploration or relaxation, Puerto Rico is certainly a place that offers an unforgettable experience.
What to do in Puerto Rico
Culture & Festivities
Simply take a walk down a typical Puerto Rican street and you will notice your senses come alive with the vibrancy, the colours, the sound of salsa music and the smell of the local delicacy, suckling pig, known as Lechoneras.
Puerto Rico has been a fought over territory for centuries, bringing early Europeans and slaves to colonise and cultivate the land. With this, traditions, religions, beliefs and general ways of life have now shaped the nation into what it is today.
Traditions and celebrations are still upheld and will continue to along with more modern festivals introduced in the past few years.
Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian
Held in the capital of San Juan in January, this festival kicks off the year with a bang with a three-day celebration of Saint Sebastian. Locals get together and invite tourists to join in on the massive street party that is full of vibrant music and dancing. Stalls are set up along the streets that offer incredibly tasty food and not to mention the abundance of drink available.
A festival certainly for any lover of Classical or Jazz music.
This event is held on February every year in San Juan that has been ongoing for the past 50 years. It is an honorary to the life and work of Puerto Rican, Pablo Casals, the world-famous cellist.
The best Jazz and Classical performers from around the world come to the island and showcase their talent over the full month of February.
Also held in February, is one of Puerto Rico’s most anticipated festivals on the calendar, Carnival.
Similar to other Caribbean nations Carnival but with a Puerto Rican twist to it. Here you can see colourful parades and masquerades, street parties, steel-drum bands with heart-thumping beats and mouth-watering culinary delights.
This is an event that everyone can take part in and enjoy.
Saborea Cuilinary Festival
This festival takes places over a weekend every April and is by far the most popular food festivals.
Top local and internationally-recognised chefs come to Puerto Rico to deliver a plethora of incredible foods from around the globe that will surely cater to everyone’s tastes
One of the more recent festivals that have come to Puerto Rico is the Heineken JazzFest.
This has been running now for the past 20 years and takes place every March in the capital of San Juan. It showcases both local and international Jazz performers that is assured to provide the best in entertainment for anyone who attends.
Puerto Rico Open
This is a definite for any golf enthusiast.
The Puerto Rico Open commences toward the end of March in Rio Grande and attracts the best players from around the world. This is a tournament were players pull out their A-game as the prize purse is in excess of $3.5 million.
Spectators are advised to arrive early to get the best view but it will surely be an experience you won’t forget.
You can check out further details here.
Best beaches in Puerto Rico
Finding a beach in Puerto Rico isn’t too hard by any means, simply touch down in the capital of San Juan and you are literally in walking distance of some island’s most popular beaches sipping over tropical cocktails and mingling in with the locals.
If your more interested in keeping away from the crowds on the more popular beaches and relaxing on a quieter beach instead, the islands of Vieques and Culebra are where you want to be, known as the Spanish Virgin Islands.
These islands of paradise are located just off the east coast of mainland Puerto Rico and can be reached by ferry or sea plane. Visiting these islands should be on the itinerary when you come to Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico Mainland
One of the most popular beaches in all of Puerto Rico, Condado beach is located in San Juan with the vibrant life of a city just steps away. It is a short convenient walk if you are staying in the Condado area. A number of the most pretentious restaurants in San Juan are located along or near it, as well as a casino, cafes, restaurants and convenience stores. The beach is not very wide but provides for a nice location to walk along the beach that is not overly crowded.
Condado Beach is an inviting beach that is perfect for sun-worshippers and water sports enthusiasts alike. There is a wide variety of water sports available such as surfing, windsurfing, parasailing and snorkeling. Beach loungers and umbrellas are available to rent from the vendors across the beach.
The waters here have strong currents so families with children, be aware that the waters are not the best for swimming. Take a short 6-minute walk down the road and you find Playita del Condado, this is a smaller beach with much calmer waters, perfect for children looking to swim with a lifeguard on standby.
Balneario El Escambrón
Take a day trip to Balneario El Escambrón. This beach is a snorkellers paradise that has it’s very own scuba-diving site and provides the best snorkeling spots where you can view incredible tropical fish that aren’t shy in swimming around you and discover their natural habitat of the colourful coral.
Here, the waters are clean and clear with powdery golden sand and tall coconut palm trees that sway in the wind above you. There are incredible views of Old San Juan and the modern city.
During the week it can be busy, with weekends and holidays becoming even more crowded but if you arrive early, you will be able to set up your own spot and relax. It is a happy, fun, family friendly beach. People tend to bring their own coolers, grills and music speakers and camp out for the day.
It’s a beach perfect for swimming in with lifeguards on duty throughout the day so will keep any parents mind at ease so they can relax and enjoy the day.
Isla Verde beach is another very popular urban beach that attracts locals and tourists alike even after the devastation of Hurricane Maria. It is located just a quick 4-minute drive from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. Visitors to Isla Verde will notice a wide, tropical, clean, white sandy beach fringed with tall swaying coconut palm trees. In the background, luxury hotels and top-class restaurants line the beach with the bustling city of Carolina just behind it.
It is a place with a laid back and relaxed atmosphere, which is surprisingly uncrowded during the week with plenty of sand for everyone to unwind. The locals generally head to the beach on the weekends and it can become quite busy, but by arriving at the beach early in the morning, you will be able to set up for the day.
This is a fabulous beach for swimming, boogie boarding and surfing with water sport vendors set up around the beachfront to purchase equipment from.
For travellers wanting to experience an exciting nightlife, Isla Verde is well known for it’s casinos, dance clubs and bars. There are a number of great places to eat and drink nearby, but check out the beachside restaurant of El Alambique. This is a restaurant that surely will not disappoint.
Just east of Isla Verde beach you will come across Pinegrove Beach, a beautiful family friendly beach that boasts incredible views with clear, warm waters that are perfect for taking a dip in. The waters are much calmer than Isla Verde beach as it is protected by a coral reef that is suitable for small children to swim in.
As Pinegroove beach is much quieter compared to Isla Verde beach, sunbathers will have no problem in finding their own spot on the sand. You can also rent a chair for $5 for the day from one of the beach resorts.
There are a few vendors where you can take to the waters and enjoy jetskiing, surfing or snorkelling.
This beautiful, crescent-shaped beach can be found in Luquillo, located 30 miles east of San Juan towards the north-west of Puerto Rico. Here you can swim in warm, shallow, turquoise waters and with this beach being located in a quieter part of Puerto Rico you can sunbathe on an almost deserted beach. Vendors here sell ice-cream, snacks and delicious cocktails.
As Luquillo is a balneario, there are showers, bathrooms and lifeguards present.
Just behind the beach is El Yunque National Rainforest, one of Puerto Rico’s top natural attractions. So to make a day of it, it’s advisable to visit the beach in the morning and take a stroll in El Yunque during the afternoon.
Navio Beach is located on the south-side of Vieques Island. This beach is a picture postcard beach showcasing beautiful stunning white sand and colourful turquoise waters where any visitor to the beach can just sit back and take in these incredible views. Navio beach is ringed by cliffs with a backdrop of sea grape plants and palm trees.
The surf here is rough so makes it a perfect playground for surfers and also great for boogie boarding. As this beach has no lifeguard, it’s advised that swimming should be kept close to the shore and don’t attempt any unnecessary risks.
Getting here you will have to go off-road as the trail is a rugged dirt road, which only SUVs, Jeeps and pickups should really attempt to drive on. This, however, also means it’s rarely uncrowded.
If you get the opportunity to travel to Culebra island, around a 45-minute boat ride from Puerto Rico mainland, you need to take the time to visit Flamenco Beach. It has been listed as one of the “Best World Beaches”.
Once you arrive on the beach, you’ll notice the beautiful crescent-shaped long stretch of stunning white sand and the clarity of the turquoise waters in front.
The waves here gentle and ideal for swimming in, so it’s perfect for families with small children. On the northwest side of the cove, there are beautiful reefs to snorkel in that are full of tropical fish to observe.
The beach also has huts set up that sell tasty food and cold drinks.
Where to dine
Puerto Rico is a place that has brought many nationalities and their cuisines to the island. Given this, there are many restaurants that offer incredible food with the most captivating views.
Oceano – 2 Vendig St (Caribbean, Latin, Seafood)
Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar – 317 Fortaleza Street (Caribbean, Spanish, Soups)
1919 Restaurant – 1055 Ave Ashford (Vegetarian Friendly, Vegan Options)
Fogo de Chao Brazilian Steakhouse – 15 Ave Munoz Rivera (Steakhouse, Brazilian, South American)
Niche Bistro – 8 Taft Street | Inside Acacia Boutique Hotel (French, International, Vegetarian Friendly)
Zest Grill Room – 2 Tartak St (Puerto Rican, Seafood)
El Alambique – Calle Jose M. Tartak 5806 (Bar, Latin American)
Entrevinos – Av. Isla Verde 187 (Wine bar, American)
Restaurante Los Gorditos – Av. Isla Verde S/N (Puerto Rican)
Arborio La Casa Del Risotto – Calle Marginal, Dorado (Italian, Fusion)
Orujo – Av. Gautier Benítez 80, Caguas (Caribbean, Tapas Bars, American)
Candela – Calle Loiza 2444 (Caribbean, Seafood)
Marisqueria Atlantica de Isla Verde – Loiza 2475 (Seafood)
El Quenepo – Calle Flamboyan 148, Vieques, (Caribbean, American)
Puerto Rico is translated into English as “rich port” being named after the amount of gold found in the river. When Christopher Columbus arrived to Puerto Rico in 1493, he originally called the island San Juan Bautista but the Capital city then soon took this name, San Juan.
Puerto Rico started to produce sugar cane, coffee and tobacco, which led to the importation of slaves from Africa to help cultivate the land. As a result, Puerto Ricans’ culture has evolved through the blend of Spanish, African, and indigenous Taíno and Carib Indian races that shared the island.
Puerto Rico was ruled under Spanish colony and over many years numerous unsuccessful attempts were made by the Dutch, French and English to conquer the island. Puerto Rico remained an overseas colony of Spain until the Spanish-American war, when U.S. forces invaded the island and took control.
In 1898, under the Treaty of Paris, Spain handed Puerto Rico along with Cuba to the U.S.
It was only until 1917 that Puerto Ricans received U.S. citizenship and officially became part of the U.S. Commonwealth in 1952.