Many people are so relaxed when they first arrive that they are tempted to spend their whole vacation in the hotel! With the amazing views, attentive staff, and posh amenities, it can be easy to overlook one of our best qualities, our location!
If you are the type who likes all things outdoors – surf, sail, and sun, then this guide is for you! We put together our favorites and can’t miss experiences while you visit our beautiful island.
About an hour and a half west of San Juan is Isabela – the prime location for surfers of all skill levels. The upper west corner of Puerto Rico, between Isabela and Rincón, are some of the best waters for catching those waves.
While you’re in Isabela, any of your surfing needs, from gear to lessons, can be taken care of at Hang Loose Surf Shop. They teach all ages and have over 20 years of experience.
If you’d rather stay close to home base, that’s okay too! Right off the coast of San Juan is a surf spot suitable for everyone.
Beginners at La Ocho will have a blast surfing the mellow waves. The more confident surfer can catch either a right-hander or a left-hander – some of them being above a coral reef!
Coral Reef not for you? Head to Luquillo and check out La Pared. With its sandy ocean floor and waves that tend to stay under 5 feet, it’s a great spot for beginners or even pros who just want a chill day.
The gentle waves aren’t the only reason why La Pared is such a great location for beginners. At Surfing Puerto Rico, you can book a surf lesson with pro surfer and national champion Brian Ramos!
You can check the surf forecast online before making the quick 45 minutes trip from San Juan.
Sail San Juan Bay
If the whole vacation within a vacation thing isn’t your cup of tea, book a tour with Sail San Juan Bay! The charter boat company offers mini day trips around the bay that are less than 2 hours long.
90-minute tours of the beautiful San Juan Bay run at 8 am, 10:30 am, 1 pm, and 3 pm. These tours are $59 a person and include a drink and snacks.
For $79 a person, you can book a ticket for the special 5 pm sailing. In addition to your drink and snack, this tour offers passengers an extra 30 minutes on the water and a view of the sunset from the boat. If you will be staying in San Juan for a while and are interested in a longer excursion, you can ask about customizing a trip by phone or email.
San Juan Boat Rentals
Looking for more adventure and less sightseeing? With San Juan Boat Rentals you can snorkel at Condado Lagoon, observe local wildlife, like turtles, iguanas, and dolphins, and more.
The 2-hour powerboats or sailboats rentals range from $290 to $390 which covers the captain and fuel. Up to six people can take part in these mini-adventures!
El Yunque National Forest
If you’re craving a chance to get out of the sun, enjoy one of Puerto Rico’s lush forests. Beautiful hikes in the El Yunque National Forest are just 40 minutes from San Juan.
Here you can hike the trails to the insta-worthy La Coca Waterfall, the iconic Mt. Britton Tower, or El Yunque Peak. You might even spot ancient Taíno petroglyphs along the way.
Pro tip: listen for the coquí tree frogs, they get chatty after dark!
Old San Juan Walking Tour
If you prefer city streets to hiking trails, check out the historically charming Old San Juan. Self-guided tours, like this one, can be easily found on Google and allow you to explore at your own pace.
Different tours take you to different places, so don’t be afraid to do more than one! You can also utilize the GPSmyCity app to find customized maps with pictures and details of each location. The app is on iTunes and Google Play.
If you’re already down to hike, why not add ziplines too? Just 25 minutes from San Juan is the ultimate adventure destination: La Plata Eco Farm. With tropical forests, creeks, and grasslands, the farm is the perfect location for their tour that will take you hiking, swimming, and ziplining in a memorable all-in-one adventure.
Along with the fun thrills, the tour also includes knowledgeable guides who explain the culture of Puerto Rico and the wildlife that lives on the reforested farm. Adventures start at just $95.
If the singing frogs at the El Yunque National Forest piqued your interest, why not treat your eyes to some night time Puerto Rico beauty too!
Laguna Grande Nature Preserve is just a little further east of El Yunque National Forest, only an hour total from San Juan. There, you can take part in a one-of-a-kind experience: a nighttime bioluminescent kayaking tour.
Under a beautiful night sky, a professional guide will teach you about everything around you – from the constellations in the sky to the ecosystem in the bay. As you paddle, the tiny organisms in the water are will be activated by the movement and glow in response! The glowing, swirling water creates an ambiance that you can only get in Puerto Rico. You’ll feel like you stepped onto the set of Avatar movie.