Puerto Rico is one of the top Caribbean Vacation Destinations for families.
It is the land of beaches, history and culture with no passport needed for U.S. Citizens. And you will even find a rainforest, shopping in Old San Juan, Forts to tour, and so much more. What do you want to see?
Here are my travel tips and suggestions for your next family adventure vacation in Puerto Rico:
Where to go:
Old San Juan, Eastern Puerto Rico, and the Islands of Vieques and Culebra
When to go:
Year round except during Hurricane Season
Note: The last category 4 or 5 hurricane to hit Puerto Rico was in the 1930s.
How long should you stay:
There is so much to do, a week is a minimum.
Recommended places to stay:
In Old San Juan = Hotel El Convento
The Hotel El Convento is in the heart of Old San Juan and is a stunning boutique hotel.
It is a must see Hotel even if you don’t get the oppportunity to stay there.
Hotel El Convento is within walking distance of all the shopping, historic landmarks, top restaurants and the nightlife in Old San Juan.
In Luquillo = Recommendation: Playa Azul Condos
Here are condo rentals through HomeAway.com for the Luquillo area.
We rented in the Playa Azul #1 Condo on the 21st floor and it was amazing!
We felt like a local and really enjoyed being in a non-touristy area.
The views from the 21st floor are beautiful and there is a wonderful beach directly out front of the condo.
The condo included everything we could ever need for a beach vacation – beach toys, chairs, coolers, boogie boards, snorkel gear, kitchen, 3 bedrooms and a washer/dryer.
There were also lots of great suggestions and travel tips for the area in a book at the condo, super helpful!
Near the Rainforest = Rio Mar Beach Resort
You can either rent a hotel style room here or rent a condo directly through the owner.
Having the option to have a condo and being in a beautiful resort with all the amentities is a perfect option for families.
If you are looking for a kitchen and more than a room with just beds, check out the condos.
In Farjardo = El Conquistador Resort
If you love mega-resorts where you never have to leave, this is the place for you. It has it all!
A private island, marina, waterpark, pools, restaurants, casino, spa and shopping.
Note: I have found great deals through this website in the Reservations, Flight + Resort Reservations.
What are the top things to do & travel tips:
Old San Juan:
Take a walking tour of Old San Juan
Visit Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, also known as El Morro
Shopping in Old San Juan – so many shops, so little time, make sure to plan enough time to include shopping.
Recommendation: Puerto Rican Arts & Crafts – everything is locally made with information on the artists.
Eating in Old San Juan – there are lots of restaurants to choose from in Old San Juan but here are two family friendly options that you are sure to enjoy.
Recommendations: Restaurant Barrachina to enjoy a Pina Colada and Paella while watching the Flamenco Show.
Restaurant Raices – here you will enjoy traditional Puerto Rican-Caribbean food and the staff are dressed in traditional outfits.
Luquillo Beach is 30 miles east of San Juan and has one of the most beautiful beaches on the island.
It is called Balneario La Monserrate and you must pay a small fee to park but is a wonderful beach for swimming and kids.
You can get some food right at the beach. There are lifeguards, restrooms, and gift shops too.
If you walk down the beach (West) there are food kiosks right off the beach. The beach is not very nice by the kiosks but the food is very good!
Note: Luquillo is a very local area and Spanish is mostly spoken here.
Farjardo and Vieques Island:
On the Eastern side of Puerto Rico you will find Farjardo. You will find a lot of tours leave from Farjardo for snorkeling, sailing or trips to the Bio Bay.
Recommendation: East Island Excursions for the Vieques Bio Bay tour. I also heard great reviews about the snorkeling trips offered through East Island Excursions.
The Vieques Bio Bay tour will take you from Farjardo to Vieques for a pontoon ride on the Bioluminescent Bay. This is perfect for smaller children who are too young to take a kayak tour through the Bio Bay.
The tour is quite the family adventure vacation in itself…..
You begin with a 45 minute ride on a power Catamaran (pretty bumpy) to Vieques Island.
Then you jump in vans that jut you away to a restaurant which is owned by the tour company. It is not a top restaurant on the island but we thought the food was good. My family had a cheeseburger and said it was the best cheeseburger they had. I had the mofongo and thought it was good.
Then you hop on an old school bus for a journey through a rutted out road that is not wide enough for the bus. The constant snapping of branches against the bus and the fear on everyone’s faces is quite surreal.
The bus finally somehow makes it to an opening and there is Puerto Mosquito.
Everyone unloads the bus and go up the ramp to the electrically powered double-pontoon boat.
It is pitch daark until the microorganisms get disturbed and then it is wonderous and you are so glad you made the journey.
This is one memory you will never capture on a camera and can only hope you remember it forever, since it may not be around forever.
This is a must visit when in Puerto Rico! The beaches here are exactly what you imagine when you picture a Caribean Vacation Destination paradise.
You can either take the ferry from Farjardo which is not the most dependable way to travel or book a flight from the Ceiba airport or San Juan airport.
We had read over and over how undependable the ferries were and didn’t want to risk not making it to Culebra so we booked a flight on Air Flamenco (nine person plane) for a ten minute flight from Ceiba (near Farjardo).
The plane ride was unforgettable and such a great way to see this beautiful island, I am glad we chose this option.
Flamenco Beach was amazing and one of the most beautiful beaches I have ever been to.
There are lots of food stands to choose from so you can make a day of it.
We rented beach chairs and an umbrella and enjoyed our incredible day at the beach. It doesn’t get much better than that.
There is great snorkeling within a 30 minute hike from Flamenco Beach to Carlos Rosario Beach. It is worth the hike!
Recommendation: Stay on Vieques or Culebra for at least two nights to fully experience each unique and beautiful island.
This is the only tropical rainforest in the US Forest System.
This is well worth the trip and it is free!
There are lots of trails and scenic waterfalls.
Make sure to go in the morning, the afternoons are quite wet.
La Coca Falls
La Mina Falls
There is a great food concession at the Sierra Palm Picnic Area if you get hungry after your hike to La Mina Falls.
Have a great family Caribbean Vacation in Puerto Rico!
Contact me if you have any questions or would like additional information. I am here to help plan your next family travel destination.