Puerto Rico is a dreamy, colorful island in the heart of the Caribbean. It attracts a host of visitors yearly with its white sandy beaches, colonial charisma, and mountainous landscape. The biggest city, San Juan, is one of the busiest ports in the Caribbean, and there is no shortage of things to do.
This lively city also has over 500 years of colonial history waiting to be discovered. From its forts to its monuments, it's clear that there's a lot to learn here. Visitors also flock to San Juan for the beautiful beaches and crazy nightlife. Still, the city can get overwhelming at times, and it's nice to take a break from the tourist hot spots.
Although there are lots of tourist attractions and things to do in Puerto Rico, you might be wondering where you should go to get off the beaten path? Keep reading to learn more about the six best day trips in Puerto Rico!
Day Trips in Puerto Rico
Renting a car to use for the day is very easy in Puerto Rico due to the size of the island. It takes about 2 ½ hours to drive from one end of the island to the other, making all destinations in Puerto Rico open for adventures!
With San Juan being the biggest city, we will use it as a jumping-off point to talk about these absolutely stunning day trips in Puerto Rico.
1. Visit the town of Isabela
Driving time from San Juan: 1 hour 46 minutes
Isabela is an adorable little town just a short drive away from San Juan. This quaint town has many interesting sights to see, like the Cara Del Indio, a giant face carved on the cliffside. Just be careful when you're driving into town as it's known to spook some people who aren't expecting it.
Isabela has many lovely shops and restaurants to try, and the beaches are out of this world. Walk along El Paseo de Isabela, a boardwalk that covers three beaches; at the end, you can find Jacinto's Well. Just try not to get splashed!
There are many historical sites in Isabela, like the historical railway tunnel, The Guajataca Tunnel, which was built in 1904. You can also see Ermita San Antonio de Padua de la Tuna, the ruins of a church built in the 1700s.
Turn this day trip into an overnighter if you want to stay and check out the nightlife in Isabela or elsewhere in Puerto Rico to really make it an adventure!
2. Swim at Gozalandia Falls
Driving time from San Juan: 1 hour 56 minutes
Fancy taking a dip in a waterfall? You have to visit Gozalandia Falls!
This waterfall/swimming hold combination is the perfect way to get out of the city and into nature. You can find lots of locals cooling off from the heat of the day in the refreshing fresh water. The hike to get in is relatively easy, and there is a small parking fee in the lot nearby.
3. Hike in Cueva del Viento
Driving time from San Juan: 2 hours
Drive away from the crowds and into the scene of an Indiana Jones movie at Cueva del Viento. Take a small hike in Bosque Estatal de Guajataca, a public forest in Puerto Rico, and climb down into this open cave! As you climb down into the cave, you can see stalagmites and stalactites up close!
There is ample parking nearby and picnic and washroom facilities at the trailhead, making it easy to pack a picnic lunch! It is definitely one of the best day trips in Puerto Rico!
4. Trek through San Cristóbal Canyon
Driving time from San Juan: 1 hour 30 minutes
San Cristóbal Canyon is one of the top 10 most beautiful destinations in Puerto Rico, and rightfully so. Towering rock walls lined with lush forest lead to beautiful cascading waterfalls!
Although it's not easy to get to and requires a tour guide, it is worth the visit. It is an excellent alternative to the popular El Yunque National Forest. If you are looking for a hidden gem, this is it! It's one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico!
5. Snap a photo at Centro Interpretativo Las Salinas
Driving time from San Juan: 2 hours 43 minutes
These unique pink lakes should be on the top of your list when looking for hidden gems in Puerto Rico. These stunning pink lakes are actually operating salt flats, which gives them that pink hue. You won't want to dip your feet in it due to the high salinity, but they are a great photo op!
If you want to take a dip and cool off, Playa Sucia and the Cabo Rojo Cliffs are close by, which make a great addition to this day trip!
6. Swim and tan at Playa Colora
Driving time from San Juan: 1 hour 20 minutes
This is one of Puerto Rico's best-kept secrets! If you are tired of the crowded and touristy beaches, pack a picnic lunch and your beach chair and head off to Play Colora. This unique hidden beach will capture your heart instantly.
The red/orange sand contrasts perfectly with the green jungle and turquoise waters, and because it is difficult to get to, there is a chance you will get this gem all to yourself! What more could you want?
A small hike is involved, so it is best for those with some hiking skills, but it is not too difficult. You can park your car at Seven Seas Beach and walk West along the beach until you reach the trailhead.
Are you ready to see Puerto Rico?
There is no shortage of things to do and places to see on this Caribbean island, from waterfalls, beaches, cafes, and nightlife- Puerto Rico has it all. Now that you've read about the best-hidden gems get ready to plan the perfect trip, and Pilot can help with that!