Officially a self-governing commonwealth of the United States, Puerto Rico is a great destination for Americans keen to experience the sun and sea of the Caribbean! Despite its ties with the US, the island enjoys a rich and distinct culture that draws visitors from all across the world.

Whether you’re here for reggaeton, the panoramic scenery, or indulgent Puerto Rican delicacies, you’ll be spoilt for choice with things to see and do. So, where should you base yourself to make the most of this vibrant destination?

In this guide, we’ll help you figure out exactly where to stay in Puerto Rico to suit your travel style, budget, and itinerary. Whether you’re planning a romantic getaway at a luxury hotel, an adventure-filled family vacation, a budget backpacker trip or anything in between – we’ve got you covered. 

 

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Top Places To Stay in Puerto Rico

Don’t mind which neighbourhood you end up in? These are our top overall accommodation picks in Puerto Rico. With so many places to choose from, whether you’re backpacking around Puerto Rico or you’re on a luxury vacay of a lifetime, you’ve got to choose the right area with the right vibe for your trip, amirite!?

Rincón of the Seas Grand Caribbean | Best Hotel in Puerto Rico – Rincón

Rincón of the Seas Grand Caribbean

The neighboring Rincón of the Seas Garden is an attraction in its own right, drawing visitors to its vast array of local flora and fauna. The hotel itself backs onto the beach, with stunning views of the Caribbean Sea, an on-site restaurant and an outdoor pool. Despite only being a three-star property, it comes with fantastic guest reviews – and the prices aren’t too bad either!

Santurcia Hostel | Best Hostel in Puerto Rico – San Juan

Santurcia Hostel

Right in the heart of San Juan’s nightlife district, this stylish hostel is a great place to meet other travellers to explore the city alongside. Their rooftop bar serves cheap beer and cocktails for you to enjoy alongside the panoramic views. Santurce, where the hostel is located, is also a major creative hub in the Puerto Rican capital.

Tropical Camping | Best Airbnb in Puerto Rico – Arecibo

Tropical Camping

This is definitely one for more adventurous travellers as it is a bit of a walk down a winding forest path to get to this Airbnb in Puerto Rico. Once you arrive, however, you will be greeted by a luxury cabin studio with cute furnishings and a peaceful atmosphere. This self-contained unit is perfect for couples looking to get away from the usual tourist apartments and suites of the main cities.

Puerto Rico Neighborhood Guide – Places to Stay in Puerto Rico

OVERALL
OVERALL

San Juan

San Juan is the buzzing capital city of Puerto Rico packed with culture, nightlife, and historical highlights. It’s the place to be if you want to experience the best reggaeton on the island.

FOR FAMILIES
FOR FAMILIES

Rincón

Families concerned about safety in Puerto Rico will have no worries about staying in this peaceful neighbourhood. As with many destinations outside San Juan, Rincón has a vast sandy beach with stunning scenery. If you’re looking for a beach resort then this is the perfect spot.

FOR COUPLES
FOR COUPLES

Fajardo

Just east of Luquillo, Fajardo is known as the city that guards the sun of the Caribbean. It’s located close enough to San Juan to be within easy travelling distance of the main attractions, but far enough to maintain a peaceful atmosphere. For couples, Fajardo offers a beautiful beach and unforgettable sunrises.

COOLEST
COOLEST

Luquillo

Only a short drive from San Juan, Luquillo offers many of the same attractions as the city but without the huge crowds! The local beach, Balneario de Luquillo, is considered one of the best on the island, with golden sands and great local services.

ON A BUDGET
ON A BUDGET

San Juan

Budget backpackers rejoice – as San Juan happens to be the most affordable as well as the overall best place to stay in Puerto Rico. That being said, the capital city has some surprisingly affordable areas – you just need to know where to look.

UNIQUE
UNIQUE

Vieques

Vieques is actually a separate island, but it’s quite easy to get to by ferry from the main island. It’s easily the most rural destination in Puerto Rico, and you’re likely to find farm animals roaming freely around the streets. If you want something completely off-the-beaten-path, Vieques is an excellent choice.

FOR ADVENTURE
FOR ADVENTURE

Arecibo

Arecibo is in the Northwest of the island, a little more secluded from larger tourist areas and best known for its former Observatory. Why is this great for adventure travellers? The hikes towards and around the observatory are among the best on the island.

PEACEFUL GETAWAY
Dorado-Puerto-Rico
PEACEFUL GETAWAY

Dorado

Dorado is right in the middle of Puerto Rico’s North Coast. Nolos Morales Park and Beach is the largest public park in the country but is largely a secret kept for locals. The unspoiled beaches, vast forest lands, and gorgeous rocky scenery make this a perfect retreat for those that really want to get away from it all.

Puerto Rico with its abundance of natural beauty, from stunning white-sand beaches to tropical rainforests in Puerto Rico’s National Parks, is the perfect location for any traveller. Whether you’re looking for a luxury hotel with an outdoor pool or you’re searching for a social backpacker hostel in a central location. There’s a spot on the island for you, especially in one of Puerto Rico’s beach houses!

From horseback riding along Puerto Rico’s west coast to scuba diving around the beautiful beaches and coastline, exploring Puerto Rico’s culture and history and indulging in Puerto Rican delicacies. There are lots to do on this small island, so don’t let its size trick you into thinking there’s nothing to keep you occupied!

San Juan: Puerto Rico’s capital city is a great spot for budget travellers. It’s filled to the brim with nightlife, culture, historical sites and affordable places to eat as well as Isla Verde beach. It’s also one of the most authentic areas to stay and where most Puerto Ricans call home. San Juan airport is also easy to reach from the city.

Rincón: Best known for its stunning beach, this quiet and relaxed area of the island is perfect for families looking to stay at a beach resort away from it all. It’s also a popular surf spot that is well worth the extra effort to reach. If you’re after a secluded getaway then be sure to stay here.

Fajardo: This coastal region is the perfect spot for couples looking for a relaxing and romantic break away from the other busier areas of the island. You won’t be too far from the action though as this area is still just a short journey from San Juan. It’s a great spot if you are planning on heading over to Puerto Rico’s Flamenco beach during your trip.

Luquillo: This affordable area of the island is only a short distance from San Juan and yet is home to one of Puerto Rico’s best beaches. It’s also super close to the town of Rio Grande, known as the main gateway to El Yunque Tropical Rainforest. It’s a great option if you want a mixture of culture, relaxation and adventure.

Vieques: If you’re looking to really get away from it all and experience rural Puerto Rico then Vieques might be the spot for you. It’s actually a separate island reachable by a short ferry meaning it’s the most unspoilt area of the region.

Arecibo: Sitting in the Northwest of the island this area is easily reachable but still relatively secluded from large tourism developments. It’s the ideal spot on the island for adventure travellers with the Rio Camuy Cave Park and the observatory hikes.

Dorado: If you’re looking for a peaceful getaway then this area is perfect for your trip. Nolos Morales Park and Beach are one of the best-kept local secrets on the island, perfect for a retreat!

Now that you’ve got an overview let’s get into the specifics to see which neighborhood works best for your trip.

5 Best Neighborhoods to Stay in Puerto Rico

It’s time to detail a more detailed look at the five best neighborhoods to stay in Puerto Rico! Not only that, but we’ve only gone and searched out the best Puerto Rico hotels, hostels and Airbnbs for you too!

1. San Juan – Overall Best Place to Stay in Puerto Rico

San Juan is the buzzing capital city of Puerto Rico packed with culture, nightlife, and historical highlights. It’s the place to be if you want to experience the best reggaeton on the island. The nightlife here also has your typical DJ sets, intimate salsa venues, and high-end cocktail bars – as well as the odd beach party. If you want to party alongside Puerto Ricans, then this is the spot.

Beyond the nightlife, San Juan is known for its historic centre. This is where you can learn about the rich (and at times turbulent) history of the island, and check out the Spanish colonial architecture. The city is a real melting pot of Spanish, North American, and African cultures, so you’ll certainly never get bored of staying in San Juan. It’s the perfect place to sample some authentic Puerto Rican delicacies too.

If it’s your first time in Puerto Rico, it’s worth staying in the city centre or Old San Juan. This area will give you the best connections to elsewhere on the island, so you can easily explore further afield or get to San Juan airport quickly.

Hasta el mar.

Hotel El Convento | Best Hotel in San Juan

Hotel El Convento

This four-star luxury hotel offers luxurious accommodation at a more than reasonable price, giving you the best of both worlds! It’s located in the historic centre of the city, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to admire the colonial architecture and most popular attractions. Some things we love about this place are the outdoor pool overlooking the Caribbean Sea and the expansive spa services.

Santurcia Hostel | Best Hostel in San Juan

Santurcia Hostel

Winner of the best hostel in Puerto Rico at the 2020 Hoscars, Santurcia Hostel & Bar is the perfect spot for socialising with other visitors. It comes with outstanding guest reviews, thanks to the great service and modern social spaces. It is based in Santurce, which is considered the nightlife hotspot of San Juan. Their rooftop bar is the perfect place to kickstart your night on the town.

Tropical Penthouse | Best Airbnb in San Juan

Tropical Penthouse

Airbnb Plus properties are handpicked for their stylish interiors and dedicated guest service, making them a great choice for those looking to splurge! This apartment is housed within a colonial building in Old San Juan, giving you the chance to experience a small slice of local history. We also love the outdoor terrace, which comes with a hammock and gorgeous city views over Puerto Rico’s capital.

Things to See and Do in San Juan

  1. Just because you’re in the city doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the ocean, head to Isla Verde beach and mix it with the locals.
  2. Explore the more local side of the island and indulge in some Puerto Rican delicacies such as Mofongo, Pastelón and Alcapurrias.
  3. Take in the scenic San Juan bay as you walk down The Paseo del Morro, there are plenty of photo opportunities along this coastal trail.
  4. Visit the 16th century Castillo San Felipe del Morro. This 6 level fortress is a UNESCO World Heritage site.
  5. Escape the busy city and find peace at the Cathedral Of San Juan Bautista, built in rebuilt in 1540 it’s one of the icons of the city.
  6. More fortresses, yeah that’s right!! Head up to the Castillo San Cristobal. Completed in 1793 it’s the largest European fortress in the Americas and offers great views as well as fascinating history.

2. Rincón – Best Place to Stay in Puerto Rico for Families

Known as the Town of Beautiful Sunsets, Rincón is a somewhat secluded destination on the Western edge of the island. Families concerned about safety in Puerto Rico will have no worries about staying in this peaceful neighborhood. As with many destinations outside San Juan, Rincón has a vast sandy beach with stunning scenery. If you’re looking for a beach resort then this is the perfect spot.

Getting to Rincón takes a little more time as it is away from the main tourism areas, but it’s totally worth it for the peace and quiet once you arrive. The local population is a good mix between lifelong locals and American ex-pats, so most people speak English well. It’s also a popular surfing destination for visitors from across the world, and there are a few schools offering beginner sessions.

Rincón is best known for its beach, so it goes without saying that the best accommodation options in the area are on the coast. The town can get a little expensive, but our top three picks are a good balance between comfortable and affordable. 

Rincón, Puerto Rico
Paradise is calling.

Coconut Palms Inn | Best Guest House in Rincón

Coconut Palms Inn

There aren’t any hostels in Rincón, but this budget-friendly guest house still offers some great social facilities for backpackers travelling to the west of the island. There’s a large communal terrace with a barbecue and gorgeous views of the sea. It sits right on the beachfront, giving you unbeatable access to the best attractions in Rincón.

Rincón of the Seas Grand Caribbean | Best Hotel in Rincón

Rincón of the Seas Grand Caribbean

This three-star beachfront hotel is an excellent choice for families visiting the Caribbean on a budget. There is a bar right next to the outdoor pool offering local cocktails and champagne as well as an on-site restaurant. We also love the beautiful gardens next door to this awesome luxury hotel.

Beachfront Retreat | Best Airbnb in Rincón

Beachfront Retreat

Another beautiful Airbnb Plus apartment, this beachfront retreat offers laid-back vibes and sunny mornings with unbeatable views of the Caribbean. The apartment can sleep up to four guests and is housed within a gated community, so you’ll be extra safe. You’ll find plenty of water sports facilities just a short walk from the front door. 

Things to See and Do in Rincón

  1. Soak in the natural beauty of the area at the many beaches around the town. Head to Steps Beach for some great snorkelling experiences.
  2. Head over to the stunning Desecheo Island for some world-class scuba diving with its clear waters and protected coral.
  3. Visit the 70ft Punta Higüera Lighthouse, it’s one of many left by the Spaniards on the island and hosts an awesome observation deck.
  4. Closeby is Domes Beach, a famous surf spot where competitions are held each year.
  5. Every Thursday evening the town is home to Rincon’s Art Walk where you’ll find local crafts, food, and music.
  6. Ricon is a famous spot for watching the sunset in Puerto Rico, there are plenty of spots to choose from but outside The Beach House is one of the best.
  7. From January to March the area is awash with humpback whales which can be seen from several coastal vantage points.

3. Fajardo – Most Romantic Place to Stay in Puerto Rico for Couples

Just east of Luquillo, Fajardo is known as the city that guards the sun of the Caribbean. It’s located close enough to San Juan to be within easy travelling distance of the main attractions, but far enough to maintain a peaceful atmosphere. For travelling couples, Fajardo offers a beautiful beach and unforgettable sunrises.

Beyond the beach, Fajardo is best known for its proximity to Bioluminescent Bay. A kayak trip through the mangroves of this gorgeous natural attraction is the perfect excursion for a romantic break in Puerto Rico. Your way will be lit by naturally luminescent plankton, and the rocky scenery only adds to the beauty.

Fajardo is a pretty small town, with most of the accommodation for visitors located along the coast. It’s pretty close to Luquillo, so you can opt to stay there if you’re looking for something cheaper. Nevertheless, we believe Fajardo is worth the extra expense thanks to the natural beauty and romantic atmosphere. It’s also a great spot if you want to head over to Flamenco beach.

La Casa en Fajardo | Best Apartment in Fajardo

La Casa en Fajardo

La Casa is a popular apartment situated close to beaches, restaurants, and a waterpark. It sleeps up to two guests and comes with a seating area, kitchen, and double bedroom. With some of the cheapest rates you’ll find for accommodation in Puerto Rico and such a good location, you really can’t go wrong!

The International Hostel | Best Hostel in Fajardo

The International Hostel

This super secluded hostel only has 12 beds, making it a calm and easy-going accommodation pick for backpackers. It’s only a 14-minute drive from the ferry terminal and Bioluminescent Bay. The entire property is surrounded by Ceiba Forest, so expect to wake up to the beautiful sounds of local nature. There are some great hiking trails in the nearby mountains, so make sure to bring your walking boots!

Breathtaking Ocean View Apartment | Best Airbnb in Fajardo

Breathtaking Ocean View Apartment

This stunning apartment is perfect for couples or groups deciding where to stay in Puerto Rico on a budget. It offers great value for money when split between travellers, and boasts a full kitchen and dining area, a balcony, and unbeatable sea views. It’s full of natural light and is beautifully furnished with modern amenities. The marina is a short walk away from the apartment, but it’s recommended you rent a car to get around easier.

Things to See and Do in Fajardo

  1. Take a boat trip out to the incredible Flamenco beach, the natural beauty on the tiny island of Culebra will blow you away!
  2. The coast around Fajardo is perfect for scuba diving, especially for beginners.
  3. Head to the natural pool of La Zanja, this instagramable spot is one of the island’s best off-the-beaten-track wonders.
  4. The crescent-shaped Seven Seas beach is a must-visit, from hiking opportunities to snorkelling in the crystal clear waters and plenty of restaurants there is plenty to do here.
  5. Playa Escondida and Playa Colorá are two hidden gems that are part of the Northeast Ecological Corridor. They require a bit of a hike but the red sand beaches surrounded by mangrove forests just have to be seen.
  6. Explore the islands, keys and cays of the Cordillera Natural Reserve. You can hike, swim, kayak, snorkel, SUP or just relax in this stunning area.
  7. Take a nighttime kayak trip through the glow in the dark waters of the Laguna Grande Bioluminescent Bay.
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4. Luquillo – Coolest Place to Stay in Puerto Rico

Only a short drive from San Juan, Luquillo offers many of the same attractions as the city but without the huge crowds! The local beach, Balneario de Luquillo, is considered one of the best on the island, with golden sands and great local services. The town is right next door to Fajardo and is also where you can grab the ferry to Vieques. 

Though officially a separate town, neighboring Rio Grande is another excellent destination for visitors to Puerto Rico. Both towns are well-connected by public transport, and only a minute apart by car. The Rio Grande is the main gateway to El Yunque Tropical Rainforest, a luscious and verdant national park with some truly unique attractions.

Luquillo is surprisingly affordable, but most of the accommodation in the town centre comes in the form of condos and apartments. If you’re looking for a hotel, neighboring Rio Grande is a better option. Either way, it’s easy to travel between both towns, so this isn’t a huge concern.

Luquillo, Puerto Rico

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar | Best Hotel near Luquillo

Wyndham Grand Rio Mar

This gorgeous four-star resort is located in the nearby Rio Grande – perfect for those interested in adventure activities and exploring the rainforest. It’s only a few minutes from the centre by car, so you can enjoy the town amenities while staying in a more peaceful location.  The hotel has its own golf course, as well as a private strip of beach away from the huge tourist crowds. It’s a bit of a splurge, but totally worth it for a laid-back getaway.

Casa Coral | Best Hostel in Luquillo

Casa Coral

This hostel has been recently renovated, giving you a modern style in the heart of Luquillo. It sits right on the North East Corridor, giving you endless opportunities for gorgeous walks and secluded beach retreats. The ferry to Vieques is only a few minutes away by car. Rooms are spacious, with limited guest numbers to ensure peace and quiet in the evenings.

Beachfront Condo | Best Airbnb in Luquillo

Beachfront Condo

This beachfront condo is stylish and features modern technologies – including mood lighting and state-of-the-art kitchen appliances. There’s also a spacious balcony, offering a large hammock and gorgeous views of the sea.  This is a great pick for couples, and avid surfers will appreciate the great hire shops and waves within walking distance.

Things to See and Do in Luquillo

  1. A day at Balneario La Monserrate is ideal for families and those wanting private space on a well-frequented beach. There’s plenty of parking, showers, changing rooms and places to eat.
  2. La Pared is a popular surf spot on the island with world-class breaks. There’s also the Boardriders Surf Bar where you can chill after a session or continue your stoke well into the night.
  3. Costa Azul, Mamayes beach, and Playa Fortuna beaches are a little more secluded and ideal for a more peaceful day on the coast. Sit back in a hammock and just let the world go by!
  4. If you’re after a bit more excitement, then head to Playa Azul. This beach is known for its water sports like kayaking, SUP boarding, snorkelling, kite surfing and more.
  5. If you don’t fancy the beach and want some culture, check out the Saint Joseph Parish Catholic church with its beautiful wooden carvings.
  6. Yunque Zipline Adventures offers some escapades on try land from ziplining to hiking and abseiling.

5. San Juan – Where to Stay in Puerto Rico on a Budget

Budget backpackers rejoice – as San Juan happens to be the most affordable as well as the overall best place to stay in Puerto Rico. That being said, the capital city has some surprisingly affordable areas – you just need to know where to look. There’s no reason you can’t visit Puerto Rico on a budget, you just need to know where to look.

Rio Piedras is home to the largest university in Puerto Rico and is therefore packed with budget-friendly restaurants and stores. Santurce, the cultural capital of the island, is also very affordable – especially if you’re looking for more creative attractions and hip nightlife. Transport into both neighborhoods from the centre is abundant, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to hit the main attractions.

We’ve already given you the lowdown on our best overall picks for places to stay in San Juan, but the properties in this section are more budget-friendly.  Even if you want a private apartment, there are some great options available.

You dreamy bastard.

Casablanca | Best Hotel in San Juan

CasaBlanca

Panoramic views, local artwork, and a rooftop terrace with stone bathtubs are just some of the features that make Casablanca such a unique place to stay in Puerto Rico. The contemporary hotel is beautifully furnished throughout, and each room features an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning, and a flatscreen TV. Top attractions are a short walk away, including the Casa Blanca Museum and the Bacardi Rum Distillery.

Villa Eshta | Best Hostel in San Juan

Villa Eshta

It might be one of the cheapest hostels in San Juan, but the excellent reviews are a testament to how high-quality Villa Eshta is located along Calle Loiza, you will be surrounded by budget-friendly restaurants and bars – as well as a hip and alternative vibe. They run regular events from the outdoor patio, which also serves as a casual restaurant and cheap bar.

Cosy Studio | Best Airbnb in San Juan

Cozy Studio

Studio living is a great way to save money on accommodation, and this central apartment means you get to stay within walking distance of the main attractions. Thinking about exploring Bioluminescent Bay? Guests are given a special discount on kayaking excursions as a thank you for staying at this property. This is our top pick for travellers who are sticking to a tighter budget.

Things to See and Do in San Juan

  1. Built overlooking the ocean the Old San Juan Cemetery is an off the beaten track, and free, spot to explore. The bleach white graveyard against the stunning blue of the ocean is a fascinating and sometimes creepy place to visit!
  2. The capital city is the perfect place to sample some of the country’s best food. Check out Casa de Montecristo, Mercado Agrícola de Viejo San Juan, Deaverdura and Nam Pla Street Food Co.
  3. Another budget-friendly activity is to wander down Calle Fortaleza, this pedestrianised cobblestone street is home to heaps of cute cafes, boutique shops and colourful architecture.
  4. Want to see more of the incredible architecture of the capital, wander around the colourful streets of Old San Juan. There are heaps of street vendors for some local food and place to keep an eye out for are; Calle del Cristo and Calle San Sebastian.
  5. Take a tour of the Bacardi Rum Distillery where you can discover how this famous drink is made and even taste a few samples too!
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6. Vieques – One of the Most Unique Places to Stay in Puerto Rico

Vieques is actually a separate island, but it’s quite easy to get to by ferry from the main island. It’s easily the most rural destination in Puerto Rico, and you’re likely to find farm animals roaming freely around the streets. If you want something completely off-the-beaten-path, Vieques is an excellent choice.

Vieques is largely unspoiled by tourism – so not only is it the most unique destination in Puerto Rico, but it’s also one of the most exciting Caribbean islands to visit. There is a bioluminescent bay here that shines even brighter than its better-known cousin on the main island. Tourism is starting to make its way here though, so make sure to visit soon before that all changes.

The main town in Vieques is Isabel Segunda – where the ferry stops, and where most of the population lives. Despite this, Esperanza is more popular with travellers. The peaceful location and locally-owned restaurants make the town more attractive for those that want a truly rural experience.

The Wave Hotel | Best Hotel in Vieques

The Wave Hotel

Boasting beachfront access, a pool, and a bar, The Wave is one of the coolest places to relax in Puerto Rico. Rooms are contemporary and feature tiled floors and air conditioning to keep you cool at night. The hotel also enjoys a convenient location close to top bars and restaurants where you can try some awesome local food.

The Lazy Hostel | Best Hostel in Vieques

The Lazy Hostel

Vieques can be a little pricier than the main island, but backpackers don’t need to worry – this hostel is especially budget-friendly. The Lazy Hostel is located in Esperanza, the main tourist town, and directly backs onto the boardwalk. You’ll only be a hop, skip, and a jump away from the best restaurants, bars, and water sports shops on the island.

Casa Corona | Best Airbnb in Vieques

Casa Corona

Unfortunate name aside, this is easily one of our favourite Airbnbs in Puerto Rico as a whole! This dreamy cottage has its own pool, which you can access via veranda doors from the master bedroom. It’s a short walk away from a private stretch of beach, giving you a personal slice of paradise in the middle of the Caribbean.

Things to See and Do in Vieques

  1. Kayak in the bioluminescent bay of Mosquito Bay, the nighttime tour is a highlight on any trip to Puerto Rico.
  2. Puerto Rico has heaps of beaches, we’ve established that! One of the most unique ones is the Sea Glass Beach. It’s popular with crafters and collectors for its natural crystals.
  3. This area of the country is also famed for its turtles. Mosquito Pier and Punta Arenas offer great opportunities to snorkel with these beautiful creatures.
  4. Another unique place to visit is Playa Negra, a black sand beach and the only one in the country. It’s a pretty cool and off the beaten track spot to visit.
  5. Vieques Island is inhabited by groups of wild horses, the best areas to spot them are Sun Bay Beach, Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, and around the Ceiba Tree.
  6. Head for a day of adventure at the Vieques National Wildlife Refuge, there are some stunning beaches for snorkelling and scuba diving as well as some great hikes.
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7. Arecibo – Where to Stay in Puerto Rico for Adventure

Arecibo is in the Northwest of the island, a little more secluded from larger tourist areas and best known for its former Observatory. Why is this great for adventure travellers? The hikes towards and around the observatory are among the best on the island. There are plenty of photo stops along the way, so you’ll want a good travel camera to hand!

Rio Camuy Cave Park is also located nearby, one of the largest cave systems in the world. The small strip of coastline near Arecibo is largely unspoiled and worth bringing your own kayak or surfing equipment to if you can. That being said, we do advise checking weather conditions in advance for your own safety.

Though there is a small part of Arecibo on the coast, most of the town is located a little bit inland. This is great for hikers, as it gets you closer to the awesome trails on offer. You can still, of course, opt for coastal accommodation if you need to be by the sea.

Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Not a fairytale.

Jardin del Mar | Best Guest House near Arecibo

Jardin del Mar

Like Rincón, there aren’t any hostels in Arecibo – but Jardin del Mar is a great alternative for backpackers. It is right next to the hiking trail up to Arecibo Observatory – as well as a road for those looking for an easier ride. It’s housed within a colonial-style building, giving you the chance to soak up Puerto Rican history during your stay.

The Hill Inn at 681 | Best Hotel in Arecibo

The Hill Inn at 681

The Hill Inn is right in the heart of Arecibo, giving you quick access to the main attractions in the town and guided tours to the inland sights. Rooms are somewhat basic, but well equipped for those visiting for a short trip. It is particularly popular with travellers that are slowly making their way around the island as part of a larger trip.

Tropical Camping | Best Airbnb in Arecibo

Tropical Camping

This property is a little different from everything else we’ve mentioned in this guide, and we reckon it’s the best Airbnb in Puerto Rico overall. The self-contained studio cabin has a glamping feel to it, with stylish interiors and a small porch out the front. Adventurous travellers will love this alternative experience on the outskirts of Arecibo. The rural location also means you get to enjoy some peace and quiet.

Things to See and Do in Arecibo

  1. Take in the view from the historic Los Morillos Lighthouse. Dating back to 1898 it is still in use today and contains a museum with heaps of fascinating artefacts too.
  2. Visit the awe-inspiring Arecibo Observatory, dating back to 1963 it was at one time the largest single-dish radio telescope in the world! There are many discoveries made here including the first binary pulsar in 1974.
  3. Take in some unique views of the surrounding landscape from the impressive Cueva Ventana cave. It’s a strenuous hike but well worth it for the awesome vista at the top!
  4. Hunt for a bargain and experience local life at the Arecibo Flea Market. Here things have a bit more flair than your run of the mill market with music, food and a Puerto Rican festival vibe. The hours are Friday to Sunday 2 p.m. to 10:30 p.m.
  5. Want more caves, of course, you do! Explore the beautiful Camuy River Cave Park, the third-largest cave system in the world.
  6. Take in some culture at the historic Catedral de San Felipe Apóstle. The original building was destroyed in 1787 by an earthquake. It took 60 years to rebuild and just 4 days after its completion it was badly damaged again by yet another earthquake. Talk about unlucky!

8. Dorado – Peaceful Getaway in Puerto Rico

Dorado is right in the middle of Puerto Rico’s North Coast. Nolos Morales Park and Beach is the largest public park in the country but is largely a secret kept for locals. The unspoiled beaches, vast forest lands, and gorgeous rocky scenery make this a perfect retreat for those that really want to get away from it all.

Within Dorado, you will also find some great family-friendly attractions and welcoming locals. For this reason, we think this is another great destination for families – especially if you want to stay closer to San Juan. Those looking for something off the beaten path will enjoy the local culture, which has largely been untouched by the tourism industry.

Kikita Beach is the closest beach to town, and a truly beautiful hidden spot to stay in along the North Coast. For those that would rather stay closer to the town centre, there are a few excellent luxury options, so be ready to splurge.

Dorado, Puerto RIco

Dorado Beach (Ritz-Carlton) | Best Hotel in Dorado

Dorado Beach (Ritz-Carlton)

Our only five-star suggestion, this hotel is an absolute must for those looking to push the boat out! You’ll be greeted with top-of-the-line interior design, above-and-beyond customer service, and every added extra you could possibly imagine. Ritz-Carlton is renowned across the world for its luxurious hotels, and Dorado Beach is no exception. The on-site spa will have you never wanting to leave.

Villa Fontana | Best Airbnb in Dorado

Villa Fontana

Treat the family to this amazing vacation rental in Puerto Rico! It’s modern throughout and comes with an on-site pool, garden, and three bedrooms sleeping six guests. The full kitchen, dining area, and lounge make it the perfect home-away-from-home, just a stone’s throw from the beach. A car is recommended to help you make the most of your stay – a parking space is included on the property.

Cozy House in Dorado near Beach | Best Apartment in Dorado

Cozy House in Dorado near Beach

This family-friendly studio provides comfortable and convenient accommodation for up to 6 guests. Conveniently situated just 30 minutes from the airport, the property boasts free parking, beachfront access, a pool, and a washing machine and dryer. The room itself comes with two double beds and a queen bed, a workspace, and an ensuite bathroom.

Things to See and Do in Dorado

  1. Learn all about the history of Puerto Rico at the Museo y Centro Cultural Casa del Rey, a former Spanish garrison.
  2. Hang in a hammock at the palm tree-lined Balneario Manuel Morales beach, it’s a popular spot but there’s good reason for that!
  3. Another great coastal spot to visit is the Ojo Del Buey Beach, named after the strange rock formations that look like an ox’s head. It’s one of the most pristine beaches in the country.
  4. Puerto Rico is home to some world-class golf courses. Have a round at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Course, a PGA favourite.
Travel with peace of mind. Travel WITH a security belt.
Active Roots Security Belt

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Hide Yo’ Money!

What To Pack For Puerto Rico

Pants, socks, underwear, soap?! Take it from me, packing for a hostel stay is not always quite as straightforward as it seems. Working out what to bring and what to leave at home is an art I have perfected over many years.

Product
Description
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!
Don’t Let Snorers Keep You Awake!

Ear Plugs

Snoring dorm-mates can ruin your nights rest and seriously damage the hostel experience. This is why I always travel with a pack of decent ear plugs.

Keep your laundry organized and stink free
Keep your laundry organized and stink free

Hanging Laundry Bag

Trust us, this is an absolute game changer. Super compact, a hanging mesh laundry bag stops your dirty clothes from stinking, you don’t know how much you need one of these… so just get it, thank us later.

Stay Dry With a Micro Towel
Stay Dry With a Micro Towel

Sea To Summit Micro Towel

Hostel towels are scummy and take forever to dry. Microfibre towels dry quickly, are compact, lightweight, and can be used as a blanket or yoga mat if need be.

Make Some New Buddies…
Make Some New Buddies…

Monopoly Deal

Forget about Poker! Monopoly Deal is the single best travel card game that we have ever played. Works with 2-5 players and guarantees happy days.

Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!
Reduce Plastic – Bring a Water Bottle!

Grayl Geopress Water Bottle

Always travel with a water bottle! They save you money and reduce your plastic footprint on our planet. The Grayl Geopress acts as a purifier AND temperature regulator. Boom!

Check out my definitive Hotel Packing list for even more top packing tips!

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance for Puerto Rico

No one wants to spend that hard-earned cash on something like travel insurance. But trust us, it’s well worth the investment. If you do need it, you’ll be super glad you got it!

ALWAYS sort out your backpacker insurance before your trip. There’s plenty to choose from in that department, but a good place to start is Safety Wing.

They offer month-to-month payments, no lock-in contracts, and require absolutely no itineraries: that’s the exact kind of insurance long-term travellers and digital nomads need.

SafetyWing is cheap, easy, and admin-free: just sign up lickety-split so you can get back to it!

Click the button below to learn more about SafetyWing’s setup or read our insider review for the full tasty scoop.

Final Thoughts on Where To Stay in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is an eclectic destination with a little something for everyone. San Juan is a tropical city break that pulses with the sounds of reggaeton and the smells of Boricua cuisine. Outside of the city, you will find beautiful beaches, luscious rainforests, and secluded hideaways perfect for getting away from it all.

If we had to pick a favourite, we would go with Luquillo! It offers many of the same cultural attractions as San Juan, but with more manageable crowds. It’s well connected to the capital and Fajardo by public transport, and Vieques by ferry. If this is your first time in Puerto Rico, Luquillo is a great way to pack a lot into a single trip.

That being said, the best town for you really depends on what you want to get out of your stay. Thankfully, Puerto Rico is a relatively small island with good transport networks – so there’s no reason you can’t check out more than one destination. Generally, the Northeast has the best-known destinations, while the South and West are more off the beaten path.

We hope this guide has helped you with your itinerary for Puerto Rico. Did we miss anything? Let us know in the comments!

Looking for more info on travelling to Puerto Rico?
Luquillo, Puerto Rico

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