Life moves fast here. With this travel guide, you can see it all — in as little as a day.
Explore Old San Juan: Sure, Old San Juan is about exploring cobbled streets and ramparts on foot, lingering in pastel-colored shops and eating ice cream in public squares. But San Juaneros move fast too (salsa music is proof), so I had to speed up to stay on schedule. Bike It: Zip through congested streets and narrow alleys of the Old City on a two-wheeled guided tour with Rent the Bicycle. Main sights like the Castillo de San Cristobal are on the itinerary, with insights from a local guide. Eat Well: I had a chance to meet Iron Chef contestant Robert Trevino and try his food. My favorite is his tapas spot, Bar Gitano, in the trendy Condado neighborhood. Padrón peppers and seafood paella go down easily with a smooth red sangria. Get There: A taxi from the airport to Old San Juan runs about $21. Extend your bike rental and pedal to Bar Gitano.Photo By Zach Stovall
Hike El Yunque: Hiking through the cool, sweet air in Puerto Rico’s best-known rainforest couldn’t be easier. Trails like El Yunque (about four hours), La Mina (my pick for the natural swimming pools) and Big Tree are paved, and the cloud layers provide a buffer from the sun. Get There: Rent a car for the day at the airport or book a tour with Ruben at PepeKo Tours. $45 to $60 per personPhoto By Zach Stovall
Fly to Culebra: There’s no quicker way to get off the grid than a 35-minute hop to Puerto Rico’s stunning baby sister. Don’t expect much from the languid town of Dewey, but hold on to your jaw when you reach white-sand Playa Flamenco. Stay Awhile: Everyone in Culebra knows Susie Hebert for her cooking, and that makes her namesake Susie’s Restaurant the best dinner here. Afterward, join everyone (anyone you met in town earlier) for drinks at Dinghy Dock, Mamacita’s or one of the local bars. So small is the town, the choice will be obvious. Get There: Taxi 15 minutes to smaller Isla Grande airport, where Vieques Air Link or Air Flamenco’s twin-prop planes fly a scenic route east over the north coast’s golden beaches and El Yunque rainforest. _ _ Did You Know? Puerto Ricans call themselves Boricuas. Tourism is responsible for only 7% of the GNP. 100+ endangered species live on PR’s Mona Island. The deepest spot in the Atlantic is the Puerto Rican trench.Photo By Zach Stovall