Puerto Rico is a must on your travel bucket list if you love nature and being outdoors. There are many things to do in Puerto Rico for adventurers. Being an island in the Caribbean, the first things that come to mind when people think of Puerto Rico are turquoise-colored waters and soft white sand.
That said, Puerto Rico’s got a lot more than just beaches! It is home to mountains, rainforests, deserts, and an array of natural wonders, the Island of Enchantments has many amazing things to do for nature lovers seeking exciting adventures.
Whether you’re on the lookout for a mix of beach and outdoor adventures on your Puerto Rico itinerary, or you want to get to know Puerto Rico beyond its shores, this is the ultimate list of Puerto Rico tourist attractions for adventurers.
The Ultimate Puerto Rico Bucket List for Adventurers
Located in Lajas, on the southwestern part of Puerto Rico’s main island, La Parguera is a haven for water adventurers. The star here is diving to explore “La Pared,” a long stretch of wall covered with reef sea plants, one hundred feet below the ocean’s surface! This famous diving spot has remarkable marine life, including manta rays, turtles, barracudas, giant crabs, and other sea creatures. If you get lucky, you might even spot some dolphins, so make sure you take along a good quality underwater camera! The low currents make this dive suitable for all levels of divers.
If you’re not too big on deep-diving, there’s snorkeling available around the shallow reefs, or you can explore the mangroves on a kayak and take a hike along the beach for scenic views.
The most exciting time at Parguera comes at night, as you’ll be able to witness one of the most incredible phenomena ever: bioluminescence. Put another way; you’ll see the water glowing in the dark! This is the only bioluminescent bay in Puerto Rico you can swim in, but you can also opt to witness this natural wonder from a kayak or glass-bottomed boat.
Rio Camuy Caves Park
Caverns and caves to explore? Yes, please! Rio Camuy Caves Park has plenty of those, all surrounded by lush nature and hiking trails on the surface.
Rio Camuy is an excellent destination for nature lovers. Located in the northwestern part of Puerto Rico, this park houses a cavern system more than 10 miles long, with over 220 caves waiting to be explored.
These limestone caverns and caves are part of a vast network of underground ways carved out over time by the Rio Camuy, the third-largest underground river in the world. Even though the cave system was discovered by archeologists in 1958, there is evidence that the caves were explored hundreds of years ago!
El Yunque National Forest
Can you imagine exploring an enchanting rainforest on an island in the Caribbean? Well, it’s not a far-fetched thought at all! A 45-minute scenic drive from San Juan will take you to El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the United States. Sprawling over 29,000 acres, it is not too large compared to other rainforests, but it is one of the most diverse in the world.
Hiking the verdant green trails to one of the many natural pools is a favorite here. While hiking, keep your eyes open to catch some spectacular views while exploring the place’s natural goodness. Don’t be surprised if you suddenly encounter some mango trees or spot some woodpeckers and Cahí frogs!
You’ll find Piñones Forest east of San Juan. Like most of Puerto Rico’s coastal forests, it is made up primarily of mangroves that are the home of all kinds of marine and shoreline organisms. The cool thing about this forest is that it has a boardwalk where you can walk through the mangroves and observe reefs, islets, dunes, seagrass meadows, and salt flats.
Additionally, you’ll have close encounters with sea turtles, crabs, and many birds, along with a diversity of trees and fabulous vistas.
Vieques Island and Mosquito Bay
Six miles off Puerto Rico’s main island is Vieques Island, a tropical haven and one of the most beautiful islands in the Caribbean. Spectacular beaches with sand so soft it feels like powder, breathtaking vistas, and the laid-back atmosphere typical of a Caribbean island make Vieques a must on your Puerto Rico bucket list.
You will also find Mosquito Bay, the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world! This wonder can only be described as magical, so consider staying overnight to see it. Trust me, you won’t forget this experience anytime soon, if ever. Swimming is not allowed here, but you can kayak or ride a boat instead. The next morning, you can hop over to Culebra, a nearby paradisiac island with incredible views, an active reef, and beautiful beaches.
Jobos Bay National Estuarine Reserve
Jobos Bay Reserve is for you if you love nature and want to visit off-the-beaten-path attractions. At this gem of a place, you can see different ecosystems and come close to mangrove forests, seagrass beds, wetlands, dry upland forests, and lagoons.
Jobos Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve is a one-of-its-kind natural shelter that protects nearly 3,000 acres along Puerto Rico’s southern coast, making it a safe, natural oasis for endangered brown pelicans, hawksbill turtles, peregrine falcons, yellow-shouldered blackbirds, and the West Indian manatee.
Because of the nature of their protection activities, check out their official web page for the dates they are open to the public so you can plan accordingly.
Puerto Rico for Adventurers
Have you ever visited Puerto Rico? Which of your favorite Puerto Rico tourist attractions for adventurers didn’t make it to this list? Let me know in the comment section below!
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This post originally appeared on The Impulse Traveler.