Things to Do on Vieques Island, Puerto Rico

You come to Vieques to explore its many pristine beaches, but there are a growing number of things to do away from the beach on this quaint little Puerto Rican island, from remote hikes and wildlife watching to art shows and fine dining.

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Zip Line Canopy Eco-Adventure

Zip Line Canopy Eco-Adventure

After resting up in your San Juan hotel, rise bright and early for a Puerto Rico zip-lining adventure. Popular areas for zip lining are the rainforest territory near the city of Caguas and the Julio Enrique Monagas Park in the town of Bayamón. 960 1280

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Paseo de la Princesa

Paseo de la Princesa

Bask in the nighttime glow of historic San Juan. Old San Juan is the oldest settlement within Puerto Rico, established in 1508 by Spanish explorer Ponce de Leon. The star attraction is Paseo de la Princesa, a 19th-century walkway just outside the city walls that’s home to antique streetlamps, street vendors … and plenty of inspiration for hand-holding.
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Sean Pavone Photo/ iStock/ Thinkstock  

El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque National Forest

Less than an hour’s drive from San Juan is El Yunque National Forest, the only rainforest that belongs to the US Forest Service. Set foot in this exotic 28,000-acre wonderland, where a tropical monsoon climate thrives, then take a 45-minute hike up Mt. Britton -- at more than 3,000 feet high, this lookout will leave you feeling like you’re on top of the world. 960 1280

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Rio Camuy Cave Park

Rio Camuy Cave Park

Keep the outdoor exploration going with a visit to Rio Camuy Cave Park. This intricate cave system, about a 1.5-hour drive from San Juan, is definitely worth the trek. Discovered in 1958, the cave park is home to underground waterways carved out by the third-largest underground river in the world. Just make sure you call before going; the park closes if it gets too rainy. 960 1280
Plaza de Armas

Plaza de Armas

Enjoy a stroll through Plaza de Armas (“Arms Square”), one of the main squares in San Juan. The big picture-taking attraction here is the plaza’s round fountain. The structure has 4 statues, more than a century old, each depicting one of the 4 seasons. 960 1280

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Bacardi Rum Tour

Bacardi Rum Tour

You can’t travel to Puerto Rico's capital without trying Bacardi rum. Sample the very best at the Bacardi Rum Factory. Head for Highway 22 West, then get off at the exit for Catano Road -- you’ll spot a little brown Bacardi sign, and the Bacardi factory just beyond.
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Ben Alman, flickr  

Cafe Carli Concierto

Cafe Carli Concierto

Chill out with smooth jazz sounds at Cafe Carli Concierto in Old San Juan. The really cool thing about this stylish bistro and bar is that it’s owned and run by Carli Muñoz, a pianist for the Beach Boys back in the day. Today, Muñoz entertains guests with his own live piano accompaniments, while you dine on entrees such as rosemary jus lamb chops and blackened ahi tuna with Cajun spices.
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Cellula Immunity, flickr   

Catamaran Tour of Puerto Rico

Catamaran Tour of Puerto Rico

To truly savor this Isle of Enchantment, take a Puerto Rico catamaran tour, enjoying views of the El Yunque mountains and the eastern coastline. Upon anchoring, plunge into crystal-clear waters for snorkeling ops along popular diving spots like Cayo Lobo. You’ll also want to get in some kayaking time along the bioluminescent Laguna Grande bay. 960 1280

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El Morro Castle

El Morro Castle

Get in a little San Juan history at the towering El Morro Castle. This 16th-century citadel lies in the northwestern-most point of Old San Juan, beckoning with its iconic garitas and intriguing military history spanning 400 years. Be prepared to climb steps and steep slopes; it’ll be worth it for the scenic views of the Atlantic that await.
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La Fortaleza

La Fortaleza

Another must-see site is La Fortaleza, the official residence of the governor of Puerto Rico; it also happens to be the oldest executive mansion in continuous use anywhere in the world. Built between 1533 and 1540, La Fortaleza began as a military fortification for San Juan, to withstand potential attacks from Carib Indians and marauding European powers of the day. 960 1280

Devyn Caldwell, flickr  

Ritz-Carlton Casino

Ritz-Carlton Casino

Try your luck at the Ritz-Carlton Casino, the largest casino in Puerto Rico. Open 24 hours a day, this high-stakes casino, tucked inside the grand Ritz-Carlton hotel in San Juan, offers traditional games like blackjack and 3-card poker, along with more than 329 slot machines. 960 1280

Christopher Cypert/Ritz-Carlton  

El Morro

El Morro

Explore the windswept ramparts and passageways of this 16th-century fortress. El Morro was built during the reign of King Charles V of Spain to guard San Juan Bay. Today, this cultural treasure of Puerto Rico attracts 2 million visitors a year. 960 1280

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Teatro Tapia

Teatro Tapia

Built in 1824, Teatro Tapia remains the oldest drama stage building still standing (and in use) anywhere in the U.S. or its territories. Visit the historic theater to see plays, ballets and concerts. 960 1280

Nathalia Barbosa, flickr  

Navio Beach

Navio Beach

For a great bodysurfing experience, head to Navio Beach on the south coast of Vieques Island. Secluded, with turquoise-colored waters, Navio Beach offers a strong surf, along with the occasional calm waves for a snorkeling adventure. 960 1280

mharvey.nyc, flickr  

Mona Island

Mona Island

Enjoy a Caribbean getaway on Mona Island. Just 7 miles long and 4 miles wide, the island -- the third-largest of the archipelago of Puerto Rico -- is home to picture-worthy coral reefs, cliffs and caves. 960 1280

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Culebrita Island Lighthouse

Culebrita Island Lighthouse

Take a private boat to the small, uninhabited island of Isla Culebrita, off the eastern coast of Culebra, Puerto Rico. That’s where you’ll find this lighthouse -- one of the oldest in the Caribbean. 960 1280

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Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe

Puerto Rico has five cathedrals. Among them, the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe stands out for its elaborate design. Built in a neoclassical style, the cathedral is shaped like a cross, with a large dome at the point of intersection. 960 1280

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Toro Verde Adventure Park

Toro Verde Adventure Park

For an adrenaline rush, head to Toro Verde, a zip line park in Orocovis, Puerto Rico. Toro Verde has more zip lines than any other park in Puerto Rico. It’s also home to La Bestia -- at 4,745 feet, one of the longest zip lines in the world. 960 1280

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El Museo Castillo Serralles

El Museo Castillo Serralles

Revisit Puerto Rico’s era of wealthy barons. The Serralles family, owners of a rum distillery, called this Spanish Revival mansion home following its completion in 1930. Today, you can explore its intricate architecture and open-central courtyard in Ponce, Puerto Rico. 960 1280

nodame, flickr  

Fort San Cristobal

Fort San Cristobal

Covering 27 acres, this fortress is the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the New World. With walls that rise more than 150 feet, the fort protected San Juan against invaders coming by sea. 960 1280

Krystyn Wukitsch Foran,flickr  

La Fortaleza

La Fortaleza

Covering 27 acres, this fortress is the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the New World. With walls that rise more than 150 feet, the fort protected San Juan against invaders coming by sea. 960 1280

Jano Tazky, Wikimedia Commons  

El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System. The 28,002 acres see abundant rainfall (in some places, more than 200 inches annually), and include waterfalls, rivers and lush foliage like this. 960 1280

Joe Shlabotnik, flickr  

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Take a stroll along the narrow, blue cobblestone streets of Old San Juan. As the oldest settlement within Puerto Rico, the city has a palpable sense of history; its flat-roofed brick and stone buildings date as far back as the 1500s. 960 1280

melvdesigns, flickr  

Desecheo Island

Desecheo Island

The vibrant reef and clear waters of Puerto Rico’s Desecheo Island make it a prime location for diving. Though visitors are not permitted on the island (it was used as a bombing practice site by the U.S. military), diving is permitted around the island. 960 1280

Bellyglad, flickr  

Fort San Cristobal

Fort San Cristobal

One of the must-see tourist attractions in San, Puerto Rico, is the Fort San Cristobal. The fort, the largest Spanish fort in the Western hemisphere, was built in 1783 to protect the city against land attacks. 960 1280

Tomas Fano, Flickr  

San Juan Beaches

San Juan Beaches

Visit one of San Juan’s white sandy beaches. Ocean Park Beach attracts more single adults than families. Pine Grove Beach, Playa Santa, Caña Gorda and Carolina Public Beach are perfect for the best swimming. On the main island, the best spot for snorkeling is El Convento Beach. And for surfers, Rincón is the center of the island surf scene. 960 1280

Hola Images/ Getty Images  

San Juan Skyline

San Juan Skyline

Take a look at San Juan’s amazing skyline. We’re sure this isn’t what Spanish colonists imagined the city would turn into after they founded the city in 1521. Today, San Juan is one of Puerto Rico’s most important seaports. 960 1280

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Devil's Guerite

Devil's Guerite

Most of San Juan’s walls have guerites or sentry boxes at various points. One of Fort San Cristobal’s sentry boxes, Devil’s Guerite (pictured), is one of the oldest parts of the fort, built in 1634. Local legend claims that a soldier disappeared randomly from the guerite. 960 1280

William Randall/iStock/Getty Images  

Old San Juan

Old San Juan

Old San Juan is the oldest settlement within Puerto Rico, and it is the historic colonial section of San Juan, PR. The small, narrow island lies in the north coast of Puerto Rico, and 3 bridges connect the island to the mainland. 960 1280

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El Convento Hotel

El Convento Hotel

El Convento, an old convent constructed in 1650, was transformed into one of the best luxury hotels in Old San Juan. The hotel is located within walking distance of world-class museums, historic landmarks and the city’s vibrant nightlife. 960 1280

Richard Cummins/Lonely Planet Images/Getty Images  

Cobblestone Streets

Cobblestone Streets

Take a stroll through the streets of San Juan. The city is characterized by its narrow cobblestone streets and flat-roofed brick and stone building dating back to the 16th and 17th century when Puerto Rico was under Spanish rule. 960 1280

cogito ergo imago, Flickr  

Colorful Architecture

Colorful Architecture

Although Old San Juan is steeped in Spanish architecture, there are splashes on modern flair. From a high vantage point in the city, tourists can get a nice view of the colorful rooftops that give the old city distinct character. 960 1280

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El Morro

El Morro

El Morro aka Fuerte San Felipe del Morro is another popular tourist attraction in San Juan. It is one of two forts inside the San Juan National Historic Site. This trail allows tourist to walk around the 6-story fortress built between 1539 and 1589. Travelers who enjoy a good history tour can also walk into the fortress’ depths, which include a maze of tunnels, barracks and prison cells. 960 1280

Lidian Neeleman/iStock/Getty Images  

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