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.
Playa NegraThe path to Playa Negra, or Black Sand Beach, is marked by a spray-painted arrow on a guardrail along Route 996, which leads into Route 201. A 10-minute forest hike leads to this desolate yet mesmerizing beach, which is covered in magnetite mineral deposits. 960 1280
Cathedral of Our Lady of GuadalupePuerto Rico has 5 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
Toro Verde Adventure ParkFor 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
El Museo Castillo SerrallesRevisit 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
Puerto Rican Day ParadesLocals celebrate during the National Puerto Rican Day Parade along 5th Avenue in Manhattan. Held on the second Sunday in June, it has become one of the largest parades in New York City with nearly 2 million spectators each year. Annual parades are also head in downtown Chicago and Philadelphia. 960 1280
Zip Line Canopy Eco-AdventureAfter 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
Paseo de la PrincesaBask 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.
El Yunque National ForestLess 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
Rio Camuy Cave ParkKeep 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 Las AmericasShop till you drop at Plaza Las Americas, the largest shopping center in the entire Caribbean. This premier San Juan shopping mall, which also happens to be the first indoor mall ever built in Puerto Rico, spans 1.8 million square feet, with plenty of room for big designer labels, a booming movie theater and generous dining options, including the world’s largest Romano's Macaroni Grill. 960 1280
Plaza de ArmasEnjoy 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
Bacardi Rum TourYou 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.
Cafe Carli ConciertoChill 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.
San Juan Food TourLace up for a taste of San Juan on a culinary walking tour. Stops along the way include eateries with savory item like this -- the Mallorca, a ham-and-cheese sandwich topped with powdery deliciousness. Find it at the San Juan bakery Cafeteria Mallorca. 960 1280
Catamaran Tour of Puerto RicoTo 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
El Morro CastleGet 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.