7 Unforgettable Day Trips from San Juan

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7 Unforgettable Day Trips from San Juan

The island of Puerto Rico has various incredible, unique experiences and landscapes. While on your Puerto Rico program, you will want to explore the island rather than stick solely to San Juan. Get excited for this list of 7-day trips from San Juan, though. Feel free to extend your trip for a weekend getaway! 

1. El Yunque National Forest

Distance from San Juan: 40 to 60 minutes 

El Yunque is the USA’s only national rainforest. Go for a scenic hike, get your adrenaline pumping by flying through the forest canopy on the ziplines, rent an ATV tour, or go horseback riding.

Make sure to listen for the coquí, a unique tiny frog native to the island and known as the loudest amphibian in the world!

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2. La Parguera, Lajas 

Distance from San Juan: 2 hours

A fishing town found along the southwestern coast, La Parguera has something for everyone. 

Start off by diving in the turquoise waters of La Pared to see coral reefs, manta rays, and turtles. See the mangrove and nature reserves, then get something good to eat while walking in El Malecón. 

The biggest attraction is the bioluminescent bay which lights up from dinoflagellates (a tiny single-cell organism). This bioluminescent bay is the only one in Puerto Rico where visitors can swim or snorkel.

3. Rincón

Distance from San Juan: 2 to 2.5 hours

This town is on the island’s west side and provides an incredibly unique experience. Every year, between January and April, humpback whales swim in the waters off the coast of Rincón. 

Watch them from Punta Higüeras Lighthouse Park, which has been guarding the shore since 1892. In Puerto Rico, outside of the whale season, you can also surf the waves on Maria Beach or snorkel in Tres Palmas Marine Reserve. 

4. Arecibo 

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Distance from San Juan: 1 to 1.25 hours

A mix of nature and history, Arecibo is a destination you can’t miss. Head to Cueva Ventana, a cave sitting atop a hill in the city. As the name implies, the cave is famous for its window-like openings and the unique and historic petroglyphs that the Taino Indians drew centuries ago. 

Getting inside might be tricky, but the petroglyphs and scenery are worth it. Make sure to also check out the Arecibo Lighthouse and swim in La Poza del Obispo or the waterfalls of La Planta River. 

5. Cataño

Distance from San Juan: 25 minutes

Cataño is an excellent option for a quick, affordable trip with plenty of Instagram-worthy moments. Hop on the ferry from Pier 2 in Old San Juan and cruise across the bay for a quick 10-minute ride at only a $1.00 roundtrip. 

Start your excursion at Casa Bacardí Cataño for rum-tasting tours and mixology classes at $75 a ticket. Make your way to the pink bridge along Cataño’s beach boardwalk and finish with delicious local food and a picture with the flag of Puerto Rico

6. Orocovis

Distance from San Juan: 1.25 to 1.5 hours 

If you’re a thrill-seeker, this is the trip for you. Located in the center of Puerto Rico, Orocovis is home to the Toro Verde Nature Adventure Park. 

The park is famous for having the longest zipline in America. Yet, it also boasts suspended bridges, bikes on ziplines, and climbing towers. If you’re looking for something less intense, stop at Mirador Villalba, take a dip in Charco La Guitarra, or hike in Cerro Mime. 

7. Utuado 

Distance from San Juan: 1.25 to 1.5 hours

Utuado is a great day trip choice to get out of the city and head somewhere less touristy. Prepare yourself for a day outdoors and book excursions for rappelling, kayaking, or river caving in the Tanamá River. The Cañon Blanco River is also a beautiful spot to check out or hang out at La Hamaca, the hanging bridge. 

Utuado also has a variety of farms to tour. Café Gran Batey provides free tours for visitors during specific hours. Learn about the unique coffee-making process and enjoy a fresh cup of joe. Make a tasting reservation at the only vineyard in Puerto Rico, Finca Vista Bella, and learn how the locals make wine. 

We hope you will visit one of these beautiful locations. Remember that public transportation in Puerto Rico is mainly limited to metropolitan areas in the North.

Studying abroad in this modern, tropical paradise is an excellent option for North American students. 

Check out our website or email [email protected] with any questions you may have. We’re more than happy to help!

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