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Things to do in San Juan

Things to do in  San Juan

Welcome to San Juan

Island lovers, nature enthusiasts, and history buffs alike flock to San Juan’s tropical rain forest, turquoise waters, and 16th-century Spanish colonial historic district—a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Puerto Rican capital’s proximity to El Yunque National Forest makes it easy to escape into the lush wilderness, hiking to waterfalls or soaring through the air on a zipline. If you only have time for only one epic adventure, make it a kayaking tour of Laguna Grande, where you can marvel at the natural phenomenon of millions of bioluminescent microorganisms glowing in the water after dark. And don't miss a visit to the Casa Bacardi rum distillery.

Top 15 attractions in San Juan

#1
Old San Juan

Old San Juan

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The cobblestone streets of Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan, lined with brightly colored Spanish colonial houses, lend themselves to aimless yet inspired wandering—but don’t let yourself pass by the neighborhood’s key attractions. From the UNESCO World Heritage-listed forts of Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro) and Castillo San Cristobal to restaurants serving plates of aromatic rice and fried plantains, Old San Juan charms travelers at every turn.More
#2
Laguna Grande

Laguna Grande

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During the day, Laguna Grande in Fajardo looks like other bays along the tropical Puerto Rican coastline. But come nightfall the bioluminescent lagoon glows fluorescent, thanks to pyrodinium bahamense, microscopic plankton that thrive in its shallow Caribbean waters and glow when disturbed.More
#3
El Yunque National Park

El Yunque National Park

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The El Yunque National Park is the only tropical rain forest under the protection of the US Forest Service, as well as the largest nature reserve in densely populated Puerto Rico. Situated in the mist-wreathed Luquillo Mountains—where year-round precipitation ensures lush, green landscapes and a healthy diversity of animal life—El Yunque is home to the rare Puerto Rican parrot and the Coqui frog, whose distinctive croak provides El Yunque's soundtrack.More
#4
San Juan Cathedral (Catedral de San Juan Bautista)

San Juan Cathedral (Catedral de San Juan Bautista)

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Built in 1521, San Juan Cathedral(Catedral de San Juan Bautista) is one of the highlights of Old San Juan. The second-oldest cathedral in the Americas, this landmark in the heart of Old San Juan has an impressive array of religious and historical artifacts. The church is still operational, with services held throughout the week.More
#5
Luquillo Beach

Luquillo Beach

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Puerto Rico’s Luquillo Beach (Playa Luquillo), also known as Balneario Monserrate, is a tranquil crescent famed for its coconut palm trees and long stretch of powdery white sand. Considered one of the island’s best public beaches, the calm waters here are perfect for swimming, wading, kayaking, and other water sports.More
#6
Icacos Island (Cayo Icacos)

Icacos Island (Cayo Icacos)

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A small, uninhabited island located just a 15-minute boat ride from the Puerto Rican town of Fajardo, Icacos Island (Cayo Icacos) is part of Cordillera Keys Nature Reserve (Reserva Natural los Cayos de la Cordillera). Its white-sand shores, pristine waters, and colorful reefs make it a popular day-trip destination for snorkeling and diving.More
#7
Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

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Just north of Old San Juan, within the San Juan National Historic Site, stands 16th-century Castillo San Felipe del Morro. The fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage Site on the northwestern tip of the islet of San Juan, kept watch over the Atlantic and protected Old San Juan and the Bay of San Juan from incoming enemies for centuries.More
#8
La Fortaleza (The Fortress)

La Fortaleza (The Fortress)

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The blue-and-white Santa Catalina Palace (Palacio de Santa Catalina), otherwise known as La Fortaleza (The Fortress), is the official residence of the governor of Puerto Rico. Situated in Old San Juan, the UNESCO World Heritage Site occupies a spot that was long one of the most contested strategic positions in the Caribbean.More
#9
Paseo de la Princesa

Paseo de la Princesa

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Located just outside the city walls south of Old San Juan, the Paseo de la Princesa is one of the most pleasant and popular walks in the city. Dating back to 1853, the lovely pedestrian promenade is lined with trees, antique street lamps, benches, gardens, sculptures, and fountains, and offers wonderful views of San Juan Bay.More
#10
San Juan Bay

San Juan Bay

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San Juan Bay sits in the heart of the city of San Juan, with plenty of sites, neighborhoods, and attractions along its shores. The most iconic spots are the pair of fortresses that face each other at the bay’s mouth. On the eastern side sits El Morro, and across the way, the Islas de Cabras National Park boasts the San Juan de la Cruz Fort.More
#11
Castillo San Cristobal

Castillo San Cristobal

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Standing guard at Old San Juan’s eastern gate is Castillo San Cristóbal. Built to protect San Juan against land attacks, the ancient Spanish fort is now part of the San Juan National Historic Site. It is the largest Spanish fortification built in the New World and offers spectacular views of the bay and nearby Castillo San Felipe del Morro.More
#12
Palomino Island

Palomino Island

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Palomino Island (Isla Palominos) is a tiny tropical escape boasting clear Caribbean water, white-sand beaches, and a balmy breeze. With not much to do except explore the island’s coral reefs, seagrass beds, and craggy coastline, visitors come to Palomino Island—located east of Puerto Rico—for the ultimate in peace and relaxation.More
#13
Chapel of Christ (Capilla del Cristo)

Chapel of Christ (Capilla del Cristo)

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The Chapel of Christ (Capilla del Cristo) is a small, 18th-century sanctuary tucked away at the end of a pedestrian street in a corner of the old walled city of San Juan. Built to commemorate what believers say was a miracle, the chapel has become a place to pray and leave offerings, which decorate the walls.More
#14
Bacardi Rum Factory (Casa Bacardi)

Bacardi Rum Factory (Casa Bacardi)

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The Bacardi Rum Factory (Casa Bacardi) is entwined with the history of the Caribbean itself, and the factory’s new visitor center traces the company’s early roots as a small distillery in Cuba through American Prohibition, the Cuban Revolution, and beyond. Today, Bacardi is a well-known brand with a global presence, and its factory in Puerto Rico is the largest premium rum distillery in the world.More
#15
Flamenco Beach (Playa Flamenco)

Flamenco Beach (Playa Flamenco)

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Forested white-sand beaches and sapphire-blue water make Flamenco Beach (Playa Flamenco) as picturesque as a Caribbean postcard. Hidden away on the island of Culebra, just off the coast of Puerto Rico, Flamenco is a hot spot for water adventures. With its colorful aquatic life, beachside bars serving up cocktails, and flamingo-filled lagoons, this strip of sand provides an ideal day trip for those looking to go beyond the bustle of San Juan.More

Trip ideas

How to Spend 2 Days in San Juan

How to Spend 2 Days in San Juan

Top activities in San Juan

San Juan Guided Snorkel Tour

San Juan Guided Snorkel Tour

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$59.00
Flavors of Old San Juan Food Tour

Flavors of Old San Juan Food Tour

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$147.00
San Juan ATV Adventure Tour

San Juan ATV Adventure Tour

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$174.00
Old San Juan Walking Tour

Old San Juan Walking Tour

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$41.03
Full-Day Zipline and Waterfall Rappelling Adventure Near San Juan
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San Juan: El Yunque Rainforest and Bio Bay Combo Tour
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1hr or 2hrs ATV Ride Experience!

1hr or 2hrs ATV Ride Experience!

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$150.00
San Juan Bay Day Sail with Drinks Included
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Full-Day Culebra and Flamenco Beach Snorkeling from San Juan
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Bio Bay Night Kayaking with Transportation from San Juan area
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Old San Juan Sunset Sail
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Old San Juan Sunset Sail

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Operators have paid Viator more to have their experiences featured here

Recent reviews from experiences in San Juan

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Capt ivan is great!
Candace_C, Aug 2022
Sunset Sail by San Juan Historical Bay
Beautiful to see old San Juan from the water.
star-5
San Juan tour—super fun!!!
Richard_M, Aug 2022
Let A Local Show You Puerto Rico: Visit to El Yunque Included
was super informative and we got to see many sites in San Juan and on the way to the rain forest area.
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Wasn’t ready for it to be over
kksphilbin, Aug 2022
San Juan Bay Day Sail with Drinks Included
We felt very welcomed and were able to see old San Juan from a different perspective.
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Great food paired with history
Ellandrea_M, Jul 2022
Old San Juan Sunset Walk & Taste Food Tour
This was a great way to see and taste the flavors of Old San Juan.
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Views, music and wonderful customer service
erikka_p, Jul 2022
Sunset Harbor Boat Ride in San Juan
A perfect boat ride to see the beautiful sunset.
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Great tour!!!
Queen_J, Jul 2022
Flavors of Old San Juan Food Tour
We learned a lot about different restaurants, history of San Juan and different things to do in the area.
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This was our first time...
Jessie_M, Jun 2022
Old San Juan Walking Tour
Before we did any other tours, we made sure to learn about San Juan first and got a lot of recommendations on places to visit for the duration of our stay.
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Amazing sail!
Olivia_K, Jun 2022
Sunset Sail by San Juan Historical Bay
Our tour guide was very knowledgeable and passionate about sailing and provided great recommendations to visit in San Juan!
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Great Experience in Old San Juan
Rachel_B, May 2022
Old San Juan Walking Tour
The guide took us to so many stops and pointed out places to visit in our free time.
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An amazing day!
Julianne_G, May 2022
Casual One: El Yunque Rainforest, Waterslide, Beach, Dine, and Shop w/ Transport
I would definitely recommend this to people want to see a part of El Yunque and get out of San Juan for the day!
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Good deal
Phillip_J, Apr 2022
Old San Juan WALKING TOUR
Great way to see San Juan!
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10/10 would recommend
James_F, Apr 2022
Sunset Harbor Boat Ride in San Juan
Incredible perspective to see Old San Juan from the outside looking in.
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It’s a great tour to sign up for
Paul_J, Mar 2022
Let A Local Show You Puerto Rico: Visit to El Yunque Included
We got a chance to see all parts of the Island and taste the food.
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Worth every penny
David_R, Mar 2022
San Juan Luxury Private Round-Trip Transfer: SJU Airport - Cruise Pier - Hotel
This was our first time in San Juan and she was very helpful in telling us some things to do to enjoy our stay!
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Our tour guide gave us a...
Shari_E, Mar 2022
Old San Juan City Tour and Piñones Sightseeing Experience!
Our tour guide gave us a great experience in and around San Juan and many places to visit that otherwise we wouldn't have known.
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Delicious Food and Awesome Views
Shandra_C, Aug 2022
Flavors of Old San Juan Food Tour
I’m truly grateful because while the food is great, I also wanted to see iconic parts of San Juan and learn about the history and culture and Claudia provided all of that!
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A Great Experience!
Rebekah_I, Jul 2022
Guided Water Bike Tour in Condado Lagoon
We were able to stop and swim/walk around in the water a bit, too, and I definitely recommend this to anyone - definitely an easy thing to do with kids, and you don't have to be in a big tour group either; the guide just took my two friends and I around and was very patient with all the pictures we stopped to take.
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Bio bay tour w/ my 6yr old
Cecilia_M, Jul 2022
Fajardo Bioluminescent Bay Night Kayak Adventure from San Juan
The bioluminescence was amazing to see in person but you can’t really see it if you record with your phone.
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An amazing and unique experience
Linda_P, Jun 2022
Full-Day Zipline and Waterfall Rappelling Adventure Near San Juan
They have picked out the perfect route that let's you hike through the rainforest for 45-60 minutes and then each person in the group gets to repel down the waterfall and you end with 3 ziplines.
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Great tour, waterfalls were a blast!
April_C, May 2022
Private Full-Day Puerto Rico Nature Lovers Tour: Cave, Waterfall and Beach Combo
I think we loved the waterfalls the most but the entire trip was fantastic.
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All about San Juan

When to visit

Winter in San Juan means warm temperatures, dry weather, and tons of events including the Puerto Rico Heritage Artisans Fair and San Sebastián Street Festival. Be sure to book ahead if you want to enjoy Puerto Rico’s peak season, when snowbirds flock to the island. Crowds typically die down by April, but pleasant weather remains, making spring a great alternative.

Currency
US Dollar ($)
Time Zone
AST (UTC -4)
Country Code
+1
Language(s)
Spanish

People Also Ask

What is San Juan best known for?

San Juan is the capital city of Puerto Rico, with soft sand beaches, cultural attractions, and a laid-back, lively vibe. It's a popular tourist destination and a common cruise ship stop. Much of Puerto Rico’s rum is produced here, and the city is one of the most important Caribbean ports.

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What activities do people do in Puerto Rico?

With its landscape of lush mountains and picturesque waterfalls, Puerto Rico attracts travelers drawn to natural attractions, such as the El Yunque tropical rainforest. In Old San Juan, tour colorful Spanish colonial buildings, museums, historic forts, and more. Stop by Casa Bacardi for a guided tour followed by a rum tasting.

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Do you need a passport to go to San Juan Islands?

It depends. US citizens visiting from mainland destinations do not need passports to enter Puerto Rico since it's an unincorporated US territory. Instead, use a government-issued photo ID like a driver's license or a birth certificate. Visitors from other countries, including Canada, need a valid passport to land in Puerto Rico.

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What should I not miss in Old San Juan?

Don't miss the streets of Old San Juan, in the heart of the capital city. They offer a glimpse into the past, with historic forts and Spanish colonial architecture. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city combines history with contemporary Puerto Rican culture. Many of the old buildings are home to attractions.

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What do locals do for fun in Puerto Rico?

Don't miss the streets of Old San Juan, in the heart of the capital city. They offer a glimpse into the past, with historic forts and Spanish colonial architecture. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city combines history with contemporary Puerto Rican culture. Many of the old buildings are home to attractions.

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Is San Juan dangerous for tourists?

No. Most neighborhoods in San Juan are safe during the day, but some become dodgy at night. Travelers are advised to avoid walking and instead take a taxi to their destination in the evening. Locals recommend following the usual travel precautions: Don't walk alone at night and avoid unsavory neighborhoods.

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Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What are the top things to do in San Juan?
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What are the top activities in San Juan?
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What do I need to know before visiting San Juan?