So maybe you won’t be flying off for a 10 day vacation any time soon. No matter where you are on the globe, because of corona virus, chances are you can barely take a trip to the grocery store, let alone a trip abroad. But as they say, “This too shall pass.” And when it does, you’re probably going to want to get as far away from home as you can get – especially if you’ve been shut in with little kids!
Why not start planning and dreaming now about a fantastic vacation in Puerto Rico? Here, we’ll help you out. We’ve been dreaming about getting away too. Best of all we’ve been thinking about exactly where we want to go and what we want to see when we get there.
Fly away with us and imagine this sight-seeing, action-packed 10 day Puerto Rico itinerary. Then when the time comes, you can go ahead and pull the trigger on your trip. And away we go!
You'll be flying into San Juan Airport (SJU) which is a quick ride 10-15 taxi ride to your hotel in San Juan. You can also easily grab an Uber, just follow the signs after arrival to the baggage claim area. You'll be going upstairs to a designated pick up area.
Spa Treatment at The Zen Spa Océano
Refresh after your flight by getting a spa treatment at the Zen Spa Océano, which is the on-site spa of The Caribe Hilton. It has all the amenities from outdoor heated whirlpools, steam and sauna, hydrotherapy and a gorgeous beachfront location. It's facilities are an ample 8,500 square feet and I recommend getting the 'No More Knots’ deep tissue massage. My massage was so good and flew by so fast, I wish we could have gone another couple of hours!
If you truly want to splurge, sign up for the signature Piña Colada spa treatment, which is a full body massage featuring pineapple oil and is paired with either a Coconut ultra-hydrating Body Wrap or skin-smoothing Body Scrub.
Piña Colada Tasting
Stop by to The Caribe Hilton, home to the Piña Colada! At the hotel, you can sign up for a Piña Colada tasting at the Caribe Bar. The bartenders very accommodating if you're a non-drinker like me. You'll get to try the original Piña Colada and other cocktail spinoffs of the original such as :The Painkiller, Colada Nueva, and Clear Colada.
Also enjoy the delicious appetizers at the Caribe bar. I recommend the banana chip nachos and the pineapple chicken wings.
Dinner at Morton's
For a delicious Western meal with ocean views, head down to Morton’s, located inside the Caribe Hilton. It's a high end steakhouse, featuring prime-aged beef, seafood, signature sides and an extensive wine menu and dessert selection.
The Caribe Hilton
It's just undergone a $150 million dollar renovation and is home to one of my favorite mock-tails, the Piña Colada. Yes, it was originally designed as a mock-tail and not an alcoholic drink! It's a celebrity hot spot and is leading Puerto Rico's revitalization efforts. It's an oceanfront property so you can cool yourself off from the tropical weather if you need to. I myself prefer a tropical climate!
I also love that the Caribe Hilton has a jam packed schedule of activities so you don't need to leave the property at all unless you want to. There are also eleven on-site restaurants & bars featuring all kinds of cuisine from traditional Puerto Rican dishes to upscale steak and lobster at Morton's.
Day Two: Exploring the Wildlife of Puerto Rico
You’ll be glad you took the time to rest up on day one because day two you start venturing out and exploring Puerto Rico. This itinerary starts with one of the most famous attractions in Puerto Rico – the Arecibo Observatory just an hour west of San Juan. Not intrigued yet? What if I told you that you’ve seen it in some of the biggest, most spectacular movies about space?
Ever seen the movie Contact with Jodie Foster when she discovered aliens? If so, that giant telescope she was using was the thousand foot wide radio telescope in Arecibo, Puerto Rico. It is the largest in the world and can pick up sounds from a hundred million years ago! You can get lost for hours on the free tour after you pay the small admission to get in.
Zoológico de Mayagüez (the Mayaguez Zoo)
Next we go from space to right here on earth; specifically on the Island of Puerto Rico. After Arecibo, you will taxi or drive another hour and a half further west until you hit the Mayaguez area. Here you’ll stop and spend the next few hours exploring Puerto Rico’s zoo. It’s not a really big zoo but you’ll find animals from every continent here as well as many local wildlife treasures.
Day Three: Maxing Out in Cabo Rojo
From the zoo it’s just a quick 25 minute drive to Cabo Rojo where you’ll be checking into one of the best and most famous hotels in all of Puerto Rico. We’re talking about the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel which is so famous, most people just refer to it as the El San Juan hotel. It’s gorgeous, has everything, and sits right on the oceanfront!
Address: 6063 Isla Verde Avenue, Carolina, Puerto Rico 00979 |Phone: 1 (787) 791-1000; Toll Free Number: 1 (800) 819 7155 | Website: https://www.elsanjuanhotel.com
La Playuela a.k.a. Playa Sucia (Sweet Beach)
Depending on when you arrive in Cabo Rojo, you may just want to hunker down for the night after having spent several hours at the observatory and the zoo. Day three in Cabo Rojo is the perfect day for you to relax and or play in the sun. You’re going to spend most of the day hanging out on La Playuela.
It is a spectacular sight to behold. It’s shaped like a half moon and the sparkling water eases right up to the shore. You can go swimming, surfing, wading, or just lying out and enjoying the incredible beauty and weather all around you!
There are plenty of little eateries and street vendors in the area for you to indulge in and stories galore about the pirates who used to troll the Caribbean, including Cabo Rojo. Take a hike through the lush landscape that encompasses the beach for a rare view of this extraordinary beach and its wildlife.
Day Four: Learning How to Surf in La Pared
On Day four (or five) you are going to head out on a two hour drive along the southern coast of Puerto Rico before ending up in La Pared. Here you are going to encounter what is deemed one of the best beaches for learning how to surf.
Whether you are a beginner or an expert, surf pros on La Pared Beach are there to help you take your first wave with ease! Your surf pro will help you navigate the water and will help you pick out your first top of the line surfboard from the pro shop. If surfing isn’t enough adventure for you, there is a rainforest just beyond the shoreline you can hike if you dare.
Address: Carr. 987, Km 5.4, Fajardo, 00738|Phone: 1-787-245-4545|Email: [email protected]
Tour the Famous Pomarrosa Coffee B&B
At the end of the day you are going to check into a very unique bed and breakfast that you will only find in Puerto Rico. I’m talking about the Hacienda de Café Pomarrosa of course! This famous B&B is set on top of a coffee bean plantation where you get to learn all about how coffee is grown and made. They even offer on-site tours for day visitors via reservation one day a week.
Address: Street 511 Corner Street 143 Sector, Cam Hogares Seguros, Barrio, 00731
Day Five: Kayaking in Fajardo
You can spend a day or two in La Pared if you like or you can take off for an hour and fifteen minutes up the eastern coast to Fajardo, Puerto Rico where you’ll find a kayaking adventure unlike any other you’ve ever heard of before! I’m talking about the Glass Bottom Kayak Tours offered by Awesome Kayak Adventures.
If you’ve never been kayaking before, don’t worry, you’ll have a guide teaching you the ropes and guiding you along the channels to the Grand Lagoon (Laguna Grande). What’s truly fascinating about this kayaking tour is just like the name implies – the bottoms of the kayaks are made of glass.
That means that as you drift along the waterways you get to see through the bottom of the kayak all of the animals that fill the waters along the east coast of Puerto Rico. It’s a two hour tour which you can take during the day – or try the night tour where everything is bioluminated!
Day Six: Having Fun in the Sun on Isla Verde
This itinerary allows for a few days of flexibility so whether you are on day six or day eight, you cannot leave Puerto Rico without spending time on Isla Verde. I’ve saved this spot as one of the last few stops on this 10 day Puerto Rico itinerary for a couple of reasons. One, Isla Verda has one of the most beautiful and action-packed beaches on the entire island and two, you’ll notice you’ve basically circumnavigated the entire island of Puerto Rico!
Isla Verde is just 15 minutes from San Juan where you’ll be departing at the end of the trip. If you are looking for a calm and peaceful day at the beach – this isn’t the place! People fill up this beach quickly, especially during tourist season. Vendors are out hocking their rellenos de papas and empanadas, while water lovers take to the beach to snorkel, jetski, surf – everything!
Head to the Cangrejos Yacht Club for the Jetski Excursion with Ocean Pro Adventure, one of my favorite experiences ever. Get a tour of the gorgeous beaches and explore the San Jose lagoon, where you'll encounter local fisherman and wildlife in the mangrove canals. It's an active 90 minute adventure which varies with guided tour time and also freestyle time where you can zoom around the bay no your own, as fast as you can handle! There is also time for a snorkeling session.
Lunch at La Garita Yaz
After working up an appetite, head over to the neighborhood of La Perla. An under the radar locals favorite, La Garita has all of the top Puerto Rican specialities. Besides the stunning ocean and skyline views, they serve up authentic dishes such as can can pork (recommend!), all kinds of mofongo, including lobster mofongo and great pina coladas. My favorite place for authentic Puerto Rican food.
Sample empanadas, or the famous pinchos, a fried kebab of pork, chicken or seafood.
Take a Tour of La Perla
La Perla can be a bit unsafe at night time if you're a female exploring the area by herself but you are perfectly safe to explore this neighborhood with a tour guide in the daytime. This area has now been made famous by the hit song "Despacito", La Perla. There are gorgeous murals everywhere, multi-colored houses, and friendly locals.
In fact, we were invited by a group of locals to try out their own moonshine and they even gave us a prized bottle to take home as a souvenir!
Get a SNUBA lesson from Aqua Adventures. The hotel has an ideal location for SNUBA in it's shallow water dive cove. The word is a combination of the words scuba and snorkeling and you can explore the area with a floating air supply. This is an hour adventure!
The area has a thriving nightlife, and the streets fronting the beach are lined with bars, clubs and restaurants. Meet the locals as you drink cocktails made with Puerto Rican rum, or enjoy a meal at one of the upmarket restaurants in the area.
Afterwards, you can check back into the Caribe Hilton or a different San Juan Hotel that you’ve never stayed in before. Still, I recommend grabbing dinner at one of Caribe Hilton's on-site restaurants, Mojitos. The dishes feature Spanish and Creole flavors and farm to table ingredients.
Also enjoy the delicious appetizers at the Caribe bar. I recommend the banana chip nachos and the pineapple chicken wings.
Day Seven: Feeding the Manatees – “Caretaker for the Day”
As you near the end of your 10 day vacation in Puerto Rico, do not miss the chance to see one of the most majestic creatures in the ocean facing extinction. The Inter American University of Puerto Rico houses one of the top conservation and research centers for manatees. The university is dedicated to spreading the knowledge of these amazing creatures as well as preventing their extinction.
Before you leave the island, you should take time to participate in a public tour at the university. It’s about an hour and a half long but if you really want to make a day of it – check out this option: You can be caretaker for a day.
That’s right, you and a group of four other people can get an exclusive, up close and personal look at the on-site manatees as you serve as caretaker for the day. For up to three hours, you’ll get to make food for the manatees, feed them, and learn about how these animals are cared for and how they live.
Day Eight: Strolling the Streets of San Juan
On your final full day in Puerto Rico, you’ll wind up back where you started. Here you’ll spend your last day on the island exploring the streets of San Juan. After all of the delicious food you’ve been devouring on this trip, why not start the day with tennis, anyone?
Tennis LessonOn site at the Caribe Hilton is the Monica Puig Tennis center and you'll be paired up with a tennis pro which will give you a great workout and teach you all the import
Explore the Street Art of San Juan
Art is everywhere in the streets of Puerto Rico. San Juan is a gorgeous and walkable neighborhood with colorful buildings. Walk the streets to find huge murals spanning multiple buildings, sculptures, galleries, and street art galore. You won't have time to see it all!
Drinks at Esquina Watusi
Enjoy tapas and local beers at this chinchorreo bar, frequented by locals, not tourists. Get a real taste of San Juan. Chinchorreos are food kiosks or restaurants that serve traditional Puerto Rican food from small bites to huge platters of food. Often there is also a dance floor as Puerto Ricans love to dance! Chinchorrear is the practice of jumping from chinchorreo to chinchorreo, pretty much the equivalent of bar hopping.
This little bar/kiosk is not only photogenic and located right smack in the middle of the Santurce street-art district. It's still cool but relatively low key in the daytime, but come at night to people watch as all the cool kids come to hang out.
Dinner at PROLE Cocina & Barra
PROLE Cocina & Barra is located right in the heart of San Juan and is a contemporary bar that is the brainchild of famous José Esteban Rivero. The restaurant features an upscale cocktail bar serving artfully crafted cocktails. As for the food, everything was delicious from the appetizers to the desserts. Make sure to order the lamb meatballs for an appetizer and almond and thyme crusted Mahi Mahi topping squid ink spaghetti for your main. If you love goat cheese, order the goat cheese cheesecake, its like a goat cheese bomb!