Looking for things to do in Puerto Rico with kids? Check out these six activities you don’t want to miss!
I took my seven-year-old daughter to Puerto Rico last year and we had an absolute blast.
If you want to know where we stayed and how we got around during our trip,click here for my Ultimate Guide to Visiting Puerto Rico With Kids.
There are so many family-friendly activities in Puerto Rico you will be spoiled for choice!
Here’s what we experienced during our stay and what you need to know to get the most out of your visit.
El Yunque National Forest
It was a 30 minute drive from our condo to the entrance of El Yunque (pronounced el-YOON-kay) National Forest.
El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest system and is home to hundreds of unique plants and animal species – plus lots of waterfalls!
Here’s what we did on our visit:
- Short hike to Bano Grando pool and waterfall
- Short hike to Juan Diego waterfall (bring your swimsuit!)
- Climbed Yokahua Tower
- Viewed La Coca falls
My favorite part of the day was the short hike to Juan Diego Falls (pictured above).
I so wished I had my swimsuit with me so I could have gone in! There were several falls you could go under.
Climbing to the top of Yokahua Tower was also really fun.
You are rewarded with panoramic views of the rain forest and ocean.
There is so much more to do in El Yunque if you have more avid hikers or older kids.
We wanted to hike to La Mina falls but the trail was closed (it is supposed to reopen this year).
I also really wanted to hike the 0.8 mile one way trail to the Mt. Britton tower but my seven-year-old wasn’t up for it.
The El Portal visitor center was also still closed when we visited but is expected to open this year as well.
You’ll definitely want to visit the rain forest on your trip!
Day Trip To Culebra & Flamenco Beach
My absolute favorite day of our trip was our visit to Culebra.
Culebra is a small island 17 miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico. It served as a U.S. Naval base until 1975.
The main attraction for us was Flamenco Beach, which often makes it on lists of the best beaches in the world!
First of all – Flamenco Beach did not disappoint.
I feel like I am spoiled for beaches forever.
It has warm, calm, crystal clear water, soft sand, amenities, and places to sit in the shade of a palm tree.
It’s a challenge to get to, however, which is part of what keeps it so nice!
There is an abandoned tank from the Navy on the beach you can walk down to check out. It’s really cool to see and take pictures with.
We brought our snorkeling gear and were able to see some fish around the reefs off the beach.
It was my daughter’s first time snorkeling outside of the pool and it was the perfect introduction. The water is clear, calm, and shallow.
Here was my spot in the sand for the day. Looks like paradise, right?
In fact we were having so much fun we couldn’t bring ourselves to go home!
I was able to get us tickets on the late ferry so we could spend an extra five hours in Culebra.
We grabbed dinner at a little restaurant next to the ferry dock and were joined by a new friend (This might have been the highlight of the entire trip for my daughter.)
We are still talking about our day on Culebra more than a year later!
Bio Bay Kayak Tour
One evening we ventured over to Fajardo, which was about 45 minutes from our condo, to take a kayak tour of the Laguna Grande “Bio Bay”.
Bioluminescent plankton live in abundance in the Bio Bay. They give off a a neon blue-green color when you disturb them.
There are only five places in the world that they live in such high concentrations that the water appears to glow – and three of these places are in Puerto Rico!
I had to see this amazing sight for myself so I booked a kayak tour of Laguna Grande, the most popular of the three Bio Bays.
Unfortunately you can’t capture the glowing plankton on camera, but here we are paddling into the bay as the sun set.
We went on a night with cloud cover and a moon about half full, making it hard to see the glow without help.
So our tour guides pulled a giant tarp over all of the kayaks to make it darker.
Then we could easily see the “bling bling”. They looked like thousands of tiny diamonds in the water!
I booked our kayak tour with Pure Adventures through Viator and was really happy with it.
I paid less than $100 for both of us and the adventure and unique experience made it worth it for me.
You’d be fine on this trip even if you’ve never kayaked before.
Our guides gave basic instructions and safety information and were super professional.
Tours left at 6:15 and 8:15 and we took the earlier one since the later one was after my daughter’s bedtime.
If you want to best see the bioluminescence, I suggest booking on a night with as little moon as possible.
Since my daughter wasn’t into paddling herself, I did all of the work for both of us, which made it pretty tiring.
But with two people to paddle it would be an easy trip. I highly recommend booking a Bio Bay kayak tour on your trip to Puerto Rico.
Things To Do In Puerto Rico: El Morro
One of the top places to visit in San Juan is the huge fort know as “El Morro” or more officially Castillo San Felipe del Morro.
It occupies the northwest corner of the city and was designed to guard the entrance to San Juan.
We visited on the last day of our trip and it ended up being a highlight for us!
El Morro was built from the 1500’s to the 1700’s and is such a cool piece of history.
It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is managed by the US Park Service.
Kids get in free and adults are $10 each unless you have a National Parks Pass – then it’s free!
You also get admission to the other fort in San Juan, Castillo San Cristóbal, if you visit within 24 hours.
We spent several hours exploring the fort and really had a blast.
It’s rare to be in a building so old in the New World!
You can learn about the Spanish colonization of the Caribbean, the era of pirates, and how Puerto Rico became a US Territory at the fort.
And get fantastic views of the ocean out of the windows at the fort.
I highly recommend setting a few hours aside to explore El Morro. I think it’s one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico with kids.
Old San Juan
On our last day in Puerto Rico we parked the car and explored Old San Juan on foot.
It’s a beautiful, historic city that’s easy to navigate.
We grabbed some lunch in a little café that was very affordable.
You can find them all around the city and they are tourist-friendly. Pretty much everyone in the city speaks English.
We loved the colorful buildings and the old steps. It’s a quintessentially Caribbean vibe.
Definitely make a stop by Calle de la Fortaleza – it’s the street that was previously covered by colorful umbrellas that now features a huge Puerto Rican flag.
It’s the perfect place to take a selfie or a group photo to remember your trip.
I also have to mention the amazing frappes we had at San Juan Frappes – they were so good! Be sure to stop in and grab a drink if it’s hot.
I think families would love to spend a day exploring the streets of Old San Juan. There’s also lots of shopping of you are into that. 🙂
Friends of ours who used to spend the winter in Puerto Rico recommended the Luquillo Kiosks as a place to grab some local food.
The kiosks are mostly restaurants but there are some gift shop and bars in the mix, too.
We went on a week night and it was pretty empty – but I’ve heard that the weekends bring the crowds.
There were lots of places to eat dinner but we chose Kiosk #20 – Terruno.
We enjoyed some authentic Puerto Rico food that was SO delicious. Even my seven-year-old daughter loved everything.
Most of the restaurants have open air dining that looks out on the ocean. You can find something for everyone at the kiosks.
Don’t be scared by their ramshackle appearance – the kiosks are essential Puerto Rico and you won’t be disappointed!
I hope you got lots of ideas for things to do in Puerto Rico in this post.
Be sure to check out my Ultimate Guide to Puerto Rico with kids for all of the details of our trip!
Any questions? Leave a comment below or send me a message on The Frugal South’s Facebook page.
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