4 Days In Puerto Rico: Family Friendly Itinerary

Are you planning to spend four days in Puerto Rico and unsure how to start planning your itinerary? I am so glad you stopped by!

Puerto Rico is such a popular destination if you are looking for a quick and easy getaway.

Some highlights of visiting Puerto Rico are the beautiful beaches, friendly locals, delicious food, vibrant rainforest, and colorful San Juan streets.

We were looking for a quick long weekend trip from NYC with our 3-year-old, and Puerto Rico met our needs. Believe it or not, four days in Puerto Rico was enough to fill it with adventure and some relaxation.

So here we go, without further ado; I share our ultimate 4-day Puerto Rico Itinerary.

Four Days in Puerto Rico: What To Know Before Visiting

  • Location: Puerto Rico is a Caribbean Island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean. Because Puerto Rico is a US territory, American citizens do not need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico.
  • Language: the most widely spoken languages in Puerto Rico are English and Spanish.
  • Currency: The United States Dollar (USD).
  • Safety: Puerto Rico is generally safe, especially in a big, touristy city like San Juan. However, be aware that pickpocketing could occur on public transportation or if you leave things unattended.
 A woman wearing a pink short dress and a sun hat leaning on Colorful wall in the streets of Puerto Rico

Are 4 Days in Puerto Rico Enough?

It is possible to make the most of your four days in Puerto Rico. However, you may need more time for a more relaxed itinerary and authentic experience.

Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico

The best time to visit Puerto Rico is mid-April to June. However, airfare and hotel prices are higher during this season, which is also the most demanded.

Hurricane season (June-November) attracts fewer tourists, so airfare and hotel prices drastically decrease. Off-season travel could be much more affordable if you are on a budget. However, check the weather conditions closer to your trip dates.

Getting Around Puerto Rico

The best way to get around Puerto Rico is to rent a car or utilize a taxi service.

Most major car rental companies have locations at the airport and throughout the island. I recommend booking a rental car in advance to ensure availability.

We thought we would get away without renting a car, but at the very last minute, we decided to rent one. Unsurprisingly, no vehicles were available, so we had to get around by taxi. The average wait time was about 12-15 minutes or more.

So, if you plan to explore outside the resort a lot, invest in a car rental and save time.

Where to Stay in Puerto Rico?

The best places to stay in Puerto Rico vary based on individual preferences and interests. Some popular areas include:

  • San Juan: Known for its historic charm, vibrant nightlife, and diverse dining options.
  • Condado: Offers upscale accommodations, beautiful beaches, and a lively atmosphere with trendy restaurants and entertainment options.
  • Isla Verde: Known for its stunning beaches, luxury resorts, and proximity to the airport.
  • Rincon: Ideal for a more relaxed and tropical vacation experience with beautiful beaches and a mix of locals and tourists.

Here are some of my hotel recommendations:

Hotel El Convento: Located on one of the prettiest streets in Old San Juan, this luxury and historic hotel offers relaxing and unwinding rooms with Spanish design and interiors such as marble bathrooms and Andalusian tile floors. This elegant and stylish hotel is perfect for someone who wants to be in a prime location near Old San Juan attractions.

Casablanca Hotel: Casablanca Hotel is located in the heart of Old San Juan, providing easy access to the vibrant culture, historic sites, and beautiful architecture. The hotel is known for its quaint ambiance, personalized service, and unique features, such as its panoramic elevator.

Condado Vanderbilt Hotel: The Condado Vanderbilt Hotel is a historic luxury hotel located in the Condado area of San Juan, Puerto Rico.

The hotel is an excellent option for families looking for a luxury stay. It offers stunning ocean views and a range of upscale amenities, including a spa, infinity pool, and fine dining options.

There is something for everyone to enjoy, and we had a great time. You can read our full Condado Vanderbilt hotel Review below.

Read: Our Stay at Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

girl overlooking the Ocean view from Condado Vanderbilt resort in Puerto Rico

Condado Ocean Club: If you travel without kids and are an outdoor adventure enthusiast, consider staying at this adult-only hotel oasis. It’s our bucket list hotel for couples-only travel.

Focusing on providing authentic experiences and off-property adventures, the hotel aims to connect its guests to the local lifestyle and charm of the city.

Day 1: Explore Old San Juan

Old San Juan is famous for its colorful colonial architecture, charming cobblestone streets, and rich history. It is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Puerto Rico.

A woman standing in the middle of colorful Old San Juan Street in Puerto Rico smiling looking at building

Have Breakfast

Start your day with breakfast at Caficultura, a cute little café with delicious food and great coffee selections.

The restaurant opens daily at 8 AM, so be sure to get there early to start the day.

shot of a hand holding a cup of coffee at Caficultura Cafe in Old San Juan Puerto Rico

I highly recommend the egg Benedict and chocolate mocha. The rest of the menu selections looked very tempting, too. My son loved his pancakes.

breakfast table featuring Breakfast  egg Benedict sandwiches, pancakes and coffee in Old San Juan Puerto Rico

Visit Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro)

After breakfast, head over to explore Castillo San Felipe del Morro. I recommend starting early to avoid exploring under a harsh sun.

Hours: Monday – Sunday, 9 AM – 5 PM (Hours may differ on major holidays)

The fortress, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a prominent cultural treasure of Puerto Rico. Its extensive history and outstanding architecture make it a must-see attraction for visitors.

El Morro is one of the Spanish’s first forts, built in 1539 to defend Puerto Rico from sea attacks by the Dutch, British, and the Americas for over 400 years.

girl captured in front of Del Morro. One of the must-see destinations during 4 days in Puerto Rico guide
Lookout with ocean view from El Morro Fort, Puerto Rico
El Morro Fort ocean view, Puerto Rico
a women in pink dress and a sun hat setting overlooking from the El Morro fort in San Juan Puerto Rico. One of the must places to see during 4 days in Puerto Rico

Tips When Visiting El Morro

  • Tickets: The $10 entrance fee is valid for Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal, another castle in Old San Juan worth a quick visit. Children 15 and under can visit for free.
  • Wear comfortable shoes and light clothes to explore in the heat comfortably.
  • Bring your water bottle to hydrate.
  • Bring a sun hat and sunglasses and apply some sunscreen.

Explore Colorful Streets of Old San Juan

After exploring the fort, get lost in Old San Juan’s streets. Old San Juan has only seven square blocks, which you can explore in just one day.

My favorite street was Calle De La Luna. It was a little away from a crowded spot yet beautiful in Pastel colors.

Colorful buildings in Old Jan Juan Puerto Rico
Baby and Mom exploring Old San Juan streets
colorful street in Old San Juan, Puerto rico
Calle De La Luna

Grab Refreshment at Mercado La Caretta

No matter when you visit Puerto Rico, you may quickly get dehydrated while exploring the city. Thankfully, there are many shops and cafes to cool off inside.

Yet another best way to cool off is to get some cold refreshments at La Caretta. This street was my favorite. This brunch restaurant is located between Luna and Tanca streets. Gorgeous! They offer brunch, lunch, tapas, cocktails, and delicious smoothies.

Smoothie cups : where to eat in puerto rico

Day 2: Visit El Yunque Rainforest

About 45 minutes from San Juan, you will arrive at El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the USA. This stunning forest in Puerto Rico is family-friendly, but certain tour operators may not allow kids under 2.

The rainforest is home to several stunning waterfalls and hiking trails, which allow visitors to experience Puerto Rico’s natural beauty up close.

You can take a guided hike to some of the most popular spots in the forest, including La Mina Falls, a 35-foot waterfall that cascades into a refreshing swimming hole.

For those seeking an adrenaline rush, El Yunque offers zip-lining and adventure tours that provide a unique perspective of the rainforest.

Baby and mom hiking in El Yunque Rainforest during 4 days in Puerto Rico

How to Get to El Yunque Forest

One of the best ways to get to El Yunque Forest is by tour bus or car rental. There is no Public transportation, and cabs cannot enter the forest. To make your experience smoother and more enjoyable, rent a car and explore at your own pace or follow a guided tour.

We joined a tour because we did not have a rental car, and we felt more comfortable with a tour guide while traveling with a small kid.

The tour was fun but short. As soon as we arrived, there was a significant rainfall. We all got soaked, but we enjoyed exploring the beautiful greenery regardless of the weather. The Tour also stopped at one of the natural pools, where you can cool off.

Book El Yunque Tour Here

El Yunque Rainforest green and red plants Puerto Rico

El Yunque Tickets

You can obtain tickets to El Yunque National Forest through various platforms, including Recreation.gov, which allows online ticket purchases. However, we struggled with this method, and I would not recommend it if you like to preplan in advance.

As strange as it may sound, tickets are not released 24 hours before opening the following day, so you must check the site and purchase any available tickets. They sell out fast.

Another tip is to log in 5 minutes before they open for the next day’s ticket (8:00 AM). Others suggested this, and it worked for us. I hope this helps!

Alternatively, and way more quickly, you can book your El Yunque Tour in advance, including your ticket and the best available date.

Reserve El Yunque Ticket Here

Visit Luquillo Beach Kiosks

At the end of the Tour, we stopped by the Famous Luquillo Beach Kiosks for authentic Puerto Rican food. You can return to your pick-up point by bus or continue your day at the beach without a tour.

The Luquillo Beach Kiosks in Puerto Rico are a popular attraction comprised of around 60 family-owned kiosks selling food, drinks, and souvenirs.

Visitors can find different restaurants and gift shops in front of the beach, offering a range of cuisines, including Puerto Rican, Caribbean fusion, BBQ, and seafood. The kiosks are known for their local flavor and provide a beachfront atmosphere with reasonable prices and fast service.

We grabbed a few empanadas and cornbreads, which were worth stopping by!

Corn breads and empanadas on Luquillo Beach Puerto Rico

Day 3: Explore Beaches and Relax

Relax at the Beach

It is essential to mix your adventures with relaxation during your four days in Puerto Rico. You can choose from a few beaches to relax and cool off.

Luquillo Beach – often called the “Sun Capital” of Puerto Rico. This crescent-shaped beach has clear blue waters and is lined with palm trees. You can relax on the beach, swim in the calm waters, or try water sports like kayaking or paddleboarding.

Fajardo Beach is a bit more secluded and less crowded than Luquillo. It has crystal-clear waters and is surrounded by lush greenery.

Condado Beach – Condado is famous for its urban beach vibe, luxury hotels, and vibrant nightlife.

Woman Watching the ocean at condado beach, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Go Snorkeling and Scuba Diving

For those who love snorkeling and scuba diving, the beaches of Luquillo and Fajardo offer some of the best spots in Puerto Rico. The waters teem with marine life, and visitors can witness colorful coral reefs, tropical fish, and even sea turtles.

Where To Eat in Puerto Rico

When it comes to food, Puerto Rico is a true paradise. From traditional dishes to fusion cuisine, plenty of options satisfy every palate. Here are some of the best places to eat during your 4-day trip to Puerto Rico.

Check out Jose Enrique in Santurce for a more modern take on Puerto Rican cuisine. This trendy restaurant offers a creative menu that unexpectedly incorporates local ingredients and flavors.

Plenty of options exist for a more upscale dining experience. One popular spot is Barrachina, which claims to be the birthplace of the piña colada. In addition to its famous drink, Barrachina serves delicious Puerto Rican cuisine in a beautiful outdoor setting.

Local Cuisine

One of the must-try dishes in Puerto Rico is mofongo, a mashed plantain dish typically stuffed with meat, seafood, or vegetables. For a truly authentic experience, head to a local restaurant like Raices in Old San Juan, which serves delicious mofongo and other traditional Puerto Rican dishes.

For Caribbean cuisine, we headed to La Casita Blanca. This Puerto Rican restaurant is about 20 minutes away from the Condado resort. The location is not the most attractive, but wait until you enter and try the food.

Mom and baby captured in front of Entrance of local food cafe in Puerto Rico
Local restaurant decor in Puerto Rico
Local Puerto Rico dishes: 4 days in Puerto Rico

From the moment you enter, you will be greeted warmly. The interior is casual, and the atmosphere is very homey. I instantly fell in love with the place.

We ordered a few dishes to try, which were all so good!

Later in the day, stroll by the beach (if you’re staying in Condado) and enjoy the Caribbean sunset. On day 4, you may also take this opportunity to book a sunset sailboat ride.

Other Bucket List Activities in Puerto Rico

Do you plan to spend more than four days in Puerto Rico? Or are you traveling without little kids? If you answer yes, I have a few more amazing adventures you do not want to miss!

Take Bioluminescent Bay Tour

The three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico are Mosquito Bay on the island of Vieques, Laguna Grande in Fajardo, and La Parguera in Lajas. The most famous bay is Laguna Grande, close to San Juan and El Yunque.

The bioluminescent bay tour starts in the evening and involves kayaking through the mangrove forests to reach the bay. Once there, you can witness the glowing waters caused by the microorganisms in the water. The experience is truly magical and something you will remember forever—our extensive bucket list.

While this sounds like a fun excursion, there are age restrictions. You can only take kids six years and over. Even if you have older kids, ensure they are comfortable with the night tour instead of a bed in the kayak.

Book Bioluminescent Bay Tour Here

Visit Culebra Island

Culebra Island is located east of Vieques and is accessible by ferry or private boat. The island is known for its crystal-clear waters and excellent snorkeling opportunities.

You Can explore the coral reefs and marine life at Flamenco Beach or Tamarindo Beach.

Culebra also has a laid-back atmosphere and great place to relax and unwind. Visitors can enjoy the island’s local cuisine and take in the stunning views of the Caribbean Sea.

Both Vieques and Culebra offer a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors. Whether you prefer to explore the island’s natural beauty or soak up the local culture, a day trip to either island is a must-do on any Puerto Rico itinerary.

Pink Salt Flats—”Las Salinas” in Cabo Rojo. Travelers call it the “Pink Beach.” Salt flats are one of the best natural treasures in Puerto Rico for all ages to explore.

What to Pack for 4 Days in Puerto Rico?

When packing for Puerto Rico, it’s essential to consider the climate and activities planned. Lightweight, breathable clothing is recommended for tropical climates.

Additionally, travelers should pack sunscreen, insect repellent, and comfortable walking shoes. It’s also recommended to bring a waterproof bag for beach and water activities.

  • Swim Suits
  • Rash guards for kids
  • Quick dry towel
  • Sunhat
  • Camera
  • Dry Bag
  • Sunglasses
  • Sandals
  • Sneakers
  • Reef safe sunscreen
  • Bug repellant
  • Colorful and light clothes

These are just some essentials, but if you are looking for the ultimate summer vacation packing guide, check out the ultimate beach vacation packing guide.

Nightlife and Bars

Puerto Rico is also known for its vibrant nightlife scene, especially in areas like La Placita in Santurce. This lively square is home to various bars and restaurants that come alive after dark. Grab a drink at one of the many outdoor bars and enjoy the music and dancing that fills the streets.

Puerto Rico offers a diverse and delicious food scene that will please travelers. Whether you’re looking for traditional dishes or modern cuisine, there are plenty of options to explore during your four-day trip.

4 Days in Puerto Rico: Summary

There you have it! Our four-day itinerary in Puerto Rico is complete. We have explored so much that it is hard to believe everything was done in four days.

Exploring Beautiful Old San Juan and its historical El Morro, mesmerizing rainforest adventure, local food tasting at Luquillo beach, spots kayaking, evening strolls in Condado, and positive vibes.

We have Culebra Island and Biolumenscene on our list for the next time in Puerto Rico!

Please read about our full Concdado Vanderbilt Hotel Review and check out the Puerto Rico Highlights on Instagram.

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