Are you planning to spend only 4 days in Puerto Rico? I am here to help you organize your perfect adventurous trip in just 4 days.
Puerto Rico is a popular destination for travelers looking for a quick getaway. It’s no wonder why with its beautiful beaches, rich culture, and vibrant nightlife. However, planning and handling logistics is essential before embarking on your adventure.
Most of this itinerary is kid-friendly, as we also visited it with our toddler, except we skipped bioluminescent bay and day trips to the islands mentioned below! I highly recommend visiting those if you can!
4 days in Puerto Rico: What To Know Before Visiting
- Puerto Rico is a Caribbean Island with a desirable warm temperature range from 70-80 Fahrenheit year-round.
- Because Puerto Rico is a US territory, American citizens do not need a passport to travel here!
- The most widely spoken languages in Puerto Rico are English and Spanish. The more you explore locally, the more Spanish you will hear. However, we had no issue with language even when exploring locally.
- The Puerto Rican Currency is the United States Dollar (USD).
- Credit cards are widely accepted throughout the Island.
- Visiting Puerto Rico is considered generally safe, especially when you are visiting a big touristy city like San Juan. Be aware that pickpocketing could take place on public transportation or if you leave things unattended.
- Hurricanes are common in tropical places, including Puerto Rico. Hurricane season in Puerto Rico starts in June through November. The island was damaged by its latest storm Maria which happened in 2017. Puerto Rico is still recovering from that big damage.
- Puerto Rico is NOT home to any indigenous wildlife. No snakes!
Flights and Airport
Puerto Rico has two major airports: Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) in San Juan and Rafael Hernández Airport (BQN) in Aguadilla. Most international flights arrive at SJU, which is located just a few miles east of San Juan. You can take a taxi, Uber, or rental car to your destination from there.
When booking flights, check for deals and discounts. Some airlines offer package deals that include airfare and hotel accommodations. Additionally, booking flights in advance is recommended to avoid last-minute price hikes.
Transportation and Car Rental
While Puerto Rico has a public transportation system, it can be unreliable and limited. If you want more flexibility, renting a car is a popular option.
Most major car rental companies have locations at the airport and throughout the island. It’s recommended to book a rental car in advance to ensure availability. Alternatively, taxis and Ubers are available throughout the island. However, it’s important to note that taxi fares can be expensive, and Uber may not be available in all areas or quickly.
The minute we decided to rent a car through the resort concierge, there were no cars left for us, so we had to get around by Uber. That was fine and nothing too expensive but a little time-consuming. The usual wait time was about 12-15 minutes or more. So if you plan to get away from the resort a lot, invest in a car rental and save time!
When to Visit Puerto Rico?
The best time to visit Puerto Rico is Mid-April to June. However, airfare and hotel prices are higher since it is the most demanded season. Hurricane season (June-November) attracts fewer tourists. Therefore, airfare and hotel prices drastically decrease. Off-season travel could be much more affordable if you are on a budget. Ensure to check the weather conditions closer to your trip dates, though.
Are 4 Days in Puerto Rico Enough?
There is never enough time to explore every sight, visit every beach, and check every good restaurant, but we felt that four days was a fair amount of time to experience Puerto Rico.
Where to Stay in Puerto Rico
When planning a 4-day trip to Puerto Rico, choosing the right place to stay is crucial. The island has various options catering to different budgets, preferences, and needs. Here are some of the best areas to stay in Puerto Rico:
Old San Juan
Old San Juan is the most colorful and historically rich place in San Juan. You will find the most historical monuments, nightlife, restaurants, and shops here. It is a must-visit during your 4 days in Puerto Rico. Old San Juan is a safe place to stay for a few nights. It could be incredibly convenient for someone planning to do a lot of exploring around Old San Juan.
Here are some hotel options in Old San Juan:
Hotel El Convento – Located on one of the prettiest streets in Old San Juan, this is a luxury and historic hotel. Relax and unwind in hotel rooms with ornate handcrafted furniture, marble bathrooms, and Andalusian tile floors.
Casablanca Hotel. Located on Calle Fortaleza, this hotel is conveniently located near all attractions you will most likely be exploring, including historical forts, shops, and restaurants. Great option in the center of Old San Juan City.
The Decanter Hotel. 1880 colonial building conveniently located to the main attractions of Old San Juan city.
Condado and Isla Verde
Condado and Isla Verde are neighborhoods just outside San Juan. They are popular among tourists for their beautiful beaches, high-end resorts, and vibrant dining and nightlife scenes.
Some of the most popular hotels in Condado and Isla Verde include the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, the Ritz-Carlton San Juan, and the InterContinental San Juan.
Both areas are also conveniently located near the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, making them an excellent choice if you want to avoid a long commute.
We chose to stay in the Condado area, which was the ideal location for our family.
Condado Hotels to consider:
La Concha – Another luxury resort steps away from Condado Beach. Offering chick rooms and breathtaking ocean views. With many restaurants, casinos, and nightlife.
Condado Ocean Club – A boutique hotel resort where you can stay and bring kids aged seven and less free of charge!
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel – This resort is only 15-20 minutes away from the Airport and is situated by the edge of the Atlantic Ocean. An excellent option for adults or families traveling with kids. For more hotel details, check out Our Stay at the Condado Vanderbilt Resort.
If you prefer a more laid-back vibe, several other areas in Puerto Rico are worth considering. The town of Rincon, located on the island’s west coast, is known for its surfing beaches and bohemian atmosphere. The city of Fajardo, on the east coast, is a gateway to the nearby islands of Culebra and Vieques and offers visitors a chance to experience Puerto Rico’s natural beauty. Remember that renting a car is recommended for those who stay in these areas, as they are further away from the main tourist attractions.
Day 1. Explore Old San Juan
Old San Juan is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Puerto Rico. Old San Juan is famous with its colorful colonial architecture, charming cobblestone streets, and rich history.
Start your day early with breakfast at Caficultura. A cute little café with delicious food and some top coffee selections! The staff is very welcoming and laid back. The interior is attractive and clean. You may choose to have your breakfast inside or outside.
I would highly recommend the egg benedict and chocolate mocha. The rest of the menu selection looked very tasty as well.
One of the best ways to explore Old San Juan is on foot. A walking tour is a great way to understand the city’s layout and history. You can either join a guided tour or create your itinerary using a map.
Old San Juan is home to many historical sites that are worth visiting. The most famous of these is the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th-century fortress that protected San Juan from invaders.
You can also see the nearby Castillo San Cristóbal, which is the largest Spanish fort in the New World.
Other historical sites include La Fortaleza, which is the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Western Hemisphere, and the Casa Blanca, which was once the residence of the island’s first governor.
Castillo Felipe Del Morro (Simply El Morro)
After breakfast, head over to explore El Morro. This is one of the first forts built in 1539 by the Spanish to defend Puerto Rico from sea attacks by the Dutch, British, and the Americas for over 400 years.
The $10 entrance fee is valid for entrance to Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal, another castle in Old San Juan and worth a quick visit. Children 15 and under can visit for free.
In addition, go through the tunnels and check out the WWII lookouts. This place is one of the most picturesque spots in Puerto Rico, so make sure you visit it. Set aside about 2 hours to spend on this sight.
Tips When Visiting El Morro
- Wear comfortable shoes and light clothes.
- Bring your water bottle to hydrate. It gets very hot.
- Bring a sun hat, sunglasses and apply some sunscreen.
Wonder Around Colorful Streets of Old San Juan
After exploring the fort, get yourself lost in Old San Juan streets. There are only 7 square blocks in Old San Juan. It is explorable in just one day. We returned for the second round only because we had to return at the hotel for our kid’s naptime, but you should be fine if you travel without kids.
Enjoy cobblestone streets, and make sure you cool off inside the shops.
My favorite streets were Calle San Justo and Calle De La Luna. While every block is like a rainbow, these two were especially beautiful to me. (Check the below picture)
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 get inside to cool off. We randomly went to one of the gift shops to cool off a little.
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. We wish we had enough time to come back here for lunch.
Day 2: El Yunque and Rainforest Adventure
About 45 minutes from San Juan, there is El Yunque National Forest. This is the only tropical rainforest in the US. It is a stunning forest to visit with the family in Puerto Rico. We felt comfortable taking our kid with us as well. However, you may need to check the age requirements to purchase a tour.
El Yunque National Forest
El Yunque National Forest is a lush, green paradise that spans over 28,000 acres. Visitors can explore the forest’s diverse ecosystem, which includes hundreds of unique plant and animal species, including the famous coquí frog.
Getting Tickets to El Yunque
So you decide to visit this tropical paradise, but getting tickets may not be as straightforward as they have changed the ticketing system. We have personally struggled before we figured it out, so let me try to break it down for you.
First, create an account here. As strange as it may sound, they do not release tickets 24 hours before they open the following day, so you have to check the site then and make sure to purchase any available tickets because they sell out fast. Another tip is that you can log in 5 minutes before they open for the next day ticket (8:00 AM). This was suggested by others and it worked for us. Hope this helps!
Waterfalls and Hiking Trails
The rainforest is home to several stunning waterfalls and hiking trails that offer you a chance to get up close and personal with the natural beauty of Puerto Rico.
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.
Zip-lining and Adventure Tours
For those seeking an adrenaline rush, El Yunque offers zip-lining and adventure tours that provide a unique perspective of the rainforest.
Overall, El Yunque National Forest is a must-see attraction for visitors looking to experience the natural beauty of Puerto Rico. The rainforest offers something for everyone with its stunning waterfalls, hiking trails, and adventure tours.
How to get to El Yunque
Remember, public transportation does not reach El Yunque. One of the best ways to get here is by tour bus or car rental.
As mentioned above, renting a car in Puerto Rico is highly recommended. Use Discover Cars to find the cheapest vehicles during your 4 days in Puerto Rico.
If this is your first time visiting El Yunque, I recommend a tour bus. Local tour drivers and guides are almost always informative. Also, you do not have to worry about the directions and things to do in the rainforest, especially if you visit with kids. Check out El Yunque Tours on Viator.
Day 3: Beaches and Bioluminescent Bay
On the third day of the 4 days in Puerto Rico itinerary, you can explore the island’s beautiful beaches and bioluminescent bay. The day will be filled with sun, sand, and sea, and a unique experience of witnessing the glowing waters of the bioluminescent bay. We were unable to visit the bioluminescent bay but looking forward to experience when our kids are bit older!
Luquillo and Fajardo Beaches
Start a day with a visit to 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 some water sports like kayaking or paddleboarding.
After Luquillo, the next stop to explore is Fajardo Beach, which is a bit more secluded and less crowded than Luquillo. Fajardo Beach has crystal-clear waters and is surrounded by lush greenery. Visitors can take a stroll along the beach, enjoy the scenery, and get some sunbathing done.
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.
Take Bioluminescent Bay Tour
The day’s highlight is a visit to the bioluminescent bay, a truly unique experience that you should not miss if traveling without small kids. 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, which is 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 big 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.
Overall, Day 3 of 4 days in the Puerto Rico itinerary is a perfect mix of relaxation, adventure, and unique experiences. Visitors can enjoy the beautiful beaches, witness the marine life, and end the day with a magical bioluminescent bay experience.
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.
Try local Cuisine
One of the must-try dishes in Puerto Rico is mofongo, a mashed plantain dish that is typically stuffed with meat, seafood, or vegetables. For a truly authentic experience, head to a local restaurant like Raices in Old San Juan, serving delicious mofongo and other traditional Puerto Rican dishes.
For fantastic Caribbean cuisine, we headed to La Casita Blanca. This Puerto Rican restaurant is located about 20 minutes away from the Condado resort. The location is not the most attractive spot, but wait until you go inside and try the food.
From the moment you enter, you will be greeted warmly. The interior is super casual. The atmosphere is very homey. I instantly fell in love with the place.
We ordered a few dishes to try, which were so good!
Later in the day, stroll by the beach (If staying in Condado) and enjoy the Caribbean sunset. You may also take this opportunity on day 4 and book the sunset sailboat ride.
If you’re looking for a more upscale dining experience, there are plenty of options. One popular spot is Barrachina, which claims to be the birthplace of the piña colada. In addition to its famous drink, Barrachina also serves up delicious Puerto Rican cuisine in a beautiful outdoor setting.
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.
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 two more amazing adventures to add to your list. You do not want to miss out on these.
Visit Culebra Island
If you travel without small kids and have more flexibility, spend one full day escaping to one of the most beautiful and secluded islands globally! A day trip to Culebra Island is one of the best adventures you can do in Puerto Rico.
Culebra Island is located to the east of Vieques and is accessible by ferry or private boat. The island is known for its crystal-clear waters and excellent snorkeling opportunities. Visitors can explore the coral reefs and marine life at Flamenco Beach or Tamarindo Beach.
Culebra also has a laid-back atmosphere and is a 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.
When packing for Puerto Rico, it’s essential to consider the climate and activities planned. Lightweight, breathable clothing is recommended for the tropical climate. 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
- Dry Bag
- 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, 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.
Overall, Puerto Rico offers a diverse and delicious food scene to please any traveler. Whether you’re looking for traditional dishes or modern cuisine, there are plenty of options to explore during your 4-day trip.
4 Days in Puerto Rico Travel Itinerary Summary
So that wraps up our 4 days in Puerto Rico Itinerary. I hope you find this helpful. If you have any questions, please get in touch with me and I will happily answer. Want to take a look at our trip highlights? Check them out below.