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What to see and do in Puerto Rico - surf spots, ziplines and rainforests

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As an island, Puerto Rico has an abundance of coastline, and with the year round tropical weather, you’ll want to spend as much time as possible outdoors. Luckily, there is plenty to keep you occupied, from adrenaline inducing sporting activities, acres of plush rainforest and truly idyllic beaches.  

Alfredo Hannibal

My Destination local expert on

Puerto Rico

Hit the beach

 

The beaches of Puerto Rico have been recognised as some of the best in the world and combined with world-class surfing spots and water teeming with marine life, it’s an absolute paradise. And with 270 miles of coastline to choose from you’ll be spoilt for choice. If you’re traveling as a family La Monserrate Beach Park on the east coast is particularly popular due to its exotic backdrop; tropical rainforest and slovenly palm trees make way for crystal clear waters and golden sand, and you’ll find picnic facilities and beach lifeguards on patrol. However, if surfing is more your scene, head to the west coast region of Rincón, where you’ll find the islands best waves, up to 30 feet between November and March.

 

 

Back in the 1960s the wavy shores of Puerto Rico attracted surfers from far and wide and have continued to do so ever since. The trade winds combined with tropical weather make it one of the world’s best locations for watersports like surfing, paddle boarding and kitesurfing and has even been given the stately title of the ‘Hawaii of the Atlantic’. If you’re more interested in what goes on underneath the water, the crystal clear seas of the island mean visibility is ideal for snorkelling and scuba diving. With miles of reefs, seagrass beds and sandy shores, you can expect to see barracudas, turtles, octopus and starfish to name but a few.

 

Island hop to Culebra and Vieques

 

Located just off the east coast of Puerto Rico, these two idyllic islands are adorned with dazzling beaches and have an authentic, relaxed Caribbean island vibe to die for. Culebra is especially appealing for outdoor lovers with some of the best camping facilities alongside the beautiful backdrop of lush tropical greens and dazzling turquoise sea. Vieques is home to Mosquito Bay, one of the world’s few bioluminescent bays with glowing green waters. The natural wonder is an eerie yet marvellous site to behold.

 

Get lost in the El Yunque Rainforest

 

Amidst the dense brush of the rainforest is the El Yunque peak at 1,080m above sea level, which explains how the El Yunque gets its name from an Indian spirit Yuquiye meaning ‘forest of clouds’. 40km south east of San Juan, the Caribbean national forest is one of the oldest reserves in the western hemisphere. The reserve encompasses over 240 species of trees and plants as well as rare wildlife so you may be lucky enough to spot one of the most endangered bird species in the world; the Puerto Rican Parrot. Making something of a comeback, a group was recently re-introduced into the wild, so a sighting might not be as hard as you think.

 

Feed you inner adrenaline junkie

 

With over 2,000 caves in Puerto Rico, there is an underground world of caving, abseiling, climbing and scrambling waiting to be discovered unlike you’ve experienced before. And if that isn’t enough, Puerto Rico hosts the world’s longest zip line. Toro Verde’s zip line known aptly as La Bestia allows you to soar through the air across 4,745ft of forest canopies, rivers and green valleys. With perfect weather all year round, there’s really nothing stopping you, apart from a fear of heights!

 

So, if dipping your toes in the warm waters of the sea and spending hours sunbathing isn’t enough to keep you entertained, then why not do some snorkelling, hit the waves or scramble across cliffs in some of Puerto Rico’s amazing outdoor adventures.

 

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