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How to Tackle San Juan as a First Timer

How to Tackle San Juan as a First Timer

With a rich history and culture, celebrated cuisine, and natural beauty spanning picturesque beaches and tropical rainforests, there’s plenty to see and do in San Juan. Here’s our list of must-dos and must-sees for first-timers.

 

Discover Old San Juan

There’s a reason Old San Juan is one of the most popular places to visit in Puerto Rico. With a history dating back to the 16th century, the area is full of colonial Spanish architecture, narrow cobblestone streets, vibrant colors, and plenty of charming shops and restaurants. Don't miss highlights such as Castillo de San Cristobal, El Morro, and Paseo de la Princessa.

 

Hit the Beaches and Islands

For a fun day the sun, don't miss one of the many beaches and islands around San Juan. Popular beaches included Condado Beach and Escambron Beach, while popular islands include Culebra and Vieques. Relax on a beautiful beach, catch some waves, or go snorkeling or scuba dive at the nearby coral reefs.

 

Try a Taste of Local Flavors

San Juan is home to a rich mix of flavors, thanks to its Spanish, African, and indigenous Taino influences. Try popular dishes like mofongo and tostones on a food tour or on your own. And don't forget to try the local beverages while in San Juan: Try a piña colada where it was invented or take a tour of the Bacardi factory. Alternatively, learn to salsa dance.

 

Explore a Tropical Rainforest

El Yunque is the only rainforest in the US, and it's home to more than 1,000 species of flora and fauna. In addition to its rich biodiversity, there’s plenty to do and see in El Yunque, with miles of hiking trails, treetop walkways, waterfalls, and scenic vistas all around. Explore on your own or opt for a guided tour.

 

Experience the Magic Bioluminescent Bays

There are only a few places in the world where bioluminescent plankton can be found consistently, and there are three close to San Juan: Fajardo, Mosquito Bay, and La Parguera. Experience the magic of setting the water aglow as you swim, snorkel, or kayak through the plankton in the bays at night.

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15 Tours and Activities | All San Juan Tours

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Culebra Day Trip by Catamaran from Fajardo

Culebra Day Trip by Catamaran from Fajardo

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821
Cruise by high-speed catamaran to Culebra from Fajardo for a fun-filled day trip swimming, beach combing and sunbathing on this island paradise. Spend your morning exploring the fascinating undersea creatures that populate the island’s coral reefs before enjoying a buffet lunch complete with rum punch and piña colada refreshments. Then take the afternoon to relax and swim on the area’s perfect sugar-sand beaches, including Playa Flamenco and nearby Culebrita. Your excursion offers optional round-trip transportation from hotels in Old San Juan, Condado or Isla Verde.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$142.00
From
$142.00
Taking safety measures

Deserted Island Catamaran Day Sail from Fajardo
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Deserted Island Catamaran Day Sail from Fajardo

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404
Live out your island castaway fantasies aboard a luxury catamaran as you visit the deserted tropical island of Cayo Icacos from San Juan on this half-day sailing cruise. Sail into the aquamarine waters of the Caribbean, admiring views of the El Yunque mountains in the distance, before arriving at the nature preserve of Icacos for a leisurely day of swimming, snorkeling, and a lunch buffet with drinks.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$114.00
From
$114.00
Taking safety measures

El Yunque Rainforest Off the Beaten Path and Bio Bay Kayaking Combo Tour
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El Yunque Rainforest Off the Beaten Path and Bio Bay Kayaking Combo Tour

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428
Spend an adventurous day exploring two of Puerto’s most incredible natural wonders on this full-day excursion to hike in the El Yunque Rainforest and kayak at the island’s famed Bioluminescent Bay. Start your morning with a hike in the only tropical rain forest in the United States National Forest system, enjoying incredible mountain views and an optional waterfall swim to cool off. Then continue with a nighttime kayaking trip to the magical Bioluminescent Bay, which features a unique variety of plankton that glow when the water is touched or moved. Your Puerto Rico outdoor adventure also includes round-trip hotel transport, professional guide, and national park fees.
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  • 12 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$165.00
From
$165.00
Taking safety measures

El Yunque Off the Beaten Path Hiking Tour

El Yunque Off the Beaten Path Hiking Tour

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325
Feel like a true Puerto Rican explorer during this day of "off-the-beaten path" discovery in El Yunque rainforest. Avoid the big crowds from the cruise ships and hotels as you blaze a trail to the lesser-known attractions of this lush tropical eden. Admire gorgeous orchids, exotic birds and wildlife like the Coquí (tree frog) as you hike to secret waterfalls and hidden swimming spots, enjoying your secluded adventure amidst the fresh air and beautiful scenery of this Puerto Rican paradise. National park fees, plus round-trip hotel transport, are included.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$95.00
From
$95.00
Taking safety measures

Flavors of Old San Juan Food Tour

Flavors of Old San Juan Food Tour

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2022
Get a taste for the flavor and culture of Puerto Rico on this small-group Old San Juan food tour featuring several local eateries. Join your guide for a culinary exploration of island staples like plantains and sofrito, all with the cobblestone streets and colorful facades of the city’s oldest neighborhood as your backdrop. Your tour includes an alcoholic beverage or non-alcoholic substitute if you prefer. 
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  • 3 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$125.00
From
$125.00
Taking safety measures

Old San Juan Walking Tour

Old San Juan Walking Tour

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584
Explore the colorful buildings and charming streets of Old San Juan in a small group with the help of writer David Rodriguez, author of ‘The Rise and Fall of the Great Barbate.’ During the course of your day, the knowledgeable author helps you discover the area’s key historic sites and gain new insight into Puerto Rican culture. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the many stories of the people who helped to define this unique neighborhood. Your walking trip’s length is flexible based on your needs, and also includes bottled water.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$41.03
From
$41.03
Taking safety measures

Bioluminescent Bay Glass Bottom Kayak Tour from San Juan

Bioluminescent Bay Glass Bottom Kayak Tour from San Juan

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139
Join a nighttime adventure into the waters of Laguna Grande as you visit the area’s amazing bioluminescent bay during this half-day excursion. Hop aboard a clear-bottomed kayak as you paddle through the dense mangrove forests, heading to the area where the microscopic plankton puts on its surreal aquatic light show when you glide through the water. Your professional guide also tells you more about this fragile ecosystem and how visitors can help protect it.
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  • 5 hours 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$105.00
From
$105.00
Taking safety measures

Full-Day Culebra and Flamenco Beach Snorkeling from San Juan

Full-Day Culebra and Flamenco Beach Snorkeling from San Juan

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43
Combine visits to Flamenco and Culebra beaches, two of the San Juan area's best, on this guided tour via speedboat. Learn about the area's marine life and environment from your guide between relaxing on the beach or exploring the underwater world with a provided mask and snorkel. Midday, refuel with a provided lunch. San Juan hotel pickup and drop-off included, as well as snorkel instruction for beginners.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$198.72
From
$198.72
Taking safety measures

Bioluminescent Bay Kayak Adventure Tour from San Juan
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Bioluminescent Bay Kayak Adventure Tour from San Juan

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78
Kayak through the waters of Laguna Grande, a stunning bioluminescent lagoon, during this half-day tour from San Juan. Watch the glowing organisms in the water light up as your kayak slides through the water. Paddle through stands of mangrove trees and watch small fish dart through the water underneath your boat like shooting stars. Stop for a break with snacks and refreshments before heading back to your starting point. Use of all kayaking equipment and round-trip hotel transfers are included.
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  • 6 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$99.00
From
$99.00
Taking safety measures

Old San Juan Sunset Walk & Taste Food Tour
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Old San Juan Sunset Walk & Taste Food Tour

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116
Stroll through San Juan's evening twilight in the company of a guide, stopping to taste traditional Puerto Rican dishes, on this 3-hour food tour. Make five stops focused on family-run establishments and local ingredients, tasting at each one. Your guide will show you hidden gems that you might not ordinarily find on your own and orient you to the culinary culture and history of San Juan.
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  • 3 hours
  • Taking safety measures
From
$118.67
From
$118.67
Taking safety measures

El Yunque Rainforest Guided Hiking with Waterfall Tour
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El Yunque Rainforest Guided Hiking with Waterfall Tour

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342
Hike through Puerto Rico’s lush El Yunque Rainforest, observe local wildlife, and take a dip in one of the park’s pristine waterfalls. Journey through the varied micro-climates and vegetation zones of this unique natural area. Hike through the jungle, learning about the plants and animals that inhabit the area and passing by a series of waterfalls, stopping to cool off with a swim.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$92.00
From
$92.00
Taking safety measures

Private Driving Tour of San Juan Highlights

Private Driving Tour of San Juan Highlights

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19
Experience one of the Americas’ oldest cities, San Juan, on a sightseeing tour. After a convenient hotel pickup, travel by private luxury vehicle with a personal guide to Old San Juan, Isla Verde, Santurce, and other important districts in Puerto Rico’s beautiful capital. Learn about the city’s culture while visiting historic landmarks, trendy neighborhoods, art galleries and museums, and beautiful beaches—all on one fun and hassle-free outing.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$275.00
per group
From
$275.00
per group
Taking safety measures

Salsa Dance Class in San Juan
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Salsa Dance Class in San Juan

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103
Learn about the essential Puerto Rican art of Salsa dancing during this 1-hour class in San Juan. Suitable for both beginners and those who are looking to polish their skills, this class will let you understand the musical and rhythmic soul of Puerto Rican culture.
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  • 1 hour
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$20.00
From
$20.00
Taking safety measures

La Parguera Glowing Bioluminescent Bay Boat Tour from San Juan
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La Parguera Glowing Bioluminescent Bay Boat Tour from San Juan

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68
Swim in the bioluminescent bay at La Parguera during this 8-hour tour from San Juan. Learn about this natural phenomenon through your guide's informative commentary during a short boat trip through the mangrove forests on the way to the bay. You will have the opportunity to swim in the water after dark, surrounded by tiny, harmless dinoflagellates that light up with the disturbance of the water. Round-trip transportation from selected areas in San Juan is included.
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  • 8 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$211.53
From
$211.53
Taking safety measures

Old San Juan & Condado Beach Sidecar Sightseeing Tour

Old San Juan & Condado Beach Sidecar Sightseeing Tour

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1
Experience San Juan during a fun 2-hour tour with your own private driver-guide and vintage sidecar motorcycle. Go sightseeing at historical sites, explore the modern part of the city, and zip along beautiful beaches, riding in a sidecar that accommodates one or two passengers. Helmets, rain ponchos, and bottled water are provided, along with hotel pickup and drop-off.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$196.16
per group
From
$196.16
per group