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Family Vacation Ideas

Puerto Rico - Sites to see

It was nice to spend time relaxing by the pool, but there are many great sites to see in Puerto Rico. While we didn't get a chance to see everything we wanted to see during our six day trip, we did make it to some of the sites.

Old San Juan

The streets of Old San Juan [Click to enlarge]This historic walled city is on the tip of a peninsula northwest of downtown San Juan. Since many of the streets are very narrow, it is a great place to park your car and take a walking tour of the city. There are many shops, museums, and government buildings to check out, and you'll want to take a walk past the port where the cruise ships dock. Seeing a giant ocean liner at the end of the street is truly a site to behold!

A cruise ship

Forts of Old San Juan

A view from San Felipe del Morro [Click to enlarge]There are two forts that you should visit while in Old San Juan. They are operated by the U.S. National Park Service and are affordable and very interesting. The 1st fort, Fort San Felipe del Morro was completed in 1589 and is located on the western tip of Old San Juan near the cemetery. The other, Castillo de San Cristóbal was completed in 1783, and is about a mile east of El Morro. Each tour takes about an hour and offers an interesting history lesson, as well as terrific views!

Castillo de San Cristóbal [Click to enlarge]

El Yunque National Rain Forest

A waterfall in the El Yunque Rain Forest [Click to enlarge]El Yunque is operated by the U.S. Parks Service and has the distinction of being the only rain forest on U.S. soil. It's about a two hour drive from San Juan on the eastern end of Puerto Rico. This area was definitely the highlight of our trip! The scenery is breath-taking with many waterfalls and hiking trails to see and enjoy.

We began our visit to El Yunque with a stop at the Visitors' Center. Here, we watched a short movie about El Yunque, (available in both English and Spanish) and saw many of the beautiful plants native to the rain forest. El Yunque Visitors' Center [Click to enlarge]We picked up a map that guided us up the mountain, pointing out various stops along the way.

We took a several short hikes in the rain forest, and stopped to climb the rocks near one of the many waterfalls in the area. We were also treated to 3 or 4 short rain showers (as you would expect in a rain forest!) - a fine mist that cooled us off as we walked in the hot, tropical sun.

Hiking in El Yunque [Click to enlarge]On the way down the mountain we stopped at an open air roadside café that featured many authentic Puerto Rican dishes, as well as good old cheeseburgers and fries.



El Yunque scenery [Click to enlarge]

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