I’ve been meaning to get my tail to Puerto Rico for years. Back when my daughter was around 15, I had planned to take her along with her sister for a bonding trip. Then I planned to go close to the end of quarantine when prices to PR were SUPER low. Somehow, I just never got around to making it happen. But recently, a strong desire to take a trip combined with a passport in need of renewal presented the perfect opportunity to finally check Puerto Rico off my list. Hopefully, you don’t need anything as drastic as an expiring passport to get you to book a flight so you can take advantage of this Puerto Rico Travel Itinerary for 7 Days.
A Few Things to Know About Puerto Rico:
You don’t need a passport to travel there
You likely already know this but many people forget. Puerto Rico is a United States territory. For that reason, it is considered domestic travel from the U.S. and does not require a passport to travel there from the U.S. It also means they trade in US dollars so there is no need to exchange money either.
Arriving and getting to your hotel
Arriving in San Juan, Puerto Rico and making it to your hotel should be easy as Uber works pretty efficiently there. The only thing I’d call out is that if you’re the bougie type and you usually rely on Uber Black, my experience is that most (not all) Uber Black cars weren’t what I expected. For the record, I’m not the bougie type but sometimes, I like to feel fancy so I’ll indulge.
Summarized Puerto Rico Travel Itinerary for 7 Days
In case you don’t want to read all this text and you’re just like LIBRYIA, JUST GIVE ME MY ITINERARY, here is your Puerto Rico Travel Itinerary for 7 Days summarized with links and cost:
- Day 1 – Take a Free Walking Tour – FREE
- Day 2 – Take Salsa Lessons – $55
- Day 3 – Do a Photography Session – $60
- Day 4 – Evening Kayak Tour – $65
- Day 5 – Cigar Tasting and Walk around La Placita – $69
- Day 6 – Cocktail Class at Casa Bacardi– $83
- Day 7 – Hike El Yunque – $55
Detailed Puerto Rico Travel Itinerary for 7 Days:
Day 1 – Take a Free Walking Tour
One thing I love to do in a new city is to find a free walking tour. This is a great way to get to know the city’s history, learn your way around a bit, plus get tips for great restaurants and nightlife from a local!
This San Juan free walking tour on Civitates needs to be booked a few days in advance. It’s a two-hour tour where you’ll learn the history of the San Cristóbal Fort, the Las Palmas Bastion, the Totem or El Morro.
Day 2 – Take Salsa Lessons
You cannot go to Puerto Rico and not take salsa lessons, you just can not!
Salsa’s roots are from the Afro-Spanish traditions of Cuba but was made popular by Puerto Ricans in New York City. The beauty of salsa is that it’s ageless. Not just the music but the culture. You can easily find people of all ages from children to “the elders” dancing salsa late into the night.
There are many options to take salsa lessons in Puerto Rico. Because I was visiting Puerto Rico on a workation, I did this activity in the evening after work. I did a small class lesson I found on AirBnB experiences with Angelina. We met her in a park where she greeted us with some tequila and juice – an indication that a great time is about to be had! Angelina taught us some basic steps starting off slow, then faster. We practiced with and without the music. She taught us how to lead and how to follow and had us practice both. After our lesson, she talked to us about the history of salsa music and how it originated. Once the teaching portion of the class was done, she took us to a local salsa club to put what we learned to the test.
This tour cost $55. You can book it here.
Day 3 – Do a Photography Session
I’m a firm believer that you should always book a professional photo session when you travel. Not just so you can do it for the gram. I think you should do it so that you have beautifully captured memories of your trip that you didn’t have to take PLUS photographers are great friends to make during travel.
Photographers usually know the most beautiful places in the city, the ‘best places to eat, and tend to be well-connected. Also, some photographers provide tours along with their photography sessions.
While in San Juan, I booked a photography session with Emmanuel via AirBnB experiences. The cost was $60.00 and the session was 2 hours. Our photographer took us to several really cool spots, all within walking distance, and commenced to blowing our heads up telling us how beautiful we were and what amazing energy we had during the shoot…if your photographer ain’t pumping you up, how else is he supposed to get the best pics out of you!?
After the shoot, Emmanuel sent all our photos within 48 hours and allowed us to choose 20 for editing. Great experience, highly recommend it! Book it here.
Day 4 – Do an Evening LED Kayak Tour
I’ll be honest, I didn’t actually get to do this event because I arrived at the meeting location 10 minutes late and the group was already out on their kayaks. So don’t be like me, don’t miss out on this really cool nighttime kayak ride with LED lights!
This is a sunset tour that begins around 6pm and lasts for an hour. If you arrive 30 minutes before your tour starts, you’ll be given body paint that starts to glow as the sun goes down! Your kayak has a clear bottom and is equipped with LED lights that will come on after the sun goes down! During the tour, while floating on the Condado Lagoon, you’ll get beautiful 360 views of the city all lit up, you’ll also get to see fish and other sea creatures through your kayak.
This tour is $65.00 per person. You can check out the tour here.
Day 5 – Do a Cigar “Tasting and Walk Around La Placita
Most people don’t think cigars when they think about Puerto Rico but Cynthia is trying to change that. She’ll welcome you onto her lovely patio and teach you the elements of a great cigar. She’ll also walk you through how to properly light a cigar, how to properly puff it, and how to properly dispose of ashes.
Afterwards, she’ll share some of her favorite rums with you to illustrate how they pair with the cigars and then she’ll bring a few different chocolates into the mix. This is an experience that just keeps building. She’s so friendly and knowledgeable and her patio is just so comfortable and inviting. It felt like I was visiting with an aunt.
This experience is roughly 1.5 hours and costs $69. You can book it here.
After your Cigar tasting, have your Uber drop you off at La Placita. It’s about 4-5 blocks of restaurants and clubs but mainly VIBES! You’ll find LOTS of people dining al fresco, drinking, and laughing but mainly, you’ll find incredible live bands and couples dancing salsa inside clubs and even out on the streets. If you’re looking for nightlife, this is where it’s at.
Day 6 – Take a Cocktail Class at Casa Bacardi
This was hands down THE most fun activity I did while in Puerto Rico. So much fun, I wrote a separate blog post about it! If you didn’t already know, the Bacardi distillery is the largest premium rum distillery in the world. On arrival, you’re given a token for a free drink at the bar before the tour starts. Then you’re carted to the main build tour starts out with a brief history of Bacardi, a tasting, exposure to the elements of the drink, and practice saying the word correctly, lol.
The fun REALLY begins when you enter the studio and reach your stations to make your cocktails. Each station is fully equipped with all of the tools and ingredients needed to make two cocktails – a mojito and a piña colada, which is the national drink of Puerto Rico. The instructor was SO LIVELY and fun! He had everyone in the class feeling like we all traveled to Puerto Rico together, by the end of class we had toasted one another, laughed together, dance, and just had a ton of fun as a group.
This class is $83-$85 and lasts for 1.5 – 2 hours. It can be booked here.
Day 7 – Hike and Slide at El Yunque
El Yunque is one of the “Must Visit” spots in Puerto Rico. It’s especially so if you love the outdoors and hiking or if you want to be active during your visit to the island. El Yunque is the ONLY tropical rainforest that is considered part of the U.S. National Forests and it’s truly a gem in Puerto Rico.
You can visit El Yunque on your own without a tour guide, but I’m very VERY glad I came with a guide. The rainforest can be a bit precarious to navigate and one could easily slip, fall, and hurt themselves if they aren’t being given the right directions and precautions.
I booked this tour via AirBnB experiences and I was in a small group of about 8 people total. We hiked for roughly 30 minutes and came to a body of water where people were diving off boulders, swinging off ropes, and landing in the lake. Here, our guide instructed us to put all of our cameras and any other items into a waterproof bag he was carrying on his back…because we were now about to hike over boulders to get to the “water slide”. This was no amusement park slide, this was a smooth path through an incredibly large rock formation just near a waterfall.
We took turns sliding down while our guide took photos and videos of us and we spent about an hour here allowing for people to go down the slide as many times as they wanted or to jump off the side of the rock formations. Note, you don’t HAVE to do the slide if you don’t want to…but I really think you should! There was a woman who went down the slide and didn’t know how to swim but she had on a life jacket and the guide went to the front of the slide to “catch” her, she did GREAT!
Then we went back down to the initial clearing where people were swinging off ropes and took turns doing that as well. We could also swim, take photos, and just relax here.
Afterward, we hiked back down to the truck, rinsed ourselves off in a nearby ravine and changed into dry clothes. Once we were [mostly] dry we headed to a sort of strip mall near the beach that was full of food vendors. We grabbed some DELICIOUS local food and ate our lunch on the beach with free time to relax and swim if we chose. [Note: make sure to bring cash as a lot of vendors here did not take cards. Despite being told there was an ATM on the premises, I could not find one]
This tour was roughly 6 hours and cost $55.00. You can book it here.
I can, with certainty, say that Puerto Rico is a place I can see myself coming back to. It’s such a vibe, the weather is amazing, and it’s easy to get around. It also satisfies the need to “get out of the US” because it feels so much like leaving the country without the hassle of passports and visas. I’m so glad I finally made it to the island. I honestly can not wait to go back with my daughter or with friends. Maybe I just need to take separate trips to make both happen!
Friend, let me know in the comments when you’re headed to Puerto Rico and which of the things on this travel itinerary you’re ABSOLUTELY planning to do!