4 Day Puerto Rico Itinerary: Best Attractions in San Juan and Beyond

Is 4 days in Puerto Rico enough? It all depends on how you spend your time. With this 4 Day Puerto Rico Itinerary, you’ll enjoy the best attractions in San Juan. Plus, you’ll have time to spare so you can explore the beautiful beaches and rainforest. In fact, you can try an almost other-worldly experience if you plan your itinerary well.

Learn how to make the best of your 4 Day Puerto Rico Itinerary, below. 

CONTENTS – In this article, you will learn about the best Puerto Rico attractions to visit when planning a 4 Day Itinerary, including:

Puerto Rico Attractions: 4-Day Itinerary of Puerto Rico Activities

Do you have the Caribbean on your mind? 

Today, we’ll be looking at Puerto Rico attractions, and how you can get the ultimate Caribbean experience in this world-class holiday destination. Deserted sandy beaches. Lush tropical forests. Tall fruit drinks by the pool. Music. Dancing and exotic, colorful dishes.

You can find all of this and more in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rico attractions are world-class.

If you’re from the United States, the bonus is that it’s very close and easy to get to. If you’re from outside the US, you can still easily catch a flight to Puerto Rico. Just depart from an American airport, some European countries, or nearby Caribbean islands.

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated U.S. territory, so US citizens do not need a passport.

Plus, you don’t have to worry about the foreign exchange, since Puerto Rico uses the US dollar.

Finally, if you are vaccinated, you do not need a negative Covid test.

Now that it’s clear that Puerto Rico is an ideal trip to take, let’s look at other important facts. We’ll cover accommodations, the best time to visit Puerto Rico, and the attractions that belong on your 4-Day Puerto Rico itinerary, below. 

Where To Stay in Puerto Rico

Your main reason for coming to Puerto Rico will dictate where to stay and what accommodation to choose.  

For instance, are you thinking of laying on the beach or exploring nature? Do you want to learn about Puerto Rican history? Or all the above?

The good news is that between luxury resorts, historic hotels in San Juan and glamping camps in the jungle, there is something for every budget and every taste.

When Is the Best Time To Go to Puerto Rico?

The best time to go to Puerto Rico is between April and June. The weather is sunny and breezy, the winter crowds are gone, the hotel prices have dropped. Plus most of the island festivals are happening during this period, too.

If you’re considering going to Puerto Rico at a different time of year, read this first.

Hurricanes in Puerto Rico are a fact of life. The best advice is to stay out of their path. That means avoiding trips to Puerto Rico between June and November.

You will be tempted to go between December and March when you are sick of the winter and gloomy skies. The weather in Puerto Rico is wonderfully cool during this season. 

But you will be sharing the island with thousands of other snowbirds. If crowds are not your thing, you’ll want to stay away.

It starts getting really hot in June. If you enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, you might want to skip this month, too.

While April, May, and early June are the ideal time to visit, fall is a good second choice.

That’s because the fall weather in Puerto Rico is cool and pleasant, and the water is warm for swimming. You’ll find the prices for airfare and hotels are still reasonable. And, the crowds are still away.

Since you do not have kids in school, you might enjoy either one of these times of year in the tropics!

Puerto Rico Attractions – 4-Day Itinerary

Wherever you decide to stay and whenever you visit, you’re going to love Puerto Rico. Discovering Puerto Rico is easy and requires only a short trip. 

That’s why we’re sharing this 4-day Puerto Rico itinerary. That way, you can follow our recommendations and enjoy the high points of Puerto Rico in an efficient way.

Puerto Rico is a fairly small island west of the Virgin islands and east of Hispaniola. It is surrounded by the Caribbean Ocean on one side, and the North Atlantic Ocean on the other.

To give you an idea of its size, Puerto Rico, at 3,515 mi² (9,104 sq km²) is about the size of the state of Connecticut. 

The best ways to get around the island are to hire a rental car and drive yourself, or join a tour group. You’ll find some great tour companies. That would make the exploration more comfortable, but also less adventurous. You know what you prefer.

Puerto Rico has it all: From rugged mountains to massive waterfalls and the El Yunque tropical rainforest. You can enjoy spectacular beaches, a colorful mix of cultures, ancient Spanish fortress in the capital city of San Juan, and so much more.

Since you will probably land in San Juan, let’s start Day 1 of your 4-Day Itinerary by exploring this old colonial city. Find out about the colorful Spanish buildings, diverse neighborhoods and fascinating museums of the old town, below.

Day 1: Old San Juan and Surrounds—Where Old And New Meet

Puerto Rico’s capital city of San Juan is 500 years old. It’s also the largest city in Puerto Rico.

On this first stop, you won’t want to miss exploring its cobblestone streets and unique architecture. This trip into the past that will make an impact you will not soon forget. 

You can stroll around on your own, take one of the free Garita golf carts or join a tour group

Some of the must-see landmarks are:

  • El Morro Fort
  • Castillo San Cristóbal
  • Capilla del Cristo

The sense of rich history they exude will take your breath away! Learn more about each and other landmarks to include on the first day of your Puerto Rico itinerary, below.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro)

Known as El Morro by the locals, Castillo San Felipe del Morro was built in the 16th century by the Spanish military. It is one of the biggest forts they built in the Caribbean. 

This impressive piece of history has six levels of barracks, dungeons and storerooms. 

Its job was to protect the city from attacks by sea. The castle has done a good job since it was never defeated. 

You can still see some of the original massive cannons when you visit.

Castillo San Cristóbal

Castillo San Cristobal is the largest fortress built by the Spaniards in the New World. It guards the eastern side of the city and spreads over 27 acres (about 11 hectares). 

On one of the castle’s corners is the famous Garita del Diablo, Devil’s Sentry. It sticks out over the ocean. Some say it hides many secrets and stories about the castle’s past.

Capilla del Cristo

Capilla del Cristo is a small sanctuary at the top of the walls of the city. It’s dedicated to the Catholic saints of health. 

The altar is decorated with beautiful embossed silver. The church also has two venerated José Campeche paintings.

Between the ancient forts and colorful colonial buildings, you will find small shops selling local food and drinks. Nothing tells you more about the place you are visiting than the food locals eat

Did you know that Pina Colada was invented in Puerto Rico and is considered a national drink? 

Relax in the lush courtyard of the Barrachina Restaurant and enjoy this refreshing drink yourself. It is one of the places that claim to have invented it.

Once you’re refreshed, there are a few more things to see on the first day of your itinerary.

Santurce – The Art and Culture Heart of Puerto Rico

Only a 20-minute short drive will take you from the historic Old San Juan to the Santurce neighborhood. Santurce is Puerto Rico’s art and culture hub.

This is where you will find the best museums, such as Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo

As you stroll through the narrow cobblestone streets, you will see so many murals for which Santurce is famous. You’ll also discover many small art galleries that show the art of modern local artists. 

If your getting a bit hungry, head to the local market La Placita de Santurce for some fresh produce to tide you over until dinnertime.

Or, visit Lote 23, a gastronomy park. This is a perfect place to try some local delicacies. You could dine at one of the fancy restaurants or choose something from a small local eatery. There’s no shortage of great restaurants.

There is always a party you should feel free to join, plenty of music, dancing and delicious food.

Piñones for the Afro-Caribbean Culture and Food

Piñones is another colorful neighborhood, only minutes from the center of San Juan. 

This Afro-Caribbean coastal neighborhood is the place to go for authentic street food. Here you will find many small eating stands called chinchorros

Try some hot plantain fritters, bacalaítos (codfish fritters), crabmeat alcapurrias and so much more. Then, wash it all down with fresh coconut water straight from the coconut shells.

The beach is just around the corner, so cool off with a quick dip before returning to your hotel.

It’s been a long day and you’ll want to get a good night’s sleep your first night here. That way, you’l be ready for Day 2 of your Puerto Rico itinerary.

Day 2: Visit El Yunque Rainforest

You can spend Day 2 of your itinerary visiting a magical rainforest.

It’s located on the island’s east side, about an hour drive away from San Juan in Rio Grande. El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest Americans can call their own. 

Lush and magnificent, El Yunque provides a home to:

  • Over 240 types of trees
  • Many rare and endemic birds
  • The native coquí frog 
  • and more!

Nature-lovers can stroll through 28,000 acres of forest, pass by 25 waterfalls, and a few rivers. Plus, you’ll see the remnants of the ancient Taino people and their petroglyphs

There are a number of ways you can experience this incredible habitat besides on foot. Among them are to:

  • Hire a horse
  • Go in an open jeep with a tour group
  • See the forest from above the canopy while ziplining
  • View the rainforest from the top of the forest 

Any one of them will take your breath away.

At the end of the day, you can drive back to San Juan to stay overnight. Or, stay in any of the cities between the El Yunque Rainforest and a town called Ceiba.

Ceiba is where you will catch a ferry on Day 3 to visit some beautiful islands.

Rest up. Tomorrow’s another day!

Day 3: Vieques and Culebra for the Beaches

Vieques and Culebra are two small islands less than 20 miles off the east coast of Puerto Rico. You’ll be happy to know they have some of the best beaches in the world. So enjoy a beach day!

You can’t get to these islands directly from San Juan. However, there is regular ferry service from a town called Ceiba to Culebra and Vieques. The passenger ferry takes between 30-45 minutes, depending on which island you go to.

You can also go by plane from the Ceiba airport.

The accommodations on the islands are pretty basic if you want to stay overnight, but it is well worth it. If sleeping on the beach under the stars is still on your Bucket List, this is the place to do it.

Flamenco Beach on Culebra Island is always listed among the world’s best beaches. You’ll love the miles of fine white sand surrounded by swaying palm trees.

After a busy day in the rainforest, this is a perfect destination for enjoying a less active day. 

Stroll along the pristine beaches. Nap in a hammock under a palm tree. Snorkel in the turquoise waters. Sip tall fruity cocktails from the beach shacks.

You know this is what you were dreaming about while watching the snow from your window. 

Day 4: La Parguera and Swimming in the Bioluminescent Bay

After three incredible days, you might be wondering how to finish strong.

Well, you can finish off your 4-day Puerto Rico itinerary by visiting La Parguera. It’s on the opposite side of the island of Puerto Rico, but it’s worth the trip.

La Parguera is located in Lajas, which you’ll find on the southwestern side of Puerto Rico. It will take you about two hours to get there from San Juan. 

La Parquera is one of the three places in Puerto Rico where you can swim or snorkel in a bioluminescent bay.

Bioluminescence or glowing-in-the-dark is an effect created by dinoflagellates. These are tiny microscopic, single-celled organisms. When you disturb them by splashing or paddling in the water, they glow!

Swimming in the dark water surrounded by a blue-green glow is a magical experience. 

Add to that the thousands of stars in the dark sky above you, and you can imagine, it’s an out-of-this-world feeling.

You can even ask your hotel to help you organize a boat for this one-of-a-kind night adventure.

La Parquera also offers great scuba diving, coral reefs, and water activities. You can also take a lovely boat trip to the small mangrove islands of Caracoles, Mata la Gata, or Cayo Enrique. 

Enhance your last day in Puerto Rico by dining on fresh local seafood and delicious cocktails. You’ll be delighted by any one of small or big restaurants along the waterfront neighborhood of Malecón.

Tips for Visiting Puerto Rico

Here are a few last tips before we send you off on your 4-day trip to Puerto Rico.

  • Bring a pair of sturdy shoes so you can explore the island’s breathtakingly beautiful nature. 
  • Take long strolls along the deserted beaches, where you should both enjoy and protect your skin from the tropical sun. It can be punishing.
  • Enjoy local food even from the street stands. Just make sure it is freshly cooked in front of you.
  • Drink plenty of bottled water.
  • Keep an open mind and a generous heart and Puerto Rico will become one of the best places you have ever visited.

Final Thoughts – 4 Day Puerto Rico Itinerary 

No doubt, this tropical island will charm you during these 4-days in Puerto Rico Itinerary. From the attractions, the colors, live music, culture, art, and history, you’ll feel like you belong on this amazing island. 

It is the place to relax, to dance and eat with locals, and to experience the happy marriage of the past and present.

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Author Bio

This article is written by Lorena Maia from the TravelCroc blog. Lorena was born in Brazil, currently lives in Australia and has traveled to all continents. She loves sharing her travel experiences on her blog.

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Jackie Gately

Jackie Gately is a seasoned travel writer, photographer, and marketing consultant who is passionate about travel. She loves casual-luxury experiences, coastal getaways, cultural attractions, and local, wholesome food and wine pairings. A perfect day ends with her toes in the sand or by chasing the sunset with her camera--ideally both.