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An Epic 4 Day Puerto Rico Itinerary: See the Best of Puerto Rico in 4 Days!

Looking for the perfect 4 day Puerto Rico itinerary? Here are all the best things to do, the most beautiful beaches, and the unique experiences to have in Puerto Rico in 4 days! 

Puerto Rico is nicknamed Isla del Encanto or “Island of Enchantment,” and after spending 4 days here, it’s easy to see why.

With historic charm, colorful colonial architecture, lush rainforests, and gorgeous turquoise beaches, there’s much to love about Puerto Rico. The island may be small, only 100 miles long and 35 miles wide, but it offers incredible diversity and a variety of experiences to suit any kind of traveler.

Not only is it paradise, the island has a rich history and diverse culture that makes it truly unique. 

Puerto Rico is a destination that was on my bucket list for a long time, although I kept putting it off for one reason or another. When the Women in Travel Summit was held here, I was so excited because I finally had a good reason to go!

I only had 4 days in Puerto Rico, but it was enough time to see why it’s so special. I loved wandering the colorful cobblestone streets of Old San Juan, visiting some of the relaxed beach towns on the West Coast, hanging out at some of the island’s most spectacular beaches, and taking in the lushness of the El Yunque National Rainforest.

A 4 day Puerto Rico itinerary may be short, but it’s just enough time to experience some of the island’s top highlights. You’ll get to see a lot if you plan correctly – which is where I come in!

Keep on reading to see how to see the best of Puerto Rico in 4 days…

Disclosure: I was hosted on a few of these experiences by Discover Puerto Rico. As always, opinions are my own.

This post contains affiliate links. This means that if you make a purchase or booking, I may receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.Pictures & Words is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites at no cost to you.

A Few Things to Know Before Visiting Puerto Rico…

  • You don’t need a passport if you’re traveling from the United States: Since Puerto Rico is a US territory, you do not need a passport if traveling from the United States. If you’re arriving on an international flight, you’ll go through US customs.
  • The official currency is the US dollar: Similarly, since Puerto Rico is a US territory, you will also be using the US dollar. I found that the vast majority of places accept credit cards, although it is handy to have a little bit of cash on you.
  • Most people speak English: The official language of Puerto Rico is Spanish, but most people speak at least some English, especially in San Juan. I was wanting to practice my Spanish, but I didn’t get to practice as much as I wanted. However, I did find that knowing some Spanish came in handy when I was in the beach towns on the West Coast.
  • This itinerary is designed so you don’t need a car: Renting a car will give you the most flexibility, but you don’t necessarily need to. If you don’t want to drive yourself around the island, I suggest basing yourself in San Juan and taking day trips and tours.
  • It is HOT: Puerto Rico experiences tropical weather, so it is hot year-round. It’s also very humid. I visited in May and was drenching in sweat after walking around for an hour. Be sure to wear sunscreen, drink a lot of water, and pack loose, airy clothing! 
  • The legal drinking age is 18: but a lot of clubs are still 21 and over.

How Many Days in Puerto Rico – is 4 days enough?

Four days is the absolute minimum you should spend in Puerto Rico.

A 4 day Puerto Rico itinerary is just enough time to be able to explore some of the main highlights, including San Juan, El Yunque National Rainforest, and some of the beaches that the island is known for.

It’s enough time to get a taste for what this amazing island has to offer, and to get a sense of why it’s so special.

However, there is soooo much more to do and see in Puerto Rico, and I found myself wishing that I had more time! If you can spare more days, I highly recommend it.

Honestly, you can spend 2 weeks here and still not see it all, so you definitely won’t get to do everything in Puerto Rico in 4 days. But, I know a lot of us only have a limited number of days to explore, so I’m here to help you make the most of it!

Where to Stay in Puerto Rico

For this 4 days in Puerto Rico itinerary, I recommend basing yourself in San Juan and then taking day trips around the island. This will prevent you from having to pack up and move to  new accommodations every day, which can be annoying.

Staying in San Juan is also the best option if you don’t want to rent a car and drive, as there are plenty of tours that leave from the city. You’ll also be near the airport and have access to many restaurants, bars, and things to do, which makes it super convenient.

There are also tons of places to stay, to suit any accommodation preference or budget. Within San Juan, I recommend staying in either Old San Juan or Condado, both of which have plenty of options.

Staying in Old San Juan

Old San Juan is the city’s tourist hub. You’ll find plenty of charming cobblestone streets lined with historic boutique hotels, shops, and restaurants. There’s plenty going on in Old San Juan, and plenty to do here, making it a fantastic place to base yourself.

However, two downsides of staying in Old San Juan: there’s no direct beach access, and it’s always busy here.

  • Hotel El Convento: This historic boutique hotel is one of the most beautiful hotels in Old San Juan. It’s housed in a yellow building that used to be a Carmelite convent, dating back to 1646. Inside, you’ll find colonial architecture and elegant Spanish design details.
  • Palacio Provincial: Housed in a 19th century building in the heart of Old San Juan, this adults only hotel has a beautiful courtyard, comfortable rooms, and a rooftop pool that overlooks the ocean and the historic buildings in the neighborhood.
  • CasaBlanca Hotel: This eclectic boutique hotel has a beautifully decorated lobby and bar area, comfortable rooms, and rooftop terrace with beautiful views of Old San Juan and the water. 

Staying in Condado

Located right next to Old San Juan is Condado, known for its beautiful beaches and upscale accommodations. You’ll find tree-lined streets, beachside restaurants, and easy access to the water. If you want to be close to the beach, then Condado is an ideal place to stay.

The one downside of Condado is that I found it lacks charm, especially in comparison to Old San Juan. However, it was nice to be right next to the beach, and it was not as crazy as staying in Old San Juan.

  • Caribe Hilton: This is where our conference was hosted, and honestly, I really wished I stayed here instead of in an Airbnb. The location is at the edge of Condado, so you’ll be located right in between Condado and Old San Juan. The historic Caribe Hilton was the first Hilton property built outside of the US mainland back in 1949 and still retains signs of its glam past. It’s got rooms with ocean views, and a beautiful pool area.
  • O:Live Boutique Hotel: This laid-back boutique hotel has a Mediterranean style, with stylish decor, spacious rooms, and a rooftop infinity pool overlooking Condado Lagoon. Its vibe manages to be luxurious yet relaxed at the same time.
  • Condado Vanderbilt: This luxury beachfront hotel is located steps from the Condado Lagoon, with rooms overlooking the ocean. There’s also a stunning infinity pool, a beautiful bar and lobby area, and acclaimed on-site dining at Ola Oceanfront.

The Perfect 4 Day Puerto Rico Itinerary

Puerto Rico Itinerary DAY 1 (Old San Juan)

It’s almost impossible not to be charmed by Old San Juan, with its cobblestone streets and colorful facades. Wandering through Old San Juan is like taking a step back in time, and it was a highlight of my Puerto Rico 4 day itinerary.

Founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, San Juan is the oldest city under US jurisdiction and one of the oldest continually inhabited cities in the Western Hemisphere. The beautifully preserved historic neighborhood offers a glimpse into Puerto Rico’s rich history, along with unique cultural experiences.

You’ll find unique historic landmarks, pastel-colored colonial buildings, amazing culinary experiences, and vibrant nightlife, making it the perfect place to kick off your Puerto Rico 4 day itinerary.

I *highly* recommend getting an early start on this day, as Old San Juan tends to get super busy as the day goes on, especially once the cruise ships dock. Not only that, you’ll avoid some of the heat if you get out early in the morning. Even still, I was completely drenched in sweat after an hour or two, so be sure to drink plenty of water!

Things to Do in Old San Juan

There’s plenty to do and see in Old San Juan, so you definitely won’t get bored! I’m going to list some of the top sights and activities below. You may not get around to all of them, so feel free to pick and choose the ones that appeal the most to you.

Start with coffee and breakfast at Cafe Cuatro Sombras: This cute coffee shop is the perfect spot to start the day. They have a really pretty patio in the back that is the perfect place to savor your coffee and breakfast.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro: This UNESCO World Heritage site is a must-visit attraction. Also known as “El Morro,” the historic fort sits on top of a cliff overlooking the ocean and was built in the 16th century to protect the city from attacks from the sea. 

There’s six levels to explore, and it’s a super interesting place to learn more about the city’s history. You can even see some of the original cannons here, which was pretty cool, and the views alone make it worth a visit.

I suggest getting here right when they open at 9am, to avoid the heat (it gets pretty hot here and there’s not much shade) and crowds. Allow around 1.5-2 hours for your visit. It costs $10 to enter, but is free if you have an America the Beautiful pass, so be sure to pack it if you have one!

Cementerio Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis: This 19th century cemetery is located right next to El Morro, and is one of the most unique sights in San Juan. It’s the final resting place of some of Puerto Rico’s most famous residents. It is known as one of the most famous cemeteries in the world, with its oceanfront view.

Castillo San Cristobal: This is another historic fort located not too far away from El Morro, and together they make up the San Juan National Historic Site. While El Morro protected the city from potential invaders from the sea, Castillo San Cristobal protected the city from land attacks.

The 27 acre fortress is one of the largest fortifications built by the Spaniards, and is another interesting place to learn about the city’s history. However, if you are short on time, I’d visit El Morro over this one.

Wander through and photograph the colorful streets: Honestly, my favorite part was to just wander through the streets and photograph all those colorful facades. The buildings are painted in a rainbow of bright pastel colors, carefully selected as part of historical preservation efforts.

You might know that I absolutely LOVE colorful places, so it should be no surprise that II took a million photos while exploring Old San Juan. While you’ll find photogenic streets everywhere you look, some of my favorites were Caleta de las Monjas, Calle Imperial + Calle de la Virtud + Calle Norzagaray, Calle de la Luna + Calle San Jose, and Calle del Cristo.

Take a walking food tour: I unfortunately didn’t get to do this, but several of my friends did and absolutely RAVED about it! They went on the Old San Juan Walk & Taste Tour from Spoon Experiences, which includes tastings at many of the city’s top local eateries, along with a crash course in the history of San Juan and Puerto Rico. They said they got to taste soooo much food (the portions are big), and learned so much!

Snap a photo with a Puerto Rico flag mural: These make the perfect photo ops to commemorate your Puerto Rico trip! There is an orange and red mural on Calle Imperial, and a black and white one on Calle San Jose.

Try traditional Puerto Rican food at El Jibarito: This is one of the most popular restaurants in Old San Juan, serving traditional homestyle Puerto Rican food. You can try a variety of meat and seafood dishes, each of which come with a side of mofongo, which is sort of like the national dish of Puerto Rico.

Calle Fortaleza: This is the city’s famous umbrella street, which leads to the governor’s mansion. Depending on the time of year, you may see holiday decorations, the Puerto Rican flag, or something else instead of umbrellas. Do note that the street is fenced off so you can’t stand underneath it, but it’s possible to get a good photo if you get creative with your angles! 

Casa Blanca: This was the first fortified building in San Juan and was once the home of Ponce de Leon. Today, it is a museum that exhibits artifacts from the 16th and 17th century. It has beautiful rooms with stunning views, and an elegant garden.

Try the original pina colada: San Juan is the birthplace of the pina colada. There are two places in the city that claim to have invented the pina colada. The first is the Caribe Hilton in Condado, and the second is Barrachina in Old San Juan. 

I LOVE a good pina colada, so I was excited about this! After trying both versions, I preferred Barrachina. I thought it had much more of a pineapple flavor, whereas the Caribe Hilton’s pina colada was more coconut-based. Barrachina’s version is also the and is the blended version that many associate with a pina colada, while the Caribe Hilton’s is an on the rocks drink. 

(Note: Both Barrachina and the Caribe Hilton have a non-alcoholic version, so it’s worth trying even if you don’t drink alcohol!)

Save the Gatos: When walking around Old San Juan, you will probably have noticed the amount of stray cats around the neighborhood. Save the Gatos is a nonprofit organization that looks after the stray cat population in the city. If you get a chance, visit their cat sanctuary to say hi to the cats, and consider giving a donation.

San Juan Bautista Cathedral: This pretty church located in the center of San Juan is the oldest cathedral in the US. The Baroque-style cathedral has a Gothic facade and stunning stained glass windows, and is also the final resting place of Ponce de Leon.

Dinner at La Madre: I had dinner here on my second night in Puerto Rico, and I really enjoyed it! La Madre serves delicious Mexican food with a modern twist. I think the best part are the margaritas and mojitos here, flavored with fresh fruit juices. 

Have a cocktail at La Factoria: La Factoria is listed as one of the 50 best bars in the world, and offers a speakeasy experience. It’s located in an unmarked building on Calle San Sebastian, and has six different rooms, hidden behind one another and each offering a different experience. You can just go to enjoy a cocktail at the front bar, or even go salsa dancing inside one of the secret rooms!

Puerto Rico Itinerary DAY 2 (El Yunque National Rainforest)

On the second day of this 4 day Puerto Rico itinerary, we will be leaving the city and heading into nature at the El Yunque National Rainforest.

Located about an hour out of San Juan, El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the US National Forest system, and is considered to be a sacred place in Puerto Rican culture. 

The forest receives almost 400 billion liters of rain each year, which creates a lush landscape boasting an incredible diversity of plant and animal life. It’s a haven for nature lovers, and offers plenty of outdoor recreation opportunities, such as hiking and swimming in natural pools and streams.

While driving yourself will give you the most flexibility, I don’t recommend it unless you are planning to do some hikes. If you just want to see the main highlights of El Yunque, I recommend taking a guided tour instead. You’ll get to see all the best sights and learn more about the forest. You also won’t have to worry about not being able to get in because of capacity, which is a huge headache.

If you visit on your own, do note that there is a $8 per person entry fee. 

Recommended El Yunque Tours

Discover El Yunque Tour: This tour follows the exact itinerary of the tour that I did (which was arranged for us by our conference). After visiting the El Portal Visitors Center, you’ll get to visit the Yokahu Lookout Tower and La Coca Falls. Then, you’ll finish your day with a refreshing swim in a watering hole.

El Yunque Small Group Rainforest Adventure: This tour visits some of the hard to reach spots that are difficult to visit on an independent visit. You’ll hike to two waterfalls, then go swimming in a watering hole. More daring individuals can also go cliff diving or rope swinging.

Small Group El Yunque Waterslide Adventure: On this tour, you’ll get to visit El Yunque and get to slide down one of the natural water slides that the area is known for.

El Yunque and Bio Bay Adventure: Here’s a tour that combines El Yunque with a bioluminescent kayaking experience, one of the most unique things to do in Puerto Rico.

El Yunque and Luquillo Beach Tour: This tour combines a visit to El Yunque with Luquillo Beach, one of the most beautiful beaches in the area. This is a good option for those who don’t want to do much hiking.

Do you need a reservation to visit El Yunque National Rainforest?

As of August 2023, you no longer need a reservation to visit the main recreational areas of the rainforest in Rio Grande.

However, there is a 200 car capacity. Visitors will be admitted on a first-come, first-serve basis once the park opens at 8am. Once capacity is reached, the entrance will close and reopen for 20 vehicles as 20 leave.

If you plan to drive to El Yunque, try to get there right when it opens! My friend got to the gate around 8:45 and was turned away because they were already at capacity. Honestly, I think a HUGE advantage of taking a tour is that you don’t have to deal with this. 

Things to Do in El Yunque National Forest

El Portal Visitors Center: Start off your visit at the El Portal Visitors Center. It’s a great place to learn more about current park conditions, but there’s much more that it has to offer. Watch the short movie, which tells you more about the incredible biodiversity of the forest. You can also see some of the endangered Puerto Rican parrots here.

Whatever you do, do not miss the views! Even though you’re at the visitors centers and not in the heart of the rainforest, the views are already pretty incredible and you can really see how green and lush everything is.

Yokahu Lookout Tower: The Yokahu Tower is one of the most popular sights. The 69 foot tall lookout tower is easily accessible and doesn’t require a hike. To get here, you’ll drive up some steep, windy roads that climb 1600 feet through the rainforest (which kinda had some Road to Hana vibes). 

You’ll then climb up a tall spiral staircase (don’t miss the view from the cutout window!), to reach the top of the tower. From here, you’ll enjoy spectacular views of the lush forests below, and even out to the ocean. You’ll see four different kinds of forests – Colorado, Tabonuco, Palm, and Cloud – and you can really appreciate how green and beautiful everything is!

La Coca Falls: La Coca Falls is one of the most accessible waterfalls in El Yunque, located right off the park’s main road. At 85 feet high, it’s also one of the park’s tallest.

There’s a viewpoint right of SR-121, but you’ll be behind a rail. The water was a bit of a trickle when I visited, but I was impressed by how tall it was. I can only imagine how beautiful it would be with more water in it!

Angelito Trail: This short 0.4 mile hike takes you through the Tabonuco trees of the forest. While technically outside of the park, the trail leads to the Río Mameyes, federally designated as the “Wild and Scenic River.” 

At the end of the trail is the Las Damas swimming hole, where you’ll find inviting emerald waters, perfect for going for a dip. As you swim here, you’ll be surrounded by lush green trees and ferns, which give it total Tarzan vibes.

Honestly, I loved swimming here and it was one of the highlights of my 4 days in Puerto Rico – it was soooo refreshing and felt so nice after being in the brutal heat!

BONUS: Bioluminescent Bays in Fajardo

If you want to add another adventure to your 4 day Puerto Rico itinerary, consider going on a kayaking tour in the bioluminescent bays of Fajardo. 

In case you didn’t know, Puerto Rico is home to 3 of the only 5 bioluminescent bays in the world, located in Mosquito Bay on the island of Vieques, La Parguera in the southeastern part of the island, and Laguna Grande in Fajardo. Of the three, Laguna Grande is the closest to San Juan, and only about 20 minutes from El Yunque, making it easy to do both on the same day.

The phenomenon occurs because of large quantities of microscopic organisms called dinoflagellates living in the water, creating a glow in the dark effect. They are stimulated by movement, so they sparkle and shine in a bright blue color when you paddle or splash in the water.

I didn’t do this because I suck at all rowing-related activities, *especially* kayaking (and I just didn’t have time), but it’s supposed to be one of the coolest experiences in Puerto Rico. I’m including it here, because if you have any interest in doing it, this is the best day to do it!

The best way to visit both El Yunque and the bioluminescent bays of Fajardo is to book this combination tour, which will also pick you up and drop you off in San Juan. If you have your own car, you can also book a kayaking tour only, that meets in Fajardo.  

Puerto Rico Itinerary DAY 3 (West Coast)

On the third day of this Puerto Rico 4 day itinerary, we are going west – specifically, to the west coast of the island!

The west coast of Puerto Rico is filled with quaint beach towns and some of the most beautiful beaches on the island. It makes a perfect escape from the hustle and bustle of San Juan, and will allow you to see a different side of the island.

While you can certainly drive yourself and this will give you the most flexibility, I went on a tour with West Side Destinations and it was the perfect trip! It was so nice to be able to sit back and relax as they took us to all the sights. We were able to see some places that I never would’ve found otherwise, and we learned so much about Puerto Rico, and life on the island from a local perspective.

I went on the Let’s Go West tour, which takes you to the beach towns of Isabela, Aguadilla, and Rincon, and I highly recommend it if you want to see the best of the west coast with only limited time (you’re trying to do Puerto Rico in 4 days after all!). They also have a West Side Experience tour that takes you to the salt flats of Cabo Rojo.

In any case, it’s going to be a long (but super fun!) 12-13 hour day, so be sure to get an early start!

Things to do in Isabela

Our first stop was Isabela, located about 1.5 hours away from San Juan on the northwest coast. Isabela is known for its beaches and peaceful vibe. I loved that the beaches here had sort of a hidden gem feel.

Here are some things to see in Isabela:

Mirador de Guajataca: From here, you’ll get a stunning view of Guajataca Beach, which is the next stop. The water looked so vibrantly blue from here and it made me so excited for what was to come the rest of the day!! There are also a few street vendors here selling snacks and souvenirs.

Guajataca Beach: I loved this beach! It felt like paradise with its gorgeous blue waters, palm trees, and most importantly, no crowds. It almost felt like we had the beach to ourselves. Do note that the sand here gets HOT.

Guajataca Tunnel + Playa Pelicano: This historic tunnel starts from Guajataca Beach and used to be part of a railroad that ran across the entire coast of Puerto Rico in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, the railroad ceased operations in the 1950s, but is an interesting relic of the area’s past. If you walk through the tunnel it will lead you to Playa Pelicano, a secret beach.

Monument to Cacique Mabodamaca: Colloquially known as La Cara del Indio (or “the Indian’s face”), this roadside monument makes an ideal pit stop. The giant sculpture is carved right into the rock, and is quite impressive. The sculpture depicts the face of the Taino chief Mabodamaca, whose tribe occupied the area and went to war with the Spaniards. 

Things to do in Aguadilla

Located on the northwestern tip of Puerto Rico, Aguadilla has miles of white sandy beaches and some of the best surf breaks on the island. It is known for its beautiful beaches and laid-back vibe.

Here are some highlights of Aguadiilla:

Lunch at Cinco Restaurant: This is where our tour stopped for lunch, and it was delicious. They have an extensive menu, but it’s a great place to try some mofongo. They have the classic varieties, along with some non-traditional ones, such as mushroom with cream sauce. Also try the passion fruit juice, it was so refreshing and amazing on a hot day!

Crash Boat Beach: This is one of the most iconic beaches in Puerto Rico, popular with locals and visitors alike. Crash Boat beach was originally used by the US Air Force, and gets its name for the military boats who raced out to sea to rescue downed airmen.

Its sparkling blue waters and white sand make it perfect for a variety of activities, from chilling on the beach, swimming, watersports, and surfing. Crash Boat Beach is very lively, and you’ll hear music thumping, lots of street vendors, and just lots of people having a good time! 

It got pretty overcast at this point, so we didn’t get to see it in all its glory, but I’ve seen photos of it on a sunny day and it is gorgeous! We just grabbed some pina coladas at one of the beach bars and chilled and people watched.

Casas de Colores: I loved, loved, LOVED seeing these colorfully painted houses! The houses are part of the Pintalto macro mural project, which are helping revitalize neighborhoods all across Puerto Rico.

The murals were designed by a local artist, and were inspired by the ocean and marine life that surround the town. The mayor of Aguadilla, with support from a local paint company, gave its residents paint so they could paint their own houses. 

Please keep in mind that these are residences, and people live here. The residents here are incredibly proud – we ran into a guy who lived here and he was so excited to have us here and show off the neighborhood. But, it is super important to be respectful when you are visiting!

Things to do in Rincon

Located on the western tip of Puerto Rico, Rincon is known for its beaches, surf breaks, and sunsets. It’s one of the most popular destinations on the island, with visitors coming to enjoy its relaxed, boho beach town vibes.

I’d heard so many good things about Rincon, and it was one place that I really wish we had more time in! I definitely am hoping to return for an extended visit on a future trip to Puerto Rico.

Here are some things to check out in Rincon:

Punta Higüera Lighthouse: This historic lighthouse towers 100 feet tall and is still in operation today. The surrounding park offers some beautiful views, and you can often find vendors selling everything from street food to handmade jewelry.

Domes Beach: Located right next to the lighthouse, Domes Beach gets its name from the old dome-shaped nuclear power plant (which has now been converted into a technology museum) that stands here. It’s known as one of the best surfing spots in the Caribbean.

Watch the sunset: Because of its location at the most western point of the island, Rincon is known to have some of the most beautiful sunsets in Puerto Rico. Sadly, it was pretty overcast when we were here so we didn’t see much of a sunset, but it was nice to hang out and enjoy blue hour here.

Ola Sunset Cafe: This is the perfect spot to enjoy the sunset overlooking Domes Beach. They have some awesome mojitos, which are $10 and HUGE – about the size of a Big Gulp! It was the perfect refreshing beverage to enjoy while hanging out for sunset.

Puerto Rico Itinerary DAY 4 (More San Juan + Beaches)

We’ve now come to the last day of your Puerto Rico 4 day itinerary – boo! For your last day, I recommend hanging out in San Juan.

While Old San Juan is the main tourist area of the city, there’s plenty more to do in San Juan beyond the old town. Today, we will explore some of the activities elsewhere in the city, and relax at some of the beautiful beaches in the area.

Best Beaches in/around San Juan

Condado Beach: Probably the most popular beach in San Juan, thanks to its accessibility. Condado Beach is surrounded by high-end resorts, restaurants, and more. For a quieter beach with calmer waters, head to Playita de Condado, located at the western end of Condado. 

Condado Lagoon: This is the best spot for water activities, such as kayaking or paddleboarding. You can even go on a glass-bottom kayaking tour or a LED night kayaking tour.

Playa El Escambrón: This beach is located near the Caribe Hilton and is protected by coral reefs, making it an ideal place to go snorkeling. It’s also surrounded by two sprawling parks.

Isla Verde: Located in neighboring Carolina, Isla Verde is often voted as the top rated beach in the area. The long, wide beach here has soft golden sand and is flanked by tall palm trees, which make it feel like a slice of paradise.

Other Things to Do in San Juan

Casa Bacardi Rum Distillery Tour: This is one of the most popular activities in San Juan. Casa Bacardi is the largest rum distillery in the world, and you can tour its grounds and learn more about the distilling process. You’ll even get to taste some varieties of rum!

Pool or spa day in Condado: If you’re in the mood for relaxing today (I know, I know, it’s a packed itinerary as you’re trying to see Puerto Rico in 4 days!), then you can head to one of the resorts in Condado for a pool or spa day. Many resorts offer day passes – I suggest looking on ResortPass to see which ones are available.

Ocean Lab Brewing Co. and Viva Beach Club: We went to Ocean Lab for dinner one night and saw that there was a beach club, and wished we came earlier in the day to hang out. They offer day passes with multiple pools, lounge chairs, beach access, and more. The brewery has a selection of locally brewed beers and ocean views.

Sunset cruise: Some of my friends did this and had an amazing time! You’ll get to see the landmarks of Old San Juan from a different perspective, while enjoying a gorgeous sunset out on the water. Light snacks and drinks are included.

Evening: Dinner + A Night of Dancing

For dinner, I recommend heading to Condado, which has tons of restaurants to suit every taste and preference. If you’re looking for a fine dining option, there’s plenty of high-end restaurants in this area. If you want something more casual, you can find that too.

One recommendation is Orozcos, which has a menu full of traditional Puerto Rican food. It’s famous because Guy Fieri ate there on an episode of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. I loved the roast pork mofongo here, it was the best of the mofongos I had! The pork was so tender and flavorful.

To end your trip, I suggest going out for a night of dancing! Even if you think you’re too tired, you have to experience the vibrant nightlife in Puerto Rico, as it is like no other.

I recommend heading to Distrito T-Mobile, which has an array of restaurants and bars, with a lively and exciting atmosphere. We actually had the opening party for our conference here, and when I say Puerto Ricans love to party, I mean it! There was so much music and dancing, and everyone was there to have a great time. 

If you still have some energy left, I recommend trekking over to La Placita. During the day, the area serves as a marketplace, selling produce, meat, and more. At night, it transforms into *the* party district of San Juan.

You’ll find the street lined with bars with thumping music, with plenty of people dancing and having a great time. It’s not really a place to go if you’re looking for a quiet cocktail bar, but it is where you go out to dance the night away!

More things to do in Puerto Rico

If you have more time on your Puerto Rico itinerary, or if some of the activities above don’t appeal to you, below are some suggestions for other options:

Culebra + Flamenco Beach: Culebra is located about 20 miles off the coast of Fajardo, and home to the famous Flamenco Beach. Many locals said that Flamenco Beach is the best beach in Puerto Rico and I’m dying to visit! To get here, you can take a ferry from Ceiba, about 20 minutes south of Fajardo. The easiest way to get here, however, is to take a day tour from Fajardo, which also includes snorkeling, lunch, and drinks.

Vieques: Vieques is known for its wildlife, varied scenery, and its bioluminescent bay, known to be the brightest in the world. To get here, you can hop on a ferry from Ceiba, or take a short flight. There’s also a snorkeling tour that leaves from San Juan.

Ponce: Ponce is known as “the museum city,” and has tons of museums, colonial architecture, and a historic city center. It’s a fantastic place to go if you want to learn more about Puerto Rico’s history and unique culture.

More Travel Tips for Your 4 Days in Puerto Rico

Best Time to Visit Puerto Rico

There’s not really a “bad” time to visit Puerto Rico – it’s a beautiful destination year-round. Puerto Rico is generally warm all year, with average highs ranging from 83 to 89 degrees Fahrenheit.

However, the best time to go is during the dry season, which runs November through April. The dry season is when it’s the coolest (with highs in the low 80s), and the island sees the least humidity. 

It’s also the most popular time to visit, so you may see higher flight and hotel prices. This is especially so during the holiday season and in March, which is spring break.

May and June are considered the island’s shoulder season, with fewer crowds and lower rates than in the dry season. However, temperatures are quite warm during these months, with the hottest month being in June.

I visited in mid-May and it was pretty hot and already very humid. I found myself drenched in sweat after walking for an hour or two, even early in the morning. I also saw a torrential downpour at some point every day, even though it didn’t last very long. 

July through October is the low season in Puerto Rico, and the island’s hurricane season. While it’s not necessarily a bad time to visit, be sure to keep an eye on the forecast for any risk of hurricanes. If there is a hurricane in the forecast, you may have to reschedule your trip.

One advantage of visiting during low season is that the flight and hotel prices drop significantly. You’ll also find that the crowd levels drop dramatically, and it can even feel like you have the beaches to yourself.

Traveling to Puerto Rico

Most visitors arrive in Puerto Rico via Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU) in San Juan, which is the island’s main international airport. 

The airport serves 30 airlines, connecting the island to many domestic and international destinations. As I mentioned earlier, if you are coming from the United States, then you don’t need a passport to visit Puerto Rico. This makes it a very popular destination for American travelers.

I will note that getting to Puerto Rico is kind of annoying from the West Coast, since there aren’t really any direct flights. It was always something that deterred me from visiting in the past. However, I’m glad I finally made the trip!

From my home in Orange County/Los Angeles, I flew from San Diego with a layover in Philadelphia, and the trip took almost 12 hours. On the way back, I flew through Chicago (with a 6 hour layover), back to LAX.

Once you arrive at the airport, it is a breeze to get to San Juan! The airport is only about 3 miles outside of the city, making it super accessible. The best way to get from the airport to your accommodations in San Juan is via Uber. 

The trip takes about 15 minutes, and usually costs under $15. However, note that this can take longer or cost more during rush hour, as traffic gets pretty bad in San Juan.

In addition to SJU, there are also smaller airports located in Aguadilla (BQN), and Ponce (PSE), which have limited commercial flights to and from the US mainland. 

Getting Around in Puerto Rico

Renting a car will give you the most flexibility during your 4 days in Puerto Rico. For the best rates on cars, I recommend booking on, which allows you to compare prices from the top car rental companies and offers a price match guarantee. 

Puerto Rico doesn’t have much in terms of public transportation, but I don’t think that it’s absolutely necessary to rent a car. In fact, I designed this 4 day Puerto Rico itinerary to be done without a car. If you don’t wish to rent a car, I recommend basing yourself in San Juan and taking day tours.

Driving in Puerto Rico can be challenging at times, especially in San Juan, where there are narrow, hilly streets and limited parking. Puerto Ricans also tend to drive very aggressively, and there are potholes on the roads around the island. If you’re not a confident driver, then I suggest skipping the rental car and taking tours.

While, yes, you will give up some flexibility, but I still think you can do and see so much even without a car – I was surprised at how much I was able to do in Puerto Rico in 4 days.

What to Pack for Puerto Rico

  • Light, breathable clothing: Clothing made from light, breathable fabrics such as cotton and linen are ideal for the hot weather in Puerto Rico.
  • Cute dresses: I loved dressing up in colorful dresses to take photos against the colorful backdrops around the island! Some of my favorite are from CocoPina, with the best twirly, boho dresses that are *perfect* for photos.
  • Comfortable shoes or sandals: You’ll do a ton of walking in Puerto Rico, and note that the streets of Old San Juan are uneven cobblestone. Wear comfy shoes – leave the heels at home! I relied on my trusty Crocs sandals, which are super cute (I swear!) and very comfortable. 
  • Reef-safe sunscreen: The sun is strong here, so be sure to slather on that SPF! Choosing a mineral based sunscreen will also help protect the marine life in the area. 
  • Hat: Great for sun protection, and also cute in photos. Grab a straw hat, which is also perfect for the beach. 
  • Bathing suit: You’ll likely do a lot of water activities, so be sure to pack your bathing suit!
  • Sunglasses: The sun is very bright here, so pack a pair of shades. Goodr makes my favorite affordable polarized sunglasses.
  • Light rain jacket or poncho: It can pour without any warning, so bring a light, packable rain jacket or poncho.
  • Water bottle: It gets hot, so be sure to stay hydrated! I like to carry around a reusable water bottle at all times.
  • Power bank: Keep your devices charged as you explore the island. 

Have you ever been to Puerto Rico? What would you do on a Puerto Rico 4 day itinerary?

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