A red lifeguard hut and huge palm trees at Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico
travel guide

Where to stay in Puerto Rico

Caitlin

Travel writer

Puerto Rico has always been one of the most popular locations in the Caribbean. Known for its pristine beaches and dense jungles, this island has a lot to offer any traveler. Puerto Rico is the home of Reggaeton and Salsa music, the birthplace of the piña colada and is known for its rum and coffee. The local food is a fusion of African, Spanish, Taíno, and American influences, and is very popular with visitors.

When you visit Puerto Rico, you will experience an electric culture and friendly locals no matter where you stay on the island. Saying that, each town has its own unique flavor. Here are some of the best places to stay in Puerto Rico, depending on what type of traveler you are.

Hotels and buildings lining the beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico

At a glance

Best place to stay in Puerto Rico for first-time visitors

San Juan

The colourful buildings of Old San Juan from the water

San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico and is also the largest city on the island. Regardless of where you are coming from, most flights will land in San Juan, so you'll probably find yourself passing through the city at some point during your stay. The airport is located just outside of the city, making it easy to get to your hotel or rental.

San Juan is where you will find most of the historical sites and museums. The Old San Juan neighborhood is a must-see, with its colorful buildings and cobblestone streets. This area is also known for the San Cristobal Fortress, one of the largest Spanish fortresses in the Americas. The fortress is now a museum that offers tours of the battlements and dungeons.

The city is also home to the Puerto Rican Museum of Art, as well as a number of smaller galleries. If you’re interested in the performing arts, you can catch a show at the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra or the Teatro Tapia, one of the island’s most famous theaters.

San Juan is a great choice for foodies as well. The city has a number of excellent restaurants, serving everything from traditional Puerto Rican cuisine to international fare - or do a food tour to try a selection. You can also find a number of bars and clubs, making it the perfect place to go out and enjoy the nightlife.

If you are looking to immerse yourself in Puerto Rican culture, San Juan is the perfect place to stay. San Juan is also close to the beach so staying in the city can give you the best of both worlds. Grab a coffee at a café, spend a few hours wandering the streets and museums, and then head to the beach for a swim or to catch some rays.

Stay at Fortaleza Suites for charming, spacious rooms in an incredibly convenient location.

Best place to stay in Puerto Rico for couples

Rio Grande

White sand and palm tree at Rio Grande Beach in Puerto Rico

Sometimes you just need a place to relax with the one you love while being pampered... If this is what's on the cards for your next vacation, Puerto Rico has you covered! Rio Grande is the perfect place to stay if you are looking for an all-inclusive holiday with all of the works.

Rio Grande is a town located on the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico. It is known for its luxury resorts and all-inclusive hotels. The town also has a number of restaurants and cafes, as well as a lively nightlife scene making it perfect for a romantic getaway.

You can spend your days lounging by the pool, getting massages, and exploring the town. This really is the perfect place to stay if you want to be pampered and enjoy a luxurious vacation, stay in the resort the whole time or head to one of the endless stretches of soft sand either way, your body will thank you for the rest at the end of your stay.

Stay at the Wyndham Grand Rio Mar or splurge on the St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort.

Best place to stay in Puerto Rico on a budget

Luquillo

A red lifeguard hut and huge palm trees at Luquillo Beach, Puerto Rico

Luquillo also referred to as the "La Capital del Sol '' is a small town located on the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico and is the sun's capital. It is known for its beautiful beaches, which are perfect for swimming, sunbathing, and surfing. You will find an endless summer lifestyle in Luquillo , with many beach bars and restaurants to enjoy.

There are also a number of affordable activities nearby. The town is home to the Luquillo Experimental Forest, a 28,000-acre protected area that is perfect for hiking and bird watching. The forest is also home to the Rio Camuy Cave Park, one of Puerto Rico’s most popular tourist attractions. If you have the budget, the Park offers tours of the caves, as well as zip-lining and rappelling for those looking for a thrill.

If you want to experience a true beach town lifestyle at a more affordable price, Luquillo needs to be on your list. The town has a laid back and relaxed atmosphere, making it the perfect place to unwind and escape the stresses of everyday life.

Stay at Casa Coral for affordable accommodation on the beach.

Best place to stay in Puerto Rico for outdoor activities

Rincon

A yellow boat on a beach in Puerto Rico on a sunny day

Rincon is a small town located on the west coast of Puerto Rico. The town is known for its out-of-this-world orange and pink sunsets and incredible surf breaks. It is one of my favorite towns in all of Puerto Rico - you will find that many travellers come for a few days and end up staying a few weeks!

Rincon is the perfect place to stay if you are looking for adventure or to learn how to surf like a pro. There are many outdoor activities to enjoy, as well as a lively nightlife scene. During the day you can go stand up paddle boarding, surfing, snorkelling, or scuba diving. Rincon is also home to a number of hiking trails, as well as horseback riding and zip-lining tours.

When the sun goes down, the town comes alive with bars and clubs playing reggae music and serving up delicious cocktails. You can also find a number of restaurants serving Puerto Rican and international cuisine.

Stay at Villa Cofresi with comfortable rooms just a few steps from the beach

Best place to stay in Puerto Rico for culture

Ponce

The red and black Parque de Bombas museum (previously a fire station) in Ponce, Puerto Rico

Ponce is a city located on the southern coast of Puerto Rico and is the island's second largest city. They city is also known as the “Museum City” due to its abundance of museums. Ponce also has beautiful architecture, stunning beaches, and lively nightlife scene. You will find a mix of old-world charm and modern luxury in Ponce.

The city has a number of museums and historic sites to explore, as well as a number of restaurants and cafes. Sit and people watch in the Plaza Las Delicias, the city square lined with ornate, colonial buildings and shady trees. Some of city’s most famous landmarks are in the square including the Parque de Bombas, an old fire station which has been converted into a museum; the Fuente de Leones, the mayor's residence; and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Ponce is the perfect place to stay if you want to experience the best of what Puerto Rico has to offer. The city has a vibrant atmosphere, making it the perfect place to explore and have some fun. It is a bit far from the capital San Juan, but the extra travel time is worth it for the experience.

Stay at the Boutique Hotel Belgica in the centre of the city.

Best place to stay in Puerto Rico away from the crowds

Culebra

The white sands and turquoise waters of Flamenco Beach, Culebra

If you enjoy exploring new places that seem like the rest of the world hasn't discovered, then Culebra is the perfect place for you. Culebra is a small island located off the coast of Puerto Rico and it's magical! It is known for its unspoiled beaches and natural environment. The island is perfect for hiking, snorkeling, and swimming.

One of the most popular beaches on the island is Flamenco Beach, which is often considered one of the best beaches in the world. The beach is known for its clear turquoise waters and soft white sand. You will have some of the best snorkeling on the island and for the most part... all to yourself! Sounds like a dream. There are also a number of restaurants and cafes located on the beach so you don't feel so out of touch with the world.

Culebra is the perfect place to stay if you are looking to explore an untouched natural environment. The island is a haven for those who love spending time outdoors and enjoying all that nature has to offer.

Stay at Aleli Cottages with beautiful views walking distance from the beach.

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Caitlin

Author - Caitlin

Caitlin is a freelance writer who has been traveling the world for many years. She’s lived in countries all over the globe and loves sharing what makes each place special, both on and off the beaten path. She was based in NYC for over five years and spent over a year living it up in NOLA as well.

Last Updated 19 July 2022

Tourists on the beach in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico

One of the most popular islands in the Caribbean, Puerto Rico is known for its pristine beaches, dense jungle and excellent coffee.
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