What to do in Rio Grande Puerto Rico

Best Things To Do In Rio Grande Puerto Rico (2024)

Rio Grande, Puerto Rico is known for being the gateway into El Yunque National Forest. In fact, if exploring the rainforest is something you want to do, then Rio Grande is the perfect place to spend a few days. So, in this blog post we’ll explore what to do in Rio Grande Puerto Rico, including rainforest activities.

what to do in Rio Grande Puerto Rico,

Where is Rio Grande, Puerto Rico 

Rio Grande is located in the northeast region of Puerto Rico. It is an easy commute into Old San Juan and about 30 minutes from the Luis Munoz International Airport (SJU). Therefore, it makes a great option for long weekend getaways with close proximity to the airport, city and El Yunque. 

How many days to spend in Río Grande

Rio Grande is known for its many amazing resorts and its easy access to El Yunque. And in my opinion, a few days in Rio Grande is the perfect amount of time to explore what the area has to offer. Rio Grande is a great base location if you want to relax at the resorts, visit other islands without having to stay overnight, and also have easy access to El Yunque. 

For me, the perfect 3 day itinerary in Rio Grande would be:

  • Day 1: Explore the rainforest and finish the day at Liquillo Beach and Liquillo Kiosks.
  • Day 2: Explore one of the nearby islands; Vieques, Culebra or Icacos on a day trip.
  • Day 3: Relax on the beach and then do the bioluminescence tour in the evening.

With this itinerary, you get to the experience the best things to do in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico with a variety of activities. 

Best things to do in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Rio Grande is a nature lovers paradise! With the lush rainforest in its backyard, this beautiful part of the island is filled with many family fun adventures and outdoor activities.  

From exploring the natural beauty of the rainforest, enjoying a variety of water sports, local souvenir shopping and eating at roadside dives, Rio Grande is one of the best places to include in your Puerto Rico travel itinerary. 

So, with that being said, the rainforest is our first suggestion and really one of the best places to spend your time while in Rio Grande.

1. Tour the El Yunque Rainforest 

The number one thing to do in Río Grande is visit the El Yunque Rainforest. As, El Yunque is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. national forest service. So, this great place is something not to miss while in the area. When you visit, you’ll have the option to go on a self guided tour or find a guided or private tour. 

If you go on self guided tour, you can hike through the forest and see numerous waterfalls such as La Coca Falls, Juan Diego Falls and La Mina Falls. You will also have the opportunity to climb to the top of El Yunque Peak and climd Mt Britton Tower, which are some of the highest elevations in the forest.  Both of which on a clear day you can see panoramic views of the rainforest and the Atlantic ocean.  

what to do in Rio Grande Puerto Rico,

And while a self guided tour will allow you to explore at your own pace, a guided tour will take you to places you most likely will not find on your own. Some of the rainforest tours include water slide and rope swing adventures. These tours will take you on different trails from what you find in the main entrance of the park. 

So it depends on your preference which way is best for you. We toured the rainforest on our own. I was very easy to find and navigate. And make sure to stop in visitor center when you visit.

PRO TIP: If you have a national parks pass, bring it. That way you’ll be able to get into the visitor center for 1/2 price!

2. Rainforest Zipline Park 

For the more adventurous, if you’d prefer to zip line your way through the forest instead of hiking, then the Rainforest Zipline Park is for you.

Zip Line Tour at Rainforest Zipline Park

At this adventure park they have zip line guided tours, rock climbing and an adventure trail. The prices range from $79 to $160 per person and are open 7 days a week. So, if you seek a more adventurous rainforest experience, then this is for you.

3. Carabali Rainforest Park 

Another option for outdoor adventure is Carabali Rainforest Park. Here, they offer ATV and UTV adventures, horse riding in El Yunque or on the beach, go karts, hayrides and jet ski guided tours. This adventure park is located off of PR-3 and is easily accessible and makes a great addition to your El Yunque Adventure. Prices start at $32 for horseback rides and range up to $130 depending on the activity. And go karts are less than $10 per person.

Go Kart rides at Carabali Rainforest Park

Also at the park, the Hacienda Carabali restaurant serves highly rated food and drinks. So its a great place to grab a bit after your adventure or just come for the food and not the activities.

4. Enjoy a Beach Day 

The island is full of beautiful beaches! And if you’re staying at a resort, then a lovely beach is most likely just outside your door. However with that being said, the areas most popular beach is Playa las Picuas. And interesting enough, if you are not staying on it, the access is not that great. There are walkway to get to the beach, but with limited parking.

what to do in Rio Grande Puerto Rico
Seven Seas Beach

So, for better parking and arguable better beaches, Liquillo beach is another great option. Also a little farther away is Seven Seas Beach. Both offer calm water with plenty of parking and beach facilities unlike Playa Las Picuas.

5. Day Trip to Old San Juan

A trip to Puerto Rico would not be complete without spending some time in Old San Juan.  Known for its historic sites, plazas, parks, restaurants and shops, Old San Juan is a thriving Caribbean city. And therefore any amount of time you have to explore will be worth it!

Walk along the Paseo del a Princesa to see the original door to the city

A few places and highlights to see in Old San Juan include a walk down Paseo de la Princesa where you can see the original door to the city, a visit to El Morro where you can explore the fort and a view of the famous Fortaleza Street, which is also known as the Umbrella Street.

6. Visit Luquillo Beach and Luquillo Kiosks

After your visit to El Yunque you can make a stop at the well known Luquillo Kiosks. This popular place is a destination for both locals and tourists. The kiosks are located on the shore of Luquillo Beach and are a row of vendors (about 60) including food, drinks and souvenirs.

Luquillo Beach and kiosks are a great stop after your rainforest visit, where you can relax in the calm waters of the bay and grab a bite in one of the many restaurants. 

For me, much of the food is fried, so the food is not my favorite. However it’s a popular spot in the area and one you should visit to partake in the experience and culture. 

7. La Paseadora del Rio Espiritu Santo

Another fun way to enjoy the area is a river boat cruise through the only navigable river in Puerto Rico. This local and cultural tour will take you out and back along the river.

The boat tours require at least 10 people to go, and you do need a reservation. However, on Sunday, they take solo riders, so if you have a smaller group, this may be your best day. Reservations can be made by calling 787-614-5144 or you can visit the Facebook page for more information. Prices are $20 per person.

8. Day Trip to Vieques or Culebra 

Staying in this part of the island makes a day trip to one of the nearby islands an easier activity. So, if you aren’t planning an overnight journey to Vieques or Culebra, you can visit the islands on a day trip. 

To get to Vieques or Culebra, you can either take a quick flight (Vieques Air or Flamenco Air) or an hour long ferry ride (Puerto Rico Ferry) to get over.

Once on the island you can spend the day how you would like and return at your scheduled departure. In my opinion, I would fly over if it’s affordable to you. The ferry is long and can be a choppy ride.  

Another option is to take guided tour which could be a day trip on the island via the ferry or a catamaran day trip. There are many options, it just depends on which fits your preference and your budget.

9. Enjoy a resort style round of golf 

With so many really nice golf courses in the area, if you love the game of golf, it might be worth if to pack those clubs. However, you can always rent clubs if you change your mind.

None the less, for the golfers out there, considering playing one of these great courses.

10. Stop in Palmer – the Portal to El Yunque 

I highly recommend making a top in Palmer before or after your rainforest adventure. This tiny area has a few great restaurants where you can try local cuisine and also shop from local artists.

what to do in Rio Grande Puerto Rico
Rooftop view of El Yunque at Bungalu Restaurant and Bar

In my opinion, this was one of our favorite little places in Rio Grande. We had delicious food and drinks with a rooftop view of El Yunque at Bungalu Restaurant and Bar. This place has a great vibe and ambiance.

11. Visit the Bioluminescent Bay

There are 3 bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico and one is located nearby in Fajardo. This bio bay is not the best in Puerto Rico for brightness, however it is for its convenient location. So if you have never seen a bioluminescent bay, then you may want to consider touring this bio bay. 

Coming soon is a visiting guide to Puerto Rico’s Bio Bays.

11. Water Sports in Rio Grande

And for those who like to kite board and wing foil, yes, Rio Grand is a local spot for kiting. On the tip of Playa las Picuas you will find shallow calm water which makes an ideal kiting spot. However, for foiling you will want to move further down the beach for deeper water.

12. Take a Cigar Making Class

With a cigar making class at Finco Neo Jibairo you can make your own cigar. In addition to that you will learn about the history of the tobacco industry in Puerto Rico, the stages and characteristics of the plant, and how to roll your own cigar.

Even if you don’t smoke cigars, this is a fun activity and an amazing gift to bring back to someone. Reservations are required and class is only available on Fridays.

13. Enjoy a Sunrise

Before you leave this area, try to catch a sunrise. Being located near the eastern side of the island, you can catch a great sunrise. Our place was located on Playa las Picuas, so it was an easy morning stroll to get to the beach.

what to do in Rio Grande Puerto Rico
Sunrise on Playa Las Picuas

14. Visit a Chocolate Farm

At Hacienda Chocolat you can learn all about chocolate on a farm tour. This interactive experience will guide you on a chocolate journey where you get to see and taste the process of chocolate making. A variety of tours are available from walking farm tours to wine, chocolate and whiskey. Reservation must be made in advance and prices start at $38.

Where to stay in Rio Grande

Rio Grande has something for everyone. So if you’re looking for luxury resorts and hotels, a unique experience, or a more budget-friendly alternative, there are many options.

I am usually not a resort goer, however in this area, my recommendation would be to stay at one of the many resorts. After all, that is what this area is known for. And it gets you easy access to the beach with lots of amenities.

St. Regis Bahia Beach Resort, Wyndam Grand Rio Mar Golf & Beach Resort, and Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico are all located in the area.

On the other hand, there are also a few options for really unique stays in Rio Grande. And while we stayed in an AirBNB during our visit, these are much more exciting. So hopefully we will get to stay in one next time.

What to do in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico

Well, I hope I have answered this question for you. Puerto Rico is filled with so many amazing places to visit, with Rio Grande and El Yunque being just a few of them! So, have fun exploring this beautiful island.

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