1.Take a Bike Tour Around Old San Juan – Rocking your ADD Ankara of course
Funny story. I never learned to ride a bike. For some reason, I thought I had miraculously learned it overnight. So when my best friend said let’s take a bike tour around the city, I said let’s do it. Then I failed pathetically. No really it was too sad. I fell off a couple of times and finally decided to walk around, while she completed the tour. She loved it so give it a thought when you are heading to Old San Juan, that is if you know how to ride a bike of course ; ). The bikes can be rented at the La Bodega del Viejo San Juan Cuban-Rican Bar and Restaurant.
For $35 USD, you would get a 1.5 hour guided video recorded tour. The guide will send the video to your email or phone. Don’t ask for my footage ; )
2. Vist Casa Bacardí Rum Distillery & Do a Tour
The Casa Bacardí Rum Distellery is a nice place to chill. It has an outdoor patio and bar, along with touring options for those who want to enjoy more than outdoor scenery. Depending on the option you choose, the tour can be really cheap or slightly pricey. There are three options: historical, rum tasting, and mixology (See price listing below).
Historical Tour Includes: Bacardí Cup, Bacardí Special “Welcome” Cocktail for adults, Refreshments for children
Rum Tasting Tour Includes: Bacardí Cup, Bacardí Special “Welcome” Cocktail and Honorary Certificate of Completion, Distillery Tour and access to the Cathedral of Rum with an assigned Brand Specialist.
Even though I am a history lover and the historical tour was the cheapest, I wanted to have the full experience and make cocktails. The rum tasting tour was not appealing since I like sweet and fruity drinks. The mixologist option was just perfect: For $60 USD per person, we got
“Welcome” pre-tour cocktail
Bacardi Rum glasses
Historical tour of the Bacardi Distillery
3 mixed drinks (Cuba Libre, Mojito, and Diaquiri) that we made ourselves in a class with others. The class was so much fun!
Certificate of Completion
I should add here that my best friend is not the biggest fan of alcohol, and the mixology tour was all about me. However, she did the full experience except that she made virgin mix drinks instead. So don’t discount that option if you are traveling with someone who doesn’t drink alcohol.
3. Go Bar & Club Hopping Around Placita de Santurce
I don’t party often but when I do…! This was definitely my second favorite experience, after the rum tour. Placita de Santure has tons of little free entry bars and clubs that play variety of music – hip-hop, salsa, Jamaican dancehall, etc. We went jumping from one club/bar to the next literally every 15 minutes or so. In between clubs and bars, we cooled off on the sidewalks that were crowded with people. It was a great way to people watch and meet new folks.
4. Experience Nature at El Yunque National Forest
The plan was to get to the forest and swim in the La Mina Waterfall. But we overslept and did not get there until about 5pm, which was after most of the places had closed. Since it was a four-day trip and we had other things on our list, we decided to make the best out of our short time at El Yunque. We met a Haitian couple who were also late, and together we explored the La CoCa Falls and bits of other parts of the forest.
The entry fee is $5 USD. However, because we got there after 5pm, we were able to get in for free. In addition to waterfalls, El Yunque has hiking trails and places to eat.
5.Go Sightseeing – Enjoy Outdoor Artwork
I was not the biggest fan of paintings, sculptures, statues, that type of stuff. But somehow I developed a strange fascination with artwork in Puerto Rico, Old San Juan specifically. It all started with me attempting to mimic the guy on the painting below. Then it became a game where I walked around looking for statues to imitate. I am a weirdo. I know. But the point is, you can have fun in the strangest ways if you just let yourself be, and that is totally why I love travel: make a fool out of yourself because no one knows who the hell you are! Well, at least it hasn’t caught up with me yet.
May I add that this was free?!
6. Visit San Juan National Historic Site
If you want to go cheap, this is definitely a place to put on your list. For $5 USD entry fee and $2 USD per hour parking, you can enjoy some rich Puerto Rican history and get some amazing views of Old San Juan. It is also a great option for everyone else.
7. Eat, Drink, and Be Merry
One of my favorite things about traveling is trying new foods. When I go somewhere new, my mission is always to enjoy traditional, local foods. In Puerto Rico, I ate a lot of mofongo, a signature dish made mainly with fried plantains and sometimes cassava (yuca). I also ate lots of fried cassava, rice and beans, whole grilled/fried fish, and empanadas (Puerto Rican version of meat pies or patties).
Food is generally a little on the pricey side, but the good news is the portion sizes are huge! Each of us spent about $35-40 per day on food and drinks. But one meal was enough to last us a day with some leftovers. Also, our hotel served free breakfast, so that helped us to save.
8. Chill at a Beach
Enjoy the sand. Get wet in the blue/green Caribbean sea because life is dope but only if you allow it. Puerto Rico has loads of beautiful free entry beaches, so if you are into sands and seas, go for it.
We visited the Playa Mar Chiquita beach, not far away from the Hyatt hotel in Manati, where we stayed. Manati is a city with beautiful beaches outside of tourist areas like Old San Juan. It is a nice place to visit if you want to experience more than just the hot spots.
9. Relax… Don’t Over Think Fun
Need I say more? Nothing ruins the fun like an overly planned trip. Go with the flow. Ask the locals what’s good. Seriously, people are always excited to show you the best of what their places of living have to offer. Asking people you meet along the way is your best resource to finding hidden gems and making the best out of your trip. That is how we found out about Placita de Santurce, which ended up being one of our best experiences!
10. 9 not enough? Okay fine. Choose from lists of other activities via Puerto Rico Day Trips.