What to do in Puerto Rico with kids? 12 amazing experiences

Puerto Rico is a beautiful Caribbean Island perfect for families with young kids.

Coming from Europe, I’m not used to hearing much about Puerto Rico. Maybe that’s true for you too?

So let me tell you that with its rich culture, stunning landscapes, and endless adventures, Puerto Rico offers the perfect backdrop for a memorable family trip.

From lush rainforests and historic forts to pristine beaches and interactive museums, Puerto Rico has it all.

So, in this guide, I will tell you about some of the best family-friendly activities and destinations across the island. My goal being to ensure that your trip is packed with fun, education, and plenty of unforgettable moments.

We loved our family trip to this beautiful island. I will give all the information so you will love yours too! With these 12 amazing experiences you can’t go wrong!

So, let’s go explore Puerto Rico with kids!

1. El Yunque National Forest

Did you know that Puerto Rico has the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System? It is called El Yunque National Forest and is the most kids-friendly tropical forest we’ve ever visited!

I advise you to go straight to the Visitor Centre where the park’s rangers will provide all the information you need. Here you will also find a very complete and interactive exhibition about the tropical forest and the wildlife living in this territory.

At the Visitor Centre rangers also propose a lot of activities that kids can do during the visit, like scavenger’s hunt and other funny ideas to get the kids learning about the forest while exploring around.

From there choose one of the many kid-friendly trails. We personally recommend the Big Tree Trail, which leads to La Mina Falls where kids can splash around in the water. Or our favourite, Angelitos Trail, that will lead you to Charco Los Angelitos, where you will find the perfect spot for a picnic and a natural pool where kids can swim.

♠ Pro – Tip:
  • Take a lot of water with you and adapted footwear.
  • Some points of interest, like Coca Falls, have really small parking lots. For that reason, sometimes you need to make a reservation to have access to those areas. Always ask about this and other restrictions at the Visitors Centre or on El Yunque website before starting your visit.

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2. Bioluminescent Bay Tour

Puerto Rico offers one of the most beautiful natural shows in the world: entire bays filled with Bioluminescent marine organisms called dinoflagellates.

There are three bioluminescent bays (out of 5 in the whole world) in Puerto Rico: Mosquito Bay on the island of Vieques, Laguna Grande in Fajardo, and La Parguera in Lajas. These last two bays are both located in the main island.

If your kids are at least 5 years old, I would say you can take a night-time kayak tour in one of Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent bays. Please notice that each kayak has place only for two people.

When we visited Puerto Rico, Mya wasn’t 3yo yet, so we decided to do a boat tour instead and it didn’t disappoint. If you were considering the kayaks and for some reason it won’t work for your family take the boat tour. You will have a beautiful experience, nonetheless.   

The glowing water is a magical experience for kids for sure. To ensure that it remains accessible for future generations consider taking an eco-friendly tour and respect all the indications given by the boat crew.

♠ Pro – Tip:
  • The glow is only visible in the dark. For that reason, all the tours take place at nighttime. A good nap during the afternoon will improve your experience for sure, more so if you have toddlers or small kids.
  •  I will take this opportunity to manage some expectations. The glow is definitely visible, but no ordinary camera can film or shoot the blueish light. Enjoy the moment and don’t spend too much effort filming or photographing.

3. Enjoy a day at the beach

When we travel, I usually prefer to explore around, learning about nature and local culture. But Puerto Rico has some of the most family-friendly beaches we’ve ever enjoyed, so I couldn’t pass by this suggestion.

We will easily find beautiful bay-like beaches, with turquoise calm waters and pristine white sand lined with palm trees and luxuriant tropical vegetation. Just like a post-card!

During our 7-day trip to Puerto Rico we visited many beaches. Some of our favourites were Playita Rosada, Playa Buyé, Playa de Condado and Playa Añasco.

But if you are planning to spend an entire day at the beach, I strongly recommend Playa Luquillo. This beach is known as the best one for families for its calm waters and amenities, making it perfect for small kids. There are also food kiosks nearby for a convenient lunch or snack.

4. San Juan National Historic Site

We loved San Juan and it definitely has a lot to explore, but if there is one thing (well, two) you can’t miss when traveling with kids to Puerto Rico is the historic forts of El Morro and San Cristóbal in Old San Juan. Kids will enjoy exploring the tunnels, ramps, and open spaces, learning about Puerto Rico’s rich History.

The views over the Atlantic Ocean and the coastline of San Juan Bay are stunning in both locations. Let the kids play around and explore while you take your time to enjoy the landscape and soak in the Caribbean sun.

El Morro also offers one of the most beautiful locations in San Juan to enjoy sunset and is a traditional spot to fly coloured kites and picnic. Kids will love it for sure.

5. Ponce’s Parque de Bombas

Our visit to this iconic red and black firehouse museum in Ponce was a highlight on our trip to Puerto Rico. This is a fun and educational experience, and kids enjoyed the colourful building and history.

Nowadays the firehouse functions as a museum presenting an exhibition about the History of firefighting and some impressive antique firefighting equipment.

The is no entry fee and as far as I know you don’t need a reservation to visit but please notice that it closes early at 5pm. I recommend visiting after lunch. This is the perfect place to cool down when the sun is hight in the sky.

Some restauration work is taking place since 2023. It is possible that Parque de Bombas may not be accessible for a few months.

6. Visit an Indigenous Ceremonial Centre

Learn about Puerto Rico’s indigenous Taíno culture visiting one Indigenous centre.

Thought you will find some information about Taíno culture in several Puerto Rican museums I strongly recommend the immersive experience.

There are two Indigenous Centres, both on the main island

The centres include petroglyphs and reconstructed ceremonial plazas and indigenous housing, showcasing and explaining the indigenous culture.

Excavation work is still ongoing, so every year archaeologists and researchers discover and present new facts. These sites are permanently evolving and there’s always new things to learn.

♠ Pro – Tip:
  • If you have the time, I personally recommend the Caguana Indigenous Centre as it is considered to be one of the most important sites in the West Indies.  

7. Play in a black beach

The Vieques island is known for its black sand beaches, but did you know you can also have this experience in Puerto Rico’s main island?

Our kids always enjoy visiting and playing in a black sand beach. This type of beaches is quite different from our regular white sand ones, more common in Europe.

They love making black sandcastles, make drawings with white shells and learn about volcanoes.

In Puerto Rico you will find a beautiful black sand beach located in the southeastern coast. It is called Playa Los Bohíos.

♠ Pro – Tip:
  • Playa Los Bohíos is long but not very large. In high tide you won’t have a lot of beach area to lay towels and picnic. Try to visit in low tide as we did if you have the chance.

8. Visit a coffee plantation

As you will have the opportunity to see, coffee is deeply rooted in Puerto Rican culture and daily life. It’s common for Puerto Ricans to start their day with a cup of café con leche (coffee with milk) and enjoy coffee breaks throughout the day.

That’s because Puerto Rico’s coffee heritage is rich and multifaceted, coming from the early 18th century, with deep historical roots and significant cultural importance

You will find several Haciendas (farms) where you can learn about the coffee plantations, the coffee making process and enjoy a delicious cup of Puerto Rican coffee.

We chose not to visit a coffee plantation because you already had visited one not long ago in Panama. But in Puerto Rico I recommend visiting Hacienda Buena Vista or Hacienda Muñoz, a working coffee plantation. It is the ones I was looking into when organising our trip.  

9. Enjoy the amazing Puerto Rican gastronomy

In Puerto Rico meals are an important part of social life, often enjoyed with extended family and friends. From our personal experience, Puerto Ricans love to host and are very proud about their culinary culture.

The “cocina criolla,” as the Puerto Rican gastronomy is known, is a rich and diverse culinary tradition that reflects the island’s history, culture, and geography. It combines influences from the indigenous Taíno people, Spanish colonizers, African slaves, and other cultures that have contributed to Puerto Rico’s development.

Based on plantains, rice and beans, pork and sea food, Puerto Rican food is delicious and very kids friendly. Our three children (aged 7, 5 and 2 yo at the time) loved it.

Make sure you try some traditional dishes like Mofongo, Léchon Asado, Empanadillas and of course some Arroz con Dulce for the desert.  

10. Play in a waterfall

Given the island’s tropical climate and lush landscapes, playing in a waterfall in Puerto Rico is a must-do experience for sure.

The island is full of beautiful waterfalls, especially in El Yunque National Forest and in the island central area. Unfortunately, not all the waterfalls are good to swim and play. Some of them are really stunning but not accessible at all. Others are located alongside passing roads, offering zero privacy.

If you are travelling with babies and small kids just like we did, Cascada Las Delicias is the perfect waterfall for your family.

Cascada Las Delicias form different pools where kids can play and swim. Though the most beautiful part of the waterfall may be difficult to access, the lower pool is amazingly kids friendly.

The waterfall is surrounded by the lushest vegetation. You’ll be able to enjoy the sound of water running and birds singing all around you.

Near the lower pool you will also find plenty of nice spots where you can relax and have a picnic while your kids play in the water.

11. Visit pink Salt Flats  

Puerto Rico holds some of the oldest industries in the New World. In fact the salt extraction activities in Cabo Rojo Salt Flats date back to the Taíno indigenous people, before the arrival of the Spanish in the 1500s.

Historically, salt was a crucial commodity for preserving food. For that reason, the salt flats played a significant role in the Puerto Rican economy and trade.

Today the Cabo Rojo Salt Flats Interpretive Centre provides educational exhibits about the natural and cultural history of the area.

We can also visit the salt flats and learn about its ecological importance and the methods used to harvest salt.

Salt flats can display different colours. In Puerto Rico you will find large pink salt flats where you can spot stunning wildlife, especially birds.

♠ Pro – Tip:
  • The best time to visit Puerto Rico Salt flats is during the dry season (December to April), when the weather is more predictable, and the conditions for water evaporation are ideal, resulting in more visible salt production activities.

12. Enjoy some stunning street art

Puerto Rican street art is a dynamic and integral part of the island’s cultural expression. You simply can’t visit Puerto Rico without admiring the stunning murals that pop up literally everywhere.

The colourful murals and graffiti found throughout its cities and towns, are more than just visual attractions. They are vibrant and beautiful. But they are also a form of expression that captures the spirit and struggles of Puerto Rico.

Going out exploring Puerto Rico Street art is an amazing free activity that kids will love.

You will find several amazing murals in Santurce, Old San Juan and Ponce. Here the murals are real pieces of art, and they all have a strong message.  

But some Puerto Rican towns took the street art panorama to another level.

Manatí, Yauco, Aguadilla, Las Piedras and Rio Grande are some of those towns where the Yaucromatic project takes place, created by by Samuel González, founder of Pintalto, Inc. The main goal of this project is to show the positive power colour can have in our lives and how painting can easily improve the places we live in.

Yaucromatic is like an outdoor art gallery where you’ll find huge murals on people’s houses. Instead of just one wall, these murals stretch across several buildings, coming together to form one big, amazing picture.

If you have the opportunity of visiting one of these towns don’t miss out this project.  

What about Arecibo Observatory ?

The Arecibo Observatory was once one of the most significant astronomical observatories in the world, from 1963 until it was decommissioned in 2020 due to structural problems.

When we’ve been to Puerto Rico in 2022 the Observatory was no longer operating, and the site was still interdicted to the public.

You will most certainly find older blog posts talking about the Observatory. It was a must visit place to families as it had a very interesting exhibition and educational activities for kids.

Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore.

Although the observatory itself is not operational, the area still offers an opportunity to educational conversations about space and astronomy which can be fascinating for kids. But please notice that nature is taking over and from what I could understand the building and the telescope have not been maintained whatsoever since the Observatory has been closed.    

Other activities you may enjoy in Puerto Rico with kids?

Like a lot of other destinations, Puerto Rico also offers adventure activities.

Those are not our cup of tea and we do prefer nature and culture focussed experiences. That’s why we travel with our children, really.

But you can easily find activities like ziplining and surfing for example. Or adventure parks like Carabalí Rainforest Park.

If just like us you prefer nature-based activities it is also possible to swim with sea turtles, find starfishes and see whales and dolphins. We didn’t have a lot of time and we had the chance to have experienced all this in other destinations like Bali, Panama and Iceland. So, we chose to concentrate in local specific activities. But if you have the time, just take the opportunity.   

The only other activity I would have like to do but also didn’t have the time (or the right conditions) was a boat tour especially in Bahía de Jobos et Bahía de Rincón in the south.

Puerto Rico really is an amazing destination for families and I’m sure you will gone love your family trip there.

Are you ready to visit Puerto Rico with your kids?

From our experience, Puerto Rico is a fantastic destination for families. This Caribbean Island offers a mix of adventure, culture, and relaxation that’s perfect for kids and parents alike.

Whether you’re exploring the lush trails of El Yunque, splashing in the crystal-clear waters of Luquillo Beach, or discovering the rich history of Old San Juan, there’s something here to every member of the family.

So, just pack your bags, grab the sunscreen, and get ready for an unforgettable family trip.

Puerto Rico awaits with its warm hospitality, stunning scenery, and countless opportunities for creating amazing core memories.

Safe family travels!

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