Puerto Rico boasts an incredible array of landscapes, and there are many ways to explore the Island while caring for these unique ecosystems. From caving adventures to farm tours, you can immerse yourself in a variety of natural settings — including coastal valleys, wetlands, mangroves, salt flats, coral reef reserves, bioluminescent bays, and the Island’s karst system.
Read on to find out why Puerto Rico is one of the best destinations for ecotourism and sustainable travel, and explore some of the experiences you can have while vacationing on the Island.
Visit a Cave
Go underground into Puerto Rico's extensive network of caves for a truly off-the-beaten-path eco-adventure. From Río Camuy Cave Park to the Natural Reserve of Cabachuelas, you can learn all about the geological formation of the Island, see historical artifacts that belonged to the early Taíno tribes, and take spectacular pictures from the depths beneath Puerto Rico’s Central Mountains. Many ecotourism companies offer half-day and full-day excursions with different levels of difficulty.
Learn the Art of Cheese-making
Are you a cheese lover? Indulge in an extraordinary experience learning the art of cheese- and yogurt-making at Vaca Negra, one of the Island’s most innovative agritourism centers.
Nestled in the town of Hatillo (which is known for having more cows than people), Vaca Negra invites you to please your palate with a tasting of cheeses produced and aged in Puerto Rico, and make some cheese of your own. Add your preferred spices and stamp it with your initials before taking your creation home. Surprise the guests at your next party by breaking out some of your own cheese!
Kayak a Bio Bay in Vieques
While there are many kayak rentals and tours around Puerto Rico, Black Beard in Vieques offers guided explorations of the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world: Mosquito Bay. As ecotour operators, they also offer hiking, biking, small sailing boats, snorkeling, diving, and paddleboard tours around the island municipality. Through these watersports, you can enjoy both a recreational and educational experience on Vieques.
Mosquito Bay is one of three bio bays in Puerto Rico, all of which you can explore by kayak.
Snorkeling and scuba diving adventures
Puerto Rico offers wonderful places for snorkeling and scuba diving in calm Caribbean waters. With protected marine areas and pristine islets and cays teeming with vibrant ocean life, several spots make water activities a dream-like experience during your vacation. Explore popular spots in San Juan with Scuba Dogs, discover the east side's underwater world with Pirate Snorkeling Shack or Pure Adventure, and dive into the turquoise waters of the west side with Rincón Diving & Snorkeling.
Tour a Coffee Hacienda
History in the countryside… and locally grown coffee! Visit a working coffee plantation, like Hacienda Muñoz in San Lorenzo, Hacienda Lealtad in Lares, or Hacienda San Pedro and Café Nativo in Jayuya (among others) to experience one of Puerto Rico’s main agricultural products right at the source. You can get a detailed lesson on the production of coffee from fruit to cup, sample some specialty gourmet coffees, and buy a freshly roasted bag of whole or ground beans to take home.
More coffee tours:
- Hacienda Jácana- Adjuntas
- Hacienda Moraica- Orocovis
- Hacienda San Pedro- Jayuya
- Hacienda Lealtad- Lares
- Hacienda Pons- Lares
- Hacienda La Mocha- Ponce
- Café Lucero- Ponce
- Tres Ángeles- Adjuntas
- Hacienda Muñoz- San Lorenzo
- Hacienda Iluminada- Maricao
Hike Rainforests & Dry Forests
Puerto Rico's biodiversity is on display in two extraordinary parks: El Yunque National Forest, the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. Forest System, and Guánica State Forest, a coastal dry forest where trails are lined with cacti. Amazingly, these very different environments are located just 2.5 hours apart!
If you love to hike, it's only a matter of deciding which park suits your fancy. El Yunque boasts hundreds of miles of trails for all levels of hikers, some of which lead to secluded waterfalls with refreshing pools. Just 30 minutes from the Metro area, El Yunque makes an easy day trip from San Juan. At Guánica Dry Forest, you can choose between short trails to the coast or longer trails that lead to the dramatic Fuerte Caprón, a historic fort on top of a peak. Make this part of a visit to Puerto Rico's south region, staying in vibrant municipalities such as Ponce or Guánica.
Become a Farmer for a Day
Enjoy the rural side of Puerto Rico when you visit Hacienda Don Carmelo, a horse ranch and activities center in Vega Baja. Learn about the popular equestrian traditions in Puerto Rico and practical lessons like how to start a home garden. You don’t have to be an expert to take away essential elements for sustainable living. While you’re there, don’t miss a magnificent horse show.
Bike Around San Juan
Rent a bike at Rent the Bicycle for a unique sightseeing adventure in San Juan or take a guided tour of the community micro-entrepreneur project of the communities surrounding the Caño Martín Peña with Bici Caño. Get energized and have fun while learning about the Island’s history as you pedal through the city in a group.
Tour Puerto Rico’s History
Explore Puerto Rico's rich historical and cultural heritage with an array of tours available across various municipalities. Uncover the history of Old San Juan through guided cultural experiences. Immerse yourself in the city’s past with an architecture tour by the Puerto Rico Historic Building Drawings Society, or explore local artisan markets with Ruta Artesanal Boricua. Alternatively, delve into the diverse cultural, historical, and ecological tapestry of the south side of the Island with Puerto Rico al Sur, Inc. And discover the urban heart of Ponce through a walking tour led by Isla Caribe.
- Habitantes de la Montaña- Ciales
- Punta Tuna Ecotours- Maunabo
Go Glamping at an Eco-Resort
Puerto Rico's scenic rural areas outside of San Juan have become glamping hot spots. Far from roughing it, you can enjoy many creature comforts at these eco-destinations — including swimming pools, plush beds, and private baths — while leaving a small environmental footprint.
Some glamping accommodations to consider include Pitahaya Glamping Eco-Retreat or Hacienda Verde Tahití in Cabo Rojo, Yuquiyú Treehouses in Río Grande, and El Nido in Vieques, which is Puerto Rico's first "bubble tent" lodging.
Paradise for Your Inbox
Visit Charming Dairy Farms
Discover the picturesque landscapes where local cows graze, witness the art of milk production in Martínez Diary in Vega Baja or learn the process of making artisanal yogurt at Hatillo Dairy & De la Crema in Hatillo.