From urban to mountain and sea, find low-footprint and high-impact things to do in paradise.
Planet and people! That’s what sustainability is all about, and Puerto Rico has an array of experiences that allow you and paradise to exist in complete harmony. Whether you want to volunteer with the local community, learn more about agriculture and farming, or connect with nature, below are some of the most sustainable experiences in Puerto Rico.
Agritourism is not necessarily the first thing that comes to mind when thinking of vacation time on a Caribbean island, but it's a perfect way to learn about Puerto Rico's farming community while also enjoying our natural wonders. You'll soon discover that the Island's varied landscape and tropical climate have given rise to an innovative and sustainable agriculture industry.
Spend the Day at a Local Farm
Enjoy a day in the northern countryside and learn about Puerto Rico's farm-to-table movement at Frutos del Guacabo in Manatí. When you’re done learning, tasting, and even planting, you can hit the nearby beach, Mar Chiquita, inside a natural reserve. Close by is Hacienda Don Carmelo, situated in Vega Baja. There, you can experience the equestrian art of Paso Fino, understand the training and care for this elegant horse breed, and snap pictures around the majestic treehouse that sits atop a 125-year-old Sameana saman tree.
Tour a Working Cacao Hacienda
Since agritourism is all about visiting a farm or ranch, learning about their operation, and getting a feel for the people that make them unique, your plan should include Jeanmarie Chocolat, a small cacao farm in the town of Aguada. Book a hands-on grafting workshop or take a guided tour of the hacienda that ends with a pleasant chocolate tasting. You can also experience being a cacao farmer for the day at Hacienda Semila in Barceloneta.
More Agritourism Adventures
From coffee to superfoods, there are many haciendas to visit in Puerto Rico. Hacienda Recaos Ortiz in San Lorenzo grows medicinal plants and teaches you about cultivation and propagation methods, while coffee haciendas like San Pedro in Jayuya, Lealtad in Lares, La Mocha in Ponce, Tres Ángeles in Adjuntas, Muñoz in San Lorenzo, and many more provide an immersive experience in coffee milling. And when it comes to superfood production, the people of Amasar can teach you a thing or two. This breadfruit hacienda is nestled in Jayuya and produces pana gluten-free flour. Tour the installations and learn about this superfood’s benefits and how a local family is gearing up to position Puerto Rico as a top ambassador for the fruit.
From mountain to sea—yes, you can hit them all in Puerto Rico, and check them off your bucket list in just one trip! The best part? You’ll leave behind only footprints and take with you an unforgettable experience of natural proportions.
Visit Cabachuelas Nature Reserve
Eco-friendly and fun activities like hiking, snorkeling, ziplining, and exploring await in natural reserves along Puerto Rico’s coast and Central Mountains. For example, tour the Cabachuelas Nature Reserve in Morovis, where you’ll find caves and other natural formations along the karst and limestone mountains of the north region. You’ll have 60 entry points to explore fossils and Taíno paintings. If you plan ahead, you can join a team for the archeological preservation and education program.
Explore Eco-Diversity at Punta Tuna
One of Puerto Rico’s best-kept secrets is the Maunabo reserve Punta Tuna, a scenic coastal wetland with great ecological diversity. You’ll find the Island's first and only interpretive trail adapted for the vision impaired and customized for people with diverse capabilities. Visit the lighthouse and, if you’re in luck, you can spot sea turtles nesting in season. Did we mention the views of the beach are spectacular from atop the lighthouse?
Go Hiking at Río Abajo State Forest
In the central town of Utuado, you’ll find the Río Abajo State Forest, home of the Tanamá River, where you can practice water tubing or canyoning. The forest is full of easy-to-challenging hiking trails where you can go at your own pace and breathe in the fresh mountain air as you admire the vegetation and wildlife. There, you’ll also find a complex cave system, as well as historical resources dating back to the Island’s natives. The forest also houses the Puerto Rican Parrot Recovery Project, dedicated to saving this endangered species.
Volunteer Opportunities in Puerto Rico
Volunteering offers travelers the unique experience of connecting with our local community while on Island. From protecting endangered sea turtles and planting trees across the Island to participating in beach clean-up events, there are many ways you can have a positive impact while on vacation in Puerto Rico.
Para La Naturaleza
Are you a lover of all things nature and outdoors? Consider volunteering with Para La Naturaleza, Puerto Rico's largest land conservancy organization. This group hosts a variety of events around the Island throughout the year, including farm and nursery maintenance days, bird counting, concho toad monitoring, and more. Para La Naturaleza also manage visitor centers and protected natural areas like Hacienda Buena Vista and Cabezas de San Juan.
Puerto Rico Renace
Make a direct connection with the local community by volunteering with Puerto Rico Renace. Their one-day impact missions include visiting local schools and senior community centers to hand out much-needed supplies and other provisions. The group schedules their missions at least a month or two in advance, so if you plan on volunteering, reach out to them when you book your trip.
Additional Volunteer Opportunities
Along with the opportunities and activities listed above, there are many other ways you can volunteer alongside our local community. Below are a few more volunteer organizations in Puerto Rico: