Backpacking in Puerto Rico: A Complete Guide

Diverse and small, Puerto Rico is a mesmerising destination for backpackers looking to experience as much as possible without navigating too far. Backpacking in Puerto Rico and across its 3,425 square miles of land is one of the best ways to experience the island culture. Home to mountains and rich rain forests with sandy beaches and rocky coastline, backpacking on the island is sure to be a great experience. Here is our guide to backpacking in Puerto Rico.

Must Visits While Backpacking in Puerto Rico

  1. Tour San Juan

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    The capital of Puerto Rico - San Juan, is a common first stop for travellers of all kinds because it has the island's largest airport. However, this historic city has sites and budget accommodations that invite backpackers to stay for a few days. The city's various 16th-century forts are popular attractions, especially El Morro and Castillo de San Cristobal, which is listed as a World Heritage and National Historic Site. The Plaza de Armas is a great start for your nightlife. The Casino of Puerto Rico is close by giving backpackers a chance to get lucky enough to upgrade their backpacking experience to a luxurious one.

  2. Visit Vieques

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    Vieques is a massive island six miles away from the southeast coast of Puerto Rico. Known for its solitude and natural beauty, Vieques is a must for anyone seeking a taste of adventure from their backpacking trip. The most popular attraction is the Bioluminescent Bay, where tiny dinoflagellates brighten up the water at night. Mosquito Bay in Vieques has been recognized as the brightest bioluminescent bay in the world by the Guinness Book of World Records. The most economical way to reach Vieques is via ferry from Fajardo, while camping is available on the beautiful Balneario Sun Bay.
  3. Relax in Rincon

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    Rincon is the backpacking destination you want to save your money for. Located off the west coast, Rincon is a tropical area loaded with world-class surfing beaches in a resort-style setting. For those not interested in testing or improving their surfing skills, scuba diving and whale-watching are also popular activities in this tourist-centric area. Beach bars and fine dining services are available for completing nightlife here, but the affordable inns and guest houses will help balance your budget as you make friends with surf adventurers from around the globe.

  4. Explore El Yunque

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    Identified as the only subtropical rain forest in the United States, El Yunque is a natural treasure, about one hour away from San Juan. Home to many species of plants and animals, it has spectacular waterfalls, incredible views and the freshest air around. Located in northeastern Puerto Rico, El Yunque also has several of Puerto Rico’s best hiking trails and one of the most beautiful waterfalls. Also, in the absence of poisonous reptiles, El Yunque is comfortably safe for a rain forest excursion, whole with waterfalls and swimming to cool off in. Several guesthouses enclose the area, so visitors are close enough to feel the wilderness. However, free camping in the forest provides a more raw and intimate experience.

Smart Travel Tips for Backpacking in Puerto Rico

  • Public transportation around the city is great, and a single bus fare will cost you around $0.70 ($5 for a day pass). 
  • Using different platforms like Airbnb and Couchsurfing you can find alternative accommodation.
  • Cost Breakdown: 1 GBP – 1.39 USD
  • Approximate daily budget: Up to USD 50 per day
  • Suggested daily budget: USD 30-50 USD

What to Pack for Backpacking in Puerto Rico

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  • Packing Cubes
  • Outlet Multi Adapter
  • Day Bag
  • USB Power Bank
  • Phone Case
  • Pad Lock
  • Quick-dry Travel Towel
  • Toiletry Bag (+ checklist)
  • Dry Bag
  • Ear Plugs and Eye Mask
  • Photo camera (or cell phone…)
  • Travel first aid kit (Medical checklist)
  • Torch
  • Shoes
  • Flip Flops
  • Versatile clothes
  • Water bottle
  • Documents (+Check list)
Have we missed out on anything you wanted to know regarding backpacking in Puerto Rico? Let us know in the comments below!

This post was published by Vidushi Nigam

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