Road Trip Across Puerto Rico with Kids
There are so many reasons why Puerto Rico, la isla del encanto or island of enchantment, is the ideal location for a road trip on a Caribbean vacation. As a commonwealth of the U.S., Puerto Rico’s official languages are English and Spanish so most signs are in both languages. Plus, their currency is the U.S. dollar and no additional licenses are required to drive other than your state identification.
Also, the island is only 4,300 square miles, or roughly three times the size of Rhode Island. Better yet, most of your favorite navigation apps will work without expensive international charges so whether you’re looking for attractions, festivals, hidden gems or local favorites, everything is easy to find.
With gorgeous coastlines, mountain regions and sandy beaches, there is plenty to see and fall in love with in Puerto Rico. See our list of must-visit Puerto Rico attractions if you are hitting the road.
What to See in Puerto Rico with Kids
El Yunque Rain Forest
Roughly 45 minutes from San Juan, El Yunque National Forest is a national reserve of the U.S. with gorgeous wildlife, hiking trails and picturesque views. Not much of a hiker or have little ones? Follow route 191 and stop at the designated parking areas to look out Yokahu Tower or experience up close encounters with waterfalls.
There are no fees to visit the El Yunque, however there is an admission fee to stop at the visitors center for information and interactive exhibits. The National Forest closes at 6 pm so watch the clock and plan your visit accordingly so as not get stuck inside the reserve.
The Arecibo Observatory
Famously remembered from the movies Contact and GoldenEye, the Arecibo Observatory is a space and science lover’s dream. It holds the world’s biggest radio telescope that is actively used for observation and research. For a fee you and family can walk through exhibits and watch educational films. Definitely do not forget your camera when you walk out into the observation deck.
Las Cavernas del Rio Camuy
Be ready to be amazed as you and the family visit the third largest underground cave system in the world. Walk through this living and breathing ecosystem where, through help of an English or Spanish language audio tour, you learn about stalagmites and stalactites. You may even experience up close encounters with bats and scorpion spiders.
Be aware that while there are no stairs and a trolley takes you to the cave entrance, I do not recommend this for anyone who requires a stroller or wheelchair. The caves have a walkway with rails, but it is very slippery so wear sneakers to enjoy everything this park has to offer.
For those looking for a scenic drive, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico is the destination for you. Lesser known then Vieques and Culebra, Cabo Rojo is approximately two hours from San Juan with beautiful beaches. We loved how most of beaches in the area are wildlife reserves so there is not too much industrialization. Plus, Los Morrillos Lighthouse offers some of the best views in the island.
Tips for Driving in Puerto Rico
No matter where you are headed, don’t forget to tell the rental car company you are going on a long distance drive so they can perform necessary tests like checking the tires and topping off fluids.
Don’t over load your car, but definitely have an emergency pack of water, snacks and entertainment.
Also, map out your route with possible pit stops for gas and food. Whether you are looking for fresh fruit or your favorite Puerto Rican food, you will find it along your way!
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