Where Americans Can Go Without a Passport: Puerto Rico

January 19, 2022

balcony san juan puerto rico

Guest Author

destinations, Guest Author, North America, Puerto Rico

One of my favorite places I’ve been in the world, and I didn’t even need my passport! You can also use your same cell phone plan, and don’t need to exchange your dollars. Very English friendly too!

old fort san juan puerto rico

Where americans can go without a passport: puerto rico

Day One

I used my Capital One Venture Card flight miles to book a flight to Old San Juan, a gorgeous city you’ll love getting lost in! Picture brightly colored buildings with rod iron balconies dripping in bougainvillea and mariachi music floating through the air. I even took a moment to dance a little bachata with a friend I made on the plane! Remember to wear good shoes so the cobblestone roads don’t make you too sore after a day of wandering through little shops and the beautiful city square. There are tours of old forts you can pay for, but there’s plenty to see and explore on your own for free.

balconies old town san juan
colorful buildings old town san juan puerto rico woman

Day Two

We hiked El Yunque National Forest! We went to the first waterfall on the right in the park which was perfect for any skill level – more of a walk to the first pool to swim in, and then progressively more difficult hikes to go further up on the waterfall and higher pools! We also drove up a little farther to hike up to the Tower, which was cool and had a view of the island! (Keep a close eye on the time the park closes and plan accordingly!)

waterfall puerto rico el yunque
waterfall el yunque national forest

Day Three

I would have stayed on this main island longer, but the next day my group took a chartered plane to Vieques Island! (You can also take the ferry, which is cheaper and allows heavier bags – but if you want a once in a lifetime experience and view, I recommend the plane! I’d also recommend hopping to more islands as money and time allow, like Culebra which has one of the most beautiful beaches in the world!)

vieques island beach

Vieques island was unbelievable and unlike anywhere else I’ve ever been! If you’re looking for a slow paced, laid back beach town… this is it! The island is so small, you don’t even need a rental car (although I’d recommend getting one for the drive to and from the airport and longer excursions), you just jet around on golf carts! We got an AirBnb a five minute golf cart ride from the main street right on the beach with a row of restaurants! I highly recommend brunch on the deck at Tradewinds, lunch at Bananas or Duffy’s, and dinner at El Quenepo (remember to make a reservation)! Make sure you do dinner your last night at Carambola at sunset, the restaurant at the Blue Horizon resort (a great option to stay at)! Wherever you eat, make sure to get a seat at the front for ocean views, and to watch the wild horses that roam the island gallop down the road!

We tried every beach, and I loved them all! The only beach I’d save your time on is the black sand beach, go to Maui’s instead if that’s on your bucket list of things to see!

woman in front of flowers
palm trees on beach puerto rico
horse on beach puerto rico

Day Four

If you do anything in Vieques, make sure it’s the Bioluminescent Bay! Picture stars above you and what seems like stars below you as you glide in a canoe that shimmers as it comes in contact with the water. Fish dart like shooting stars around you, and you feel like you’re in another world. (We planned our trip during a time when the moon was waning and the night was darkest to be able to experience it to the fullest!) I recommend: gliding your hand in the water, cupping it in your hand and blowing it, dropping a rock, drifting still until it’s all dark again and then hitting the side of the canoe.

You can book a tour with a guide who will take you out to launch a canoe into the bay, but we rented our own and went to the same spot they launch since many in my group had been there before. (The guide will keep you safest and you’ll contribute to local tourism, but on your own you can go as much and as long as you want, and any animals in the open water will be glowing so you won’t miss them). Be sure to drive your car and not the golf cart since it’s a rough off-road drive!

starfish puerto rico
black sand beach puerto rico

So book your trip, àndale!

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