What a delightful Caribbean experience you can have in just 3 days on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico. If you and your teens only have a long weekend this is the perfect spot for a quick trip, with a lot of great airfare options to San Juan. Grab a book, sunscreen and some good comfortable shoes and you will be set for a fabulous 3 day itinerary in San Juan, Puerto Rico with your teenagers
One super bonus to this itinerary is that if you are a U.S. citizen you and your teens will not need a passport to travel! Yet, your teens will experience that island paradise they are seeking. Many U.S. cities offer direct flights to San Juan making this quick trip even easier. You can pack in a simple carry on for this trip, avoiding the hassle of checking a bag. I’m serious y’all, just have your teenagers pack a few swimsuits, some breezy casual clothing and comfy shoes. They will be set! The airport in San Juan gives you easy access to hotels, activities and great food. We did a quick stopover in San Juan with our teenagers on our way to the BVI for our family sailing adventure and cannot wait to return.
Day 1: Old San Juan Puerto Rico
Spend the day walking the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan. You will find authentic restaurants, shops, colorful buildings, and town squares to soak in the culture. It gets hot so your teenagers will want to indulge in the fresh juices and tropical fruits. If your teens get hungry, stop in at El Jibarito! Those comfy walking shoes will come in handy as you explore. Make your way to the old fort and historic site of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, an incredible military outpost for Spain and later the U.S. The views are amazing! Your teenagers may want to fly kites here. This is an amazing spot to watch or participate!
Day 2: Beach Day Trip to Cayo Icacos
For a day of relaxation bliss make your way to the east coast of the island for a beach day. You can find car rentals in San Juan for your day trip. About an hour’s drive plus a water taxi to Cayo Icacos you will find pristine beachfront where your teenagers can read a book, listen to their favorite music and soak in the sunshine. But, don’t miss this opportunity to swim, snorkel and paddle board in the clear blue waters on this nature preserve island. Pack a picnic lunch, snacks and plenty of water to keep them going through the day. A day trip like this to one of the best beaches near San Juan is great for teens that need a break from school. Make your way back for some chill night life and great food in San Juan. If you’re looking for a special restaurant, give Marmalade a try.
Day 3: Adventure in El Yunque National Forest
Visit the only tropical rainforest in the United States on the island of Puerto Rico. El Yunque is a destination must. (*reservations are currently required due to limited entrance during the pandemic. Use the link to find out more information about making reservations in advance). Adding a little adventure into a short itinerary can be tricky, but you cannot pass up this opportunity with your teenagers.
Here you can find lush trails from beginner to advanced with mountain views and swimmable waterfalls. Immerse yourself in nature and enjoy the unique flora and fauna of the island. Don’t forget to look UP for tropical bird sightings! Tour guides operate from most major hotels in San Juan, but you could also rent a car just for the day. The drive is about 45 minutes from downtown San Juan and well worth the visit. Your teenagers will get their adventure fill here. If you want to hike near San Juan, this is THE place to do it. There are several kiosks and family restaurants nearby to stop at on your way back to San Juan after a full day of adventure. Pack your rain jacket, waterproof shoes, towels and change of clothes so you are comfortable on your ride back to town.
Making the Most of Your 3 Days
Try to arrive the night before you start your 3 day San Juan, Puerto Rico itinerary so you can wake up and get moving the next morning with a full day to explore. That means you’ll be booking 5 nights at your hotel so you can get your relaxation vibes and your adventurous spirits their fill. This itinerary gives you 3 FULL days of things to do in San Juan.
There are a number of all-inclusive resorts in San Juan as well as other places to stay in and around San Juan, Puerto Rico. If you plan to do the two day trips suggested, you won’t be spending much time in a hotel room, though. This may be the time to maximize your money and look for the best budget hotel available. Try the Doubletree by Hilton within walking distance of beaches and situated between the airport and Old San Juan. The Hyatt Place City Center is great for those of you who are World of Hyatt members-nothing fancy, but comfortable and easy. El San Geronimo Hotel is a boutique hotel with family rooms and suites available.
In all seriousness keep your packing light for ease of travel and it makes unpacking when you return a breeze. Yes three days goes quickly, but with the ease of flights and no passports needed, San Juan Puerto Rico is the perfect spot for a long weekend with your teenagers. If you have more time, use it! This little island paradise has so much to offer and we can’t tell you how much we are waiting to get back there. Blissful beaches, luscious rainforest hikes, vibrant culture and delicious food are wooing us back any day now.