Families planning a trip to Puerto Rico are in for the adventure of a lifetime! This U.S. territory offers everything from stunning beaches and hiking trails to vibrant cultural and historic sights that kids will love. Not to mention delicious food and chances to spot wildlife! If you’re seeking the best Puerto Rico itinerary with kids, look no further! This itinerary has you covered from San Juan to the western side of Puerto Rico. Based on our recent family trip, this Best 7-Day Puerto Rico Itinerary for Families includes everything from sea kayaking and beach lounging to hidden gems and restaurant recommendations. Keep reading to use this guide to plan your upcoming trip to Puerto Rico with kids.
Also, Read: Best Things To Do In Puerto Rico With Kids
How to Get to Puerto Rico with Kids
One of the best things about visiting Puerto Rico with kids is that passports are not required for American citizens. This makes it a great starter country for families interested in international travel with the safety net of American-style amenities and brands. From the United States, you will fly to Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU). Here, you will go through the same customs and security processes as a domestic flight.
Since this itinerary covers destinations on the western side of the island, you will need to rent a car. Driving here is fairly straightforward and you only need a U.S. driver’s license. Expect highways and road signs similar to those found in the U.S. (but mainly in Spanish). On the western side of Puerto Rico, you will also experience winding, narrow roads, particularly in the mountains. It took some getting used to, but in the end, we found driving fairly easy and fun. Driving also means you can stop at the many roadside vendors for fresh fruit or lunch!
2-Days in San Juan for Families
While San Juan is often the most popular destination on the island, we only used it as a starting point. We spent most of our time on the quieter western side of Puerto Rico. Cities like San Juan and Fajardo tend to be more touristy and busier than other parts of the island. We found this to be a great balance for our Puerto Rico family vacation itinerary. Using this 7-day Puerto Rico itinerary, you will spend your first two days in San Juan exploring Old San Juan, El Yunque National Forest, and Fajardo.
Day 1: Get Settled in Old San Juan
Spending one week in Puerto Rico with kids is easy to fill, so you will need to start right away! Once you are settled in your accommodations, it’s time to start exploring. Head to Old San Juan and meander through cobblestone streets while you view colorful buildings. There are many shops and restaurants here for those looking to bring home some souvenirs or get a bite to eat. From Old San Juan, you are also in close proximity to Castillo San Cristobal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro. One entry ticket gets you into both locations (children under 15 years old are free). Inside the historic forts, you will learn about the military history of this port (from colonization to WWII), as well as the lives of the soldiers who lived and worked here.
Outside Castillo San Felipe del Morro, there is also a large green space. Not only can kids run around, but this is a very popular spot to fly kites. Nearby vendors may have some for sale, but it’s best to bring your own just in case. Additionally, you will likely find vendors with ice cream and other treats on the sidewalks adjacent to the lawn. Alternatively, those with younger kids who are not interested in military history may prefer to go to Museo del Niño de Carolina (located just outside San Juan). Either way, day one in our best Puerto Rico itinerary for families is sure to be an exciting start to the week!
Puerto Rico Day 2: El Yunque National Forest + a Bioluminescent Bay Kayak Tour
Day two of our Puerto Rico travel itinerary is very full. To do both El Yunque National Forest and a Bioluminescent Bay Kayak Tour, some families may prefer to add a third day in San Juan, especially if kids do not have high travel stamina. We did both in one day, so it is doable, but be warned that kids will be very tired at the end of the night! Certainly, they both rank highly amongst the best things to do in Puerto Rico with kids
El Yunque National Forest
Firstly, arrive at El Yunque National Forest in the morning (we arrived at about 11:00 am, go earlier if you plan to do a lot of hiking). The only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System, El Yunque is a must-stop for any Puerto Rico family vacation itinerary. Currently, reservations are required to enter El Yunque (you reserve by carl). We recommend making reservations ahead of time. Tickets are released one month in advance, and a few spots are released 24 hours before entry. We were lucky to score some of these last-minute tickets, but I wish we would have planned ahead.
There are several hiking options in El Yunque National Forest. We chose (and recommend) the Mt. Britton Trail. This hike is relatively short in length and duration (less than an hour), but it is very steep. Kids will love spotting wildlife like tropical lizards and butterflies. Lucky kids may even catch a glimpse of the Puerto Rican parrot! At the end of the trail, the historic tower offers a picturesque view of the rainforest below. Angelito Trail is less than 1-mile and is another great option for kids. It leads to the Las Damas pool in the Mameyes River. Other highlights in El Yunque include La Coca Falls and Baño de Oro. Finally, don’t forget to stop by El Portal de El Yunque so that kids can earn their Junior Ranger badge!
Bioluminescent Bay Kayak Tour
Next, head to Fajardo for a night kayak tour to see one of the infamous Puerto Rico bioluminescent bays. Have an early dinner in Fajardo before your kayak tour. There are several great options near the meeting location. Plus, there is a lovely pirate-themed playground here for kids to play on. In the park, you will also find bathrooms, street food, and access to the beach. Arriving early also means you will be more likely to find parking.
While there are multiple options, we chose Puerto Rico Bio Bay Tours. They offer two tour times. We did the later tour, but the earlier tour is still dark enough to see the bioluminescent organisms. Upon arrival, the tour guides will explain the process of kayaking through an ocean bay, down a mangrove channel, and into a lagoon. You do not need prior kayaking experience, but it does help. Once you enter the lagoon, the guide also shares wonderful information about the bay and surrounding area. If you are lucky, you will also see the bioluminescent organisms! When we did the tour in early April, we only saw a few as we waved our hands in the water. The tour was still worth it, but we were bummed we didn’t get to see a lagoon filled with glow-in-the-dark organisms.
Some kids may be afraid to kayak at night. It is very dark along the mangrove channel and in the lagoon. Consider how your kids will react to this type of environment before booking. The typical family kayak set-up for this tour is one parent and one child per kayak. You will get wet (we recommend water shoes). Finally, the tour takes about 4-5 hours.
Please note: this tour had a minimum age requirement of 6 years old.
Or get your Bioluminescent Bay, Fajardo: Tours & Tickets from Getyourguide.com.
Where to Stay in San Juan with Kids
The first two (or three) nights of this best Puerto Rico itinerary for families are spent in San Juan. As such, you’ll want to know where to stay on this part of the island. Families who want cozy accommodations near Old San Juan will love the Caribe Hilton. This iconic hotel is located along the waterfront and features multi-bedroom suites for families, plus a private beach and pool!
For a family getaway just steps from the beach, book a stay at San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino. Other great hotels in Puerto Rico for families are Fairmont El San Juan Hotel, Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, and El Conquistador Resort. No matter which location you choose, you’ll be in close proximity to some of the best things to do in Puerto Rico with kids!
For more Puerto Rico hotel suggestions, check out this list of the 9 Best Puerto Rico Resorts For Families!
5-Days in Western Puerto Rico for Families
Next in this best Puerto Rico itinerary for families, you will spend five days on the western side of Puerto Rico. Much quieter and more relaxing than San Juan, this part of the itinerary is filled with days lounging on the beach and swimming. It’s time to take a Puerto Rico road trip with kids! From San Juan, it will take about 2 or 2.5 hours to drive to your accommodations (depending on where you stay).
Day 3: Drive to the Western Side of the Island + Crash Boat Beach
Next on this itinerary for Puerto Rico with kids is arriving on the western side of the island. There are multiple great cities to select as your home base, which I’ve shared below. Once you are settled in your accommodations, it’s time to head to the beach!
When you are planning a trip to Puerto Rico with kids, beaches are a must! We visited several great beaches on the western side of the island. Crash Boat Beach was one of our favorites! It’s also the first one we recommend for this itinerary. Located in Aguadilla, families will love how kid-friendly this beach is. Not to mention, the free parking. After parking in the on-site lot, head down to the water. The waters to the left of the pier seem calmer than those to the right. Once you pick your spot on the beach, it’s time to swim. At Crash Boat Beach, kids will adore jumping in the waves, playing in the sand, and searching for crabs along the pier.
Parents will also appreciate the variety of beachside vendors here. Vendors change from day to day. While we were there, we saw options for coco frio, pizza, pinchos, ice cream, tropical drinks, and more. Plus, there was a vendor renting beach umbrellas and loungers. We opted for a beach umbrella and were so glad we did. The sun is hot here! Finally, we also recommend that you bring cash for the vendors, but Venmo and PayPal are also widely accepted.
Day 4: Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge
If you are embarking on a Puerto Rico road trip with kids, Cabo Rojo is a great place to spend the day. Not to mention, Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge is a must on any best Puerto Rico itinerary for families. Your first stop is the Caribbean Islands National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center. Located at the main entrance, families can learn a lot about the island’s ecosystems and endangered species here. It’s a great place to start your exploration of the area.
Afterward, drive to another entrance to see Faro Los Morrillos de Cabo Rojo. Located on the other side of the wildlife refuge, there is a lot to see here. On the drive over, you will have the chance to see the iconic pink salt flats. While they aren’t open to the public every day, they are certainly worth the stop when they are. Kids won’t believe the stunning rosy color!
Then, continue the drive to the Faro Los Morrillos de Cabo Rojo. The final bit of road to the lighthouse is filled with potholes, so be careful. We had a sedan, which was tough, but doable. At the end of the road, you will find a small parking lot. Then, take the path up to the lighthouse. You cannot go inside, but the grounds are really fun to explore. The cliffside views are simply beautiful (but be mindful of the high winds). Finally, make sure you pack your swimsuit. There are also a couple of nice beaches here! Based on our experience, we recommend Playa Sucia (which is just downhill from the lighthouse). While there are no amenities here, it’s perfect for jumping waves and strolling along the shore. Plus, there is a lot of shade here compared to other beaches. Pack water and snacks!
Day 5: Colón Beach + Survival Beach
On day 5 of your one week in Puerto Rico with kids, check out two more amazing beaches. First, head to Colón Beach, one of the best things to do in Puerto Rico with kids. After spending the morning swimming and eating lunch, you will then go to Survival Beach.
If you are planning a trip to Puerto Rico with small kids, Colón Beach is an absolute must! In fact, if you’re searching for something to do in Puerto Rico that will make your kids yell “WOW!”, this is it. Located in Aguadilla, parking is widely available on the street. Once you find a spot, head to the center of the park to the large treehouse.
Kids will absolutely adore this massive treehouse built into an old Banyan tree. Let them climb and run, as you rest at a nearby picnic table or bench. When they are done exploring the treehouse, there is also a simple playground with swings and a slide nearby. Not to mention, a huge green space. While kids are playing, you can also scope out the beachside vendors that surround the park for lunch. When we were here, we saw options for pinchos, ice cream, and other local favorites. Plus, there were a few stands with souvenirs too. You can either eat at one of the many picnic tables or on the beach.
Just across the street from the treehouse, you will find a long stretch of beach featuring soft, golden sands and calm waters. Here, kids of all ages can wade in the water and build sand castles, while parents relax in the sun or enjoy the water themselves. Certainly, this is one of the best beaches in Puerto Rico for families.
After lunch, families with older kids and teens can add Survival Beach to their itinerary. Just 25 minutes north of Colón Beach (still in Aguadilla), Survival Beach is one of the best-hidden gems in Puerto Rico. This pristine stretch of beach is gorgeous, but even more, the hike to get there is incredible. Because you can only get here by hiking, this stop may not be the best for all families, particularly those with small children or new to hiking.
Park in the open area for cars at Surfers’ Beach. While not ideal for swimming with kids (too many currents), it is a lovely spot for watching surfers and enjoying the views. Then, find the sign pointing toward Survival Beach. Follow the trail through the woods, along the ocean shore, and over large rocks (some light climbing is needed). The hike took us about 30 minutes each way, but it was a bit challenging as we were going over roots and sharp rocks, under low-hanging trees, and climbing down large rocks. However, the reward of seeing Survival Beach is totally worth it! There are also tons of birds, lizards, crabs, and other tidal creatures along the way. Make sure you wear close-toed shoes, sandals won’t cut it here. Pack water and snacks in a backpack (not a cooler).
Do not plan to swim on Survival Beach, either. The current is really strong and the waves are high. Families can enjoy Survival Beach for the private views and soft, golden sands. When we were here, there was only one other couple on the beach. Otherwise, we had it entirely to ourselves! Finally, mind the tide. High tide can impact your route and the ease of reaching Survival Beach. We went mid-day and it worked just fine.
Day 6: Cascada Gozalandia + Cueva del Viento
Next on this Puerto Rico travel itinerary with kids are two inland sites, Cascada Gozalandia and Cueva del Viento. Certainly, both sites always rank highly among the best things to do in Puerto Rico with kids. Here, families will get a chance to explore a different part of the island and swim in freshwater. For day 6, pack swim shoes and life jackets, a flashlight (for the cave), snacks, and plenty of water.
Located in San Sebastian, Cascada Gozalandia (or Gozalandia Waterfall) is likely to be one of your favorite things to do in Puerto Rico. It was for us! At the entrance, pay the staff member to park in the on-site lot (USD 10.00). Here, you will also see a restaurant, bathrooms, and a small pond (look for turtles!).
Gozalandia Waterfall is really a series of cascades along a beautiful river. Take the flight of stairs down from the parking lot. When you come to a fork in the sidewalk, go left and take another set of stairs down to the larger of the two falls. Likely, you will spend most of your time here. If you go right at the fork, it’s about another 10 minutes by foot to the smaller of the two cascades.
At the larger of the falls, kids can swim or wade in the shallow area searching for fish. Older kids and teens may prefer to swim further out near the base of the waterfall. You will also notice brave adults and teens jumping from rock outcroppings in the waterfall. There is also a small underground cave (which fits about two people) that you can swim into if desired (the entrance is to the right of the falls). At the smaller of the two waterfalls, there is also a rope swing to launch into the water. Lastly, expect a lot of stairs. As such, we do not recommend relying on strollers here (babywearing is the best option).
Cueva del Viento (Cave of the Winds)
Afterward, drive about 18 minutes to Cueva del Viento. Located in Isabela, this cave is nestled in Bosque Estatal de Guajataca. You will find several hiking trails here, one of which goes to Cueva del Viento. Best for older kids and teens, the hike to the cave is fairly moderate. It is about 2.7 miles out and back. Expect a lot of roots and rocks, as well as a drop-off beside the trail (which may be tough for young kids and inexperienced hikers). Closed-toed shoes are a must here. After hiking to the cave, you will see a wooden staircase. You can take this to adventure into the cave. There are bats here, so be mindful not to disturb them. Kids will also love that you will see many snakes, lizards, butterflies, and frogs along this trail too. Finally, you will find on-site parking and bathrooms here.
Day 7: Explore Añasco Plaza + Head Home
On the last day of this Puerto Rico itinerary for families, it’s time to explore Añasco Plaza. This charming Puerto Rican plaza is the perfect place to end your 7-day Puerto Rico itinerary with kids. After strolling through the plaza, get some yummy treats from the local bakery, Hojaldre Añasqueña. You can take them back to the plaza and eat them on a bench near the fountain. Alternatively, you can also get coffee and breakfast from D’Coffee Shop, located in the plaza. This is a great place for kids to stretch their legs and burn some energy before going home. Once you are loaded up with breakfast, it’s time to head back to the airport to catch your flight!
Where to Stay in Western Puerto Rico with Kids
Now that you have filled your Puerto Rico family vacation itinerary, you will want to consider where to stay on the western side of Puerto Rico. While we chose a stunning Vrbo with a pool for our home base, there are many hotel options too. As you plan your trip to Puerto Rico with kids, we recommend looking at hotels in cities like Rincón, Añasco, or Cabo Rojo, for easy access to all the things to do on this itinerary. Many families love the Rincon Beach Resort in Anasco, a laid-back hotel set on the beach. It has a pool for kids, a swim-up bar for parents, and lots of activities the whole family can enjoy together!
Tips for Eating in Puerto Rico with Kids
No Puerto Rico itinerary for families is complete without planning where to eat! Puerto Rico is foodie heaven for kids and adults alike. Unlike most international destinations, Puerto Rico even has kids’ menus at most restaurants across the island. Rice and beans, chicken nuggets, tostones, and pasta are common kids’ menu items in Puerto Rico.
When planning a trip to Puerto Rico, you will also want to know the typical foods on the island. Tasty options like plantains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and seafood, like shrimp, lobster, octopus, mahi-mahi, and other fish, are very common. When you’re on the beach, most beachside vendors will offer yummy foods like pastelillos (or empanadillas), pinchos (meat kabobs), and tropical fruit drinks/smoothies. For dinner, you can’t go wrong with scrumptious options like mofongo or churrasco (usually with a side of tostones). On the western side of Puerto Rico, you will notice a lot of roadside food vendors. We highly recommend stopping at these locations for lunch or dinner! We always found the food very well-made and fresh.
Based on our visit, we also recommend eating at the following restaurants if they fit into your Puerto Rico itinerary with kids: Mahi Mahi Restaurante, Carne Mia, and Grand Marnier Restaurant. Finally, La Frutera has multiple locations (often roadside) and makes the perfect stop for lunch or a smoothie.
Tips for Visiting Puerto Rico with Kids
Now that you have read our Puerto Rico itinerary for families, you may be hoping for some extra tips as you plan one week in Puerto Rico with your kids. Here are some things to know before visiting Puerto Rico with kids.
General Tips for Taking a Vacation in Puerto Rico with Kids
- Puerto Rico is actually an archipelago, made up of several islands. Vieques and Culebra are two great options for families wanting to explore some of the smaller islands.
- Spanish is very prevalent on the island. It is helpful to learn a few phrases before visiting (greetings and ordering food, for example). The most common greeting is “Buena!”.
- If you want to avoid the crowds, June to November is the off-peak travel season in Puerto Rico. But be aware that this is also hurricane season.
- The currency in Puerto Rico is the U.S. Dollar (USD).
- It is very common on the island not to flush toilet paper, follow signs requesting that you throw it away instead of flushing it.
- You may not have a phone signal everywhere, particularly in the central part of the island.
- Puerto Rico uses both the Imperial System of Measurement and the Metric System of Measurement. As such, you will see alternating systems.
- Not all beaches are good for swimming or young kids. Some have very strong currents or rip tides. Talk to locals and do your research before entering the water.
- To learn more about visiting Puerto Rick with kids, read our article featuring All About Puerto Rico With Kids: Important Information To Know.
Things to Pack for a Vacation in Puerto Rico With Kids
- You will not need any special adaptors or converters for electronics here.
- Pack multiple swimsuits for each person, they can take a while to dry due to the humidity.
- The sun here is HOT. Be sure to pack proper sunscreen and reapply multiple times throughout the day.
- Mosquito repellent is a must for those spending a lot of time hiking.
- Depending on when you visit, you can expect frequent afternoon rains (like many Caribbean islands). You may want to bring an umbrella or rain ponchos.
We hope you found this Best 7-Day Puerto Rico Itinerary for Families helpful in planning your own travels. Whether you are planning a Puerto Rico road trip with kids or just want to know the best things to do in Puerto Rico for families, we have included great options to fill your own vacation to Puerto Rico with kids! When planning a trip to Puerto Rico with kids, it’s easy to get lost in the details. One thing is for sure, however, you will make a lifetime of memories together on this incredible island. Enjoy Puerto Rico with kids!
*Unless otherwise noted, all images within this article belong to and are courtesy of Antonia Grant.
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*Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, some of the attractions, accommodations, or things to do on this list may be closed. Please ensure availability before making your decision.
*This post may contain affiliate links that may earn us a small commission, at no additional cost to you. Affiliate links in no way inform the hotels, sights, products, or other recommendations included in our articles. All opinions and recommendations expressed here are compiled from submissions submitted by the generous members of our Families Who Love To Travel community.
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