The Five Most Epic Outdoor Pursuits in Puerto Rico

©istockphoto/amyartistaWhen it comes to out­door pur­suits, Puer­to Rico is pre­dom­i­nate­ly known for its beau­ti­ful beach­es and excel­lent surf. Look a lit­tle fur­ther inward, though, and you’ll dis­cov­er that there are many oppor­tu­ni­ties for out­door lovers to spread their wings. Here are just a few of the awe­some adven­tures avail­able on the U.S.A.’s favorite Caribbean island.

Puer­to Rico offers up some of the best surf­ing in the Caribbean with the waves off the west­ern coast of the island pop­ping up in many “Best of” lists around the world. While Playa Aviones holds the title of most pop­u­lar, and pop­u­lat­ed, beach for pre­miere surf­ing on the island, it’s the oft-over­looked strip of stand along Dora­do that real­ly stands above the rest. Kiki­ta, as it’s known, has some of the most pris­tine sand in all of Puer­to Rico as well some dev­il­ish waves where the Rio la Pla­ta meets the ocean. The waters here are no joke with swells that occa­sion­al­ly reach nine feet—it’s not fit for ama­teurs, which means you won’t find begin­ners here to get in your way.

La Isli­ta is the de fac­to home for stand up pad­dle­board­ing in Puer­to Rico, thanks to excel­lent water con­di­tions and a pletho­ra of per­fect days. It also hous­es many “pad­dle for the cure” events to take part in and is a great loca­tion for fam­i­lies. Admit­ted­ly, it can get a lit­tle packed here dur­ing the high sea­son, but that shouldn’t deter you from hav­ing a look. Whether you’re inter­est­ed in a relax­ing day on the water or a lit­tle com­pe­ti­tion La Isli­ta has you covered.

El Yunque | ©istockphoto/dennisvdwHik­ing
As home to the U.S.’s only trop­i­cal rain­for­est, you’d be a fool not to slip on a pack and spend a cou­ple of days check­ing it out on foot. El Yunque Nation­al For­est is 28,000 acres of giant ferns and frol­ick­ing par­rots and one of the most beau­ti­ful treks in the Caribbean. El Yunque Trails offer the most stren­u­ous hik­ing in the for­est by forc­ing you to sum­mit both Roca Mar­cas and the Yunque Rock peaks. Things get bet­ter when The Big Tree Trail swerves straight through to the beau­ti­ful La Mina water­fall and some great post-hike swimming.

Rock Climb­ing
Deep with­in the Julio Enrique Mon­a­gas Urban Park lies the region is known as Baya­mon II, the go-to place for sea­soned rock climbers in Puer­to Rico. With over 130 routes to tra­verse, it’s eas­i­ly the most excep­tion­al spot on the island and pro­vides a pletho­ra of sin­gle pitch rang­ing from 5.8 to 5.13, with most climbs some­where in the 5.10 area. It might not be the most chal­leng­ing climb­ing in the world, but there’s still plen­ty of fun to be had and enough to keep you busy for days.

Puer­to Rico is home to three bio­lu­mi­nes­cent bays, the best of which being La Lagu­na Grande in Fajar­do. Kayak­ing oppor­tu­ni­ties here are plen­ti­ful and it’s one of the best places to wit­ness the microor­gan­isms light up beneath the waves as you pad­dle along. Each stroke caus­es them to flash in the night, so you’ll obvi­ous­ly want to wait for the sun go down before putting your butt in the boat. Alter­na­tive­ly, you can head north to Mos­qui­to Bay, which locals say offers a brighter expe­ri­ence due to more organ­isms swim­ming beneath the surface.