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Is it Worth Visiting Puerto Rico with Kids?

Is it Worth Visiting Puerto Rico with Kids?

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Are you thinking about booking a family trip to Puerto Rico but aren’t quite sure? Keep scrolling to find out everything you need to know about visiting Puerto Rico with kids.
This guide to Puerto Rico with kids was co-written by family travel expert Marcie Cheung and contains affiliate links which means if you purchase something from one of my affiliate links, I may earn a small commission that goes back into maintaining this blog.

Guest post by Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

As a seasoned traveler, I’m often asking myself if a destination will meet my needs for a family-friendly location with things to do for both kids and adults.

With so many islands to choose from in the Caribbean, it can be hard to choose.

Check out all the fun things to do in Puerto Rico for families and the reasons why we picked Puerto Rico to see if it might be the right destination for your next tropical vacation. 

Don’t have time to read a bunch of Puerto Rico blog posts and reviews? Here are some of our top picks for visiting Puerto Rico.

Popular Puerto Rico Tours/Activities

Where to Stay in Puerto Rico

6 Reasons to Plan a Puerto Rico Family Vacation

Reason #1: No Passport is Required

If you are a US citizen, you don’t need a passport to visit. That’s right, no passport is needed. Just bring your driver’s license or other identification and you can enjoy visiting the tropical destination.

Everyone speaks English, you can use the American dollar and there are many similar stores/foods that kids enjoy. Not needing a passport for a Puerto Rico family vacation is certainly cost-saving. 

Reason #2: El Yunque National Forest

Enjoy visiting national parks? Did you know that Puerto Rico features the only tropical rainforest in the United States? It’s absolutely beautiful and worth visiting.

Image of the Junior Ranger program at El Yunque.
Junior Ranger program at El Yunque. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

Kids will enjoy completing the junior ranger program to receive a El Yunque National Forest badge as a free souvenir.

Grab a booklet at the visitor center before you enter the park. Then check out countless waterfalls, climbing towers, easy trails, historic buildings, and interactive exhibits at the visitor center. 

*Be sure to reserve a ticket to enter the majority of the park. It is inexpensive and easy to do. 

Tips for Visiting El Yunque National Park

Start your visit at the El Portal Visitor center. From there, you’ll pass by a few roadside stands in case you need to grab a snack or souvenir.

El Portal Visitors Center.
El Portal Visitors Center. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

If you made a reservation, you’ll see the reservation check-in on your right. Immediately after you leave the reservation area, you’ll see La Coca Falls (on the right, seen from the road).

Image of a tower in Puerto Rico
Yokahu Observation Tower. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

Your next stop will be Yokahu Observation Tower (bathroom) where you can climb the tower for stunning views all the way to the coast on a clear day.

Image of Juan Diego Falls in Puerto Rico
Juan Diego Falls. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

A few more miles up the road, you’ll encounter Juan Diego Falls (parking-KM 9.6, short walk to the falls, muddy paths to larger falls). This is a fun spot to explore, and you can get some fun photos and let little ones play in the water below the falls.

After the falls, you can stop at the Sierra Palms Recreation area (bathrooms, restaurant with food options).

Lastly, you’ll see Bano Grande (large pool, stone bridge) which was an old swimming pool area that you can view, but no longer enjoy for swimming.

This is the last stop as of January 2023 due to hurricane damage to the park that they continue to work on. You’ll head back the way you arrived. 

Image of El Yunque National Park in Puerto Rico
El Yunque is breathtaking. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

Check the El Yunque National Park page for more detailed information about your visit. If you try any kid-friendly activities in Puerto Rico, this one should be high on your list. 

Book a Family Photo Shoot

Whenever we travel, we almost always book a family photo shoot with Flytographer. They are super easy, affordable, AND guarantee that I’ll be in some photos. You can get $25 off if you book through this link or use the code HAWAIITRAVEL.

Reason #3: Tons of Kid-Friendly Puerto Rico Resorts

Puerto Rico has a variety of family-friendly resorts to please any traveler.

Looking for the best resorts for families in Puerto Rico? One of our favorites is El Conquistador Resort with its stunning private island beach, private onsite waterpark, pools, restaurants, and kids’ activities.

Image of the pool at the El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico.
El Conquistador Resort in Puerto Rico. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

The resort was rebuilt after Hurricane Maria and offers a safe place for families to enjoy sunny days. Almost all of the rooms have stunning ocean views and the private funicular down the harbor will delight any child. Check the latest rates and availability.

Tips for Staying at El Conquistador Resort

Book the ferry to Palamino Island

You’ll want to reserve the ferry to Palamino Island where you can enjoy the perfect Puerto Rico Vacation with kids complete with island restaurant/bar, chairs with shade, shells to collect, a lifeguarded beach to swim, and tons of sand to build the perfect sandcastle.

Image of the beach at Palamino Island in Puerto Rico with kids.
Palamino Island in Puerto Rico. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

There are also bathrooms, showers, and a store with anything you need including toys, sunscreen, beach towels, and more. Towels are provided on the island and there is a wheelchair that can be used in the sand for anyone with mobility issues. 

Visit the Coqui Waterpark

Plan at least ½ a day to enjoy the onsite Coqui waterpark. The water park features a lazy river, three slides, and pools to relax in the hot sun. There is a small restaurant onsite, as well as one in the nearby harbor. 

Image of a lazy river at Coqui waterpark in Puerto Rico.
Coqui Waterpark. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

The water park is currently only for guests staying at El Conquistador, so it is private and quite lovely. In addition, the upper portion of the resort has multiple pools to enjoy and hot tubs (one overlooking the coast).

Enjoy the resort restaurants

There are many restaurants to enjoy, so there is no need to leave the resort.

Ballyhoo restaurant at El Conquistador.
Ballyhoo restaurant at El Conquistador. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

Our favorite, Ballyhoo, was located in the harbor where you could watch boats come and go while you enjoyed breakfast or dinner in the open-air restaurant.

Another great option is Café Bella Vista overlooking the pools below. We loved their wood-fired pizzas and delicious salads.

In addition, they have indoor restaurants, adults-only bars, and many markets to suit your every need.

If you want to explore outside the resort, we highly recommend dinner at La Estacion, which is located minutes down the road. 

Participate in kid-friendly activities

Although El Conquistador doesn’t feature a kids club, they have lots of kid-friendly activities. These include cookie decorating, movies, games in the lounge, games on the beach/waterpark, and music. 

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    Reason #4: Old San Juan is Charming

    The perfectly walkable Old San Juan can charm any age with its colorful buildings, forts to explore, ice cream to indulge in, well-cared-for cats to say hello to and plenty of entertaining history.

    Image of colorful buildings in Old San Juan.
    Explore Old San Juan. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

    Depending on the age of your kids, you could take a food tour, a history tour, or even make some memories with a photo session!

    Check out the top things to do in San Juan with kids and a suggested itinerary

    Grab Breakfast at Café Marquesa or Chocobar Cortes to start your morning off right. Then pick one of the two forts: Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morrow) or Castillo San Cristobal.

    Image of the El Morrow fort in Puerto Rico
    El Morrow. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

    Both of these forts were built by the Spanish to protect the city of San Juan and are best enjoyed before the heat of the afternoon.

    Junior Ranger badge from El Morro.
    Junior Ranger badge from El Morrow. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

    Grab another Junior Ranger booklet for kids to enhance their visit. See if the kids can spot the iguanas that call El Morrow their home. 

    From the fort, head towards the center of the town to explore Plazuela La Rogativa and the beautiful surrounding city streets. One of our favorites is Caleta de las Monjas with its colorful buildings and cobblestoned streets.

    See the tomb of Ponce de Leon at the Cathedral San Juan Bautista and the red city doors at Puerta de San Juan.

    Image of a fountain and colorful restaurant in Old San Juan Puerto Rico.
    Barrachina restaurant in Old San Juan. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

    If you’ve worked up an appetite, head towards Barrachina (the home of the piña colada!). They have a beautiful interior courtyard with a fountain as well as frozen drinks for both adults and kids. 

    Image of a colorful street with umbrellas in the air.
    Calle de la Fortaleza. Photo credit: Chelsea Kelly-Sipe

    After lunch, head towards Calle de la Fortaleza where the city puts on an overhead display with flags/butterflies/lights in front of the governor’s mansion. It makes a fun photo spot and memory of your Old San Juan with kids’ adventure.

    Lastly, walk along the Paseo de la Princesa. It is a pretty walk with shade along the old fort walls and has street vendors.

    Reason #5: See a Bioluminescent Bay

    If you want to cross off a unique experience, Puerto Rico has some of the best bioluminescent bays in the world!

    If you plan your trip during a new moon (hardly any light), you can enjoy the experience of a lifetime.

    With three bioluminescent bays to choose from, you should be able to find a late-night activity to sort out your family’s needs. It is considered one of the best Puerto Rico family activities for older children. 

    Reason #6: There are TONS of Beaches in Puerto Rico

    Are you still wondering if Puerto Rico is good for families? If you’ve got little ones that enjoy the beach, they will have plenty of options to choose from in Puerto Rico. 

    These are the best places for kid-friendly beaches in Puerto Rico

    Playa La Chiva– crystal clear water, great snorkeling, small waves (safe for small children), restrooms at the entrance

    Playa Caracas– located on the small island of Vieques, white sand, crystal blue water, restrooms, wave condition depending on weather, 

    Flamenco beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico.
    Flamenco beach in Culebra, Puerto Rico.

    Flamenco Beach– One of the top beaches in the world. Features lifeguards, restrooms, kiosks for food, small to no waves, and great snorkeling. Also features an old military tank which is fun for photos. 

    Puerto Rico with Kids Wrap Up

    A family vacation in Puerto Rico is perfect if you want to enjoy warm weather, fun beaches, tasty food and plenty of outdoor fun.

    There are so many things to do in Puerto Rico with kids from beach days, zip-lining adventures, hikes through the national park, lazy days by the pool, exploring the bio-luminance bays and snorkeling in the aqua blue waters of the shore.

    I hope you can see why it is well worth visiting Puerto Rico with kids!

    About Chelsea

    Chelsea is the founder/editor of Pack More Into Life, a travel blog that covers adventures as a family around the globe. She is a special education teacher and military spouse who has grown up all over the world and continues to share her passion and love for travel with her husband and son. She has visited family-friendly hotels and destinations around the world including Costa Rica, Finland, Quebec City, Germany, Croatia, Slovenia and aims to inspire fellow families to pursue their travel dreams around the globe

    Looking for more Puerto Rico travel tips? Check out our tips for visiting Puerto Rico for the first time, guide to Puerto Rico island hopping, kid-friendly Puerto Rico resorts, Hawaii vs Puerto Rico, and how to book an affordable Puerto Rico photographer!

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