Rich history, culture and food.

Caribbean Uncovered: Visiting Puerto Rico

Update: Our guests’ safety is what matters most, which is why we’ve chosen to pause all of our cruises. We know everyone is focused on their health and loved ones but also dreaming of their next vacation. That’s why we’re still thinking of ways for you to escape the everyday, and when the time is right, we look forward to welcoming you back on board. Until then, we’ll be here with inspiration in all forms whenever you need it.
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Castillo San Felipe del Morro, also known as El Morro, is a citadel that overlooks San Juan Bay.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

San Juan offers up Puerto Rico’s vibrant culture and rich history, so it’s truly worth a visit. It’s a popular destination on a Caribbean cruise—and you can feel good about your vacation since tourism plays an important role in driving the country’s economy.

For an inside scoop on the island, we spoke with our crew member Ricci Paul Magpantay, a talented photo enthusiast from the Philippines who documents his #RoyalCrewLife at @wheninmyjourneys.

Here’s why Ricci thinks Puerto Rico definitely deserves a place on your vacation lineup:

San Juan is brimming with history.

Credit: Royal Caribbean

Strolling Through History

“One of the things that draws me to Puerto Rico is walking the cobbled streets of Old San Juan. Amid the urban city of San Juan, there still lies this piece of well-preserved history, which make for great photo ops” says Ricci. “Every nook and cranny has something interesting.”

His favorite place is the San Juan National Historic Site, which features expansive grounds that lead to two impressive 16th-century Spanish forts, Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal, as well as the Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro, the iconic citadel that sits at the tip of the city, is perhaps the island’s most well-known site. Many excursions reveal the site’s towering stone walls and the museum is an excellent place to dive into the island’s history.

The Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery dates to 1863, and it’s the final resting place for many of Puerto Rico’s most notable citizens. Perched high on a cliff, its sweeping Atlantic views aren’t too bad either.

And nearby is Fort San Cristóbal, the largest Spanish fortification in the Americas, gives you a taste of the “old and new city” that Ricci finds so unique here.

 

Local Spots To Sup And Sip

One of Ricci’s must-brings for Puerto Rico? A huge appetite. From Chef Paxx Caraballo Moll’s creative dishes at Jungle BaoBao to the expansive food truck scene, Ricci assures that “foodies will be in heaven.”

If you’re looking for a cool drink after a day of exploring, order a piña colada. The national cocktail features two kinds of rum, which isn’t surprising since the island is home to the world-famous Bacardi distillery. Rum was invented here, so you can get the story behind classic rum cocktails and the creation of this renowned company at Casa Bacardi, and try samples as well as enjoy a welcome drink.

 

A beautiful summer afternoon at the outer wall of Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Credit: iStock

Nature Everywhere

Even within the city itself, Ricci photographs wildlife. On the lookout tower of La Fortaleza—another historic fortification—he found a Caribbean brown pelican resting on top of a column.

You can experience more of Puerto Rico’s nature while traveling through the countryside on an ATV to reach El Campo Rico. You can explore the trails on the sprawling 2,000-acre private ranch and see the historic home.

If diving is your thing, you’ll find colorful sea life at the Escambron Marine Park.

Ricci appreciates nature in Puerto Rico and recommends heading back to El Morro to take in the sunset. His favorite spot is also the perfect place to catch the vibrant hues illuminate the fortress at dusk.

You can follow the rest of Ricci’s travels on his Instagram; he’s always snapping away on his travels.

If his adventures in Puerto Rico have inspired you to grab your camera and chart your own course, you will be welcomed with open arms. You can plan your next vacation to Puerto Rico and other Caribbean islands here.