Puerto Ricans do not have any noteworthy means of moving around the 5,320 square miles of their country. They do have passenger vans called publicos which transport them from one area to another. Unfortunately though, these vans do not use terminals in order load passengers and they do not have a fixed schedule for the times they are available. This can hassle any tourist who has enjoyed the organized systems in other countries.

In order to travel Puerto Rico conveniently, one should rent a vehicle. Because Puerto Rico is an archipelago, it’s relatively easy to get around and see all the sights in just a few days.

Puerto Rico indeed has a small landmass but it offers a lot of scenery. And how does one get to see all these places when you go for a cruise. Here are the best routes to take when traveling around Puerto Rico.

1st Day Drive: San Juan to Rio Grande via Loiza

Try walking around San Juan before riding out on your newly rented ride. The town itself is thick with history so you’ll definitely see some great spots. The city has several old forts like Fuerte San Cristobal, El Morro and Paseo de La Princesa. The Paseo de la Princessa offers a great walk at night. During Saturdays and Sundays, one can expect local art vendors and some artists in the area.

If you want to check out a sampling of Puerto Rican art, the Museo de las Americas can be found by going to the structured called Cuartel de Ballaja.

For some music, you can head out to the Nuyorican Cafe and get some drinks. This hole in the wall has drawn some star power with Benicio del Toro coming in for a visit.

Since Puerto Rico is an archipelago, there are a lot of beaches in the area. The nearest one is called Escambron which is situated between the old structures and new structures of San Juan. If you go to the airport, there is another beach near the airport called Ocean Park.

Visitors looking for some lodging in the city can stay at the Tres Palmas Inn which is close to Ocean Park.

Go and check out your ride from the garage and drive towards the direction of Rio Grande. Instead of going for the already developed roads, proceed to Road 187 and drive toward Pinones.

The town’s roadways are arrayed with kiosks and huts where people fry great eats on wood fire stoves. The locals would also be happy to give you juice from the coconut tree. The road is small but the air is pollution free – just perfect for driving with the windows down. Should you have enough time, pull over and check out the beach.

Head out of Pinones and cross the Rio Grande towards Loiza. Loiza is a town with a rich history due to its being isolated from the other towns for several centuries. The bridge to Loiza was created only during the 70s. People have to ride a boat to cross to the other side.

In Loiza you can scope out the church which is dedicated to St. Patrick and the home of one Samuel Lind, an artist who is quietly creating his own home into a work of art.

Once you’ve had your fill of the Afro-Puerto Rican town, you can then head towards the Rio Grande via 187. After going through a forlorn but beautiful road, you’ll find yourself on the highway. Pull over by the town called El Yunque near a rainforest.

Once in El Yunque try going around for a hike. Once you’re satisfied scope out a view of the Rio Grande and rest up at Villa Sevilla located in the hills. Villa Sevilla is filled with different fruits and vegetables. You can cool down at their pool while staying in the Chalet or in the Casita. The owners, Marina and Wally Lawson are kind and hospitable.

2nd Day Drive Rio Grande to Ponce

Exit out of Rio Grande and go towards Luquillo Beach which is considered to be the country’s prime beach. Luquillo is calm and there is enough space for everybody to place down a towel and lie in the sun.

Drive on over to Fajardo and hike inside Las Cabezas de San Juan, a natural reserve. Once the night hits, go to the Fajardo bay area for some kayaking through the mangroves which are filled with light even in the darkness.

Stay for the night after the kayak trip and leave first thing in the morning for Guavate. Guavate is the center for roasted pig. Ride westward via 30 and head on south using 52. There will be signs for Guavate.

If you’re really on the road towards Guavate one way to tell is if you see stalls selling roasted pork or any other pork products and tostones. There are no official parking spaces here so just place your car by the roadside and go out and eat some grub.

After getting your fill or possibly restocking, go on the route 52 and drive towards Ponce. Ponce is another important Puerto Rican city and the drive there is filled with interesting terrain. You will be moving through the mountains and into the dry country to Ponce.

Head out to the Plaza and enjoy the fire house and the cathedral. Have a bucketful of ice cream from King’s Cream. Once you’re beat head out to the Hotel Melia and sleep. Stay and have breakfast in your room.

Once you have energy, go towards the hill planted with a cross on it. The spot is called La Vigia and it is a great place to view the Caribbean.

3rd Day Drive: Ponce to Cabo Rojo

There is much to do in Ponce if you are inclined like visiting Hacienda Buena Vista. Once a coffee plantation, this property is nestled by a mountain near Road 501. Guides will tour you through the grounds. If you’re lucky you might get one of their chocolate samples.

Drive using Highway 2 and stop by Guanica which was the entry point for the US invasion force during 1898. It might not be a major destination but there are one or two things worth checking out here. Go check out their dry forest for example.

Even if you’re not one of the faithful, you can go and check out the Virgen del Pozo located in Sabana Grande at Highway 364. The site attracts Roman Catholic pilgrims who pray for the image to grant them miracles or their wishes. There are also memorabilia and proof of answered prayers.

Pick up speed and drive on to Highway 102 from Sabana Grande. Highway 102 will give you thrilling views of the ocean while skiring through sugarcane farms and pineapple plantations. The ocean is literally baying just a few meters from your wheels.

Cabo Rojo features kiosks which sell seafood eats. Try some before driving into the beautiful sunset.

4th Day Drive Cabo Rojo to Rincon

Going through Highway 102 will lead you to the Puerto Rican western coast. At the end of the highway there is another one in Highway 429 which goes all the way into Rincon, a surfing town. After a few days of driving it will be great to feel the sea at your toes. Check out the lighthouse at Punta Gorda and the monument at Aguado.

Fifth Day Drive: Ponce to San Juan

When you’ve got sunburnt enough, go towards Highway 10 and then leave Ponce for the inner roads of Puerto Rico. You can go to Jayuya where coffee is harvested. You will need to breeze through the Rio Abajo and stop at Arecibo where the observatory is. There are also other stops like the Cueva del Indio and the Playa Sardinera in San Juan. You can also head on to Highway 22 where there is a Bacardi factory. Get a few sips free from the tour.

After traveling through the expanse of the country, you will understand why the Spanish named it Rich Port. There is bounty enough everywhere if you have enough drive.



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