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For many travelers, lounging on the beaches of the Caribbean is a dream during the cold winter months, but the glorious island of Puerto Rico is a luxurious destination any time of year.
Let’s deal with the least complicated one first. Travel to Puerto Rico during the hot summer months of July and August are undoubtedly the least expensive, especially if you bundle your airfare, rental car, and hotel. While this may seem an odd time of year to go, this is a perfect time of year to visit the island if you are in the mood for surf and sun. Frequent visitors to the island go there in the winter to warm up and in the summer to cool down. The soothing Caribbean breezes and clear blue waters refresh the spirit and renew your energy. There are many hotels and resorts that have air conditioning and pools in which you can also relax. Summer is the low season for off-island visitors, but high season for Puerto Ricans, so it is also a great opportunity to meet a lot of the locals. This is during the rainy season, but that just means that it will probably rain every afternoon for about 10-15 minutes, and then return to its tropical glory.
The best time to travel depends on the desires of the traveler. Whether you are there for music, food, drink, relaxation, beach time, wildlife, or tourist attractions, this list will help you plan your travels.
The lively beat of salsa, merengue, bomba, and plena can be heard all the time and everywhere. Check out some of these festivals that celebrate the rhythm of Puerto Rico.
Maraton San Blas, Coamo—February
Food and Drink
The food of Puerto Rico is incredible. A food and drink tour of the island will be a trip you will never forget and will want to do over and over. Consider some of these festivals to try the specialty of different municipalities and regions.
Festival del Macabeo, Trujillo Alto—December
The beaches are a bit more crowded in May through August, when the locals are on holiday and the kids are out of school, and many spend the day at the coast to stay cool and spend time with family and friends, particularly on the weekend. Starting just after Labor Day, many Puerto Ricans do not go to the beach because it is just too cold for them. In October, November and December, visit one of the many beautiful beaches like Playa Sucia or Buye on a weekday, or perhaps take the ferry to a small island like Gilligan’s Island off the Guanica coast, and you will have the beach almost all to yourself. Beaches start to fill up with more tourists starting in January, and are probably heaviest in March, but there are miles and miles of beautiful coastline—plenty for all to share.
There are so many amazing natural sights to experience year-round in Puerto Rico, but keeping in mind the need to walk or hike a bit, or possibly even climb, the cooler months of December through to March are the best times to visit. Also in about November to March is when sea turtles hatch. El Proyecto de Tortugas Marina del Oeste does occasionally take groups out to observe when there is going to be a hatching or a release, but you must make arrangements in advance because the number of people is limited.
El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rain forest in the national forest system. At nearly 29,000 acres, it is one of the smallest in size, yet one of the most biologically diverse of the national forests, hosting hundreds of animal and plant species, some of which are found only here.
Please note: El Yunque is closed until further notice during the recovery after hurricanes Irma and Maria. Check for updates at El Yunque National Forest website.
The caves are always much cooler, so you may want to visit Camuy Caves or Cueva Ventana during the humid summer months, and save your cooler months for other excursions that will keep you a little warmer.
The mountains are also always about 20 degrees cooler than the coast, so perhaps schedule a trip to explore waterfalls and the different culture of the mountains in the summer, and your coastal trip during the winter months.