Eco-friendly Things To Do in Puerto Rico
In the northeastern Caribbean lies Puerto Rico, an ethereal location that makes every tourist feel like they are lost in heaven. Every inch of its land is covered in thick vegetation and lush greenery, adding a gorgeous contrast to the bright blue skies. With a stunning landscape lined with dense trees, insane waterfalls, and teeming with wildlife, Puerto Rico is a tropical paradise that invites thousands of tourists yearly to indulge in its captivating charm.
Mother Nature’s countless bounties in Puerto Rico are why eco-tourists can’t resist heading out there. Luckily, there are many eco-friendly things to do, so tourists will not have to worry about their carbon footprint while enjoying its diverse wildlife. Embrace ecotourism or eco-friendly ways to tour with the help of the below list:
Beaches and natural pools
Puerto Rico is home to some of the most breathtaking beaches and natural pools in the world, offering a diverse coastal experience. Among these beaches, the most notable is Playa Jobos, a popular surfing destination, also ideal for swimming and snorkeling. Additionally, Playa Poza Sardineras, located in the beach town Isabela, is known for its spectacular natural pools.
“Isabela, a serene beach town in the north-western region of Puerto Rico, features breathtaking beaches, including Sardinera Beach. At this beach, there is an area where the water is shielded from the strong waves by a firm rock formation creating an amazing calm natural pool on the inside. The waves crash into the rocks from the vast ocean, drizzle as rain over the calm pool on the inside, or trickle down through the rocks, landing in the water next to you where you can just relax. This little pool is a legit hidden gem among the Puerto Rico beaches, a gift of nature at its best”, says Hege Jacobsen, a travel blogger from The World By Hege.
Cacao plantation tours
Another great thing about Puerto Rico is its chocolate. Easily competing with Swiss chocolate, Puerto Rican chocolate is rich and sweet, with a hint of bitterness, alluding to its authenticity.
Almost every eatery in Puerto Rico offers chocolate treats because it is a local delight. Still, chocoholics and tourists eager to get a deeper insight can book a tour of the cacao plantation.
“My visit to Hacienda Chocolat during my last trip to Puerto Rico was a real treat. I got to explore their organic cacao farm, taste some fantastic chocolate, and see firsthand their efforts to protect the rainforest and support the local community,” says Rose Campau a travel blogger.
Tourists on such tours walk through the process of making chocolate and can see how the cacao plant is converted into nibs and then the decadent, lustrous dessert we love to eat. The best part? Tourists can take home tons of chocolate!
Although caving is typically considered a thrilling sport, it can be relaxed and gentle. Puerto Rico has caves, some with ceilings miles high while others with small crawl spaces. Caving is quite diverse. You can body raft in the caves, hike into the caves, or river raft their way through.
Naturally, caving is an exciting activity for thrill seekers and naturalists, but other tourists are welcome to explore if they head out on a guided tour. Most cave exploration tours are catered for groups because it is safer to explore them, but you can request a private caving experience.
Are you a Pirates of the Caribbean fan? They offer guided caving tours to the Indian Cave, which is one of the filming locations.
Chocolate making class
If you’re not satisfied just seeing the process of chocolate making, perhaps you’d like to indulge in the art. Puerto Rican chocolate has a distinct taste and texture, so it’s incredibly popular with local bakeries. Most Puerto Rican chocolatiers are open to sharing their secrets, so you can book a chocolate-making class and surprise the family once you’re home.
Most chocolate-making classes like the one at Montadero Chocolate are catered toward groups, but if you’re not one for the crowds, you can book a private lesson. If you hope for a more intimate experience, you can book a couples’ chocolate-making class.
Puerto Rican coffee is considered one of the world’s highest-quality coffee. Tourists love waking up to the steamy, frothy beverage and find it irresistible. Puerto Rican coffee gets its intense richness from being locally sourced; all Puerto Rican coffee is plucked out from the farms and processed daily, giving it a rich, fresh taste.
Tourists eager to get a deeper insight into the process of making delectable coffee can book a coffee plantation tour. This tour to Hacienda Munoz combines coffee tasting with hot springs.
The coffee plantation tour takes them to the intricate process of coffee farming and how they’re ground and converted into delectable coffee beans. Some offer complimentary bags of freshly prepared coffee beans so tourists can enjoy Puerto Rican coffee at home.
Not all tourists are fond of heading out into rugged terrains; many prefer to interact with the local community and learn about their delectable cuisine. Luckily, many Puerto Ricans offer authentic cooking classes where you can indulge in delicious cuisine and learn to make it.
The fantastic diversity of Puerto Rican food is visible in its cooking classes; tourists can learn about generic Puerto Rican cuisine or invest in a specific teaching course like cheese making.
Fishing has been around for centuries and is one of the most popular tourist activities. Many tourists are eager to hook a fishing rod and wait for it to bobble, so fishing in Puerto Rico is a brilliant way to act out on such preferences.
Most fishing tours in Puerto Rico begin with a motorboat, but you’ll find many fishing charters offering tours on traditional boats. The most popular fishing activity is tarpon fishing, which please fishing enthusiasts and those hoping to catch a big fish.
If you’re not keen on tarpon fishing and want to learn more about the aquatic creatures lurking deep below the waves, booking a deep-sea fishing tour is ideal. A deep sea fishing tour often involves monstrous catches and occasionally catches rare species.
If you want to narrow down your experience to a 100% sustainable tour, consider catch and release. Many fishing charters offer catch-and-release tours where tourists can enjoy an exciting fishing experience. Once they’ve taken pictures with their catch, they release it into the ocean. This ensures you’re not wasting resources and respecting the local ecosystem.
An often ignored part of ecotourism is learning about the culture and heritage of local communities. Puerto Ricans are pretty fond of their craft, so they’ll openly offer an insight into learning their art.
One of the most popular tourist activities that encourages local art is glassblowing. An intricate art, glassblowing transforms tiny glass bubbles into complex works of art, so they’re perfect for introverts and artists eager to experience a secluded activity. The best thing about taking a glassblowing class is taking the art home to show off your handiwork to friends and families.
Hiking in the rainforest
One of the oldest activities, hiking, aims to explore the vast ruggedness of Puerto Rico in a challenging yet rewarding way. Most hikers exploring Puerto Rico experience fatigue because its dense rainforest consists of long, winded passageways, but every bit of this activity is worth it.
Hiking suits adrenaline-seekers and adventurous tourists, but you can also book a calmer and more nuanced guided rainforest hiking tour. The most popular hiking trail follows the animals of the El Yunque Rainforest, so tourists might be delighted with glimpses of exotic animals.
“I traveled to Puerto Rico with a friend in March 2022. We took a day trip to El Yunque Rainforest, and it was one of our favorite activities. We hiked La Mina trail, saw various flora, and swam in waterfall pools. It didn’t rain while we were there!” says Eleanor Blaire from Elevate Your Escapes.
Hiking along the beach
Hiking along the beaches in Puerto Rico is an amazing experience where you hike past dramatic sea cliffs and ancient cultural sites. There are many hiking tours in Puerto Rico, but the most popular is tours to La Cueva del Indio which offers a challenging hike through the stunning coastal views, sea arches, and blowholes.
“La Cueva del Indio is a marine reserve hiking area and one of the best adventures you can do near Arecibo. Hike on razor sharp limestone rock beside seven sea arches spread along the dramatic coast. A sea cave on the hike has ancient Taino rock art carvings to view after you climb down into the cavern.” says Karen Warren a travel blogger from Outdoor Adventure Sampler.
Animal lovers delight in this simple activity because not only is it low-impact, but it also allows them to explore Puerto Rico without worsening their jet lag. Horseback riding tours in Puerto Rico vary from location to location; some tours offer a generic exploration of typical and popular spots, while others take tourists to hidden gems and unexplored crevices tucked away from the public’s eye.
Most horseback riding tours happen in groups, but tourists can ask for and book private tours. People who don’t know how to horseback ride can also avail lessons before starting the activity.
There’s nothing more stunning than exploring Puerto Rico on a kayak. Kayaking is a unique and illustrious way to explore nature because it lets you glimpse natural bounties from an unexpected angle.
The most popular kayak tour in Puerto Rico is on the bioluminescent bays that come alive under the dark and emit a stunning blue hue. The bioluminescence is due to bioluminescent algae that line the waves.
Tourists kayaking on the biobays feel like they’re riding a glow-in-the-dark ocean. Many compare it to swimming between the stars, so it’s one of the most popular activities.
Other popular kayak tours include LED night kayaking, where glow-in-the-dark kayaks illuminate the explorer’s experience. Glass-bottom kayaking is a hit with marine lovers because you can see through the kayak.
Rafting in Puerto Rico offers an exhilarating and eco-friendly adventure. This activity allows you to experience the island’s stunning natural landscapes from its rivers, combining thrill with the appreciation of nature.
Rafting has minimal environmental impact, preserving the pristine condition of the waterways. It’s a great way to explore remote areas and wildlife habitats that are otherwise inaccessible. This activity also supports local guides and businesses, contributing to the local economy.
It is not just about the excitement of navigating the rapids, it is an immersive experience in the island’s diverse ecosystems.
Sailing in Puerto Rico offers a unique blend of adventure and tranquility, perfect for eco-conscious travelers. These sailing trips often support local businesses and crews, contributing to the island’s economy.
Embarking on a day sail around the capital, San Juan, you’ll witness the stunning coastline from a serene, oceanic perspective. This low-impact activity allows you to enjoy the beauty of the sea without harming the marine environment.
This private sailing tour can lead you to visit Icacos Island, a deserted island, where you can have a picnic, experiencing untouched nature in its purest form.
San Juan walking tours
Exploring San Juan, Puerto Rico on foot is an eco-friendly and enriching experience. Walking reduces your carbon footprint, allowing you to enjoy the city’s vibrant streets and historic architecture without contributing to pollution. It offers an immersive cultural experience, connecting you closely with local history, art, and community.
“One of the best parts of a walking tour in Old San Juan is taking a stroll along Puerto Rico’s El Paseo del Morro National Recreational Trail. This paved trail takes you from the stunning Raices Fountain to the El Morro fortress, with water to one side and the imposing old city walls to the other,” says Lisa Garrett, a travel blogger from Waves and Cobblestones.
A diverse and abundant marine life awaits tourists beneath Puerto Rican pristine blue waves. Tourists can head out to popular snorkeling spots and enjoy a wide range of marine life, including sea turtles, dolphins, manta rays, coral reefs, and sharks.
Some marine animals, like the Caribbean reef shark and Hawksbill turtle, are endangered, so tourists have the opportunity to learn about unique and rare species. Of course, this makes it even more critical to practice eco-friendliness; most creatures are adorable, but you must respect their boundaries.
“Take a mini boat to the protected La Cordillera Cays Nature Reserve and snorkel in pristine waters with Kayaking Puerto Rico. During the trip we saw many schools of brightly colors fish among the protected reefs, but some even spot sea turtles while snorkeling. The excursion includes a visit to the white sands of Icacos Cay Beach which is a must-visit for any Puerto Rico itinerary,” says Michele Granera a travel blogger from The Adventures Abound.
Snorkeling tours in Puerto Rico vary from location to location and the type of sea animal you want to see. Many snorkeling tours are eco-friendly since they are low-impact and are catered to beginners.
Puerto Rican beaches are one of the most popular worldwide because they catch all sorts of waves. Although Puerto Rico is a tourist destination, many head to the tropical paradise solely to surf. Its gorgeous waves make for an exciting surf experience, and tourists can even spend an entire day just riding the waves.
Puerto Rican surfing experience is all-inclusive; countless surfing spots catch mild waves, so they’re perfect for beginners and children. Other areas around the beach get intense and strong waves, so they’re catered toward experienced and professional surfers.
Tourists who don’t know how to surf can book surfing lessons. Countless surf lessons are open for booking throughout the day, so tourists can join a group anytime. However, if you’re looking for private and more focused teaching, you can book a private surf lesson.
Puerto Rico offers many volunteering opportunities to those who want to contribute to its ecosystem and communities in need. Habitat for Humanity gives you an opportunity to take part in the construction of a new house for families in need, the expansion of an existing house, or participating in training workshops to make families sustainable. For marine life enthusiasts, Tortugas Marinas Area Oeste provides an opportunity to take part in protecting turtle nests.
“One of the best eco-friendly things to do in Puerto Rico also involves giving back to the community. Visitors can experience volunteering in Puerto Rico at Amigos de los Animales Animal Shelter, a locally run and operated no-kill shelter in the small coastal town of Carolina. Visitors can sign up to either help tidy up the shelter or take the very cute and very adoptable dogs out for a walk along a beautiful protected beach, giving them crucial play and socializing time,” says Kay Kingsman a travel blogger from The Awkward Traveller.
You’ll notice Puerto Rico’s gushing waterfalls before your plane lands, and this alone is a testament to its intense beauty. Puerto Rican waterfalls attract thousands of tourists yearly, so they’re trendy and often consist of grouped tours. If you’re not keen on joining grouped activities, you can ask a local guide for a private tour or head out on a self-guided excursion.
“Waterfall rappelling took me deep into the island’s vibrant wilderness, offering a mix of adventure and scenic beauty. Expert local guides ensured my safe descent down rushing waterfalls and steep cliffs. Whether you’re a seasoned adventurer or a first-timer, this activity is a thrilling way to experience the island’s outdoors. Waterfall rappelling in Puerto Rico is an adrenaline-heavy adventure that gave me great memories.” says Odo Grd a travel blogger from Caribe Vibes.
The most famous waterfall excursions in Puerto Rico surround the rainforest in San Juan, where dense trees make the gushing waters look like a hidden gem. Amazingly, Puerto Rico has countless waterfalls that escape the public’s eye, like this hidden waterfall only known by the locals in Isla Verde or this one in El Yunque Rainforest.
Most Puerto Rican tourist activities are geared toward adrenaline and thrill seekers, so you might find only a few relaxing activities. However, yoga and meditation by the beach is the best way to calm your nerves and heal your jet lag.
Most meditation and yoga retreats are open to the public and host large groups, but they practice a general respect for boundaries so introverts can quickly join groups. Most yoga and meditation classes occur at the beach, but you’ll find other destinations too. Some hotels also offer yoga and meditation retreats, but it’s better if you book a private class.
The best and most adventurous activity in Puerto Rico is zip lining. Considered a hit by nature lovers, adrenaline junkies, and general tourists, zip lining is an activity everyone loves.
Most zip-lining tours in Puerto Rico cruise over its rainforest, so tourists can glimpse its wildlife and peek at the dense trees from a unique aerial view. Zip lining isn’t just for adventure lovers; many zip line tours are designed to cater to children and people with acrophobia (fear of heights).
Depending on the type of zip line you choose, you’ll either zoom through the entire rainforest within an hour or take your time. Family-friendly zip lines go slower and have protective nets, so parents can have fun without worrying about their children’s safety. Sunset zip-lining offers a unique point of view for sure.
Where to Stay in Puerto Rico
If you are looking for eco-friendly things to do in Hawaii, you are probably open to staying in eco-friendly accommodations. You are at the right place. This website is all about the most sustainable eco-lodges in Puerto Rico, and all around the world.
WHERE TO STAY – Click here to find sustainable eco-lodges in Puerto Rico.
Emese Maczko is a travel blogger behind Eco Lodges Anywhere. Having explored several destinations around Europe, the US, Indonesia, and Australia, and resided in Germany, the United Kingdom, and Luxembourg, Emese possesses a keen understanding of diverse cultures and an appreciation for the beauty of each destination she visits. She advocates for sustainable travel and ecotourism.