If You Have 1 Day
If you have only a day, or even less than a day, to visit eastern Puerto Rico, you should make a beeline to El Yunque. Route 3 is the quickest way. This rain forest has hiking trails of various lengths leading to secluded waterfalls and mountaintop towers with spectacular views. It's wonderful to explore even if you never get out of your car. If you are staying overnight, your best bet is nearby Río Grande.
If You Have 3 Days
If you have a bit more time, you can see much more of the region. To avoid the unrelenting string of strip malls along Route 3, take Route 187 as it winds along the coast. Stop for lunch at one of the seafood shacks that line the beach at Piñones. Spend the night in or near Río Grande, a town that makes a good base for exploring the region. On your second day, get up early to beat the crowds to El Yunque. Make sure to bring binoculars and watch for the rare Puerto Rican green parrot. On Day 3 you should head to Luquillo, which has one of the prettiest beaches on the island. Make sure to stop for lunch in one of the food kiosks on Route 3 just before you reach the town.
If You Have 5 Days
On Day 4 head east along Route 3 to the coastal city of Fajardo, which has plenty of accommodations in every price range. Make sure you have called ahead to reserve a spot on a tour of Reserva Natural Las Cabezas de San Juan. If there's no moon, sign up for a late-night excursion to the reserve's bioluminescent bay. On Day 5 take a snorkeling trip to some of the nearby coral reefs. Many people who travel to Fajardo take advantage of the ferry service or quick flights to the smaller islands of Vieques or Culebra.
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