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Why The Best Caribbean Vacation Doesn’t Even Require A Passport

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Did you know there’s an incredibly beautiful Caribbean island that Americans can go to without a passport?

Americans looking for the ultimate Caribbean destination have an amazing option that's highly accessible — Puerto Rico. Since Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, U.S. citizens don’t need a passport to travel there.

But don't let the convenience of this destination fool you into thinking it is anything less than stunning.

Puerto Rico is surrounded by gorgeous turquoise waters, is brimming with historical architecture, and offers a tropical paradise on land — it is perfect for every type of traveler.

woman under straw umbrella looking at ocean

Families, foodies, nightlife seekers, beach lovers, adventurers, you name it — Puerto Rico has it.

And when you aren't out exploring all the island has to offer, you can rest easy in one of the many amazing hotels in Puerto Rico, like Caribe Hilton.

Caribe Hilton offers just about everything you can think of, so you don’t even have to leave the resort.

@traveloffpath Head to where the Pina Colada was invented and stay in the beautiful Caribe Hilton the next time your are in San Juan. . #travel #puertorico #sanjuan #hilton #caribehilton #caribehiltonsanjuan ♬ Calma (Remix) – Pedro Capo X Farruko

Once you experience the stunning ocean views from your hotel room balcony, you may never want to leave again! But trust us — it's worth venturing out.

Old San Juan is just a short drive from Caribe Hilton, and you don’t want to miss this iconic part of Puerto Rico.

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Old San Juan street with cool design above street

The Best Way To Explore Old San Juan

On my recent trip to Puerto Rico, we took a food tour through Old San Juan called “Flavors of San Juan,” and it was absolutely amazing.

We tried all the local favorites, from cortadito (espresso and milk) at Café Cuatro Sombras to my personal favorite – mashing our own mofongo at La Mallorquina. For those that don't know, mofongo is fried and mashed plantains mixed with other ingredients, and it's so tasty!

@traveloffpath Puerto Rico is incredible, and Old San Juan is best explored with a food tour! . Check out Flavors Food Tours for an amazing day out 😋 . #travel #puertorico #sanjuan #foodtour #oldsanjuan ♬ Puerto Rico – Frankie Ruíz

There were so many delicious options in Old San Juan, and our guide told us the fascinating history of each of the restaurants and why the food we were trying was so important to Puerto Rican culture.

Our guide was so passionate about Puerto Rican history that you couldn’t help but get pulled into the stories and start to feel like you were part of the culture. It truly makes you feel like a local.

I highly recommend taking this tour because you get to experience the essence of Puerto Rican culture while exploring the incredible architecture around Old San Juan that makes this area so stunning and unique.

Frozen treat in old san juan

If you prefer exploring local drinks over local foods (or appreciate both of them equally), then you should definitely check out La Factoria in Old San Juan.

They have highly unique and delicious cocktails and multiple bars with different atmospheres so everyone can find the right vibe for them. They even have a hidden bar and secret passages! This is definitely the place to go for a fun night out in San Juan.

@tropiclifepr The #1 bar in Puerto Rico La Factoria in Old San Juan. You can't talk about nightlife in Puerto Rico without mentioning La Factoria. 4 great bars all in one place. With some of the best mixologists on the island, this is a great place to have an amazing drink and have fun. Which is your favorite bar in Puerto Rico? #puertorico #tropiclifepr #travelguide #lafactoria ♬ original sound – Tropic Life Puerto Rico🇵🇷

Taste A Bit Of History At The Caribe

Did you know that Pina Coladas were invented in Puerto Rico? The original Pina Colada was actually invented at Caribe Hilton!

The history of the Pina Colada is proudly displayed on the wall in the lobby near their Caribar. Before heading out to an enchanting Caribar Terrace dinner, we experienced the Pina Colada demo at the Caribar, where the bartender walked us through the fascinating history of the original invention while making us the most incredible Pina Coladas.

Bartender making pina coladas at Caribe Hilton in Puerto Rico

But Caribe Hilton has more to offer than Pina Coladas.

There are 9 different restaurants on the property with a variety of delicious options – or you could opt to stay in your room and just order room service! The restaurants vary from Morton’s The Steakhouse to the amazing Lola’s Puerto Rican Cuisine, which serves traditional Puerto Rican plates like mofongo and so much more.

Get Off Path

If you want to adventure away from Caribe Hilton for an amazing and fresh farm-to-table dinner, then you should absolutely go to Vianda. The food served at Vianda is made with local products and ingredients, and you can taste how fresh the food is in every bite.

Speaking of adventuring away from the property, make sure not to miss out on the incredibly beautiful El Yunque National Forest. The rainforest is exceptionally diverse, with plenty of hiking trails and activities to enjoy.

@traveloffpath Did you know El Yunque National Forest is the only tropical rainforest in the U.S National Forest System? . #elyunque #travel #puertorico #adventure #nationalpark ♬ Sweet Disposition – The Temper Trap

You can climb the stairs of a lookout tower for a stunning view of the rainforest and island, perfect for snagging the ultimate shot for the ‘gram.

Don’t forget to stop and admire La Coca Falls – a beautiful waterfall that's super easy to get to!

El Yunque National Park La Coca

After your hike you can even find a section of the river in El Yunque to swim in. For anyone like me who’s constantly looking for a little more adventure, you can take the fun way into the river – cliff jumping and rope swinging!

If you’re looking for some ocean adventures, then head on back to Caribe Hilton. The property has rental equipment for scuba, snuba, paddle boarding, and even sea trekking! We went with the Caribe Hilton guides on a sea trek, and it was one of the coolest things I’ve ever done.

@traveloffpath Nothing compares to walking on the ocean floor! . Sea Trekking at the Caribe Hilton in San Juan, Puerto Rico . #sanjuan #travel #puertorico #adventure #sanjuan #caribehilton #caribehiltonsanjuan #ocean #diving ♬ Take Me To The Ocean – The Movement

I absolutely fell in love with Puerto Rico, and I can’t wait to go back. There is so much to love about this beautiful island, and I’ve honestly been craving the food since I left (did I mention how delicious mofongo is?).

The people of Puerto Rico were so kind, and you could tell how much they loved showing us their culture and the history of their island. The beauty, culture, and kindness of this island will keep me coming back for years to come.

**Travel Off Path was a guest of Caribe Hilton, who helped with the creation of this itinerary by hosting some of our accommodations and attractions. Our opinions, recommendations, and suggestions remain our own.**

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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com

Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.


Pacifico

Monday 7th of August 2023

Title can be misleading so just to clarify, Puerto Rico is not a foreign country with special agreements with USA, so Americans can go there without passport. Puertoricans are Americans, so this is a domestic travel.

RobertSolano

Wednesday 6th of September 2023

@Pacifico, but a 100% Hispanic culture. You feel like been in a foreign country within USA

Joseph Elster

Tuesday 25th of July 2023

I visited pr several years ago before all the hurricane damage. Rented a car and stayed in a development outside San Juan. Nobody including security spoke English. Visited Walmart and if you think lines are bad in the USA... they're unbelievable!! Rented a car for the week, drove 700 miles trying to find a nice swimming beach with zero luck. Had lunch at a place near San Juan...$60usd for 3 if us... Lunch!

Best food we had we paid about $10 for 3 if us for fresh empanadas on way to airport.

Me? Nothing that would bring me back! Much better places to go, just get a passport!

Joe

Wednesday 6th of September 2023

@Joseph Elster, I do not know where in P.R. did you go. Oviosly, you were lost in space. If you did not find a nice beach in the island, you were completely lost. I am afraid that you just hate P.R.. Is normal. Looking forward for P.R. to get independence.Viva P.R. libre.

Jorge L Rivera

Monday 4th of September 2023

@Joseph Elster I highly doubt that you have ever visited, otherwise you would be collaborating what the article’s author so eloquently expresses! I very much believe that mainland USA citizens are sophisticated enough to see your bias, positive that you are just a racist hater!

Aniceto Flores

Friday 4th of August 2023

@Joseph Elster, Mr Elster sorry but you never been in Puerto Rico because we have the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean and the most magnificent food also what you say about Walmart is not true you're just a layer

Tom

Monday 10th of July 2023

If ignorant dumb people at the mainland from rental places, grocery stores and cops continue to ask Puerto Ricans for passports we're going to start the same thing on the Island, so quit your stupidity already.

Jose

Monday 17th of July 2023

One person on the mainland does that and you generalize it to everyone. And your name is not "Tom".

Gary Staten

Sunday 9th of July 2023

Even thought it is an American territory most of the island still speaks Spanish. I would highly recommend staying in San Juan since that is where all the tours and the overwhelming majority of the activities depart from.

Joe

Wednesday 6th of September 2023

@Gary Staten, viva P.R. libre. Is normal that American stay in San Juan, spending their money with American business. The essence of a culture is lost, just because not too many speak your language? Well that is too bad, because you go to MX. and you even use a Google translator. P.R. always will stay buried in the shadow of U.S.A. because of it government absurd way to manipulate a local governor for it's personal interest. Accepting P.R. the way the island and people is, show the interest to learn the culture. Unfortunate, U.S. government care less.

John

Monday 10th of July 2023

@Gary Staten, …but most of us speak English too! This is a bilingual island where our first language is Spanish.