Puerto Rico is an absolute paradise for nature lovers with its stunning beaches, tropical rainforests and unique wonders. From protected reserves and underground caves to towering canyons and enchanting bioluminescent bays, Puerto Rico’s diverse landscape makes it an exciting and alluring destination to travelers from across the globe. Here are seven must-visit destinations for those seeking to explore Puerto Rico’s natural treasures.

San Cristobal Canyon

Located in the town of Barranquitas, San Cristobal Canyon offers a unique opportunity to explore Puerto Rico’s rugged terrain. The canyon is the largest in the Caribbean. It is home to a diverse range of flora and fauna, including over 180 species of birds. Visitors can hike along the canyon’s trails, go rappelling down its steep cliffs or take a refreshing dip in the natural swimming pools. The canyon’s breathtaking scenery is sure to mesmerize travelers with its towering cliffs, lush vegetation and cascading waterfalls.

Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay

Mosquito Bioluminescent Bay is located on the Puerto Rican island of Vieques. The bay is home to millions of microorganisms called dinoflagellates, which emit a blue-green glow when disturbed by paddles or swimmer’s movements. The glow creates a stunning light show that is truly mesmerizing to behold. Visitors can enjoy a guided kayak tour through the bay or simply take a swim in the water to witness this captivating sight. The bay is best visited on a moonless night to experience the full effect of the dinoflagellates’ bioluminescence.

El Yunque National Forest

El Yunque is Puerto Rico’s only national forest as well as the only tropical rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System. A must-visit destination for any nature enthusiast, the forest features over 200 species of trees, including several endangered species. Visitors can hike along any of the forest’s well-maintained trails. Exploring the El Yunque National Forest rewards visitors with captivating views of the lush tropical landscape, majestic waterfalls, exotic plant and animal life.

Playa Flamenco

Playa Flamenco is one of Puerto Rico’s most beautiful and secluded beaches. Located on the island of Culebra, its shores offer stunning white sands beaches, clear blue waters and breathtaking scenery. Visitors to Playa Flamenco can enjoy a range of water activities, like paddleboarding, kayaking, snorkeling and swimming. The beach has serene surroundings, which only enhances the island’s natural beauty.

Cueva Ventana

Located in the town of Arecibo, Cueva Ventana, offers a unique underground adventure. Visitors can explore the cave’s expansive chambers, stalactites and stalagmites. There is also an underground river. The main attraction of the cave is a magnificent natural window that frames a stunning view of the Arecibo Valley. To reach the cave, visitors must hike through a forest trail, which further adds to the excursion’s thrill.

Catarata Gozalandia

Catarata Gozalandia, also known as El Charco Azul, is a hidden gem nestled in the lush mountains of San Sebastian. This enchanting waterfall boasts two cascades that tumble into clear pools below. Surrounded by tropical foliage and jagged cliffs, Catarata Gozalandia is a picturesque escape. Visitors can swim, cliff dive or simply soak in the natural beauty of the surroundings. The serene atmosphere and refreshing waters make it a popular spot for locals and tourists alike seeking solace from the bustling city life and an opportunity to connect with nature’s splendor.

La Parguera Nature Reserve

La Parguera Nature Reserve is a protected area on the southwestern coast of Puerto Rico. It is renowned for its stunning coral reefs and extensive mangroves. The reserve is home to a vast diversity of marine life, including tropical fish, sea turtles and manatees, which are spotted in the reserve’s tranquil waters. Visitors can explore the reserve by taking a guided boat tour or snorkeling through the reef’s colorful corals.