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Puerto Rico vs Jamaica – Is Puerto Rico the Better Trip?

Last updated on January 13th, 2023 at 10:33 pm

Puerto Rico vs Jamaica – Puerto Rico and Jamaica are two of the most traveled Caribbean countries in the world. Compared with Jamaica, a Puerto Rico trip includes a lot of Spanish cultural sites and forests to explore, while Jamaica is full of beaches and a more lounge-type trip with a mix of the Reggae vibe and beach parties. Read here Dominican Republic vs Jamaica

If you’re choosing between Puerto Rico vs Jamaica for your Caribbean vacation, we are here to help you decide. Both Puerto Rico and Jamaica have their own charms and Puerto Rico is the right choice for us.

Comparing Puerto Rico vs Jamaica

While Jamaica is an all-out Caribbean vacation with crystal blue beaches and luxurious hotel stays, Puerto Rico gets its charm from its rich colonial heritage cities and all the natural and forest beauty in the country.

Let’s look at things to do in both countries, and help you plan your next best Caribbean vacation.

Read here for more Puerto Rico guides: Best eSIMs for Puerto Rico, 4 Day Puerto Rico itinerary and Puerto Rico vs Aruba

Read here for more Jamaican guides: 33 Top Instagrammable Places in Jamaica, Best Jamaican eSIM for tourists, 30 Top Restaurants in Kingston Jamaica for you to Visit and Best Jamaican Breakfasts for You to Try

Where To Stay – Puerto Rico vs Jamaica

You can access a dorm that can go up to €18-30. And while a hotel that is a double room in a budget can go up to €90.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK YOUR ACCOMMODATION IN PUERTO RICO BEFORE YOUR TRIP WITH BOOKING

Book Your Travel Insurance

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You can get Safetywing Travel Insurance for Digital Nomads valid for 28 days Safetywing for $50 USD per month with kids until 10 years old included

Things to do in Puerto Rico

Exploring Puerto Rico is a mix of discovering its heritage preserved in Puerto Rico’s capital and of course all of its natural beauty from the mountains, the forests, and the beautiful beaches.

Let’s look at the things you can do in Puerto Rico.

1. Old San Juan

Visiting Old San Juan Puerto Rico - Puerto Rico vs Jamaica
This is a scene in Old San Juan Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s rich heritage can be seen and felt just by touring around the old San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital. Here you’ll see historic buildings, 500 of them. Five centuries of castles, churches, and restored buildings – it might just transport you back in time.

If you’re exploring San Juan and the San Juan National Historic Site, most of the preserved heritage suites and the fort will be in the San Juan National Historic Site while the San Juan town itself is beautiful on its own for walking around and seeing spaces for photographs.

2. San Juan National Historic Site

Castillo San Felipe del Morro in San Juan National Historic Site - Puerto Rico vs Jamaica

San Juan National Historic Site is a National Park in Puerto Rico housing some of San Juan’s top historic moments and colonial forts like the Castillo San Felipe del Morro.

3. El Yunque National Rainforest

El Yunque National Forest in Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico vs Bahamas - Choosing Your Next Best Caribbean Vacation
This is the El Yunque National Forest.

When it comes to natural beauty, Puerto Rico is simply one of the top destinations that you can go to. Visit El Yunque National Forest, in Luquillo, Rio Grande.

Explore nature trails, and enjoy all these in the Rio Grande. El Yunque is one of the world’s natural wonders of the world and you’ll be in awe to witness it on your own.

4. Bioluminescent Bays

One of Puerto Rico’s Bioluminescent Bays / Image via Wikimedia – Edgar Torres

Seen in only some parts of the world, the phytoplanktons are water organisms that create a blue and glittering effect in the waters at night. This is what makes bays bioluminescent. In Puerto Rico, you can see the bioluminescent bays in Mosquito Bay, Vieques, in Laguna Grande (Fajardo) and La Parguera (in Lajas).

5. Cayo Icacos

Isle of Icacos / Image via Wikimedia – Jeff Gunn

Puerto Rico’s incredible beauty is just incomparable. You can visit the beautiful Cayo Icacos and experience its beautiful blue waters, and do activities like the catamaran, snorkeling, and enjoying a bit of some sun.

Cayo Icacos is a small uninhabited island that is reachable by water taxi from Fajardo, Puerto Rico.

6. Culebra

Visit the Culebra for a beach trip in Puerto Rico and enjoy some of the most beautiful beaches in the world. You can see a few beaches in Culebra Island in Puerto Rico: the Flamenco Beach, Zoni Beach, Playa Tamarindo and Playa Tortuga.

7. Cabo Rojo – Puerto Rico

Cabo Rojo in Puerto Rico
Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico

If it’s wildlife that you want to see, then there’s no better destination to see and experience than Cabo Rojo Wildlife Refuge. In addition the wildlife that you can experience in Cabo Rojo, this island also has some of Puerto Rico’s and the whole Caribbean’s top beaches.

Cabo Rojo is 28 miles long, all coastline which gives you access to various beaches – Buyé and Combate for more family-friendly beaches that have restaurants close to them. If you’re looking for more remote beaches, then you can visint the La Playuela Beach.

8. Giligan’s Island

If you’re visiting Guanica, Puerto Rico never miss Giligan’s Island with all its natural pools.

9. Camuy River Cave Park

The Parque Nacional de las Cavernas del Río Camuy is a cave system in Puerto Rico. Add this to your things to do in Puerto Rico.

10. Cueva del Indio and the Seven Arches

Visit the beautiful destination in the city of Arecibo, Puerto Rico and see the Cueva del Indio and Seven Arches, and lavish in the beauty and things to do here – Caves, more nature and just incredible scenery.

Things to do in Jamaica

1. SEVEN MILE BEACH

Seven Mile Beach in Jamaica

Seven Mile Beach is one of the most Instagrammable places in Jamaica with its shimmering ocean and white gold sand. The Seven Mile Beach is located near Norman Manley Boulevard in Negril, a small hamlet with a population of slightly over 3,000 residents.

2. FLOYD’S PELICAN BAR – Jamaica vs Puerto Rico

Jamaica instagram spots, most instagrammable places in Jamaica, Jamaica photos, Jamaica photography, Floyd's Pelican Bar
Image from @purposetoursja

Floyd’s Pelican Bar is located one mile off the coast of Parottee in St. Elizabeth and won the title of the coolest bar in the Caribbean. Floyd’s Pelican Bar, a fascinating bar resembles a large bird nest fashioned from driftwood, palm leaves and coconut tree trunks and is positioned on a sandbar in the center of the azure Caribbean Sea. Dining here and posing with a cold Red Stripe in hand is pretty Instagrammable!

3. DUNN’S RIVER FALLS

Jamaica instagram spots, most instagrammable places in Jamaica, Jamaica photos, Jamaica photography, Dunn's River Falls

Dunn’s River Falls is a living legend of Jamaica that offers magnificent Instagram opportunities. Dunn’s River Falls, its famous shimmering waters draw a large number of tourists and photographers. As a result, ascend the waterfall with a tourist guide who will guarantee that you have enough time to shoot amazing images and footage!

4. RICK’S CAFE

Rick's Cafe in Negril, Jamaica - Jamaica vs Bahamas
Rick’s Cafe in Negril, Jamaica

Rick’s Cafe on the West End cliffs in Negril is one of the best places to watch a Jamaican sunset. Rick’s Cafe first opened in 1974, when Negril was still a small seafaring village, but it is now a major tourist destination visited by thousands of visitors every day.

5. HOLYWELL – Jamaica Things to Do


Jamaica instagram spots, most instagrammable places in Jamaica, Jamaica photos, Jamaica photography, Holywell
Image from @alamorentaljamaica

Holywell is a pleasant respite from Kingston’s heat, nestled in the tropical mist forests of the Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park. The aroma of pure mountain air and pine trees fills this 330-acre “park within a park,” and the cold temperature at 900 meters or 3,000 feet above sea level allows Holywell‘s environment to maintain a vast variety of ferns, flowers, and trees that are rarely seen in other parts of Jamaica.

6. BLUE HOLE

Jamaica instagram spots, most instagrammable places in Jamaica, Jamaica photos, Jamaica photography, Blue Hole
Image from @everythingjamaica

Blue Hole is situated into the hills just outside of Ocho Rios, is one of Jamaica’s wonderful hidden jewels. Guests can swim, cliff jump, and swing off ropes into the Blue Hole‘s turquoise waters!

7. COUPLE’S TOWER ISLE PRIVATE ISLAND

Tower Isle in Jamaica, Jamaica vs Bahamas, The Bahamas vs Jamaica
Tower Isle in Jamaica

The breathtaking views Couples Tower Isle Private Island is located in the heart of the Caribbean, surrounded by dazzling turquoise waters. White crystal sand and breathtaking scenery characterize this image scenery.

8. BAMBOO AVENUE

Jamaica instagram spots, most instagrammable places in Jamaica, Jamaica photos, Jamaica photography, Bamboo Avenue
Image from @madam_zo_zo

Bamboo Avenue is located in the parish of St Elizabeth, between Middle Quarters and Lacovia, on the main South Coast Highway. The Bamboo Avenue was established with Bambusa Vulgaris, a bamboo species that was the first to be brought to Jamaica. Bamboo Avenue is around two and a half miles long, with the tall bamboo forming a canopy over it.

9. YS FALLS

Jamaica instagram spots, most instagrammable places in Jamaica, Jamaica photos, Jamaica photography,  YS Falls

After Dunn’s River Falls, YS Falls is Jamaica’s second most popular waterfall, and it’s simple to see why. The abundance of limestone rock on the island allows for the creation of numerous beautiful, perfectly-tiered waterfalls, and YS Falls is no exception.

10. FRENCHMAN’S COVE

Jamaica instagram spots, most instagrammable places in Jamaica, Jamaica photos, Jamaica photography, Frenchman's Cove
Image from @frenchmans_cove

Frenchman’s Cove is a secluded beach and estuary where you can swim in both fresh and salt water at the same time located in Port Antonio. Frenchman’s Cove beach earns a spot on the list thanks to its silky powder-white sand, crystal clear water, and Instagram-worthy swings!

11. BLUE AND JOHN CROW MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

 Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park

Jamaica’s Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park is a protected area. The park is 495.2 km2 in size and comprises 4.5 percent of Jamaica’s land area. Blue and John Crow Mountains National Park biodiversity is well-known around the world. A perfect place for taking Jamaica photos.

12. REACH FALLS

Jamaica instagram spots, most instagrammable places in Jamaica, Jamaica photos, Jamaica photography, Reach Falls
Image from @marcel.fgatw

Reach Falls are a succession of lovely falls down the Driver’s River. Reach Falls was first found centuries ago by runaway slaves seeking shelter in the John Crow Mountains from plantations in the neighboring parish of St. Thomas.

13. MARTHA BRAE RIVER

Jamaica instagram spots, most instagrammable places in Jamaica, Jamaica photos, Jamaica photography, Martha Brae River
Image from @myislandjamaica

Martha Brae River is located in Trelawny Parish on Jamaica’s north coast, snakes its way through the lush rainforest. Jamaica photography at Martha Brae River will be amazing with these clear blue waters.

14. NEGRIL

Negril is a city in Jamaica’s west coast. Negril is famous for miles of sandy beaches in small bays with calm, turquoise waters. If you loke taking Jamaica photos Negril is one of the Jamaica Instagram spots that tourists love it so much.

15. MONTEGO BAY

Montego Bay is the capital of Jamaica’s parish of St. James. By population, the Montego Bay is the fourth-largest in the country. Doctor’s Cave Beach and Walter Fletcher Beach, which has an amusement park, are two popular beaches. Montego Bay is amazing to have Jamaica photography if you love blue waters and beaches.

Rose Hall Great House is one the most famous houses in Jamaica. Rose Hall Great House was built in 1770 and provides the perfect backdrop for your Jamaican photography, as well as some interesting history.

16. HELLSHIRE BEACH

Jamaica instagram spots, most instagrammable places in Jamaica, Jamaica photos, Jamaica photography, Hellshire Beach

Hellshire Beach is the exquisite tropical getaway you’ve always imagined. In Hellshire Beach, the picnic facilities and seating places are excellent!  Relaxing on the sand or picnic mats allows you to take in the splendor of tropical nature and the ocean. In Hellshire Beach, you’ll most likely take your most popular Jamaica photography!

17. WINNIFRED BEACH

Jamaica instagram spots, most instagrammable places in Jamaica, Jamaica photos, Jamaica photography, Winifred Beach
Image from @winnifredbeachjamaica

In Portland, Jamaica, Winifred Beach is a popular local public beach. With local food vendors, donkey rides, and a lovely beach, Winifred Beach offers a completely unique Jamaican experience.

18. OCHO RIOS

Ocho Rios is a port city on Jamaica’s north coast. Ocho Rios is currently a resort with a cruise ship dock and a busy bay beach flanked with hotels, and it was formerly a fishing community. Ocho Rios can be a great place to take photos of Jamaica and at the same time relaxing in their luxury resorts.

Currency and Money – Puerto Rico vs Jamaica

Currency and Money in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is actually one of the US Territories so rules traveling to the United States apply here. The official currency is US Dollars, and if you’re an American citizen, you won’t need a passport to travel to Puerto Rico.

You will easily get by the touristy areas like San Juan (capital) with credit cards, but it’s always smart to bring cash and smalls bills when visiting more off-the-beaten paths, and when going for smaller businesses.

Currency and Money in Jamaica

The official currency in Jamaica is known as Jamaican dollar, or J$, to differentiate it from US Dollars. If you’re coming from the United States and will mainly be traveling in touristic areas of the country, and in hotels and visiting restaurants and shopping areas in places popular for tourists, US dollars should be widely accepted. Credit cards should work well in these places too.

However, if you’re planning to visit smaller and local shops, and more off the beaten path areas, better if you bring some local Jamaican Dollars with you. The current exchange rate for 1 USD = 154 Jamaican dollar.

Check the current exchange rates here to get live/current exchange rates.

There you go. Hope this post helped you decide to visit Puerto Rico vs Jamaica, and let us know of the two compared islands, which one did you choose! Happy travels to you and on to our next travel guide.

Ruben Arribas is the co-founder of Gamintraveler and a Spanish traveler who has traveled to more than 100 countries around the world. He is now a full-time digital nomad.