Spring Break in Puerto Rico: Free Itinerary and Cost Breakdown

by Gabby Beckford
Reading Time: 7 minutes

Last year I spent my spring break in London, England. I had an amazing time but let's just say I wasn't drinking mojitos in my bikini at any point during the trip. Well, this year I did a 180° turn and planned a fun-filled, sun-filled week in Puerto Rico!

My friend Hannah and I spent 6 days and 5 nights in an AirBnB in Old San Juan and had an amazing time—and as college kids you know we had to finesse it all on a tight budget. I'm sharing with you our itinerary and exactly how much it costs to visit Puerto Rico, in hopes that you too will find San Juan the perfect balance of piña coladas and culture.

This post may have affiliate links. Meaning if you buy something using them, I get a small % for recommending it. It doesn't change the price for you at all and it's a super easy and nice way to say thanks for the work I did writing this 🙂 Cool? Cool!

Day 1: Welcome to Old San Juan

It was afternoon when we touched down San Juan's Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and hopped into a taxi into Old San Juan to our Airbnb.

The Airbnb itself was perfect —within walking distance to a local university, museum, and El Morro. We dropped off our things and went out into town, walking around down by San Juan's Cemetery to get a lay of the land.

Old San Juan, PR
One of the many colorful alleyways in Old San Juan.
View From El Morro
Ocean view from Castillo El Morro.

As the day turned evening, we walked into inner Old San Juan down Calle de San Sebastion. We took a sunset guided tour through Old Town, and had dinner at Moreno Spot. I ordered a very strong margarita and a small pizza.

Day 1 Expenses

Beware: Old San Juan is very expensive for food and drinks!

If you have a kitchen, I suggest cooking for yourself and eating out in moderation. I usually cook a simple breakfast every day and carry snacks in my bag.

If you buy your own bottle of alcohol and carry a flask while you're out, you can just pay for a soft drink instead of a mixed drink with can be up to 3x cheaper. Or, if you want to turn your happy hour into a more meaningful experience, you can go on a craft cocktail tour of Old San Juan for a bit of fun drunk history.

Taxies are also going to be a significant part of your expenses if you don't rent a car.

  • Taxi from Luis Muñoz Marín airport to Old San Juan: $24
  • Average meal at a casual restaurant: $20 – $25
  • Average alcoholic drink (rail drinks, mojito, margarita, piña colada, etc.):  $7 – $12
  • Average soft drink: $2
  • Average car rental: $65/day
  • Average taxi ride: $15 – $20
  • Average AirBnb per day in Old San Juan: $80/day

Day 2: El Morro, Bacardi Tour

After a quick apple and scrambled egg breakfast, we walked to El Morro and did the actual tour of the grounds which was breathtaking.

The fresh sea breeze and wide-open skies were in complete contrast with the magnitude of the weathered fortress.

Hannah and I at El Morro
Two college students on Spring Break in Puerto Rico! Living the dream.
Bacardi Factory
Gorgeous Puerto Rican tiling and colors at the Bacardi Factory. As you can see, I blend!

We then went on the famous Bacardi Factory tour in Cataño, a town just a 15-minute ferry ride away.

The tour itself was interesting and a must-do when visiting San Juan! If you're looking for an alternative, though, the Ron del Barralito Distillery tour is guided and is the oldest rum maker in all of Puerto Rico!

The night started out pretty slow, and unfortunately, Señor Frog was not living up to its reputation. But it picked up speed after we got to NoNo's for drinks, an absurdly loud bar in Old San Juan.

After having the strongest drinks of our lives at the lower level, we headed to the top level and played pool with some locals. Eventually, the night did start to blur… but luckily for us, we were within crawling distance to our beds!

Day 2 Expenses of the Day & Budget Tips

The ticket to gain entrance into El Morro can also be used for entrance into Cristobal, and it can be reused for unlimited entrance to both forts for up to a week after you buy it!

  • Ticket for El Morro: $5.00 USD
  • Ferry ticket to Cataño: $0.50 USD/person
  • Taxi ride to and from the pier to Bacardi Factory: $3.00 USD
  • Bacardi factory basic tour: $13.38 USD each, which includes the informational tour and one free drink.
  • Bus ticket from the pier back to Old San Juan: $0.50 /person. The bus system is very unreliable though, so it will likely be $5 per person for a taxi ride back.

Day 3: El Condado Beach

After waking up much later than planned (read: moaning in bed all morning taking Aleve and slapping on sunglasses inside…), we decided the perfect hangover cure was a beach day!

We caught a taxi to El Condado Beach and laid out on our towels to enjoy the palm trees and 80º degrees.

On the beach, we befriended two more puertorriqueños and grabbed lunch at Bun's Burger Shop, a local favorite (at least says those two). Afterward, we headed back to the beach to soak in as much sun as possible until the afternoon rain came.

El Condado Beach.Packslight
El Condado could not have had more perfect weather, but I think I was the real view 😉
Fruit Sherbert
Street sorbet? Si!

After a homecooked meal and siesta, we headed over to Señor Frogs to try our luck again and this time was not disappointed! Luckily for us, it was ladies' night, so drinks, dancing, and embarrassing tourists were bottomless.

The venue was packed with partiers of all ages (believe me, from girls with braces to old men with toupees) and everyone was into the electric MC that led the party. We stayed and shredded the dance floor until around 12:30AM, and then headed back to our Airbnb, exhausted in the best way.

Day 3 Expenses

– Taxi from OSJ to main El Condado beach: $15
– Hot dog, fries, drink at Bun's Burger Shop: $13 (god bless a reasonably priced meal)
Señor Frog’s Ladies Night: ladies pay $8 and drink free all night!

Day 4: A Day of Culture: Puerto Rican History and Salsa!

Sunburnt and still drained from Señor Frogs, we decided Day 4 was our designated “chill day.” We visited to the Museo de Las Americas, a 2 minute walk from our house. It had gorgeous architecture, and learning about the history of Puerto Rico with respect to African slavery, indigenous peoples, culture, and its political history put our trip into a new perspective and deepened our understanding of Puerto Rico.

We grabbed lunch and stopped by the other fort, San Cristobal, to take pictures and see the views before heading back to our AirBnb to regroup.

Museum of the Americas
Museum of the Americas, Old San Juan

Our night began with checking out Café Nuyorican*** (now permanently closed—go to La Factoria instead!), a place frequently recommended to us by visitors and locals. We arrived at 10PM—early, apparently, for Puerto Ricans—and were happily surprised that there were free salsa lessons on Thursdays. We learned the basic salsa steps and struggle and laughed with the other clumsy tourists in the lesson.

Around 11PM the bar transformed into a real latin club as the live band showed up and more people arrived. We had the time of our lives dancing, drinking, meeting both tourists and locals, and being mesmerized by the professional salsa couples.

Day 4 Expenses & Budget Tips

You can leave and return to the Museum of the Americas as many times as you link in one day (to grab lunch, to run back to your hotel, etc.), but keep your receipt on you.
Cover charge for Café Nuyorican: $5
– Average drink at Café Nuyorican: $6

Day 5: Hike in Naranjito

On this day we finally met up with Brenda, a local puertorriqueño and fellow travel blogger I've been friends with online for quite some time

 Brenda was kind enough to coordinate a day with us to show us some of the “real” Puerto Rico via an amazing day hike and swim at a hidden lagoon in the mountains of Naranjito, a small rural town about 1.5 hours drive from San Juan.

The result of our 30-minute hike. Unbelievable.

After coming back from the mountains we were lucky enough that the San Turce International Urban Art Festival was in town. Both of us coming from Richmond, Virginia where street art is also famous, we couldn't resist!

As it was adjacent to the University of Puerto Rico the crowd was young and friendly, the drinks were cheap and the displays of art ranged from dance to sculpture to live music. We soaked up the energy of being young and lost in Puerto Rico.

A week's itinerary in Puerto Rico 🇵🇷🌴🍹 Click To Tweet

As the night was still young, we then went clubbing to the main party scene in El Condado called La Placita de San Turce, which is basically an entire little town of clubs and restaurants.

We hopped in bars with old men smoking Cuban cigars to bars bumping house music and a youthful crowd. We had a great time but wanted to get back to Old San Juan a little early because of the distance, so we drove back to Old San Juan and ended the night at Café Nuyorican.

💸 Budget tip: Ride-sharing companies like Uber and Lyft are no longer illegal as of 2018, so use them to get the best price.

Day 6: El Yunque

Our final day in San Juan! Attempting to squeeze in every ounce of eastern Puerto Rico we could, we headed off to El Yunque National Park at 9:30 AM. It was indeed a rainforest, as it was raining and misting the entire time we were there.

Even with the downpour, we were able to enjoy the park in all its glory! Whether you just want to wander around this lush forest on your own, or you're looking for a more intense adventure like this waterslide tour of El Yunque, this rainforest oasis is a must-see.

I think this is what I love about Puerto Rico—one can go from salsa and mojitos in San Juan to a peaceful jungle with an exquisite ecosystem and listen to the coqui tree frogs chirp. El Yunque is actually the only tropical rainforest in North America.

But while the waterfalls and little hikes were well worth it, we eventually had to leave to make a mad dash and catch our 5PM flight!

El Yunque
Imagine waterfalls like these at every turn!
El Yunque
The view was amazing, you could see San Juan at some points!

Final Thoughts & Costs

Puerto Rico is an amazing country with rich food, rich history, rich culture, and people rich in life!

I was initially skeptical about going to Puerto Rico for Spring Break and instead wanted to save money in Greece or Colombia. But while visiting Puerto Rico does not require a U.S. passport if you're an American citizen, Puerto is not the “American” stereotype I thought it would have. It's truly its own country!

It is its own country with a unique dialect and rich experiences to have only been found in Puerto Rico.

Old San Juan made me feel like I was in a seaside town in Spain, and central San Juan was unlike any Caribbean island I've visited. I truly felt like I had much many more cultural experiences, adventure, and minor language barriers than I would have ever imagined possible with a three-hour flight from Washington D.C.!

And luckily for me, with a lot of preplanning and budget consciousness, it didn't break my delicate college bank.

Total Cost: ~$786.30

Roundtrip Flight: $290.30
One week of accommodations (AirBnb): $289 ($578 split for 2 people)
Total local expenses: $207.30

Are you headed to Puerto Rico soon and did you find this helpful? Drop a comment below and let me know!

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Gabby Beckford

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Tiara Leak February 19, 2019 - 1:12 PM

Thank You for this itinerary! I am going next week, I saw your updates and I am sad to hear about Cafe Nyorican. Any recommendations for you or your friend who is a local on new place to go? I will be staying in Isla Verde.

Kate July 29, 2017 - 7:02 PM

Love that you include an itemized break-down of your costs. That is so helpful. I visited Puerto Rico years ago and was able to see Bacardi, but clearly missed a lot of other amazing sights. This itinerary looks like a blast!

Sky July 29, 2017 - 6:13 PM

Oh I love this budget breakdown! Puerto Rico is at the top of my “must visit” destinations and I’ve been curious about how affordable it really is. I would love love love to do the Bacardi tour!

Mark April 10, 2017 - 9:48 PM

If you ever go back–there is some fantastic street art/murals in the neighborhood of Santurce in San Juan.

Gabby April 10, 2017 - 11:30 PM

Hey Mark, thanks for commenting!
I did actually see this, as there was a street art festival during this week I was there! 🙂
Unfortunately it was at night and I couldn’t get any great photos, but I will definitely be back as that festival was great!

Atiyaa January 30, 2017 - 2:14 PM

Hi! Thanks for the great article. My friends and I are going to Puerto Rico in the coming months. I was wondering if you found it easier to carry cash or if using your card was sufficient enough. Thanks so much!

Gabby January 31, 2017 - 11:21 PM

Hey Atiyaa, thanks for reading! I definitely found it easier to carry cash, because 1) the taxis only take cash, 2) they take USD so converting it wasn’t a problem 3) Some places (like bars, or rural restaurants) only took cash, and it’s good for tipping. However in Old San Juan though and in most of the main places in the city you won’t have an issue using card 🙂

Hoped that helped, enjoy your trip!

Jonathan January 6, 2017 - 3:19 PM

Sorry to say this but they spent waaayyyy to much and did not stray much from SanJuan and its surrounding towns being from PuertoRico I can tell you that was a waste of a spring break especialy being in PuertoRico my advice to everyone that goes there to stay away from SanJuan at all cost its the crappy tourist area spend time on the other side of the Island for a change… 780 is waaaay to much when beers are just a dollar and so many hidden legal beaches and locations for tourist like eating brick oven pizza at the top of a mountain where you can see everything or waterfalls that make hollywood and shows like travel chan look sad … Just saying…

Gabby January 7, 2017 - 5:39 AM

Don’t be sorry Jonathon! I’m definitely not 🙂
Thanks for the advice. As a 20 year old going with another 20 year old to PR for the first time, we had a great time in San Juan thanks. And I think $780 including flights is perfectly reasonable, apparently a lot of other people think so too.

Feel free to write your own article, I’d love to read it!

Princess November 29, 2016 - 5:41 PM

This is an awesome article especially as I try to decide between London and Puerto Rico! I was just curious which day of the week did Senor Frog have ladies night and which day of the week you went to Nuyorican and had salsa night.

Gabby November 30, 2016 - 3:58 AM

Hey girl, thanks for reading! Depending on the time of year would decide between London and PR for, but PR is a good time for sure 😉
I’m pretty sure ladies night at Senor Frogs was on Wednesdays, and salsa night at El Nuyorican is every night BUT on Thursdays from 10-11 they have salsa lessons you can go to for free 🙂

Kaitlyn October 1, 2016 - 10:21 AM

Hi Gabby!
My fiance and I just booked our 5 night stay for spring! We too are wanting to pack our trip with all the wonderful things we can see and discover. I would love more information on everything you would recommend us doing! This post was very helpful to us, and we don’t want to miss out on all kinds of adventures. 🙂

Gabby October 2, 2016 - 2:41 PM

Hey Kaitlyn, thanks for dropping by. I’m glad you liked the post 🙂 This article is pretty expansive on my Puerto Rico trip, but if you have specific questions feel free to send me an email at [email protected] and I’ll as best I can!

Puerto Rico is absolutely one of my most favorite place I’ve traveled, I’d love to help you have an amazing time too!

Suzannah August 6, 2016 - 4:47 AM

Haha England is definitely not the place for bikinis and mojitos, but hopefully you found something in England that you loved and enjoyed! Puerto Rico looks stunning, I’d love to go!

Victoria June 21, 2016 - 2:42 AM

Looks like you had so much fun, that’s awesome. I enjoyed watching your video, as well as your pictures. I’ve heard many good things about vacations in Puerto Rico, but you actually showed it through pics and video in this post. Good job, and love the shot where you are walking into the ocean 🙂 makes me really wanna take a vacation. Have a great week!

Gabby June 21, 2016 - 7:14 PM

Thanks so much for the kind comments Victoria! 🙂

Karyl June 20, 2016 - 4:31 PM

Oh wow this looks like it was such a great trip! I had no idea the Bacardi factory was in Puerto Rico. And a whole trip for under $1,000…that’s an amazing deal

Charlotte June 20, 2016 - 2:06 PM

Love how you did this budget breakdown! Great photos as well 😉

Tara June 20, 2016 - 12:03 PM

Beautiful photos! It looks like you had a great time and looked fab doing it!

Dylan Cutler May 20, 2016 - 2:21 AM

Wow, what a jam-packed, beautiful vacay! I am impressed by the $$ amount! Well-done. Love the bikini shot walking off care-free into the ocean…

Fern May 19, 2016 - 1:02 PM

This post is so helpful! Especially the daily price breakdown 🙂 Love the pictures too, great article!

Ivanna May 19, 2016 - 6:22 AM

I’ve been to Puerto Rico many times, but only a few times as a tourist and I’m so jealous! I’d love to go back and do some of what I’ve obviously been missing out on! Thanks for detailing all the pricing and writing this recommendation. Very helpful!

Brittany May 17, 2016 - 7:17 PM

This is beautiful! I never would’ve thought of going to Puerto Rico, to be honest. That hike looks amazing!

Gabby May 17, 2016 - 7:21 PM

It really was! I also thought Puerto Rico would be just like Key West or something… It’s a hold new world! I’m glad this post influenced you! 🙂

Hena Tayeb May 17, 2016 - 4:13 PM

wow.. that looks amazing. thanks for sharing.

Meagan May 17, 2016 - 2:47 PM

This is really informative. My friend is heading there soon with her boyfriend, and since it’s been a long time since I’ve been, I’m sending this her way. Budget Tips = super smart! (and honestly, I need those tiles from the Bacardi factory in my house!)

Gabby May 17, 2016 - 2:55 PM

Thank you! Same, the tile and architecture in San Juan (especially OSJ) is so Spain its crazy. I loved it!

Atim May 17, 2016 - 11:13 AM

You make me want to go back to PR again! I want to go to the little islands off PR next time I go!

Gabby May 17, 2016 - 1:51 PM

Same! I would love to make it to the Islands, or to the south of the main island 🙂

Rachel May 17, 2016 - 9:56 AM

I spent a week in Dorado and San Juan in November. Great breakdown of how you can do a trip like this on the cheap but still have a great time!

Marie Yovcheva May 17, 2016 - 9:27 AM

wow, looks like you had a great time!! Putting Puerto Rico on my bucketlist! 😀

Stephanie May 17, 2016 - 9:27 AM

I am slowly becoming a better budget traveler. Haha I think my 5 days in Barbados are floating at under $500 now for flight + hotel, but i have to find some cheap eats and activities although our #1 activity will be sitting on the beach. PR looks lovely, and seems like a fabulous option for Spring Break. That waterfall is amazing. I was disappointed to find out Barbados doesn’t have many waterfalls, but there is one tiny one and I’m gonna go find it!!!!!!

Kerri May 17, 2016 - 4:33 AM

Looks AMAZING! The photos absolutely drew me in and I now know a lot more about this location that I have not visited yet. Did Bacardi originate in Puerto Ricp (hence the tours) ?

Gabby May 17, 2016 - 1:48 PM

No, Bacardi was founded in Cuba but the factory in Puerto Rico is just one of the original factories, and also the largest 🙂 It was so cool to learn about! Thank you!

Natasha May 16, 2016 - 11:15 PM

wow — this is great. It looks like you had an amazing time — even on a budget. I am all about stretching my dollar when traveling, so I will keep this in mind in the event that I visit Puerto Rico someday soon!

Sally May 16, 2016 - 10:22 PM

It’s funny – I recently came back from Puerto Rico and had a totally different itinerary! Yours looked like SO much fun though – there’s so much to see and it’s great that it’s so budget friendly as well!
PS loved the video!

Gabby May 16, 2016 - 10:27 PM

Really! I stayed on the North side of the island definitely, so if you went around any other areas that’s awesome! I’d lobe to hear what yours was 🙂

And thanks so much!

Chantell Collins May 16, 2016 - 8:14 PM

Wow you did so well. I love itinerary posts and seeing what other people spent. Whenever I write them I always put a disclaimer – you can save A LOT more money if you don’t drink as many beers / cocktails as I did ha ha. I love this ladies night idea and think I have heard that Señor Frog’s is crazy (maybe they have one in Playa Del Carmen?). Anyway looks like you had a great time :).

Gabby May 16, 2016 - 8:17 PM

Thanks Chantell! I’m not ashamed to admit that those sherberts and mojitos were 99.9% of my budget 😉

Ruthie Turner May 16, 2016 - 7:43 PM

Reading and seeing your blog post reminded me of the year I took my husband for the first time! It brought back wonderful memories and oh sooo romantic. We stayed in San Juan and walked all around the city and ate all the Puerto Rican food we could find. It helped that I’m Puerto Rican and I was able to get a few things cheaper than expected.

Great post and video of Puerto Rico!



Gabby May 16, 2016 - 7:47 PM

How sweet! And how awesome that you’re Puerto Rican, definitely a plus! Thank you Ruthie!

Crystal May 16, 2016 - 7:39 PM

Great job on keeping those costs down! Have to use some of your tips for my next trip to Puerto Rico!

Gabby May 16, 2016 - 7:43 PM

Thank you, I hope it helped! 🙂

Bree May 16, 2016 - 6:18 PM

WOW! Looks super beautiful there! I’ve never been there before but now I am super tempted to book a flight!

Gabby May 16, 2016 - 6:58 PM

You won’t be dissapointed 🙂 And obv the flights are super cheap (depending where you live)!

Kelsea Sullivan May 16, 2016 - 6:00 PM

That’s amazing for less than $1000! Sounds like you had a fantastic experience. Personally loved the tip about carrying a flask – that’s one of the best travel hacks I’ve heard yet!

Gabby May 16, 2016 - 6:01 PM

Haha thank you Kelsea! Drinks were soooo overpriced, it really saved a huge chunk of money to BYO-alcohol and just buy soft drinks 🙂

Vy May 16, 2016 - 5:46 PM

Excellent pictures and very informative post! I really enjoyed the budget tips and expenses,it really helps when planning an itinerary

Gabby May 16, 2016 - 6:01 PM

Thanks Vy!

Sophia May 16, 2016 - 5:46 PM

Beautiful pictures and it really looks like you had fun.

Rachel May 16, 2016 - 2:33 PM

This is so helpful in terms of planning cheap vacations! Money is one of the biggest barriers to travel, so I love seeing your breakdown on how you made your money stretch without having to miss out on awesome experiences. Thanks for posting!

Gabby May 16, 2016 - 3:41 PM

Aw thanks so much for your comment, I’m glad it was helpful!

Shauna May 16, 2016 - 2:30 PM

Hey Gabby, I saw this post summary on facebook and the display pic attracted me on your site. Then I read the whole post on Puerto Rico and absolutely like the way you described it. It only tells me compellingly that even if a non-traveler plans to come here on his first trip, everything’s gonna be smooth if he follows this post. Great post. Enjoyed reading and learning about Puerto Rico.

Gabby May 16, 2016 - 3:42 PM

Thank you!! I put a lot of work into the post so I appreciate it 🙂

John January 6, 2017 - 3:22 PM

Dont follow the post and stay away from SanJuan its a PuertoRican rule if you want to have an insanely awesome spring break

Jen May 16, 2016 - 1:48 PM

Puerto Rico is beautiful, and they are so many frugal activities! Great list for first timers.

Gabby May 16, 2016 - 3:33 PM

I appreciate it, Puerto Rico made me fall in love with it immediately! <3

Natasha May 16, 2016 - 1:43 PM

This is great! At first I was like $1000/week? Seriously? But then I saw you included your flight in there. Was the Airbnb $289 total? $200 for a week of expenses isn’t bad, especially considering how much stuff you did. Do you think you would’ve spent less overall if you’d have rented the car? I love your pictures, btw! <3

Gabby May 16, 2016 - 3:33 PM

AirBnb was split between the two of us, so $578 total for the week, but just $289 for my half. I think $200 was awesome considering all the alcohol and food we had! If we rented a car I think we wouldve paid the same, considering gas and the rental cost 🙂 But if you want to go furhur around the island a rental car is a must!

And thank you!


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