Cancun vs Puerto Rico: Which Is Better?

Are you planning a beach getaway for your next vacation and struggling to decide between Cancun and Puerto Rico? This is a great problem to have! These stunning tropical destinations are similar in some ways but also offer very different experiences, so deciding which one to visit depends on you as the traveler. Both Cancun and Puerto Rico boast beaches on the Caribbean sea which means aquamarine waters so clear, it’s like looking through a window. So when pitting the two against each other, which is better between Cancun vs Puerto Rico? Let’s find out…

Beaches in Cancun vs Puerto Rico 

Cancun vs Puerto Rico: Both Locations are Famous for their Great Beaches
Cancun vs Puerto Rico: Both Locations are Famous for their Great Beaches

Obviously the number one factor for most travelers is the beaches in Cancun vs Puerto Rico. Both destinations have those typical white sandy beaches you would come to expect, with bright blue clear sea water lapping the shore. Despite that they are still very different! 

Cancun’s beaches are numerous, with most resorts having their own exclusive use beaches for resort guests to enjoy. The main beaches are usually quite crowded, especially during peak seasons like Spring Break and Christmas vacation. There are also some great beaches not too far away including Isla Mujeres and Cozumel, which can sometimes be quieter places to slip away to on a day trip from Cancun. 

Puerto Rico has equally beautiful beaches with excellent surfing conditions on its West Coast. If relaxing on a sun lounger is more up your alley, visit some of Puerto Rico’s most loved beaches including Isla Verde, Atlantic Beach or take a day trip to the breathtaking Flamenco Beach. Ocean Park Beach is also a great option and known for it’s daily volleyball tournaments and paddle tennis games. 

Weather in Cancun vs Puerto Rico

Cancun vs Puerto Rico: Both Locations Have Great Weather Year-round
Cancun vs Puerto Rico: Both Locations Have Great Weather Year-round

The weather in Cancun vs Puerto Rico is pretty fabulous all-year round. While both do experience a rainy season from May to October, the weather remains toasty and warm all year long. The best weather for both locations is between December and April, with warm balmy days and cool evenings. The mild weather makes taking part in outdoor activities much more pleasant than in peak summer. 

Dining in Cancun vs Puerto Rico

The Cities in Puerto Rico are Known for their Great Food
The Cities in Puerto Rico are Known for their Great Food

Ah… food, glorious food! The cuisine in Cancun vs Puerto Rico is equally delicious so it’s pretty tough to pick a winner between the two. Some people assume the food is pretty similar in both destinations but they’re actually quite different. 

Mexican food is flavorful and often spicy, favoring spices like chili, cumin and paprika and herbs like cilantro to pack flavor into dishes. Popular Mexican dishes include tacos, burritos, enchiladas, nachos and in coastal towns like Cancun lots of fresh seafood. 

Puerto Rico is influenced by Cuban flavors and is more aligned with food you’d find in other Caribbean destinations. The flavor and spice profile is a little milder with a focus on incorporating plantains into many dishes. Some popular dishes include Tostones (deep fried plantains), the island’s national dish Arroz Con Gandules (an aromatic rice meal) and empanadillas (fried savory pastries filled with chicken or ground beef). 

Activities in Cancun vs Puerto Rico

When comparing Cancun vs Puerto Rico and their activities, both locations have an array of fantastic cultural and water-based activities for tourists. In Cancun, visiting the Mayan Ruins at Chichen Itza is a highlight with many tours including a tequila tasting. In town, La Isla Shopping Village is a must-visit for fashionistas and shopaholics. For those not afraid of heights, Torres Escenica is a 300ft tall rotating tower with sweeping views of the entire bay. The aquarium is also a very popular hub to visit for families with kids, with interactive displays and dolphin encounters. In the water, snorkeling, windsurfing and paddle boarding are offered at most resorts or public beaches. 

As a Caribbean island, Puerto Rico has many great things to do on land and at sea. The town of San Juan is rich in culture and history with museums, galleries and boutiques to discover as you stroll through the streets. At the beach, swimming in the bioluminescent bay is a favorite amongst kids and adults alike. Other popular pastimes include surfing lessons, snorkeling and scuba diving. Both Cancun and Puerto Rico have beautiful golf courses for those who enjoy playing a game of golf while on vacation. 

Nature Centered Activities in Cancun vs Puerto Rico

Cancun vs Puerto Rico: Eco-Tourism is More Popular in Puerto Rico
Cancun vs Puerto Rico: Eco-Tourism is More Popular in Puerto Rico

Cancun is known for its exquisite cenotes, so making a point of visiting at least one is recommended. Booking a tour will ensure you get to explore some of the best mayan cenotes like the Samaal cenote. ATV tours, ziplining, speed boat jungle tours or a day trip sailing to Isla Mujeres will leave you with a fun-filled schedule of activities during your stay. 

Puerto Rico has many beautiful natural attractions, besides its beaches. The El Yunque Tropical Rain Forest is an enchanting natural treasure with scenic hiking trails, waterfalls for swimming and an observation tower to pause and connect with nature while taking in the exquisite view. At the foothill of El Yunque, kids and adults alike can embark on an ATV adventure through the lush tropical landscape. There is also the option of going ziplining for an exhilarating adrenaline rush.

Cost of Cancun vs Puerto Rico

Surprisingly, Cancun can sometimes be more affordable than Puerto Rico with it’s excellent all-inclusive resort deals. Costs can add up quickly, however, when booking tours or visiting local attractions as most require an entry fee. 

While Puerto Rico is more pricey overall, you can avoid overspending on food by getting restaurant recommendations from the locals and avoiding restaurants targeting tourists whose prices are always hiked up. 

It’s hard to decide between Cancun vs Puerto Rico so we’ll leave that up to you! Now that you know what to expect, making your decision will be much easier. Both are beautiful destinations and neither will leave you disappointed at the end of your vacation. 

See Also:

Cancun vs Costa Rica: A Guide to Choosing the Best Vacation Destination

Cancun vs Aruba: How to Choose your Next Vacation Destination

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