Sports in Puerto Rico: Where to Play, What to Watch, and When to Go.

A tropical island with ideal weather, diverse geography, ocean and sea water, Puerto Rico naturally is a paradise for athletes and fans of a variety of sports. Here's a rundown of what you can play and watch around the island, throughout the year.
  • 01 of 13

    Baseball

    ••• Carlos Beltrán. Photo © Jim McIsaac/Getty Images
    The skinny

    Baseball is one of the most popular sports on the island, with homegrown stars (Carlos Beltrán, Roberto Alomar, Roberto Clemente, and more) and its own league (the Liga Profesional de Beisbol).

    Where to go
    Baseball is played all over Puerto Rico, but the most well-known park is the Hiram Birthorn Stadium in Hato Rey, San Juan.

    The season
    Puerto Rican baseball runs from November to January. Games are held Monday to Saturday at 7:30, Sundays at 4 in Carolina and 6 in Santurce. Sure, it's not the Major League, but the great Roberto Clemente came from these roots, and Hank Aaron and Reggie Jackson once played here.

    Special events
    There is a seasonal final in January, and San Juan will host a round of the 2009 World Baseball Classic.

  • 02 of 13

    Boxing

    ••• Felix Trinidad. Photo © Al Bello/Getty Images
    The skinny

    In Puerto Rico, boxing has a storied legacy that began in 1899. This island has produced some of the sport's all-time greats, including Hall of Famers Carlos Ortiz, José "Chegui" Torres, Edwin "El Chapo" Rosario, and more recent icons Hector Camacho, Felix "Tito" Trinidad, and Miguel “Junito” Cotto, to name just a few. There are currently seven Puerto Ricans in the Boxing Hall of Fame, a staggering number for the size of the island and testament to its boxing tradition.

    Where to go
    The Coliseo de Puerto Rico, or Coliseum, is host to the biggest showdowns and tickets in the sport.

    The season
    No specific season.

    Special events
    Check the website of the Coliseo for upcoming fights.

  • 03 of 13

    Cock-Fighting

    The skinny

    This is an iffy one. Opinions vary greatly as to whether cockfighting should even be allowed in Puerto Rico, and its cruelty to animals is no minor detail. But it has been a tradition on the island for a long time, and it has its proponents. It is most popular in the interior, but there is one famous venue in Isla Verde that continues to draw weekly crowds. Rather than draw moral conclusions, I'll list the details here and move on. But if you have something to say about it, start a discussion in my forum. I'd love to hear your thoughts.

    Where to go
    Club Gallístico de Puerto Rico
    787-791-1557
    6600 Isla Verde Avenue, Isla Verde, Carolina

    The season
    No specific season, the Club Gallístico hosts fights every Saturday beginning at 2 pm.

  • 04 of 13

    Equestrian

    ••• A horseback ride on the beach can be romantic, refreshing, or heart-pumping if you've never done it before. Photo © Tropical Trail Rides

    The skinny

    The Spanish brought several things to the New World, including horses. In particular, they brought Paso Fino horses to Puerto Rico, a breed much prized for its elegance and smooth gait, which provides a remarkably smooth ride. This makes Paso Finos a joy to learn on as well as show off, and there are competitions, trails, and stables around the island.

    Where to go
    Here are just a few places where you can hop in the saddle:

    The season
    Year-round.

    Special events
    Mother's Day and Father's Day is celebrated with a Paso Fino Competition in Vieques.

    Continue to 5 of 13 below.
  • 05 of 13

    Golf

    ••• The Golf Course at Dorado Beach. Photo © Puerto Rico Tourism Company
    The skinny

    Puerto Rico offers many temptations to the avid golfer: a diverse landscape that offers stunning ocean views, verdant slopes, and lush flora; championship courses designed by some of the biggest names in the business; and the credibility of its recent addition to the PGA circuit. The Puerto Rico Open was inaugurated in 2008. Finally, there's this handy golf portal that lists just about everything the golfer needs to tee off around the island.

    Where to go
    Check out my list of where to play around Puerto Rico.

    The season
    Year-round.

    Special events
    The PGA Puerto Rico Open is the biggest tournament on the island, held annually in March. The Puerto Rico Golf Association also hosts a tournament each year.

  • 06 of 13

    Hang Gliding

    ••• Photo © Clay Humphrey
    The skinny

    This round-up says it all about hang gliding in Puerto Rico. Team Spirit will take you high above the treetops of El Yunque, giving you breathtaking birdseye views of the island while you float on thermal wind currents.

    Where to go
    Team Spirit flies from Cubuy. Call 787-850-0508 or email tshg@coqui.net for more information or to book an excursion.

    The season
    Year-round, weather permitting.

    Special events
    None.

  • 07 of 13

    Kayaking

    ••• Photo © Puerto Rico Tourism Company

    The skinny

    Kayaking is a popular avctivity all over Puerto Rico and can be enjoyed in a variety of settings: bioluminescent lagoons, mangrove forests, lakes encircled by mountains, and the splendor of the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Hotels in Vieques, Culebra and along the coast frequently have kayaks available for guests, and several companies offer tours or rentals.

    Where to go
    Virtually all over the island, but here are a few useful contacts:

    The season
    Year-round.

    Special events
    None.

  • 08 of 13

    Rappelling, Canyoning and Caving

    ••• Rappelling down a mountain using Tyroleans. Photo © Aventuras Tierra Adentro
    The skinny

    There's one company that stands out above the rest for its adventure tourism programs; even other tour guides nod respectfully in their direction and say, "yup, they're the best." They, in this case, is Aventuras Tierra Adentro, and they should be the first people you call if the idea of leaping across chasms, rappelling down mountains, exploring subterranean rivers, and zip-lining over thousand-foot drops is your idea of a good time. (Check out my adventure tourism photo gallery to give you an idea of what to expect.)

    Where to go
    Aventuras arranges all the details, including pick-ups and meeting points. Excursions explore the area above and below the El Yunque rainforest.

    The season
    Year-round.

    Special events
    None.

    Continue to 9 of 13 below.
  • 09 of 13

    Running and Hiking

    ••• Photo © Legends of Puerto Rico

    The skinny

    Puerto Rico offers trails and tracks along beaches, through forests, and in its verdant parks.

    Where to go

    The season
    Year-round.

    Special events
    The World's Best 10-K Race kicks off in San Juan in February/March; it's the largest participatory sport on the island.

  • 10 of 13

    Sailing

    ••• Ingrid lets out the shamrock spinnaker!. Photo © Zain Deane

    The skinny

    The sailing capital of Puerto Rico is Fajardo, but you can also learn how to sail and attend regattas in San Juan, Rincón, and Culebra. Note: This section doesn't cover charters and tours.

    Where to go

    The season
    Year-round.

    Special events
    The biggest event on the island is the Club Náutico's International Regatta.

  • 11 of 13

    Surfing

    ••• Surfing at the Gas Chambers in Rincón. Photo © Puerto Rico Tourism Company
    The skinny

    If Fajardo is the sailing capital, Rincón is the unquestioned home of surfing. But you'll find surfers, wind-surfers and kite-boarders riding the waves in other parts of Puerto Rico as well.

    Where to go

    • Velauno in Ocean Park is your best surfing resource in San Juan. As for where to go, Punta Las Marías, between Ocean Park and Isla Verde, is where the surfers gather.
    • Rincón Hangout lists the best surf spots along the west coast.
    • Playa Azul and Playa La Pared near Luquillo Beach are popular local hangouts.

    The season
    The Surfing season in Rincón runs from November to March, and on the rest of the island generally from October to April.

    Special events
    The Professional Surfing Association of Puerto Rico hosts pro meets throughout the year.

  • 12 of 13

    Swimming

    ••• Stretching along San Juan's resort strip, Condado Beach is arguably the capital city's best place to swim, sunbathe, and star-gaze. Photo © Zain Deane
    The skinny

    It's no surprise that you can dive into the water from almost anywhere in Puerto Rico. Between sea, ocean, lagoon, lake and pool, there is no dearth of destinations for swimmers.

    Where to go
    The list is almost endless: San Juan? Check. Vieques and Culebra? Yup. Fajardo? Of course. Rincón? Absolutely. Take a look at my beach guide and gallery for starters.

    The season
    Year-round.

    Special events

    • In April 2009, Puerto Rico inaugurates the Puerto Rico Half-Iron Endurance Weekend, combining swimming, running and cycling.
    • El Cruce a Nado Chavín is a race across the Condado Lagoon. It takes place in July/August and is named after a disabled female athlete. Participants of all ages compete, and there is a route specially for disabled swimmers.
    Continue to 13 of 13 below.
  • 13 of 13

    Scuba Diving

    ••• Scuba Diving along in La Parguera. Photo © Puerto Rico Tourism Company
    The skinny

    One of the most popular water sports in, or I should say under, the island, Puerto Rico has many spots for scuba divers and even more for snorkelers. I'll have to save snorkeling for another article, but here's the scoop on scuba.

    Where to go

    • Check out the top dive sites in Puerto Rico.
    • Blackbeard Sports in Vieques is the island's most complete scuba outfit.
    • Culebra Divers is my choice for diving excursions from Culebra: Walter and Monika Rieder are wonderful guides.
    • Ocean Sports in Isla Verde is a good resource for divers who want to stick to the San Juan area.
    • Sea Ventures in Fajardo is a PADI 5-Star Dive Center.

    The season
    Year-round.

    Special events
    None.