Puerto Rico’s largest city and capital, San Juan offers something for every visitor: history, art, a rich and vibrant culture, exciting nightlife and casinos, and access to lovely beaches and a tropical rain forest. Get to know the cultural roots of this festive city by exploring the vibrant neighborhood of El Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan), which consists mostly of Spanish colonial buildings. As the oldest city in the United States, with five centuries of history and culture, San Juan still exudes the charm of bygone eras and the Boricua spirit of its people.
GETTING THERE & AROUND
The leading gateway to the Eastern Caribbean, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport offers more than two dozen direct routes to U.S. cities as well as weekly non-stops to international destinations. The airport lies just 3 miles southeast of San Juan (a 15-minute journey by car or shuttle); hail taxis (with fixed and regulated rates) on the arrival level of terminals A and B. Shuttles, car rental agencies and town cars also serve the airport. Taxis offer an easy option around town, with Uber the only rideshare choice here. Old San Juan can be easily explored on foot or by using free golf carts that circulate. The Metro Bus Authority operates numerous bus routes throughout the area. The city also hosts a large and popular cruise port.
La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort
This striking example of Tropical Modernism architecture resides in the lively Condado district. The oceanfront resort boasts a pristine beach, several pools, a fitness center and spa, several restaurants and bars, nightclub Fifty Eight, and Casino del Mar.
1077 Ashford Ave., Condado, San Juan, Puerto Rico
tel 787 721 7500
The Gallery Inn
This 27-room boutique hotel, comprising six 18th- century villas, sits atop Old San Juan’s North Wall and offers 360-degree rooftop terrace views. With a focus on the arts, the inn charms with brick patios, sculptured fountains, 19 gardens and five active art studios.
204 Norzagaray St., Old San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico
tel 787 722 1808
Hotel El Convento
This former Carmelite convent-turned-luxury hotel resides in the heart of Old San Juan. Find enchantment in its central courtyard, pool, fitness center, library, access to the Beach Club, great views, and daily complimentary wine and hors d’oeuvres at La Veranda Terrace.
100 Calle del Cristo, Old San Juan, San Juan, Puerto Rico
tel 787 723 9020
Helmed by a Michelin Star-rated chef, this elegant fine-dining restaurant offers flavor- forward dishes crafted exclusively from local ingredients and artisanal delicacies in its four-course, fixed-price menu. A chef’s tasting menu and extensive wine list and pairings are also available, along with stunning ocean views.
Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, 1055 Ashford Ave., Condado, San Juan, Puerto Rico
tel 787 724 1919
Don’t let the modest, casual exterior and décor fool you; this restaurant serves “elevated Puerto Rican home cooking” featuring the freshest local ingredients and the island’s diverse flavors. Menu changes daily.
1021 Ashford Ave., San Juan, Puerto Rico
tel 787 705 8130
Pio Pio Champagne Bar
This comfortable gathering spot in Old San Juan serves a selection of unique wines, Champagnes and small-batch cocktails, paired with seasonal small plates perfect for sharing like braised conch, caviar, savory soufflé and baked grouper.
151 Calle de San Francisco, San Juan, Puerto Rico
tel 787 306 7792
Visit the world’s largest premium rum distillery and take a tour or mixology class. You’ll enjoy a cocktail, tour Bacardí Family Museum, learn the history and process of the world’s most awarded rum, and taste a range of premium rums.
PR-165, Cataño, San Juan, Puerto Rico
tel 787 788 8400
San Juan National Historic Site
This site, also a UNESCO World Heritage site, encompasses Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristóbal and the 20-foot-thick city walls. Explore 500 years of history amid the impressive battlements, tunnels and plazas with Park Service rangers or on your own.
501 Norzagaray St., Castillo San Cristóbal, San Juan, Puerto Rico
tel 787 729 6777
El Yunque National Forest
Make a daytrip to the only U.S. National Forest tropical rain forest, boasting more biodiversity than any other forest in the system. Keep an eye out for colorful birds as you hike trails, then reward yourself with a cooling dip in a refreshing pool or river.
El Portal Visitor Center, PR-191, Rio Grande, Puerto Rico
tel 787 888 1880
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