San Juan the largest city situated on the island’s Atlantic coast. San Juan is a capital of Puerto Rico. It has the widest beach fronts the Isla Verde resort strip, known for its bars, casinos, and nightclubs. Cobblestoned Old San Juan has colorful Spanish colonial buildings, El Morro and La Fortaleza: 16th-century landmarks, massive fortresses with wide ocean views and last but not the least is the Paseo de la Princesa bayside promenade.
San Juan was founded in 1521 by Spanish colonists, who called it Ciudad de Puerto Rico (means a Rich Port City). After Santo Domingo, it is the second oldest European-established capital city in the Americas Dominican Republic.
Planning to visit San Juan?
San Juan is a beautiful capital city with soft sand beaches, various cultural attractions. It is a terrific place for your vacations. Enjoy the life in beachfront luxurious hotels and resorts in San Juan and neighboring districts. Historic forts, royal architecture, excellent dining, museums, and much more, are just a walking distance away from downtown San Juan.
Best Time to visit San Juan
Mid of April to June is the best time to visit Puerto just after the winter season and just before the rainy summer. Spring season is also very pleasant to visit here.
Things to do in San Juan
Discover Old San Juan’s Architecture
While it’s tempting to hotfoot it to the various destinations in this unique city, you just feel amazed to see the Spanish-influenced architecture of Old San Juan, a historic micro-peninsula of firmly join grid streets just in between the Atlantic Ocean and San Juan Bay. In the surrounding of original Spanish city wall, cobbled stone streets with ballast from Spanish galleons, churches, boutiques, plazas, bars and much more things to see.
Iconic Headland Fort (El Morro)
Built for more than 200 years of a span to dissuade Puerto Rico’s seaborne invaders, El Morro a real crown of grand San Juan, located at the northwestern side of the Old San Juan peninsula. In the earlier 16th century, this was undertaken by both the military of Spain and America. This UNESCO World Heritage Site becomes a national monument in 1961. After some renovation was done recently lighthouse and the water battery give a royal view to the visitors.
Relax On White Sandy Beach (Ocean Park)
Enjoy the days at one of San Juan’s best beaches and see the beauty of the landscaping. Just grab a table of Pamela’s restaurant and enjoy the food with beautiful sunset view and also see the stroll of local residents at the seashore. In totality, it is relaxing day at the beach.
Local Vibe in Santurce At The Plaza Del Mercado
Take a walk around this pretty old-fashioned local market for an authentic breakfast of fried munchies and fresh juices. La Plaza del Mercado de Santurce opens not long after sunrise in a recently renovated market hall. Here local seller selling fresh bananas, plantain, etc. At night, you can enjoy salsa dancing with mojitos and local beers. You can also go for the bright cafe-lined square. All the local residents are gathered here and enjoy the dance party.
History Of Rum: Discover At Casa Bacardi
Casa Bacardi is the rum giant’s flagship factory and spiritual home since the Bacardi family left Cuba to Puerto Rico in 1936. You can travel by a short ferry and taxi ride from for Casa Bacardi. It offers three types of tours a historical tour, a rum tasting and a mixology session. The Bacardi Visitor Center features its ‘Cathedral of rum’ interior. It is basically designed to reflect Cuban villa houses with an interactive history that includes a film, audio guides and a chance to nose rum ingredients.
The Museum Of The Sea: Explore Maritime History
A real treasure hidden in the crisscrossing streets of Old San Juan, the old-fashioned Museo Del Mar displays a private collection of the maritime art object from all over the world like; Titanic memorabilia, various documents, models, coins, and finally the largest collection of life-saving rings in the world. The museum also documents San Juan’s own seafaring history, with a collection related to Christopher Columbus’ landing on Puerto Rico in 1493.
Enjoy Local Cuisine At Verde Mesa
Nightlife at Old San Juan’s offers you a variety of tastes, and Verde Mesa is one of the most famous restaurants in the city. It is a complete package of food, theatre, and stylish art surroundings at one place. Start the meal with an herbal mixed liquid. After that, a variety of combinations of seafood, fish, vegetarian delights which is fully organically produced are provided. All the food is served gracefully and garnished with flowers. Overall it is very enjoyable.
Museo De Las Américas: Explore The History Of Caribbean Art
Museo de las Américas, previously housed the former military barracks of Old San Juan. There is much to discover, starting from African and indigenous South American culture to present Puerto Rican appearance and characteristics. The national music scene is well represented. A large room is fully dedicated to local heroes and for unique instrumentation.
Enjoy Drinks at El Batey
El Batey is located just opposite to the grand El Convento hotel. It is one of San Juan’s longest-living bars which started about four decades ago. El Batey and its throwback jukebox give you a feeling of Old San Juan. Enjoy relaxing on a bar stool, just Rock up and enjoy the drinks. El Batey is absolutely a must!
Taste Coffee (Locally Developed) At Hacienda Pomarrosa
Hacienda Pomarrosa is situated at the highest mountain of Puerto Rico’s that is Cerro Punto. It is the place where coffee cultivation takes place. It has a coffee farm with peaceful and beautiful surroundings. Owner of these farms Kurt Leger and his son guide the visitors about the history of coffee. They also lead the walk around the lush green coffee farms. This visiting tour also includes various production floors to see the actual production of coffee.
San Juan Attractions
Old San Juan
It features almost 500 years old history of Old San Juan, with historic forts and Spanish royal architecture and various scenes. It is the second oldest city in the Americas. The seven-square-block area contains more than 400 royal buildings of 16th- and 17th-century. Presently many shops, restaurants, museums, hotels, and other public buildings are running here. The real masterpiece of Old San Juan is the Fuerte San Felipe del Morro, commonly known as El Morro. Other attractions are Castillo de San Cristóbal, Fortaleza, the San Juan Cathedral, and various museums.
Cemetery of San Juan
San Juan Cemetery is just adjacent to El Morro and high above the ocean. It is so beautiful. It is well-known for elaborate gravestones; statues; and a circular, red-domed prayer place dedicated to Mary Magdalene. The whole cemetery is a very peaceful place.
Cathedral of San Juan
The San Juan Cathedral begun in 1540 is one of the oldest cathedrals in the Americas. It is also one of the oldest buildings in San Juan. The interior is very old-style but it appears great. The body of the renowned Spanish explorer named Ponce de León has laid here in a marble tomb since 1913.
At present La Fortaleza is the current official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico. It was built in between 1533 and 1540 to protect the haven of San Juan. The structure is known as Palacio de Santa Catalina. La Fortaleza is the oldest governor’s residence and still used in the Western Hemisphere. Almost 150 governors have lived or stayed here. The building is renovated many times and now it is the mixture of 16th century and 19th century.
Museum Of Puerto Rican Art
The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico is one of the main attractions of San Juan, and it plays a prominent role to show the Caribbean culture. The building has now two portions the Older and the newer. The older portion of the building displays the museum’s permanent collection. The newer portion is basically a five-story structure containing a multi-story atrium, a theater, a sculpture garden, and also a popular restaurant. There is also a space for various workshops and exhibitions to be organized.
San Jose Church
Iglesia de San José was built in 1532 by Dominican friars. It was the earliest demonstration of Spanish Gothic architecture in America. This church is not very big in size but with a modest front elevation and domed interior. This gives this church an airy feel. More than 300 years back, the great Spanish explorer Ponce de León was buried here. Finally, his body was moved to the San Juan Cathedral in the year 1913. The 18th-century Puerto Rican artist, José Campeche, is also buried here.
Puerto Rico Art Museum
This museum was Founded in 1984, It shows the work of Puerto Rico’s finest artists of the modern day. Frequently changing exhibits the museum has a collection of modern paintings, island-made prints, posters, and sculptures. Located inside Sacred Heart University in the Barat building, the museum can be difficult to find. Because exhibits change very frequently, you should always be in contact with the museum or latest website before visit the same.
Plaza Las Americas
Plaza Las Americas is a modern indoor shopping plaza. It is the place to come and enjoy some shopping. When you are done seeing all the culture, enjoying the beaches, and are fed up with the heat of San Juan you might want to escape from all these. Plaza Las Americas is the right place for you. This is not the place to find traditional Puerto Rican Momento or ornaments. In fact, this is a large mall with various US chain stores, American restaurants, latest fashions, movie theaters, much more. It is supposed to be the best mall in Puerto Rico.
Places to Eat
Pikayo is a fine dining restaurant. The food is exquisite. It is famous for creative fusion dishes. It is a late night restaurant. Opening time of this restaurant is 6.30 PM.
It is the perfect restaurant for the kids You can build customize burgers, hot dogs fries, onion rings, shakes and much more including contemporary dinner. It is a cozy restaurant. The opening time is 11 AM.
It is basically a coffee shop. Casual snacks are served. In every preparation there is chocolate in it, anyone can wonder how they use chocolate into meat dishes but it is just awesome. This is a favorite place for kids too. Opening time is 8 AM.
It is famous for different styles of cocktails. If you are visiting Puerto Rico this place is a must visit. The ambiance is just amazing and the food is really excellent. Opening time is 8 AM in the morning.
It is the best organic food restaurant. It has a beautiful ambiance, good service, and the best vegan meals. Opening time is 6 PM.
Overall, San Juan is very famous and beautiful tourist destination in Puerto Rico. Its central location is the best to start with. It is the busiest cruise port in the Caribbean. It really gives world-class attraction to cruisers and also a rich cultural experience. Actually, we can say that San Juan is a cultural center of Puerto Rico which celebrates numerous festivals and events annually. Local residents are always celebrating something in San Juan. Visitors are also welcome to join these celebrations and enjoy the vibrant culture. It is a true place for happiness. Whether it is a ground of El Morro or playing on beaches, whether you are dancing salsa or enjoying the food, everything you do is extremely lively in San Juan.