Visit Puerto Rico’s capital to sunbathe on white-sand beaches, shop in stylish boutiques and explore historic buildings dating back to the 16th century.
Enjoy a tropical beach vacation in San Juan and explore the many historic sites in one of the oldest cities in the Americas.
The oldest part of the city, known as Old San Juan (El Viejo San Juan), is a small island connected to the mainland by bridges. Here, you’ll find many of the city’s most popular attractions, historic buildings, restaurants and shops.
Visit the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, which has a wide range of exhibits, regular cultural events and a beautiful botanical garden. Just a short walk away is the Catedral de San Juan where you can attend a Spanish mass or view the final resting place of Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer and the first Governor of Puerto Rico.
No trip to the area is complete without a visit to the San Juan National Historic Site. This massive complex is World Heritage listed and includes many of the city’s defensive walls and fortresses. Plan to spend several hours here as you can explore dungeons and tunnels, and climb towers for 140-feet-(42-meter) high views of the city.
San Juan is well known for its excellent shopping, so make the time to wander along the Calle del Cristo, Old San Juan’s popular shopping street. You’ll find famous international boutiques alongside merchants selling local goods.
Those looking to relax on the beach should head east of Old San Juan to Isla Verde. This beach is close to the main attractions, but far enough away to be a good place for some peace and quiet. For those with children, Luquillo Beach, where coral reefs protect a lagoon, is a great option.
Despite severe traffic congestion, residents and visitors to San Juan primarily travel by car, although a free tourist trolley runs in Old San Juan. Some areas offer a metro system and public buses, but the best option for visitors is usually either walking the shorter distances or taking advantage of a local trolley or taxi service.