By Kenya Barrett
It's no surprise that the beautiful Caribbean island of Puerto Rico is a popular destination for travelers around the world. San Juan, the capital city, is particularly popular for its iconic landmarks, beautiful beaches, and delicious cuisine.
To get the most from your trip, here are San Juan's top activities!
Explore the Beaches
San Juan is good for many things, especially a sweet beach day! Head to the lively white-sand Condado Beach, which is a public location for locals and tourists to enjoy. It's also the perfect place to participate in several watersport activities such as parasailing and jet skiing. If you’re looking for a less populated beach, check out Playita del Condado – a smaller, secluded location that is less than 10 minutes away from Condado. Here, the waters are much calmer and suitable for swimmers of all ages.
Other beaches in the area include Ocean Park Beach and Escambron Beach. Ocean Park Beach is slowly becoming more popular, since it shares the same shores as many of the newly built condominiums and resorts in the city. However, there are parts of Ocean Park that still possess a chill vibe. On the other hand, what makes Escambron Beach uniquely special is the fact that it sits right on top of a coral reef! This makes Escambron the perfect beach to participate in a diving or snorkeling lesson. Additionally, Escambron Beach is just a short distance from Old San Juan.
Old San Juan
Old San Juan is full of treasures for visitors to explore. Not only is it an area rooted in culture and authenticity, but it's also home to many historic locations. In the heart of Old San Juan, you can fully immerse yourself in the day to day lifestyle of Puerto Rico. Dance your heart away to the lovely sounds of salsa and reggaeton performed by live local bands, or indulge in authentic food and drink options at local restaurants and cafes.
While exploring Old San Juan, you can take a stroll through Paseo de la Princesa which is filled with art created by local artists. Alternatively, you can check out Fortaleza Street, where you’ll stumble upon one of the most interesting settings in all of Puerto Rico – a street that is covered by a canopy made from umbrellas! Be sure to stop by the Paseo del Morro, which provides a scenic walk along the walls that line the parameters of the city. Here, you can catch priceless views of the sunrise and sunset.
Landmarks & Attractions
San Juan is filled with many significant landmarks and popular attractions that draw in visitors from all over the world, every year. While visiting, ensure to explore the history behind the strong forts of Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristobal. Castillo San Felipe del Morro is an UNESCO World Heritage Site, which was once the most successful defense fort in the Caribbean. Today, you can explore all six levels of the structure and enjoy gorgeous views of the Caribbean Sea. Likewise, you can tour Castillo San Cristobal, which serves as the largest Spanish fort in the Caribbean – spanning 27 acres of land. Be sure to also explore the “Garita del Diablo,” which tells the story of soldiers who disappeared hundreds of years ago.
Other attractions include Casa Blanca – which was the home of Puerto Rico’s first governor – Ponce de Leon, and the San Juan Cathedral. The cathedral serves as the oldest church in the United States and the second oldest church in the Americas.
Sample Food & Drinks
Perhaps one of the best things about visiting Puerto Rico is indulging in the mouthwatering cuisine. You can head over to Calle Loiza, which has become a popular street in Puerto Rico for delicious bites. Here, you can find restaurants that serve authentic meals native to the country – some of which include mofongo, maduros, empanadas, pasteles, arroz con gandules, and pastelon!
Alternatively, you can find your fair share of tasty drinks throughout the city. Since the country is home to the Bacardi Rum Distillery, you can enjoy a variety of rum based drinks including authentic pina coladas and coquitos!