San Juan by the bay
photo by Arturo Donate

San Juan is the capital of, and at about 442,000, the largest city in, Puerto Rico. It has one of the best harbors in the Caribbean. The city will celebrate its 5th Century in 2008 or 2021, depending if they count from the founding of Caparra or the act of moving the Caparra settlement to Puerto Rico isle (Old San Juan)



San Juan is a tropical city, with temperature that ranges in winter from 67˚F to 97˚F (19˚C to 36˚C) in summer. San Juan is normally sunny, but has a tendency to receive rain from April to November in the afternoon. Be also mindful that San Juan and the rest of Puerto Rico have the possibility of having tropical systems such as hurricanes from July to November. Cooler temperatures are found inland in the mountains.


San Juan is the oldest city under the United States dominion. San Juan is in the north-east of Puerto Rico, and features distinctly century-old architecture, such as Spanish military forts built from the 1540s to 1800s, an active harbor, and a very active economic area in the Hato Rey district. San Juan has magnificent beaches, hotels, plazas, historic sites, museums, etc.

San Juan has a land area of 122 sq km and a water area of 29.11 sq miles. The population of San Juan is around 442,000.


San Juan is a Latin American city with Spanish-based culture, mixed with African traditions and Taíno culture. Museums of modern art exist abroad. The citizens of San Juan (called Sanjuaneros) are very festive, as on the rest of the island. San Juan has bars and discotheques all-around the city, from Old San Juan to even the southern part of the city that stay open to 3:00-4:00 AM. San Juan has become very modernized as of late, with its first Metro line (called Tren Urbano) and buses. Like most large cities, however, there is a small population of vagrants and beggars lining the streets.

San Juan is the financial capital of Puerto Rico. There are facilities for petroleum and sugar refining, and pharmaceuticals.

Getting there

By ferry

Island Hi-Speed Ferry serves pier 2 in Viejo San Juan from Vieques and Culebra in high season.

Ferries del Caribe operates an international passenger and vehicle service from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The overnight journey requires WHTI-compliant documentation and there are strict rules regarding vehicle transportation. Fares payable in USD.

By plane

San Juan is served by Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (), a large international hub airport about 14 km away.

All major US Airlines operate scheduled services to various destinations on the mainland, with seasonal air charters operating additional routes.

Scheduled services within Puerto Rico include:

  • Air Culebra (from Culebra)

  • Cape Air (from Ponce)

  • Vieques Air Link (from Culebra, Fajardo and Vieques).

Scheduled international services include:

  • Air Canada (Montréal, Toronto)

  • Air France (Guadeloupe)

  • Air Sunshine (St. Croix, St. Thomas, Tortola, Virgin Gorda)

  • American Eagle (Anguilla, Antigua, Barbados, Beef Island, Dominica, Fort-de-France, Guadaloupe, Grenada, La Romana, Martinique, Nevis, Pointe-a-Pitre, Port of Spain, Puerto Plata, Punta Cana, Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo, St. Kitts, St. Lucia, St. Maarten, Tortola)

  • Avianca (Bogotá)

  • Cape Air (Tortola)

  • Copa Airlines (Panama City)

  • Iberia (Madrid)

  • Insel Air (Curaçao, St Maarten)

  • JetBlue Airways (Santo Domingo)

  • LIAT (Antigua, Dominica, St.Vincent)

  • Mexicana (Mexico City)

  • PAWA Dominicana (Santo Domingo)

  • Virgin Atlantic (Antigua, London-Gatwick)

Seasonal international air charters include:

  • Condor (Frankfurt)

  • Expressjet (Punta Cana, Santo Domingo-Las Americas)

  • Pace Airlines (Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo-Las Americas, Punta Cana)

  • TACA (San José de Costa Rica)

  • Skyservice (Toronto, Montreal)

  • Sunwing Airlines (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto)

  • Thomson Airways (London-Gatwick, Manchester)

  • USA 3000 Airlines (Punta Cana)

  • USA Jet Airlines (Punta Cana, Santo Domingo-Las Americas)

Most travellers opt to rent a car here or take a taxi (fixed fares of $10-16 to most points in the city). If you have more time than money, you can take public bus B-40 to Rio Piedras and connect onward to your destination in the city with another local bus or elsewhere on the island with a público (best only attempted in the morning).

Traveling around

If you're planning on staying in and around San Juan, you can survive on public transport and taxis. (see notes below)

Rental Car

If you're planning to head off elsewhere, it makes sense to rent a car, e.g., at the airport. From Isla Verde to Old San Juan, you will encounter truly challenging traffic--with major jam-ups at rush periods and frequently undisciplined drivers. Parking can also be difficult, e.g., hotels frequently charge guests $10 or so per day; some charge for each time you exit their facility; a parking ramp above the bus station in Old San Juan can be full by noon on weekdays.

By ferry

A public ferry crosses the Bahia de San Juan every 15-30 minutes from Viejo San Juan to Cataño, home of the Bacardi Rum plant. $0.50(USD) per person.

By taxi

Taxis can be found hanging around hotels and the east end of Calle de la Fortaleza in Old San Juan. In theory, they are supposed to be metered (the rates are posted on doors) except for a selection of common tourist routes with fixed fares. In practice, cabbies are well aware that tourists tend to have no idea what those fixed fares are and charge according to what they feel like. For reference, the official fares as of January 2009 are:

  • Airport-Zone 1 (Luis Muñoz Marín Airport): Starting Point

  • Airport-Zone 2 (Isla Verde): $10

    • Isla Verde Beach

    • Club Gallístico de Puerto Rico (Cockfights)

    • Ritz Carlton Hotel

    • El San Juan Hotel

    • Intercontinental Hotel

    • San Juan Water & Beach Club

    • Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde

    • Holiday Inn San Juan

    • Embassy Suites

    • Hampton Inn

    • ESJ Towers

    • Isla Verde Mall

  • Airport-Zone 3 (Condado & Miramar): $15

    • Condado Beach

    • Plaza Ventana al Mar

    • Ocean Park Beach

    • San Juan Marriott

    • Condado Plaza

    • La Concha, A Renaissance Resort

    • Radisson Ambassador

    • Best Western Pierre

    • Hostería del Mar

    • Numero 1 on the Beach

    • Tres Palmas Inn

    • Cartier

    • Louis Vouitton

    • Chaumet

    • Mont Blanc

    • Ashford Presbyterian Community Hospital

  • Airport-Zone 4 (Old San Juan/Piers/Puerta De Tierra & Miramar): $19

    • San Felipe del Morro Fort

    • Fort San Cristóbal

    • Capitol Building

    • San Juan Cathedral

    • La Fortaleza (Governor's Mansion)

    • Cuartel de Ballajá

    • San Juan Museum

    • Plaza de Armas

    • Miguel Domenech Gallery at La Princesa

    • Old San Juan to Cataño Ferry

    • Sheraton Old San Juan

    • San Juan Suites

    • El Convento Hotel

    • Chateau de Cervantes

    • Howard Johnson Plaza de Armas

    • Milano

    • Normandie

    • D'A Haus

    • Caribe Hilton

    • Pier 1

    • Pier 2

    • Pier 3

    • Pier 4

    • Navy Frontier Pier

    • Pan-American Pier

  • Airport-Zone 5 (Convention Center & Rivas Dominichi Airport): $15

    • Puerto Rico Convention Center

    • Isla Grande Airport

    • Courtyard by Marriott

    • San Juan Miramar

    • Hotel Miramar

    • Hotel Olimpo Court

  • Airport-Plaza Las Américas: $18

  • Airport-Plaza Carolina: $14

  • Airport-Belz Factory Outlet: $46

  • Airport-Coliseo José M. Agrelot: $14

Authorized taxi stands at the airport and cruise ship piers often write up vouchers. for travel between those two points that cost more than the above fare on days cruise ships are dropping off and taking on passengers.

  • Piers-Old San Juan: $6

  • Piers-Puerta de Tierra: $6

  • Piers-Condado/Miramar: $10

  • Piers-Isla Verde: $16

Metered rates apply for areas between and beyond tourist zones.

Additional Fees

  • Luggage: $1 per piece

  • Extra Passenger (6th and 7th): $2 per person

  • Late Night Charge (10 PM - 6 AM): $1 extra

  • Tolls are to be paid by the passenger.

  • A 10-15% tip is expected but not required.

For any issues with cabs, contact the Tourist Transportation Department at 787-999-2100 ext. 4502 between 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM Monday through Friday.

By bus

San Juan has a comprehensive but not very tourist-friendly bus system, which is currently being reworked to better fit the new train, so all information is in flux. Passengers are normally very friendly locals going to/from work; rush hour buses can be very full. Some buses have been refurbished, while others show definite lack of maintenance. Visitors may find that routes directly to/from places of interest do not exist, that one more transfer (with waits) are involved. If you have little time to see/do what you'd like, you may be better served using a taxi or hiring a car for a few hours or the day. Check with AMA (Spanish only) or inquire about routes and times.

Bus stops are marked PARADA and may or may not contain tiny panels listing what buses stop there and where they go. Fares are $0.50-0.75, payable in exact change only (stock up on those quarters!). Useful routes include B-21 (Condado to Old San Juan) and A-5 (Isla Verde to Old San Juan via Mirimar). Frequencies on most routes are low and you may have to wait for up to an hour, especially on Sundays. However, on the B-21 line, frequencies are every 20 to 30 minutes on weekdays. Old San Juan, near the harbor front, has a major bus station for catching numerous routes. When you see your bus coming, be sure to wave/flag it down otherwise it will just pass you by!

There are also vans that are like group taxis with specific routes called "guaguas." You can inquire about longer trips outside of San Juan at the guagua terminal in Rio Piedras, or just ask a driver. A trip to Fajardo can run less than $5.

By train

San Juan now served by a rapid transit rail system called "Tren Urbano" (Urban Train) . The line connects San Juan to the towns of Guaynabo and Bayamón, but it studiously avoids points of interest like Old San Juan, Condado, Isla Verde and the airport, and is thus in practice useless for most tourists. If you want to give it a spin anyway, you can:

  • Take the Acua Expreso ferry (temporarily discontinued) from Old San Juan to the financial district, where you'll find the "Hato Rey" station right next to the ferry dock.

  • Take a city bus to a station, e.g., from the Old San Juan bus terminal to Sagrado Corazon.

There are discounted fares for students, children and elderly people on both the buses and the train.


  • El Castillo San Felipe del Morro "El Morro" : is a sixteenth-century citadel that lies on the northwestern-most point of the islet of San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is part of San Juan National Historic Site and was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1983.

  • El Castillo de San Cristóbal, (787) 729-6960. A Spanish fort in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was built by the Spaniards to protect against land based attacks on the city of San Juan. It is part of San Juan National Historic Site. It covers 27 acres of land and is 150 ft tall. Open every day from 9:00AM to 6PM.

  • Palacio de Santa Catalina "La Fortaleza" (or The Fortress in English) is the official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico, who is Puerto Rico's head of Government. It was built between 1533 and 1540 to defend the harbor of San Juan. The structure is also known as El Palacio de Santa Catalina (or Palace of Santa Catalina). It is the oldest executive mansion in the New World. La Fortaleza was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

  • El Catedral de San Juan Bautista: contains the tomb of the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León. It was built in the 1520's, soon to be wrecked by a hurricane, and then rebuilt in 1540. After being rebuilt, it was robbed in the late 1500's, and then, in 1615, it was damaged by a hurricane. In 1917, a lot of changes were made to restore the building. Tours are given daily from 8:30AM-4PM.

  • Castillo de San Jerónimo is a small fort located in the entrance to what is known today as Condado, Puerto Rico lagoon in San Juan. The fort defended San Juan from attacks by Sir Francis Drake in 1595, Sir George Clifford "Earl of Cumberland" in 1598 and Sir Ralph Abercromby.

  • Iglesia de San Jose dates back to 1523. This building was originally called the Church and Monastery of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Before Ponce de Leon was moved to the San Juan Catedral, his body was buried here for 300 years.

  • Ayuntamiento or Alcaldia or City Hall.

  • The municipal cemetery of Santa María Madgalena de Pazzis, located just outside the city walls.

  • Fuerte San Geronimo is a fort that was built to tighten defense within the city. There is a small museum inside.

  • Centro de Bellas Artes is the largest fine arts center in the Caribbean. Concerts, Plays, and Operas are hosted here. This fine arts center opened in 1981.

  • Bacardi Rum Factory, (787)788-8400, . M-Sa 9AM-4:30PM, Sunday from 10AM-3:30PM. Also called the "Cathedral of Rum" and covers 127 acres. Free tour, including a trolley ride around the premises.

Things to do

Check out the beaches in Condado and Isla Verde.

A popular point of interest is Old San Juan, a 7-block area that has become popular for tourists as well as residents. The narrow streets of old San Juan are packed with people so it is recommended to experience Old San Juan by foot in order to avoid too much traffic. You can take a taxi for less than $20 from most hotels but for .75 you can also take the B21 bus which picks up from many locations near the hotels and is very easy to use.

Check out the parks in San Juan.

  • Parque de las Palomas overlooks La Princesa Jail. From this park you are able to see a great view of the mountains, harbor and the city.

  • Munoz Rivera Park, Av. Ponce de León. Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. Located by the ocean and has beautiful trees and landscaping. A great place to tour by foot.

  • Central Park is the park to visit if you're looking for traditional activities such as jogging, tennis, baseball, etc.

  • The Casino of Puerto Rico is a large building with a 12 foot chandelier and an open ballroom, built right before World War I.

  • The Teatro Tapia, (787) 721-0169 or (787) 721-0180. Built in 1832, this is one of the oldest theaters in the Western Hemisphere. This building, which was named after Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, has been remodeled twice, once in 1949 and once in 1987. Plays, ballets, and other concerts and events are held here.

  • La Marquesa Canopy Tour - Located about 30 minutes outside of San Juan in Guaynabo you can tour the La Marquesa Forest Reserve via zip line. It is a low impact experience suitable for people of all ages. Those who are up for extreme adventure travel may find this a little too easy.

  • garfield, (787)721-2500, 7558 calle del cristo, go far west


  • Café Puerto Rico, 787 724-2281, 11:30AM-11:00PM, Calle O'Donnell 208, Creole cuisine. On the Plaza de Colón, enjoy the view along with a great meal. Great spot to stop for a drink, snack & conversation too. Live music weekends & some weekdays. Recently expanded to the second floor. Best meal: stuffed snapper (fillet + lobster, crab, shellfish in a flavorful broth) + rice & beans + sweet plantains.

  • Tierra del Fuego, 3rd Level at Plaza las Américas, 787-294-7019. One of the best Argentinean restaurants where you will be able to savor a tender, juicy cut of meat prepared by chefs and cooks who, together with the warm staff of waiters and hostesses, are without representation of a trade union that can defend their rights of having fair wages and benefits.

  • San Juan Hard Rock Café, Old San Juan.

  • La Bombonera, Calle San Francisco, west of Tanca, Phone: 787-722-0658. 7:30AM-8PM. Authentic local cuisine in an unassuming landmark atmosphere unchanged for decades. Serves lunch and dinner. Fresh pastries. Superlative coffee. Inexpensive.

  • Ajili Mójili Caribbean San Juan, Av. Ashford 1006, Condado, Phone: 787-725-9195. M-F 12PM-3PM; M-Sa 6PM-11PM; Su 12:30PM-4PM and 6PM-10PM. Locals come here for a taste of mofongos (green plantains stuffed with veal, chicken, shrimp, or pork), arroz con pollo, medallones de cerdo encebollado (pork loin sautéed with onions), carne mechada (beef rib-eye stuffed with ham), and lechon asado con maposteado (roast pork with rice and beans).

  • Al Dente, Calle Recinto Sur 309, Old San Juan, Phone: 787-723-7303. M-F 12PM-3PM; M-Sa 6PM-11PM; Sun 12:30PM-4PM and 6PM-10PM. The oldest continuously operated Italian restaurant in Puerto Rico.

  • Parrot Club, Calle Fortaleza 363, Old San Juan, 787-725-7370. Daily 12PM-3PM; 6PM-11PM. Live music, either Brazilian, salsa, or Latino jazz, is offered nightly as well as during the popular Sunday brunches.

  • Ramiro's, Av. Magdalena 1106, Condado, 787-721-9049. M-Sa 12PM-3PM & 6PM-11PM; Su 12PM-3PM & 6PM-10PM. Creole" style cooking pioneered by owner and chef Jesús Ramiro.

  • Ostra Cosa, Calle del Cristo 154, Old San Juan, 787-722-2672. Daily 12PM-10PM. Reservations recommended. The ambience here is one of the most sensual and romantic in Old San Juan.

  • Luigi's Restaurant, 104 Diez de Andino, Condado, 787-722-2672. M-Sa 11:30AM-3PM and 6PM-10PM; Su 12PM-5pPM. Serves Italian and Genovese cuisine.

  • Margarita's, Several locations including 3rd level at Plaza las Américas and 1013 Ave. Roosevelt, 787-792-0283. One of the traditional Mexican food restaurants that exists in the island.

  • El Alcázar, 1013 Ave. Roosevelt. New Spanish restaurant which serves a variety of "Tapas", seafood and several meats. Also has a variety of Wines. The ambience is romantic and live music is offered several times a month.

  • Pamela's restaurant is on Calle Santa Ana 1. Traditional Caribbean and Puerto Rican dishes are prepared by a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America. You have the choice of eating inside or outside on the beach, right by the ocean. Lunch runs around $15 while dinner is a little more (around $20-$25). (787)726-5010.

  • Tantra is located at 356 Calle Fortaleza and serves international cuisine. Great creative and nightlife atmosphere. A warm, candlelit environment with great food and great martinis. Moderately priced, entrees run from around $13-$17. (787)977-8141.

  • UVVA Restaurant is located at 1 Calle Tapia, in Ocean Park, San Juan. International creative couisine by Chef Jose Vicente is served from 8:00 a.m. until 11:00PM. The ambiance is elegant and casual. Moderatily priced, is the perfect place for a romantic dinner, a business meeting, a wedding or a special event. (787) 727-3302

  • El Asador, The Grill Old San Juan 350 San Francisco St. (Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902), ☎ 787-289-9966, . 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 a.m. 7 Days a Week. El Asador Bar Restaurant The Best Meats Cuts & Puertorrican Cuisine located at the entrance of Old San Juan, the heart of nightlife in the Old City. It is the most stylish and exclusive Bar Restaurant in San Juan, a two level Restaurant with an exterior patio the perfect environment for an exciting experience. Delight with an early lunch or a romantic dinner in one of the most beautiful interior patios of the Old City, or why not enjoy the best music and liveliest party in San Juan until sunrise. El Asador is a cozy and sophisticated Bar Restaurant, patronized by upscale, trendy, local and tourist.


  • Brava, At Wyndham El San Juan Hotel & Casino, Isla Verde. Cover $15, free for residents of El San Juan Hotel. Open Thursday through Saturday from 10PM until 4AM, currently it has a new name.

  • Cigar Bar, At Wyndham El San Juan Hotel & Casino, Isla Verde. Daily 6PM to 3AM.

  • Dragonfly, Restaurant and bar on Forteleza Street in Old San Juan.

  • Club Laser, Calle del Cruz 251, near the corner of Calle Fortaleza.Cover $8-$12 (free cover for women before midnight on Sat) The club is usually open Thursday through Sunday from 10PM until 4AM.

  • El Patio de Sam, Calle San Sebastián, Old San Juan. One of the most popular late-night joints with a good selection of beers. Live entertainment is presented here Monday to Saturday.Open daily noon to 1AM.

  • Rumba, Calle San Sebastián 152.The site for the filming of many of the crowd scenes within Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. Cover $15.

  • Shannon's Irish Pub, Marginal Martínez Nadal, Guaynabo. Daily 11:30AM to 1AM (closes at 2:30AM F-Sa). A sports bar with TV monitors and high-energy rock 'n' roll.

  • Logan's Irish Pub, Calle Bori 496, Río Piedras. Daily 11:30AM to 1AM (closes at 2:30AM F-Sa). A sports bar with TV monitors and high-energy rock 'n' roll.

  • Dákiti, Calle San Sebastián, Pub with two floors. Idilic for the San Sebastián Festivities.

  • Nuyorican Cafe, Calle San Francisco #312. 787-977-1276, . Best Live Music Venue in Old San Juan! Salsa, Latin Jazz, Folklore.

  • Babylon, located in the Wyndham El San Juan Hotel. (787)-791-2781. 6030 Isla Verde Avenue. Cover $15, free for residents of the hotel.

  • El Asador, The Grill Old San Juan , 787-289-9966, 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 a.m. 7 Days a Week, 350 San Francisco St., Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902, El Asador Bar Restaurant The Best Meats Cuts & Puertorrican Cuisine located at the entrance of Old San Juan, the heart of nightlife in the Old City. It is the most stylish and exclusive Bar Restaurant in San Juan, a two level Restaurant with an exterior patio the perfect environment for an exciting experience. Delight with an early lunch or a romantic dinner in one of the most beautiful interior patios of the Old City, or why not enjoy the best music and liveliest party in San Juan until sunrise. El Asador is a cozy and sophisticated Bar Restaurant, patronized by upscale, trendy, local and tourist.


San Juan has a wide range of accommodation, but few budget options of any kind. European-style youth hostels do not exist in the city. Colonial-style city hotels are clustered in Old San Juan, while the big beachfront resorts are mostly out in Condado and Isla Verde.

You'll be looking at $100/night for even a basic hotel room, and well north of $300 for a five-star resort. However, discounts are available in summer (low) season.


There are a number of vacation apartments which are walking distance to the beach, comfortable with fully equipped kitchen for saving money meals. You can find these individually-owned apartments in either condos in front of the beach in Isla verde or in areas in Ocean Park and Condado walking distance to beach.

You might not have the daily housekeeping service but this option is good to receive a more authentic stay rather than in the sterile unchanging hotel. These accommodations can vary from $50-$80

Mid Range

  • Alasol at 318 Calle del Sol, Viejo San Juan. Fully furnished one bedroom apartments with parking space in Old San Juan. Phone: (787)724-4456 , Phone: (787)564-3683

  • At Wind Chimes Inn, 1750 McLeary Ave, Condado, Phone: 800-946-3244 .

  • Hosteria del Mar, 1 Calle Tapia, (Ocean Park), Phone: 727-3302 or Phone: 800-742-4276.

  • Le Consulat, 1149 Magdalena Ave Condado, Phone: 787-289-9191, fax: 787-723-8665, . The boutique-style hotel, is ideally located in the El Condado section of San Juan.

  • Palm View Realty, 5970 Isla Verde Avenue, Phone: 888-268-5281, fax: 727-1415, . Palm View Realty Specializes in short term rentals as well as condo, apartment and house sales in Puerto Rico. Affordable rentals are Beach Front and fully furnished.

  • Tu Casa Boutique Hotel, 2071 Calle Cacique, (Ocean Park), Phone: 727-5100.

  • Hampton Inn, Isla Verde. Use their national web site.

  • Embassy Suites, Isla Verde. Use their national web site.

  • San Miguel Plaza Hotel Lodging accommodations include free continental breakfast, parking, Internet, business center and gym, all for a low rate per room and the lowest tax rate, with no additional or hidden charges.


  • Caribe Hilton, Phone: (787)-721-0303, .

  • Condado Plaza Hotel & Casino , 866-317-8934, 999 Ashford, San Juan 00907, Puerto Rico, The only luxury property overlooking both the Atlantic Ocean and Condado Lagoon.

  • El Conquistador Resort , 787-863-1000, 1000 El Conquistador Avenue, Fajardo 00738 Puerto Rico, Located on the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico, near El Yunque Rain Forest and just four miles from the stores and attractions of downtown Fajardo and Las Croabas.

  • El San Juan Hotel & Casino , 787-791-1000, 6063 Isla Verde Avenue, Beachfront location in the Isla Verde district of San Juan and 15 minutes from the shopping, entertainment, and history of charming Old San Juan.

  • San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, 1309 Ashford Avenue, Phone: (787) 722-7000,

  • InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino, 5961 Isla Verde Avenue, Phone: (787) 791-6100, Toll-free: (800) 443-2009, .

  • SJ Suites, 253 Fortazela, Phone: (787)725-1351. .

  • El Convento Hotel, Phone (787)723-9020. 100 Cristo St. .

  • Normandie Hotel, 499 Munoz Rivera Ave. Old San Juan (787) 729-2929, Toll Free 1-877-987-2929,


  • The Butterfly People, 257 Calle de la Cruz, Old San Juan, Phone: 787-723-2432, . Real butterflies encased in acrylic. Stunning. Go to see it, even if you don't buy.

  • Plaza las Américas, "The Center of it All", biggest mall in the Caribbean, containing more than 300 stores anchored by the world's largest JC Penney, plus Macy's, Lacoste, American Eagle, A|X and Sears. It has a 32 lane bowling alley, a movie theater and restaurants such as Chili's, Macaroni Grill, Margarita's and Tierra del Fuego. If you need or want to visit a good example of a modern, enclosed mall from the U.S. mainland, this won't disappoint.

  • Old San Juan, Shopping in Old San Juan is diverse, with retailers scattered among many narrow streets. Stores include many fine jewelers, arts, crafts and mercantil shops, at least one drug store, and a few branded "outlets". You'll also find numerous cafes and a few fine restaurants. For walkers, the humidity and tropical sun may make the mid-late afternoon temperatures a bit oppressive. Alternatives include going early as stores open (typically 10AM on weekdays) or catching a free trolley winding throughout the area, with opportunities to get off at marked stops wherever desired. The trolley tends to stay very full on afternoons when cruise ships are in.


Spanish is the dominant language in San Juan. English is also widely spoken and understood (approximately one-third of the population speaks English "Very Well" or better according to the 2000 U.S. Census). Most businesses within the tourist area's of the city are fully fluent in English. In addition, English is taught as a foreign language in high school, with most high school students understanding basic English. Be prepared to use some high school level Spanish to transportation drivers to communicate about luggage, restaurants, or anything not a normal tourist spot.


San Juan is a city. Just use common sense when going around. The touristic areas, like the Old City, Condado and Isla Verde tend to be very safe. However, an area call La Perla nestled below the upper part of Old San Juan and the Atlantic has a nasty reputation, especially after dark. (See Old San Juan)

Use caution when riding a bicycle around the city. Because the city has become so popular, traffic has increased and the roads are more crowded. They can be windy and often unpaved. Be sure to pay attention to the roadway on which you are riding and the traffic.

Pedestrians need to use similar caution in Old San Juan. While traffic usually is slower, the streets are narrow, and sidewalks very narrow, sometimes crowded, with occasional trip hazards.

Brothels were shut down in the not too distant past, so those once in their employ have moved to the waiting in front of the hotels. They usually won't harass you, however, if you don't instigate conversation.


  • Old San Juan - The historic part of the city, home to most historic attractions, galleries, museums, and tourist traps.

  • Puerta de Tierra - Situated right in the middle of Old San Juan and Condado, this largely residential area is home to a few hotels and attractions.

  • El Condado - This upscale residential neighborhood is also the beach resort part of the city and has many hotels and restaurants along its main drag, Ashford Ave.

  • Isla Verde - This area of San Juan, more in the city of Carolina than of San Juan itself, is closest to the international airport and has nice beaches and parks.

  • International Convention Center District - now has the new Convention Center, which has a fountain that plays both typical and classical music, and in near-future will have a Sheraton Hotel, among restaurants and shopping centers

  • Hato Rey - the business center, hosting the main banks, the Plaza las Americas (a mall with over 300 stores, featuring a lot of American chains including the worlds largest Sears and JC Penny's), the Hiram Bithor Stadium, Roberto Clemente Colosseum and Coliseo de Puerto Rico

  • Rio Piedras - home of the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico

  • Santurce - a historical part of Puerto Rico and the cultural capital, having two art museums and a performing arts center

  • Miramar - near El Condado, known for expensive and historical houses


  • Ateneo de Puerto Rico (museum) Founded in 1876, it is the largest cultural institution in Puerto Rico. Art contests and classes are held here as well. Hours are Monday through Friday 9:00AM to 4:30PM. (787) 722-4839.

  • Spanish barracks (now museum de Ballaja)

  • La Princesa (former municipal jail, now a history museum) Overlooks San Juan Bay. La Princesa was built in 1837. A beautiful structure that has beautiful landscaping. It is surrounded by a wall and contains many trees, as well as a fountain and a sculpture. Open Monday through Friday from 9:00AM to 4:00PM. (787) 721-2400.

  • Museo del Niño (Children's Museum) at Calle del Cristo 150. Open: Tu-Th 9AM-3:30PM; F 9AM-5PM; Sa-Su 12:30PM-5PM. Through interactive exhibits, children learn simple lessons, such as the benefits of brushing teeth or recycling aluminum cans, or the value of caring properly for pets. Admission $5; $4 children 14 and younger.

  • Felisa Rincón de Gautier Museum:At Calle Clara Lair. Open M-F 9AM-4PM. Felisa Rincón served as the mayor of the city of San Juan for 22 years, between 1946 and 1968. The museum that commemorates her memory is in a 300-year-old building. Free.

  • Museo Nuestras Raíces Africanas( Our African Roots Museum), Plaza San José, Calle San Sebastián. Open Tu-Sa 8:30AM-8:30PM. This museum documents the African contribution to the sociology of Puerto Rico. Admission is $2 for adults; $1 for seniors, children, and students; free for ages 10 and under.

  • Museo de Arte ( Museum of Art), 299 Av. José de Diego, Santurce. Open Tu and Th-Sa 10AM-5PM; W 10AM-8PM; Su 11AM-6PM. Puerto Rico's most important gallery, which opened in 2000 and was constructed at a cost of $55 million, is a state-of-the-art showcase for the island nation's rich cultural heritage. Admission is $6 for adults, $2.50 for seniors, $3 for children under age 12.

  • The Pablo Casals Museum, Calle San Sebastián 101, (787) 723-9185. Tu-Sa 9:30AM-5:30PM. Casals came to Puerto Rico in the 1950s and was the conductor for the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra. The museum contains fottage of his concerts as well as other pictures and manuscripts.

  • Cuartel de Ballaja, (787) 724-5052. M-F 10AM-4PM, Sa,Su 11AM-5PM. Guided tours M-F 10:30AM, 11:30AM, 12:30PM and 2PM. Completed in 1863, and in 1881 a chapel was added. This building originally housed military personnel and is now a museum containing Caribbean and European American arts and artifacts. Free admission.

  • Casa del Libro, (787) 723-0354. Tu-Sa 11AM-4:30PM. A museum holding nearly 5,000 early works of manuscripts and books, some as from as old as the 15th century. This museum is most known for having two royal mandates signed by Ferdinand and Isabella concerning arranging Columbus' fleet for his second voyage. Go to the beach and swim to the boarder where the rope is and lok at the glorious coral reef beneath your feet.


Their are various employers in Puerto Rico. Among them are government, pharmaceutical, and tourist based businesses.

Get out

  • Arecibo - You can go see the Arecibo observatory and Cavernas del Rio Camuy (Camuy River Caverns) in the same day. Arecibo is about one hour west of San Juan.

  • Loiza - On the north coast of Loiza you will find Piñones, a great place to go to the beach and eat some of the best Puerto Rican fried food. Just minutes away from El Condado and Old San Juan.

  • Fajardo - In eastern Puerto Rico a nice trip to make is Las Cabezas de San Juan, a natural reserve, you will have a tour around the place where they will show you the different types of plants in the reserve and then the lighthouse which now serves as a small museum, the place has a spectacular view. Reservation is required.

  • Rio Grande - The Caribbean National Rain Forest or El Yunque is located here, a great place to spend the day with nature, enjoying an awesome view and walking between trees and small rivers. There are many different trails, the La Mina trail affords hikers to swim in a waterfall towards the middle of the trail.

Contact & location

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Open Hospitality, D. Guillaime, Lucia, Jeri Steele, David, Corominas, Caitlin Dreskin, Ashley, Jani Patokallio, Andrew Haggard, Bill Johnson, T Wade, Colin Jensen, Ryan Holliday, Ian Kirk and Evan Prodromou, Texugo, Inas, Msainz, Biggie54, Airin, Jonboy, Pashley, Episteme, Huttite and Eoghanacht

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