San Juan, Puerto Rico.

July 16, 2020

 What is there to do in  San Juan?

  • Visit Old San Juan for the colorful buildings.

  • Visit La Placita. A locals favorite place to drink for bar hopping in the street and dance outside.

  • Cueve Ventana is a large situated a top of a limestone cliff in Areccibe about an hour away but an instagramable view!

  • Go to Viejo San Juan for 16th century fort & cool cocktail bars.

  • Hike in Cañon blanco Utuado with a scenic view of waterfalls. It’s about an hour and 45 minutes away but rent your own car! It’s cheaper than a tour and you have your own freedom to wander!

  • Visit the largest Spainish fort built in the New World. “Castillo de San Cristóbal

  • Visit the protective park with colonial-era forts. “Sitio I Historico de San Juan. "

  • Visit El Yunque tropical National Rainforest for the best hiking & zip lining. it’s about a 45 minute drive from San Juan. 

  • Visit La Marquesa Forest for Zip-lining.

  • Visit the island of Culebra. You'll find some of the most clearest waters here! Its a lesser known gem that you'll fall in love with since many tourist don't crowd the beaches here!

  • Visit Vieques Island and its bioluminescent bays! If you don't know what a bioluminescent bay is, its a tiny micro organisms that make the water light up at night and its a sight to see! Theres only 5 destination in the world where you can see this and PR has 3 bays!

  • Haitian Gallery- Art Museum 

  • Para la Naturaleza- Nature and protected area 

  • Faro del Castillo San Felipe del Morro- A lighthouse with a beautiful view.

  • Ron Del Barrilito- Alcohol manufacturer

  • La Casa Estrecha- Is a Historical landmark

  • Puerto Rican Flag Door Historical Location

Beaches

  • Isla Verde Beach- My favorite beach with calm was with soft sand. Perfect for family travelers. Has a street full of restaurants and shops.

  • Carolina Public Beach- Clear waters but the waters are a little stronger on this side. Has a street full of restaurants and shops.

  • Pine Grove Surfing Beach- Perfect for surfing.

  • La Posita-Sandy Atlantic beach with a coral wall.

 

Where to stay in San Juan? 

 

Old San Juan

Is a top area most travelers like to stay in. This neighborhood is beautiful and romantic with colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, Spanish forts, dining, shopping, and more. Everything you need is right here, expect the beach. Old San Juan is a safe area but the hotels can get a little pricey.

 

Isla Verde
Is where we love to stay when visiting PR. Its only about a 7-minute drive to the airport and in our option has the best tourist beaches with calm waters that are great for kids. You'll find a ton of restaurants and shopping along the strip here. Isla Verde is overall laid back that's an affordable area to stay in.

 

Condado
If you're traveling to PR to party then Condado is the right area for you. You'll find a ton of daytime beach parties & nightlife all year round. It's only a 15-minute walk from old san Juan and La Placita(a popular place to visit).  There's also a ton of dining and shopping options on the strip. We stayed in Condado before and loved how centrally located the area was!

 

Ocean Park
Is known to be one of the safest areas to travel to as a tourist. Its a more upscale residential neighborhood with clean beaches and fewer crowds. Most Airbnbs go for about $35 per night. The only downside to this area is that is you don't have a car then you'll spend some bucks on taxis to nightlife and more options for dining.

 

Rio Grande

Is an area known for its luxury beach resorts with private beaches! Expect to spend some money $$ if you choose to stay in this area. Its neighborhood is also home to the famous El Yunque National Rainforest. 

 

 Where I stayed in San Juan?

 

The first Airbnb I stayed at was in Isla Verde where I recommend staying! We loved this area and it was super convent and had the calm beaches! Restaurants, local stores, and shopping is also located here. Airbnb no longer has the listing I stayed at in Isla Verde but you can check around the area if you choose to stay in this area!

 

The second Airbnb I stayed at was in Carolina which I also loved but the beach waves weren't as calm and kid friendly as Isla Verde or else I would have fell in love with Carolina as well. To book the Airbnb we stayed in click the link. 

 

Never tried AirBnB before? You can get up to $55 off your stay through my link.​

 

Spend the night in a tree house at Yuquiyu Tree House Farm

  • Yuquiyú is a rustic retreat in the foothills of Puerto Rico’s El Yunque rainforest. 

  • Surrounded by a tropical garden with a cascading river, each treehouse has an iconic view of El Yunque Peak. 

  • It’s owned by a black Puerto Rican ! Support black businesses 🖤 #BLM

  • Yuquiyu farm is adult old farm. Sorry for the family travelers out there but it’s just for safety reasons. 

  • Yes, your Cellular device still works on the farm but your excluded enough to get away from civilization. 

  • Yuquiyu Farm is a required two night minimum stay.

  • All food is freshly picked from the farm and made to order. My favorite snacks from the menu was the freshly squeeze juices & a special homemade recipe with hummus & peta bread. 

 

How to get to your destination from the airport?

Taxi

Taxis can be expensive, with rates from the airport to Condado, Old San Juan, and Isla Verde starting at $15. Its about a 15 minute drive to City of San Juan from the airport.

 

Uber

is a safe and more affordable way to navigate the city. 

New with Uber? Sign up and use my code for a discount(link):jessica43008ui

 

Rent a Car

Renting a car is the most ideal way to get around this small island if you plan on exploring. It gives you the flexibility to move around when you chose. When renting a car, make sure you have a GPS in the car to avoid difficulties getting around. If you do plan to drive away from the city beware that many roads are still damaged during Hurricane Maria. Also, be sure to carry a bit of cash on you; many areas require you to pay for parking or tolls, and oftentimes cash is the only way to do so.

 

How to get around San Juan?

Rent a Car

Renting a car is the most ideal way to get around this small island if you plan on exploring. It gives you the flexibility to move around when you chose. When renting a car, make sure you have a GPS in the car to avoid difficulties getting around. If you do plan to drive away from the city beware that many roads are still damaged during Hurricane Maria. Also, be sure to carry a bit of cash on you; many areas require you to pay for parking or tolls, and oftentimes cash is the only way to do so.

 

Uber

is a safe and more affordable way to navigate the city. 

New with Uber? Sign up and use my code for a discount(link):jessica43008ui

 

By foot

This option is only realistic if your staying in the areas of Condado, Isla Verde, or Ocean Park, or Old San Juan. Everything you need is located in the area; restaurants, shopping, nightlife, the beach, and more.

 

Old San Juan Trolley Ride

The route to El Morro has some great views as it takes you up from the cruise ship piers out along past the Capitol Building, up towards San Cristobal Fort and along to El Morro Fort. You can jump on and off at the various stop.The best part is that its FREE. The only downside is that its sometimes hard to find a seat, so you may have to wait for the next one!

 

Bus

If you have time and not in a rush taking the bus is a lower cost option than taking a taxi. You can flag down a bus and hop on wherever you see one of the many green & white “P A R A D A” bus stop signs along the street or hop on one at the Old San Juan main bus terminal or at the airport. The bus here is also referred to as "guaguas."

 

The base fare is $1.50. Buses usually run from about 5 a.m. until 8 or 9 p.m. (depending on the route and day of the week)

The A5, which travels from Old San Juan to Isla Verde, and the B21, which runs between Old San Juan, Condado, and the Plaza Las Américas Mall in Hato Rey.

 

Ferry

Get on a water taxi(ferry) that travels to and from Old San Juan and Cataño for the Casa Bacardi Distillery tour, used by locals for job commuting. If your traveling to the Bacardi distillery this is the cheapest way to get here. You can also take your car on the ferry across.

 

When to travel to San Juan? 

 

The best time to visit Puerto Rico is from mid-April to June, right after the busy winter season and just before the rainy summer.

The rainy season or hurricane is consisted July-November.

 

Spring weather is also very pleasant, barely escaping the mid-80s on most days.

 

We traveled to San Juan a few times in July. These months are fairly cheap. A few years back when we traveled to PR in August, we experienced some rain showers. During the rainy season its more of a tropical rain storm. Its rains in the early morning but by the time you go outside the sun is shining. 

 

 Where to eat in San Juan?

  • Marilyns Place- For the best place to grab a Mojito.

  • Playa Papaya Juice Shop- Is where the famous Puerto Rican chair is with its flag.

  • Go to Viejo San Juan for 16th century fort & cool cocktail bars.

  • Visit La Placita. A locals favorite place to drink for bar hopping in the street and dance outside. You'll find many food options on the strip. 

  • Bistro Cafe- The best cafe to grab breakfast! Be prepared there is a wait most days!

  • Pizza City- Happy hour is form 3-11pm everyday with great food!

  • Waiters

  • Triana

  • Bebos- My favorite restaurant in PR.

  • Boronia- This restaurant had the best steak mofongo ever! If I found this place sooner I would eat here everyday!

  • Kioskos are street food stalls and vendors! The are the best place to get the most local and most affordable food for your wallet!

What language is spoken in  San Juan?

 

Spanish and English.

Traveling to Puerto is a great country to visit as a first time traveler that doesn't speak Spanish. Puerto Rico is a U.S territory where most people speak English and can pick up a few phases in Spanish to learn.

 

Currency?

 $$ US dollar.

 

Learn basic San Juan. 

 

Buenos días — Good morning

Buenas tardes — Good afternoon

Buenas noches — Good evening / Good night

¿Cómo estás? — How are you? (informal)

Muy bien — Very well

Mi nombre es — My name is

¡Muchas gracias! — Thank you very much!

¡De nada! — You’re welcome! / No problem!

Por favor — Please (generally used at the end of a sentence)

¡Perdon! — Excuse me!

¡Disculpe! — Excuse me! (to apologize in advance for being a bit of a bother)

¡Lo siento! — Sorry! (to apologize for a mistake)

 

 

Things you should know when traveling to  San Juan?

  • Americans can leave their passports at home. PR is a U.S. territory and if your a U.S citizen there is no need for a passport to visit! Just make sure you have a REAL ID with a star at the top before traveling.

  • The legal drinking age is 18.

  • You can use your U.S. dollars. PR is a commonwealth of the US so you can use your dollar here! 

  • No need to purchase pocket wifi here! If your from the US, your cellphone service should work!

  • PR is heavily influenced by the U.S. If you're a first time traveler out the country PR might be a great introductory to travel. You'll find the same US fast-food chains, department stores, car rerental companies, and more.

  • PR isn't as cheap as you think it is. Most Caribbean island are cheap when traveling to but Puerto Rico faces extra challenges set forth by U.S shipping regulations, which mean you'll pay high taxes here!

  • Post-Hurricane Maria - Although it’s been a few years since Hurricane Maria devastated the island, Puerto Rico is still struggling to get back on its feet in many ways, particularly outside of San Juan. Most of El Yunque is still closed, with only a few short trails open at this time. PR is still open for tourist and needs it to fully recover! Most things you are looking forward to do here are open!

Is San Juan kid-friendly? Things to do with kids?

 

Without a doubt, San Juan is kid-friendly! It’s laid back and relaxing! There are so many activities for the kids & yourself to enjoy together on this beautiful island!

  • Have a spa date and get your nails done at Manzana Studio.

  • Altitude Trampoline Park

  • El Morro Fort- This site offers space to run around and explore this beautiful historical fort. On the 3rd Sunday of each month, kids can check out the interactive storytelling and canon firing that takes place between 10am – 3pm

  • Plaza Centennial- is a large open plaza means your kids can run and play without worrying about the traffic. It also has water spouts that shoot water into the air for the perfect spot to cool down.
  • Old San Juan Trolley Ride- The route to El Morro has some really great views as it takes you up from the cruise ship piers out along past the Capitol Building, up towards San Cristobal Fort and along to El Morro Fort. You can jump on and off at the various stop! The best part is that its FREE. The only downside is that its sometimes hard to find a seat, so you may have to wait for the next one!

 

"Obstacles are the cost of greatness."

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