"Incredible Old San Juan" Puerto Rico by vabchtraveler

Puerto Rico Travel Guide: 2,420 reviews and 6,492 photos

Make it More than a One-day Stay

The cruise ships dock and past and future cruisers shuttle from SJU to their ship. What a shame! Do yourself a favor and schedule 2 days in Old San Juan before or after your cruise. It is after all - one of your scheduled islands.

I like to stay in the Old City so I can wander the 300-year-old blue cobblestone streets in the 500-year-old city. There are several very nice hotels and B&Bs to make your stay memorable. My preference is Caleta 64, the Sheraton OSJ, or El Convento. All 3 will add an exotic, tropical flavor to your stay. There's so much history to see with the old buildings and forts, and the architecture of the buildings just takes your breath away - the detail, the color, the interesting doors, the bougainvillea spilling out over the balconies and roofs. The shops are full of fun souvenirs and also fine, handmade crafts. Check out Mi Pequeno San Juan, The Butterfly People, and Puerto Rico Arts and Crafts to name but a few.

And the food!!! Mallocas and cafe con leche at La Bombonera or Cafe Mallorca, local criollo fare at El Jibarito's, pina coladas and flamenco at La Barrachina. Sidewalk cafes spring up as night begins to fall. There are so many good restaurants, tapas bars, clubs - your mind will boggle with opportunity.

Stroll the streets on a Sunday and be blessed by the strong voices emanating from the churches. Or, just sit on a bench in the park at the Children's Museum and let the Mass from San Juan Catedral flow over you.

Go through the last remaining gate of San Juan and wander beside the bay down the Paseo de la Princesa - see gorgeous statuary and the beautiful, moving Las Raices fountain. Come down by the port to the food vendors and local crafters to look at their wares and maybe grab a piragua (icee) to cool you as you admire and shop.

Yes, San Juan is incredible! Treat yourself!!

  • Last visit to Puerto Rico: Dec 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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