"San Juan, Puerto Rico" Top 5 Page for this destination San Juan by starship
San Juan Travel Guide: 701 reviews and 2,284 photos
I first visited San Juan in the later 1980's when we sailed from the wharfs in Old San Juan twice on the old Cunard Countess. Although a somewhat "strange new land", San Juan failed to leave a lasting image on my memory except for the sight of El Morro rising above San Juan Bay. I vaguely remember "El Yunque Rainforest" and Loquillo Beach."
When another cruise we were taking was also scheduled to port in San Juan, my husband and I thought it would be good to concentrate, this time with our children in tow, on a self-guided, walking tour of Old San Juan! One thing I definitely will remember on the occasion of this visit will be the sight of Christmas decorations in the public plazas in November under the blazing sun and the 89 degree temperature!
Fortunately this time around we were able to do quite a bit of exploring in the narrow little lanes with cobblestone streets and it was quite pleasant. It was very scenic along the waterfront. It would also have been a beautiful day just to enjoy the beaches if you were so inclined!
The Taino Indians ruled the island when Christopher Columbus "discovered" and claimed the island for Spain in 1493, and named it San Juan Bautista in honor of St. John the Baptist. At one point in history, the name San Juan came to be regarded as the name of the town only while the name "Puerto Rico "(rich port) settled on that of the island as a whole. Today, Old San Juan is considered to be that which lies in the castle walls from Fort San Cristobal on the east to the turrets of El Morro on the west and which is roughly comprised of 7 square blocks.
During the 400 year domination of the island, the Spanish left their imprint on the language, architecture and religion of the people there. The Spanish built fortresses, churches, roadways and cultivated the island. When the Spanish imported slaves from Africa to work in the fields, Puerto Rico became a point at which the confluence of the 3 cultures (Spanish, Indian and African) blended together to give Puerto Rico the character it enjoys today.
Puerto Rico has been part and parcel of the United States since 1898 and inhabitants were given U.S. citizenry in 1917. Puerto Rico became a self-governing U.S. Commonwealth in 1952.
- Pros:Spanish flavor in architecture & food! Beaches & Rainforest!
- Cons:Watch out for careless drivers, Safety Concerns!
A few pieces of general information might help make planning for your trip to Puerto Rico easier, so I have added a few... more travel advice
While walking around the old streets and neighborhoods of San Juan, you'll undoubtedly notice the blue cobblestone... more travel advice
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