"La Ciudad del Encanto" Top 5 Page for this destination San Juan by Jefie

San Juan Travel Guide: 756 reviews and 2,581 photos

The city of San Juan was officially established in 1521, making it one of the oldest cities in all of the Americas. As you stroll down the streets of Old San Juan, you can't help but be amazed at the five centuries of history that have been so beautifully preserved. Originally a Spanish colony, Puerto Rico was ceded to the United States in 1898 at the end of the Spanish-American War. Today, the island remains an independent territory of the United States. As such, San Juan is a pretty unique place to visit in the Caribbeans: the capital city offers all the comforts and amenities of its "big brother", but has still managed to retain a distinct Latin atmosphere and culture. You'll notice it in the general attitude of Puerto Ricans, who are are incredibly warm and friendly (except when they're driving!), and also in the delicious local dishes and drinks!!

San Juan is one of the major ports in the Caribbeans and, for this reason, many visitors only spend a day or two in the city before embarking on a cruise ship. Since the Old San Juan area is fairly small and easy to get around, a few hours will no doubt allow you to hit some of the city's major attractions. However, the San Juan area does have a lot to offer to visitors who are lucky enough to be staying for a longer period - we couldn't even fit it all into 5 days! In the end, on top of visiting Old San Juan and relaxing by the pool, we decided to go hiking in the El Yunque rainforest, we went kayaking at night in the bioluminescent bay of Fajardo, and we visited the Bacardi rum factory. We left the island thinking that we could not have picked a better spot for a quick escape from our Canadian winter!

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:The weather, history, culture, architecture, nature & food!
  • Cons:Many really, really bad drivers
  • In a nutshell:A surprisingly great Caribbean experience!
  • Last visit to San Juan: Feb 2010
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (39)

Comments (14)

  • garridogal's Profile Photo
    Dec 8, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Great tips and photos. I recently spent a day in San Juan, before a cruise, and fell in love with the city!

  • riorich55's Profile Photo
    Jul 26, 2011 at 6:27 AM

    Isa, Obviously I've found and read some of your reviews. As we are only here less then 24 hours we won't get to do or see a lot.

  • Nemorino's Profile Photo
    Jul 23, 2011 at 7:47 AM

    Nice tips on Puerto Rico! It is certainly funny that the first thing most passengers see when they get off their ship to explore the city is a huge Senior Frog's restaurant. I can understand why the locals are not big fans of C. Columbus.

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Dec 15, 2010 at 8:16 PM

    Excellent information Isa, I'm looking forward to seeing a bit more of San Juan when we return.

  • May 24, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    Next time try Caficultura at 401 Calle San Francisco. Best coffee ever!

  • Mikebb's Profile Photo
    Apr 6, 2010 at 4:58 PM

    Excellent page Isa, would love to visit South america, but a huge flight from OZ. I envy your visit to the rainforest. Just back from 3 weeks in Thailand.

  • breughel's Profile Photo
    Mar 28, 2010 at 2:03 AM

    Well written and informative tips (as usual for you). I have made the experience of bioluminescent waters when kayaking over here on the estuary of a river. Fantastic effect!

  • hunterV's Profile Photo
    Mar 13, 2010 at 8:35 AM

    Hello, Isa! Thanks for your wonderful page!...

  • Dester's Profile Photo
    Mar 4, 2010 at 8:40 AM

    All of your tips make a great read Isa, but I love your description of the bioluminescent bay, sounds other-worldly.

  • Zajem's Profile Photo
    Feb 28, 2010 at 3:01 AM

    Thank you for your email and sharing your experience and tips with others. I ejoyed reading them!;-) Eman.


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