Best things to do in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Happy almost weekend day! Who’s ready for Spring here? I know I am! To kick start my spring, I headed to the Caribbean for some much needed vitamin sea. I was on the look out for a quick and easy getaway, leaving behind my passport and ended up picking the beautiful San Juan, Puerto Rico!
Now I know what you are thinking, yes Hurricane Maria did cause widespread destruction to the island, however, they have done an amazing job recovering and things are back to normal for the most part in a lot of the areas. Keep reading to find out why San Juan, Puerto Rico needs to be your next destination!
Puerto Rico is known worldwide for its amazing beaches. Whether you visit Ocean Park beach, one of the local beach or hop on a ferry ride to one of the most stunning beach in the world, Flamenco beach and trust me you are not going to be disappointed. There are 5 ways to get from Ocean Park to Culebra beach which are by taxi, ferry, bus or a plane. A plane is the fastest option whereas a bus & ferry are the most inexpensive ways to get there. Keep in mind, spots are very limited as is parking if you are driving, so plan to get there early. You can also conveniently book a tour with East Island Excursions and let them worry about getting you there and back home. You are taken to the island on a speed boat where you can then snorkel or just enjoy the sunshine. Lunch and drinks are provided on the boat.
One of my favorite things to do while at the beach in addition to enjoying the sunshine is listening to music on my Ancord speaker. It is extremely lightweight, does not require batteries and is easy to carry anywhere you go. Check out Amazon to get yours.
STROLL THE STREETS OF OLD SAN JUAN
Old San Juan is a 465- year-old neighborhood originally conceived as a military stronghold. There is a free trolley that transports people around, however, according to me the best way to explore the streets of Old San Juan is by foot. Stroll around the cobblestone streets while getting lost in the colorful streets. Make sure you wear comfortable shoes, check out my how to mark your footprints instyle guide for some stylist and comfortable shoes.
As you fully submerge yourself into the beauty of the town, refresh yourself with some fresh coconut water or pina colada or grab lunch from one of the many restaurants. You can also book a walking food tour from Airbnb and learn about the history of the town while you satisfy your taste buds! The town also has many shops where you can find some unique pieces of jewelry and thousands of picture opportunities.
PARTY LIKE THE LOCALS AT LA PLACITA
If you are looking for a night out or party where the locals do, then head down to La Placita in San Juan. Known as the hottest nightlife scene of San Juan, this plaza has several bars and restaurants that are open late hours, you can also enjoy some good music at this lively neighborhood. Centered around the historical Plaza de Mercado which is a farmer’s market during the day, the nightlife is happening from Wednesdays- Sunday.
Castillo San Cristobal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro were built by Spain to protect San Juan against land attacks in the 16th-17th centuries. Spend a day learning the history and the important role San Juan played over the last few centuries before becoming a United States territory. Castillo San Cristobal is also the biggest European fortification in the Americas. The tickets are under $10 each for adults and if you purchase your ticket at one fort, you can bring the same receipt back to the other fort for a free entry within 24 hours. Check out the San Juan website for more information on how to visit the forts here. You can also get some amazing views of Old San Juan and the ocean from the observatories at the forts.
I have been around the world, but never tasted anything like the local food in Puerto Rico. Not an exaggeration! When looking for places to eat. I usually just ask the locals when I get to my destination, I like discovering places of the beaten path and definitely away from the touristy areas. That is exactly what happened here. After several conversations with my amazing Airbnb hostess and Uber drivers, I found some of the hidden gems in San Juan all the way from fine dining such as Santaella Restaurant to food trucks. Everywhere I went, the food was delicious, my favorite had to be the croquetas filled with rice and beans. Yum!
PRO TIP: Cab drivers and Uber drivers are usually very knowledgeable about their areas and I have found them to be the best sources of information when in a new area. Have a conversation with them the next time you take a ride.
This is my experience from visiting San Juan last week. I was there for a short period, however, can’t wait to go back. I would love to hear your thoughts!