If you are thinking of traveling to San Juan, Puerto Rico, you are in the right place. San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, located in Central America and still under the auspices of the USA, is located on the oceanfront in the northern part of the country facing the Atlantic Ocean. It is northeast of the Caribbean Gulf.
This largest city in Puerto Rico is the most important and beautiful port city of the Caribbean Islands. Thousands of tourists visit San Juan each year, both by cruise ships and by other means. Its magnificent colonial architecture, cobblestone streets and colorful houses in the Old San Juan District, its oceanfront location and natural parks are very influential in this regard.
Founded by Juan Ponce de Leon in 1521, the city of San Juan was exposed to pirate attacks by Europeans for many years. To protect them, two large castles, which can still be seen today, were built in the city and walls were built. After the region was under the domination of the Spanish for a long time, in the war between the USA and Spain in 1898, the country came under the domination of the USA. It is still under the domination of the USA.
Being a port city, its economic situation is good. Cruise ships dock at the port throughout the year. In addition, tobacco, sugar, and fruit are exported. The climate in San Juan is tropical. The annual average temperature is 27 degrees. However, it is sometimes seen that this temperature exceeds 32 degrees, especially in summer. In winter, temperatures drop to 16 degrees Celsius. Spring is the best time to go to San Juan, as summers are mostly rainy in the city.
Where Is San Juan?
San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico in Central America, is located on the oceanfront in the northern part of the country facing the Atlantic Ocean. It is northeast of the Caribbean Gulf.
There are plenty of places to stay in San Juan. The best ones are SOKZO Miramar, Comfy 2BR in Condado. Short Walk to the Beach., ESJ Tower 1672. You can try Verde By The Beach Guest House, Walking Distance to Food Truck Park, Restaurant Viby Nightlife – Studio, San Juan Home, Home San Juan. Also, Booking.com’s San Juan searches occasionally find good discount deals on hotels.
When to go to San Juan
The climate in San Juan is tropical. The annual average temperature is 27 degrees. However, it is sometimes seen that this temperature exceeds 32 degrees, especially in summer. In winter, temperatures drop to 16 degrees Celsius. Spring is the best time to travel to San Juan, as summers are mostly rainy in the city.
Where to Stay in San Juan, Puerto Rico
In the city of San Juan, tourists mostly stay in the Condada or Isla Verde Areas. Those who want to be intertwined with history should prefer the Old San Juan District. While the majority of the hotels have modern designs, some of them serve in buildings with colonial architecture.
Places to Visit in San Juan
Let us share with you some of the things you need to know when traveling to San Juan. San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, has many places to visit in terms of both architectural and cultural assets and natural assets. Best places to visit in San Juan:
- Plaza Armas,
- San Juan National Historic Site,
- San Juan Bautista Cathedral,
- Puerto Rico Art Museum,
- Cortado Beach,
- Isla Verde,
- San Jose Church,
- Casa Blanca,
- Fortin de San Geronimo,
- Isla de Cabras,
- Jose Miguel Agrilot Coliseum
Old San Juan
The Old San Juan is the second-oldest city in the Caribbean, after the capital of the Dominican Republic, Santo Domingo. There are around 400 colonial buildings from the 16th and 17th centuries in the region, which has a history of approximately 500 years. Today, all of these have been restored and integrated into San Juan’s daily life.
All the buildings are in different colors, and most of them are two-storied. The wooden and iron works in the buildings immediately draw attention. Some of them have balconies decorated with flowers. Although the streets are narrow, they do not spoil the aesthetics of the buildings because they are all in the style of cobblestone.
In terms of traffic, each street works in one direction. Due to the parking problem, vehicles occupied one sidewalk of the streets. However, on some special days the streets are closed to traffic. Historic San Juan consists of seven square blocks. You do not need to rent a car to tour the area. It’s easy to get around on foot, there’s also a free tram running in the area. But the best way to travel is to walk.
A part of this area, where you will enjoy every street of it when you walk, is surrounded by a thick and high wall that starts from the walking area on the beach called Paseo dela Princesa, close to the port. For this reason, it was called the “Walled City” for a while. On the sea-facing part of the wall, a large stone-clad door was created. This gate, which was started to be built in the 1700s, is called the “City Gate”.
Paseo dela Princesa, on the beach; a promenade full of trees, benches, statues, streetlamps. It is a sparkling promenade where families and their children have fun under the lights, especially in the evenings.
El Yunque National Forest
To see one of the most magnificent rainforests in the world, you have to go outside of San Juan and go to the Rio Grande region in an hour’s drive by car. Pay attention to the speed limit on the roads when going to the El Yunque National Forest, there are high fines.
El Yunque National Forest is a very beautiful sightseeing spot with its lush nature. Do not forget to go to Yokahu Tower in the forest and visit the waterfalls. You can also observe the animals of this magnificent nature on site. The endemic fauna of this place includes parrots, blackbirds and mongooses.
It is known that about 240 species of trees and plants live in these forests. The peculiarity of this forest, called El Yunque (El Yunki), is that it is also very humid; That’s why the trees are wet when you touch them.
At the same time, these forests are a paradise for colorful parrots and tiny Coque frogs. Coque frogs are already considered sacred on the island. The trinkets of the little heroes believed to bring good luck can be found on the counters of almost every souvenir shop.
Another feature of El Yunque is that it is the only rainforest in the Caribbean Region. A kind of natural beauty that you cannot see in the rest of the Caribbean awaits you in San Juan.
When you go down from San Cristobal Castle in the Old City, Plaza Colón will appear in the wide area between San Francisco and Fortaleza Street. A large bronze statue of Christopher Columbus surrounded by fountains is placed in the middle of the square. The statue was erected to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery of the city.
Tapia Theater is located on the south side of Plaza Colón and on Fortaleza Street. The horseshoe-shaped theater was built in 1824. The hall inside can seat 700 people. It hosts ballet, concerts, theater and other activities. It is named after Puerto Rican playwright and pioneer of modern art, Alejandro Tapid y Rivera. On the corner where Fortaleza Street turns into Capilla Alley Street, there is Casa del Libro, the Casa del Callejon Building, which has been converted into the 19th century Puerto Ricon Familia y Farmacia Museum.
Historic San Juan has many squares. La Barrandilla Square, one of the squares frequently encountered in various parts of this historic district, is on San Francisco Street. Around the square, Carlos Albizu University, next to it Salvador Brau Square, and the Brau and Toribio Monuments rise in the square.
Heading west from San Francisco Street and at the intersection with Cruz Street, you will encounter Armas Square. Armas Square is the main square of historic San Juan. City Hall is also here. The building was built in 1602, similar to the one in Madrid. The imposing building between San Jose and Cristo Street, the back street of the square, is the San Juan Cathedral.
The cathedral is the second oldest cathedral in this region after the one in Santo Domingo (Dominican Republic). The cathedral was first built in 1521, and after it was destroyed, it was rebuilt in 1549… In the following years, it suffered many hurricanes, fires and arson, and took its present form in 1917. The most magnificent weddings of the city were held here. Inside is the marble tomb of Ponce de Leon.
Castillo San Cristobal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro
Castillo San Cristobal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro, located in the old San Juan area, are huge structures that must be seen. We can say that it is big enough to take at least half a day. Castillo San Felipe del Morro, one of these castles, which is accepted as a world historical heritage and protected by UNESCO, was built in 1539 after San Jua was founded by the Spanish in 1521. The construction of Castillo San Cristobal was completed in 1783. Although both castles were attacked by many ships in their history, they were built strong enough to stand for centuries.
The view is breathtaking from the watchtowers of Castillo San Cristobal. Breathe deeply into the infinity of the ocean, its idyllic beaches, Old San Juan, and the new San Juan with its modern buildings in the towers. The streets of San Juan are made up of colorfully painted old-style houses and Spanish-inspired buildings.
It is noteworthy that there are colorful flowers on the balconies of the houses that are connected to each other. Especially in the Old San Juan area, since the number of cars is very few, the surroundings are very calm and the life of pedestrians is very easy. In short, while you’ve been to see the two forts, be sure to wander the colonial streets of Old San Juan.
Hotels, restaurants, souvenir shops, shops etc. are all in this vicinity. In this touristic center where the old buildings of the old city are preserved in San Juan; there are really nice restaurants and bars; just be aware that this area is a bit crowded on saturday evenings.
Transportation San Juan
When you travel to San Juan, you should also know how to get there. Buses are the most used public transport in San Juan. Maps where you can find bus routes can be obtained from hotels or tourist offices. But keep in mind that you will encounter a lot of heavy traffic in the city. It will be useful to calculate the time you will allocate to the places you will go accordingly.
Buses run from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays. On weekends, the start time is 5.30. There are three bus numbers which are useful for tourists. 5: From Old San Juan to Santurce, Ocean Park and Isla Verde. 21: Reaches Ashford Avenue from downtown Condado, downtown San Juan, Hato Rey and Plaza Las Americas Mall. Number 52 goes from the Convention Center area to the ocean shore.
The Old San Juan District is very convenient for walking. However, when you are tired, you have the chance to take the trams that provide free service. There are also minibuses called “publicos” in the city, but they are very crowded. Taxis do not have a fixed price system. While taximeters are used in some regions, passengers are taken at fixed prices in some regions.
San Juan Cuisine
Your trip to San Juan continues, if you can’t decide what to eat, then it’s time to talk about what to eat in San Juan. Puerto Rican cuisine is a combination of the culinary habits of the indigenous Taino people, the Spaniards who ruled the country for a long time, and the African region. The most important feature of the cuisine, which was also influenced by the American cuisine, which took over the administration of the country, is the use of cereals and legumes, herbs and spices, vegetables, all kinds of meat and fruits.
Among the main courses, the most popular are “mofongo”, “arroz con gandules”, “pasteles” and roast pork. The most popular fish dish is mojo isleno. The most famous desserts are rice pudding, “piraguas”, “brazo gitanos”, “tembleque”, “polvorones” and “dulce de leche”.
Tropical plant roots, such as “taro” and especially “Yuca”, which come from the food culture of the indigenous Taino people, have an important place in the cuisine. The bread called Casabe is made from Yuca. Many ingredients, such as pineapple, peanuts, pumpkin, extremely hot ajicito or cachucha peppers, are Taino influences.
Popular restaurants: Al Dente, Café Puerto Rico, Luigi’s Restaurant, Ostra Cosa, Pamela’s Caribbean Cuisine, Ramiro’s, Tierra del Fuego.
Tip: Tips are often included in Puerto Rican restaurants. If not, it would be appropriate to leave a tip between 18-22 percent of the account.
Shopping in San Juan
Wouldn’t you like to beautify your San Juan trip with shopping? San Juan, a port city, has many shopping districts and shops. There are rows of shops in and around Friday Harbor, which is frequented by cruise ships. And as you can imagine, they sell local products that will attract tourists. These include clothing, jewelry, masks or specially patterned boxes.
The place where the heart of the city beats in terms of shopping is the area stretching from Spring Street to Argryle Street. Apart from these regions, there are shopping centers and shops around Condado and Isla Verde, which are frequently preferred by tourists visiting the city. In the Old San Juan District, it is possible to find shops selling touristic and special objects on many streets here, as more tourists visit and shop.
San Juan Nightlife
We can say that the most active nightlife of the country is experienced in San Juan. The fact that it is a touristic area and has a port has been very effective in this regard. The concept of entertainment in the city is not only with bars or nightclubs, but there are also many venues where dance performances or different shows are held.
There are many nightclubs and bars around Condado and Isla Verde, which are frequented by tourists visiting the city. Special parties or DJ nights are organized especially on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights.
The places where you can sit a little more calmly and intertwined with history are located in Old San Juan compared to this region. In this region, you can try La Taberna Lúpulo, where you can find British, Belgian or German beers, Punto de Vista Restaurant, which is famous for its cocktails, and Pieria Restaurant & Lounge, which turns into a bar and club after dinner. When you travel to San Juan, do not leave without tasting the nightlife!
San Juan Festivals
- Noches de Galerias (first Tuesday of every month from February to May and September to December)
- Noche de San Juan Bautista (June)
- Festival de la Calle de San Sebastían (June-July)
- Santurce es Ley (September)
- Heineken Jazz Festival (April-May)
- Feria de Artesanias (June)
- Puerto Rico Music Festival (November)
- Aibonito Flower Festival (June)
- Sugar Harvest Festival (April)
- Casals Classical Music Festival (February)
- World Salsa Congress (July)
Useful Information for San Juan
- Emergency assistance: 911
- Fire: 911
- Police: 911
San Juan Currency
The currency of the city of San Juan, located in Puerto Rico under the auspices of the USA, is the American Dollar (USD).
San Juan Official Language
What languages do you need to know when traveling to San Juan? The official languages of San Juan, located within the borders of Puerto Rico, are Spanish and English.