San Juan is the capital city of Puerto Rico, a commonwealth territory of the United States. Puerto Rico is located in the northern part of the Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic. San Juan is known to have one of the best waterfronts in the Caribbean and the old part of the city is considered a World Heritage site. Located on a small island on at the north end of the country the islet is connected to the main land by bridges.
See in San Juan
Old San Juan is a must-see while visiting the city. It is located in the colonial section of San Juan and is the oldest settlement in Puerto Rico. The old city settlement is over 500 years old and dates back to the Spanish colonization of the island. Walking through the city you’ll find blue cobblestone roads and old stone and brick constructions.
El Castillo San Felipe del Morro is a 600 year old fortress that has been declared a World Heritage site. It was built to protect the entrance of the San Juan Bay and Old San Juan. It was named after King Philip II of Spain.
El Castillo de San Cristobal is another fort and, as El Castillo San Felipe del Morro was built to defend against sea attacks, it was built to defend against land attacks on San Juan. It has been deemed a National Historic site.
The official residence of the head of the Puerto Rican government is known as La Fortaleza which means ‘The Fortress’. It was built in the 16th century and was also used as a form of protection for San Juan. It is known to be the oldest official mansion in the Americas and has also been declared a World Heritage Site.
San Juan would not be an old Spanish colony without the inclusion of a beautiful church. The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista is a Catholic church in Old San Juan. It is considered one of the oldest buildings in the Americas. The cathedral is home to the tomb of Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer as well as many other important ruins from colonial times.
Things to do in San Juan
San Juan is overrun with great parks to enjoy. One of the great ones is Parque de las Palomas, a place stroll and get a fantastic view of the city and the harbor. You can also view the La Princesa Jail and the mountains from this small park in Old San Juan. The park is full of pigeons taking refuge from the busy streets of the town so do not visit if you’re not a fan of birds.
Check out the Bacardi rum factory to catch a glimpse of the process and attend some rum tastings.
Visit the Teatro Tapia which is one of the oldest theaters in the Americas. It has been the center of culture in the city for generations and still holds many events like plays, ballets and concerts.
The Beaches of San Juan
There is no reason to travel to the Caribbean without checking out the beaches. In San Juan, Condado and Isla Verde have the best, most popular beaches.
Ocean Park beach is a wonderful beach lined with palm trees that provide that amazing Caribbean feel. It’s a great beach for water sports, kite surfing and swimming. Though it is in a residential area of homes that line the beach, you will find beachfront restaurants and bars for a seaside meal.
The Condado beach goes on for miles and is always packed. The beach is lined with resorts and a good place for tourists to stay and enjoy fun in the sun.
Isla Verde extends for miles and is in fact a series of beaches. These beaches are also home to resorts and luxury hotels and apartments. It’s a great place to enjoy the pleasures of a tropical day in the sun: tanning, swimming, parasailing, waterskiing, surfing and much more.
Have fun learning about Puerto Rico’s history, taking in the sun on the beach - enjoy your trip to San Juan!