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Overview

Puerto Rico's sprawling capital city is home to half the island's population. After a period of decline, the city of the vida loca vibe is back. Old San Juan shines after a recent renaissance. The historic quarter is replete with cobbled streets lined with centuries-old cathedrals, mansions, and castles. The narrow streets are packed with fantastic shops — from trendy boutiques to quality galleries — and a walking tour is richly rewarding. Beyond the old city, the new art museum is first rate. The restaurant scene is world class. A crop of trendy hotels has opened in Condado-Isla Verde, the fabulous beach strip where the young and hip ...

Puerto Rico's sprawling capital city is home to half the island's population. After a period of decline, the city of the vida loca vibe is back. Old San Juan shines after a recent renaissance. The historic quarter is replete with cobbled streets lined with centuries-old cathedrals, mansions, and castles. The narrow streets are packed with fantastic shops — from trendy boutiques to quality galleries — and a walking tour is richly rewarding. Beyond the old city, the new art museum is first rate. The restaurant scene is world class. A crop of trendy hotels has opened in Condado-Isla Verde, the fabulous beach strip where the young and hip come to see and be seen. And Grammy winners Marc Anthony, Ricky Martin and J. Lo have helped give San Juan's salsa caliente nightlife a boost in recent years. The city is also known as former home of cellist Pablo Casals and maintains a rich orchestral tradition, hosted foremost at the Luis A. Ferré Performing Arts Center. And no visit is complete without a visit to the nearby Bacardi factory. No wonder San Juan is the Caribbean's foremost cruise destination.

Christopher Baker
About the Expert

Christopher P. Baker has authored guidebooks to Costa Rica, California, and various Caribbean islands for Frommer's, Lonely Planet, and National Geographic, among others.

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Christopher Baker for Triporati

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Now Happening in San Juan

Facts at a Glance

  • Location: San Juan is the capital and largest municipality in Puerto Rico located on the northeastern coast of the island.
  • Language: Spanish
  • Currency: U.S. Dollar
  • Research: Wikitravel | San Juan
  • Weather: Daylight | Rainfall
  • Current Time:

Climate

  • Best Time to Visit:

    December-April dry season is also the coolest. Christmas is lively.