Sunday, 1 October 2017
PUERTO RICO: San Juan Citizens Very Festive,Poverty And Crime Significant, Beware Missing Manhole Covers And Huge Potholes.
The city celebrates its fifth century in 2008 or 2021, depending on whether one counts from the founding of the original settlement at Caparra or the act of moving the Caparra settlement to Puerto Rico isle (now Old San Juan).
San Juan is the capital and most populous municipality in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. As of the 2010 census, it had a population of 395,326 making it the 46th-largest city under the jurisdiction of the United States.
San Juan was founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, who called it Ciudad de Puerto Rico or Rich Port City. Puerto Rico's capital is the second oldest European-established capital city in the Americas, after Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic.
Several historical buildings are located in San Juan; among the most notable are the city's former defensive forts, Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristobal, and La Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Americas.
Today, San Juan is Puerto Rico's most important seaport, and is the island's manufacturing, financial, cultural, and tourism center.
The population of the Metropolitan Statistical Area, including San Juan and the municipalities of Bayamon, Guaynabo, Catano, Canovanas, Caguas, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, Carolina and Trujillo Alto, is about 2 million inhabitants; thus, about half the population of Puerto Rico now lives and works in this area.
San Juan is also a principal city of the San Juan-Caguas-Fajardo Combined Statistical Area.
The city has been the host of events within the sports community, including the 1979 Pan American Games, 1966 Central American and Caribbean Games, events of the 2006, 2009 and 2013 World Baseball Classics, the Caribbean Series and the Special Olympics and MLB San Juan Series in 2010.
San Juan is located along the north-eastern coast of Puerto Rico. It lies south of the Atlantic Ocean; north of Caguas and Trujillo Alto; east of and Guaynabo; and west of Carolina.
The city occupies an area of 76.93 square miles (199.2 km2), of which, 29.11 square miles (75.4 km2) (37.83%) is water. San Juan's main water bodies are San Juan Bay and two natural lagoons, the Condado and San Jose.
San Juan is the largest city in Puerto Rico by population.From 1899 to 1950 the municipality of San Juan excluded the township of Rio Piedras.
For this reason, population data and land area for the period make reference only to the Antiguo San Juan and Santurce barrios, or subdivisions, of San Juan. The old municipality of Rio Piedras constituted the third most populated city of Puerto Rico at the time of its annexation in 1951.
Its strategic location south of the capital served as a junction for all the principal ways of transportation of the island and as a geographical entry to San Juan, which are factors that prompted Rio Piedras's dramatic urban development in the 20th century.
According to the 2010 Census, the racial composition of San Juan was as follows:
- White: 68.0% (Non-Hispanic Whites: 1.2%)
- Black or African American: 18.3% (Non-Hispanic Blacks: 0.3%)
- American Indian: 0.8%
- Asian: 0.4%
- Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander: 0.0%
- Some other race: 8.2%
- Two or more races: 4.0%
- Hispanic or Latino of any race: 98.2%
Among the Hispanic and Latino population, Puerto Ricans are, unsurprisingly, the largest group; they make up 87.5% of San Juan's Hispanic population.
People of Dominican descent made up 12.2% of the Hispanic population, while those of Cuban descent formed 1.7% of the Hispanic populace. Other Hispanic and Latino groups collectively formed 3.2% of San Juan's Hispanic population.
There are 13,304 whites of non-Hispanic origin living in San Juan; 10,571 blacks of non-Hispanic origin living in San Juan. Non-Hispanic whites and blacks form 3.2% and 2.6% of San Juan's population respectively.
There are also approximately 562 Asians of non-Hispanic origin in San Juan; they make up only 0.1% of the population. However, Asians of Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin together number at 6,342.
The vast majority of Asians in San Juan are of Chinese descent; of the 6,342 Asians, 4,928 are Chinese. Chinese comprise 1.4% of the population.
The only other sizable Asian group in San Juan are Indian Americans; there are 698 people of Indian descent in the city, forming 0.2% of the population.
There are very small numbers of people of Filipino, Japanese, and Vietnamese ancestry; none of these groups number more than 100 members.
According to the 2006–2008 American Community Survey, 87.5% of San Juan's population was native and 12.5% were foreign-born. Of the native population, 86.9% were born in Puerto Rico or the United States, of which 75.6% were born in Puerto Rico and 8.9% were born in the United States.
The remaining 0.7% were born in a U.S. territory or were born abroad to American parents. The remaining 11.9% of the population were born outside the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. territories.
In recent years, an increasing number of Americans not of Hispanic ancestry,both of African American and of White American descent have moved to San Juan. In addition, a large number of Stateside Puerto Ricans have settled in the city upon their return to Puerto Rico.
There is also a growing West Indian population, both of Hispanic and non-Hispanic origin.
In terms of ancestry, 23,875 people claimed American ancestry, which is equivalent to 5.8% of San Juan's population. Other sizable ancestry groups included those of Italian descent, French descent, and West Indian descent.
People of Italian descent numbered at 1,694, forming 0.4% of the population; people of French descent numbered at 1,064, forming 0.2% of the population. Finally, those of West Indian descent numbered at 1,393, forming 0.3% of San Juan's population.
Approximately 1,026 people claimed Sub-Saharan African ancestry; 719 claimed Irish ancestry; 646 claimed German ancestry; 431 claimed Arab ancestry, and 346 claimed English ancestry. There are many other ancestry groups in San Juan, but they are very scant.
Districts of San Juan:
Old San Juan - the historic part of the city, home to most historic attractions, galleries and museums.
Puerta de Tierra - located between Old San Juan and El Condado, this largely residential area is home to a few hotels and attractions.
El Condado - this upscale residential neighborhood is also the beach resort part of the city and has many hotels and restaurants along its main thoroughfare, Ashford Ave.
Isla Verde - Isla Verde is actually located in the adjacent municipality of Carolina, within the larger metro area. It is closest to the international airport and has nice beaches, hotels and parks.
International Convention Center District - now has the new Convention Center which includes a fountain that plays traditional Puerto Rican music and Occidental classical music and in the near-future will also include a hotel, restaurants and shopping centers.
Hato Rey - the business center, hosting the main banks, Hiram Bithorn Stadium, Roberto Clemente Coliseum, Coliseo de Puerto Rico Jose Miguel Agrelot, and Plaza las Americas, the largest shopping center in the Caribbean. Plaza las Americas has the Caribbean's only Macy's, as well as a JC Penney and the world's largest Sears store.
Rio Piedras - home of the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico. It is a former municipality and is now part of the city of San Juan. Has an historic center of its own that isnt really a tourist area, but a working class neighborhood, and is most notable for its marketplace.
Santurce - a historical part of Puerto Rico and the cultural capital, having two art museums and a performing arts center.
Guaynabo - A part of San Juan home to many international companies, like Heineken, Colgate, Fedex, as well as some of San Juan's wealthier suburbs.
Miramar - a residential area near El Condado, known for expensive and historical houses.
San Juan is the oldest city under the jurisdiction of the United States.
San Juan is in the northeast of the island of Puerto Rico, and features distinctly century-old architecture, such as Spanish military forts built from the 1540s to 1800s, an active harbor, and a very active economic area in the Hato Rey district.
It features magnificent beaches, hotels, plazas, historic sites, museums, and so on.
San Juan has a land area of about 76 square miles. The city's population is approximately 395,000.
San Juan is a tropical city with summer daytime high near 90 degrees and summer nights in the high 70s. Summer includes high humidity making the outdoors feel very hot and muggy. The months of April through November will see frequent rain and thunderstorms in the afternoon.
Puerto Rico also has the possibility of being hit by hurricanes and tropical storms from July to November. Winter is quite pleasant in San Juan. Temperatures typically range in the low 80s during the day, and low 70s at night.
San Juan is a Latin American city with Spanish-based culture mixed with African traditions, Taino culture, and an American influence. Museums of modern art exist abroad. The citizens of San Juan are very festive, as on the rest of the island.
San Juan has bars and discotheques all around the city, from Old San Juan to even the southern part of the city, that stay open to 3:00 or 4:00AM. San Juan has become very modernized as of late, with its first metro train line called Tren Urbano and buses. Poverty and crime remain significant issues.
San Juan is the birthplace of artists and musicians, locally known as Sanjuaneros, who have significantly influenced Puerto Rican culture. During the 20th century, the musical aspect of the city was influenced by performers including Afro-Caribbean dancer and choreographer Sylvia del Villard and Jose Enrique Pedreira who became a composer of Puerto Rican Danzas.
International musicians such as opera singer Justino Diaz and Grammy Award winners Ramon Ayala (Daddy Yankee) and Ricky Martin were born in the city.
Other notable residents include writers Giannina Braschi and Tomas Blanco, award-winning actors Raul Julia and Benicio del Toro, and comedian Jose Miguel Agrelot. Rafael Cordero (1790–1868), was influential in the development of Puerto Rican education and has been once renowned as The Father of Public Education in Puerto Rico.
The city is also the home of contemporary and classic art museums. The Puerto Rico Arts Museum owns the largest collection of contemporary art in Puerto Rico, housing over 1,100 permanent art pieces and displaying temporary exhibitions containing artwork from various locations through Latin America.
The Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art, located in Santurce, specializes in contemporary artwork from Latin America and the Caribbean.
The paintings displayed in the permanent exhibition are either acquired by the museum's administrative personnel or donated by artists and collectors. They are judged by a panel of painters, art critics, and scholars before being displayed.
Other museums such as the Pablo Casals Museum, the Book Museum, Americas Museum and the National Gallery display historic items and artwork alongside contemporary art.
Miscellaneous museums such as the Children's Museum and the Bacardi Distillery also known as the "Rum Cathedral" in nearby Catano appeal to different audiences through interactive exhibitions.
San Juan is the financial capital of Puerto Rico. There are facilities for petroleum and sugar refining, and pharmaceuticals.
San Juan experienced significant economic growth following World War II. During this period the city underwent an industrial revolution.
The city's economy relies mostly on companies dedicated to the manufacture of several products, including: Chemical substances bleach and house cleaning products; medicines; rum and other beverages; fertilizers; electric tools; electronic devices; plastics, textiles, and food-based products.
Tourism is also a key industry, based on San Juan's proximity to Puerto Rico's main airport, the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport.The tourism focus of the city is located in the district of Condado Beach where there are luxurious hotels.
Historical locations such as El Morro, Old San Juan and El Cuartel de Ballaja are promoted in tourism campaigns. The district of Hato Rey contains a corporate sector known as La Milla de Oro or The Golden Mile which serves as the headquarters of local and international banks.
San Juan's Hato Rey district is often referred to as the Wall Street of the Caribbean, due to the influence of the area on Puerto Rico and the Caribbean's economy.
Seaborne Airlines is headquartered on the 9th floor of the World Plaza Building in San Juan.
Technological advances after World War II in the development of the airliner, coupled with the island's climate and natural setting, have transformed San Juan into the springboard for tourism around the island, and has made the rest of the Caribbean known throughout the world during the last fifty years.
Today the capital features hotels, museums, historical buildings, restaurants, beaches and shopping centers. In San Juan there are tourist attractions, including: Old San Juan, Ocean Park, Isla Verde and Condado.
Places and monuments emphasized in tourism campaigns include: Old San Juan, promoting the historic nature of its colonial buildings and narrow streets covered by adoquine, a blue stone cast from furnace slag; they were brought over as ballast on Spanish ships.
This includes the city's ancient defensive wall and forts, most notably El Morro and the Castle of San Cristobal. On January 23, 1984 both of these edifices were catalogued as being part of humanity's cultural patrimony.
The restaurants and art galleries in the zone are visited by tourists. The local universities are promoted as historic places, most notably the campus of University of Puerto Rico located in Rio Piedras, which is the oldest university on the island being founded in 1903.
Ferries del Caribe operates an international passenger and vehicle service from Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The overnight journey requires WHTI-compliant documentation and there are strict rules regarding vehicle transportation. Fares payable in USD.
San Juan is served by Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (IATA: SJU), a large international hub airport about 14 km away in the city of Carolina. SJU is one of the most important hubs in the Caribbean, alongside Miami and Panama City.
As with most Caribbean airports, the airport's architecture is rather run-down and dated although you will except to see them renovated in those coming years, with the exception of the new JetBlue terminal in Concourse C.
All major U.S. airlines operate scheduled services linking SJU to various destinations on the mainland, with seasonal air charters operating additional routes.
Scheduled services within Puerto Rico include:
- Air Flamenco from Culebra.
- Cape Air from Ponce, Mayaguez, and Vieques.
- Vieques Air Link from Culebra, Fajardo and Vieques.
Scheduled international services include:
- Air Canada (Toronto)
- Air Europa (Madrid)
- Air Sunshine (St. Croix, St. Thomas, Tortola, Virgin Gorda)
- Allegiant Air (Orlando-Sanford)
- American/American Eagle (Charlotte, Chicago-O' Hare, Dallas-Ft. Worth, Miami, New York-JFK, Philadelphia)
- Avianca (Bogota)
- Cape Air (Tortola, St Thomas, St Croix)
- Condor (Frankfurt)
- Copa Airlines (Panama City)
- Delta (Atlanta, New York-JFK)
- Frontier (Atlanta, Miami, Orlando, Philadelphia)
- JetBlue Airways (Boston, Hartford, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale, Newark, New York-JFK, Santo Domingo, St. Thomas, St. Croix, Tampa, Washington-Reagan)
- LIAT (Antigua, Dominica, St.Vincent)
- Norwegian (Copenhagen, London-Gatwick, Stockholm-Arlanda)
- Southwest (Baltimore, Chicago-Midway, Houston-Hobby, Fort Lauderdale, Newark, Orlando, Tampa)
- Spirit (Fort Lauderdale, Orlando)
- United Air Lines (Chicago-O' Hare, Houston-Bush, Newark, Washington-Dulles)
- Volaris (Cancun)
- Westjet (Toronto)
Seasonal international air charters include:
- Condor (Frankfurt)
- Expressjet (Punta Cana, Santo Domingo-Las Americas)
- Pace Airlines (Santiago de los Caballeros, Santo Domingo-Las Americas, Punta Cana)
- Avianca El Salvador (formerly TACA) (San Jose de Costa Rica)
- Skyservice (Toronto, Montreal)
- Sunwing Airlines (Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto)
- Thomson Airways (London-Gatwick, Manchester)
Most travellers opt to rent a car or take a taxi,fixed fares of $15-25 to most points in the city, plus an extra $1 per luggage item. You can also take a public bus for 75 cents. Bus stops are located at the upper departures level.
Only three routes serve the airport: E40 express route to Piñero train station; D53 to Isla Verde, Condado, and Old San Juan Covadonga Terminal; and T5 to Isla Verde and Old San Juan, or Iturregui bus terminal be sure to ask the bus driver.
Carry-on sized luggage and large backpacks are allowed on the bus, but larger luggage may be refused. Correct change is necessary. Only coins are accepted.
For more informartion you can visit ati.pr or download Tren Urbano App,unofficial app for iOS and Android phones.
There are pros and cons to the various methods of getting around San Juan.
Getting around various parts of the city, and the rest of the island, as well as to and from the airport, will be much more convenient with a car. Though road signs are in Spanish, the road sign shapes are going to be as familiar to you if you are used to American road signs.
When you see the word norte sitting above a numbered-road sign enough times, it won't take you long to realize that means north. However, a car may entail paying parking fees as you travel around to your destinations so you will need to budget for that.
If you go to Old San Juan, parking may be expensive and quite difficult.
Driving in San Juan is very similar to driving in Florida or the cities of the northeast U.S. like Boston or New York. People drive quickly, change lanes with little notice, and frequently tailgate, despite narrow streets.
Natives of areas with more placid driving styles like the U.S. Midwest may find it frightening, though.
None of the rental car agencies are within walking distance of the terminals, and the shuttle pickup curbs are not clearly marked or signed, so don't be afraid to ask for help in finding them.
Avis and Hertz have their lots located on the airport grounds less than a quarter of a mile from the terminals, and the shuttle trip to and from their facilities is quick and predictable. All other agencies, including Thrifty and Dollar, are located at least one mile away or farther out.
You must budget that extra 20 minutes into your planning or you may miss your return flight.
If you are a resident of the United States, check with your auto insurer to see if it already covers you in PR--most do. However, while that means you can decline the collision insurance, you should still take the loss damage waiver,even though it's expensive as auto collisions in Puerto Rico are common,you will see a lot of dented fenders and parking spaces in PR are not as large or forgiving as those on the mainland.
Puerto Rico is still using simple paint to mark lanes rather than modern thermoplastic striping. Unfortunately, paint fades fast in the tropical heat and rain, so road markings are hard to see or completely worn away on many roads. In poorer neighborhoods of San Juan, look out for missing manhole covers and huge potholes.
Like much of Latin American and the Caribbean, proper street signs aren't on every corner of San Juan, which makes a good street map with landmarks or a GPS navigation system essential. Only Condado and Ocean Park have excellent street signage comparable to those taken for granted in mainland U.S. cities.
The closest place to refuel a rental car before returning it is the Puma gas station on the frontage road Calle Marginal off eastbound PR-26 (Expreso Loiza), at the intersection with Calle Heriberto.
Once you're done there, you can continue down the road to Thrifty or Dollar, or keep going to the next underpass to loop around and head west towards the airport.
The public bus system in San Juan is inexpensive at only 75 cents a ride. Only coins are accepted on board so stock up on those quarters. 5c and 10c coins are fine too. The bus stops are marked "PARADA", and the system is currently being reworked to fit in with a new train line.
If you're planning on staying in and around a general area of San Juan, you may be able to get by on public transportation. When you see your bus coming, be sure to wave/flag it down otherwise it may just pass you by!
Take notice; contrary to some bus schedules,even ones posted at the bus stops themselves that state buses may arrive every 15 minutes or so, service can be infrequent and very unpredictable. You may wait anywhere from 5 to 30 minutes for a bus to arrive.
Rush hour buses can be very full. Additionally, traffic gets very heavy heading into Old San Juan, so once you board the bus you still are not guaranteed a quick trip.
If going into Old San Juan, some useful bus routes include T3 from Sagrado Coazon train station, T5 from Isla Verde via Miramar, T21 from Condado, and D53 from Luis Munoz Marín International Airport via Isla Verde and Condado. Old San Juan, near the harbor front, has a major bus station for catching numerous routes.
Visitors may find that bus routes directly to and from places of interest around San Juan do not exist, and that a transfer with additional waiting times are involved.
Plan your trips wisely as most routes work Monday through Friday from 5:00AM to 9:00PM; and Saturdays and holidays from 6:00AM to 8:00PM. T3 and E40 express route are the only two routes that offers service on Sundays.
The T3 route works everyday from 5:00AM to 11:00PM; and the E40 from 5:00AM to 8:00PM. Only If you have little time to see/do what you'd like, you'd be better served using a taxi or renting a car.
Also, have in mind, if you are planning to get back to the airport by bus, some bus drivers may not let you board the bus if you carry-on more than one baggage. You may want to plan in advance to take a taxi back to the airport if your hotel has no shuttle.
Carrying baggage on the city bus tends to be less of an issue when you initally head from the airport. Three routes serves Luis Munoz Marin International Airport: E40 express route to Pinero train station, T5, and D53 to Old San Juan, Condado, Isla Verde, and Puerto Rico Convention Center.
Check with AMA to inquire about routes and times. Also, for train and buses time tables you can download Tren Urbano App (unofficial app) for iOS and Android phones.
There is a free trolley bus routes around Old San Juan - look out for the numbered signs.
As for getting around the rest of the island of Puerto Rico, there are no convenient buses connecting San Juan to the rest of the island. There are vans that are like group taxis with specific routes called guaguas.
You can inquire about trips outside of San Juan at the guagua terminal in Rio Piedras. But keep in mind, guaguas may make multiple stops to maximize revenue, and it could take ages to get you to where you are going on the island.
The Catano Ferry or La Lancha de Catano is a public ferry serving Old San Juan and Catano. It crosses San Juan Bay every 15-30 minutes.
San Juan is served by a rapid transit rail line called Tren Urbano or Urban Train. The line connects San Juan to the towns of Guaynabo and Bayamon, but it avoids points of interest like Old San Juan, Condado, and Isla Verde. But if you want to give it a spin anyway:
- Take a city bus to a station, e.g., T3 or the E10 express route from the Old San Juan Covadonga bus terminal to Sagrado Corazon train station.
- Explore the town of Rio Piedras by getting off at Universidad or Rio Piedras stations and making your way down the colorful Avenida Juan Ponce de Leon. Explore the side streets and alleys to discover some wonderful street art.
- Get to the airport by taking the E40 express route at Pinero station.
Tickets are $1.50 per ride irrespective of distance. There are ticket machines accepting cash and credit cards at all stations. The magnetic tickets they issue are rechargeable and also usable to pay your fare on the bus.
There are discounted fares for students, children and elderly people on both the buses and the train.
For train and buses time tables you can download Tren Urbano App (unofficial app) for iOS and Android phones.
Taxis can be found hanging around hotels and the east end of Calle de la Fortaleza in Old San Juan. In theory, they are supposed to be metered the rates are posted on doors, except for a selection of common tourist routes with fixed fares.
In practice, cabbies are well aware that tourists tend to have no idea what those fixed fares are and charge according to what they feel like.
- Airport-Zone 1 (Luis Muñoz Marín Airport): Starting Point
- Airport-Zone 2 (Isla Verde): $10
- Isla Verde Beach
- Club Gallístico de Puerto Rico (Cockfights)
- Ritz Carlton Hotel
- El San Juan Hotel
- Intercontinental Hotel
- San Juan Water & Beach Club
- Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde
- Holiday Inn San Juan
- Embassy Suites
- Hampton Inn
- ESJ Towers
- Isla Verde Mall
- Airport-Zone 3 (Condado & Miramar): $15
- Condado Beach
- Plaza Ventana al Mar
- Ocean Park Beach
- San Juan Marriott
- Condado Plaza
- La Concha, A Renaissance Resort
- Radisson Ambassador
- Doubletree by Hilton San Juan
- Hosteria del Mar
- Numero 1 on the Beach
- Tres Palmas Inn
- Louis Vouitton
- Mont Blanc
- Ashford Presbyterian Community Hospital
- Airport-Zone 4 (Old San Juan/Piers/Puerta De Tierra & Miramar): $19
- San Felipe del Morro Fort
- Fort San Cristobal
- Capitol Building
- San Juan Cathedral
- La Fortaleza (Governor's Mansion)
- Cuartel de Ballajá
- San Juan Museum
- Plaza de Armas
- Miguel Domenech Gallery at La Princesa
- Old San Juan to Cataño Ferry
- Sheraton Old San Juan
- San Juan Suites
- El Convento Hotel
- Chateau de Cervantes
- Howard Johnson Plaza de Armas
- Milano Hotel
- D'A Haus
- Caribe Hilton
- Pier 1
- Pier 2
- Pier 3
- Pier 4
- Navy Frontier Pier
- Pan-American Pier
- Airport-Zone 5 (Convention Center & Isla Grande Airport): $15
- Puerto Rico Convention Center
- Isla Grande Airport
- Sheraton Convention Center
- Courtyard by Marriott
- San Juan Miramar
- Hotel Miramar
- Hotel Olimpo Court
- Airport-Plaza Las Américas: $18
- Airport-Plaza Carolina: $14
- Airport-Coliseo José M. Agrelot: $14
- Airport-Belz Factory Outlet: $46
- Airport-Prime Outlets: $80
Authorized taxi stands at the airport and cruise ship piers often write up vouchers. for travel between those two points that cost more than the above fare on days cruise ships are dropping off and taking on passengers.
- Piers-Old San Juan: $6
- Piers-Puerta de Tierra: $6
- Piers-Condado/Miramar: $10
- Piers-Isla Verde: $16
Metered rates apply for areas between and beyond tourist zones.
- Fuel Surcharge: $2 per trip
- Luggage: $1 per piece
- Extra Passenger (6th and 7th): $2 per person
- Late Night Charge (10PM - 6AM): $1 extra
Tolls are to be paid by the passenger.
A 10-15% tip is expected but not required.
For any issues with cabs, contact the Tourist Transportation Department. 4502 between 7:30AM to 4:30PM Monday through Friday.
Spanish is the dominant language in San Juan and throughout Puerto Rico. English is also widely spoken and understood,approximately one-third of the population speaks English Very Well or better according to the U.S. Census.
Most businesses within the tourist areas of the city are fully fluent in English and those businesses tend to hire employees who are bilingual, thus speaking English very well. In addition, English is widely taught in high schools, with most students understanding some basic English.
As a visitor, be prepared to use some high school level Spanish to drivers to communicate about luggage, restaurants, or anything not a normal tourist spot.
El Castillo San Felipe del Morro "El Morro" : is a sixteenth-century citadel that lies on the northwestern-most point of the islet of San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is part of San Juan National Historic Site and was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in 1983.
El Castillo de San Cristobal. A Spanish fort in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was built by the Spaniards to protect against land based attacks on the city of San Juan. It is part of San Juan National Historic Site. It covers 10 hectares of land and is 45 meters tall. Open every day from 9AM to 6PM.
Palacio de Santa Catalina "La Fortaleza" or The Fortress in English is the official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico, who is Puerto Rico's head of Government. It was built between 1533 and 1540 to defend the harbor of San Juan.
The structure is also known as El Palacio de Santa Catalina or Palace of Santa Catalina. It is the oldest executive mansion in the New World. La Fortaleza was declared as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
El Catedral de San Juan Bautista: contains the tomb of the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon. It was built in the 1520's, soon to be wrecked by a hurricane, and then rebuilt in 1540. After being rebuilt, it was robbed in the late 1500's, and then, in 1615, it was damaged by a hurricane.
In 1917, a lot of changes were made to restore the building. Tours are given daily from 8:30AM-4PM.
Castillo de San Jeronimo is a small fort located in the entrance to what is known today as Condado, Puerto Rico lagoon in San Juan. The fort defended San Juan from attacks by Sir Francis Drake in 1595, Sir George Clifford "Earl of Cumberland" in 1598 and Sir Ralph Abercromby.
Iglesia de San Jose dates back to 1523. This building was originally called the Church and Monastery of Saint Thomas Aquinas. Before Ponce de Leon was moved to the San Juan Catedral, his body was buried here for 300 years.
Ayuntamiento or Alcaldia or City Hall.
The municipal cemetery of Santa María Madgalena de Pazzis, located just outside the city walls.
Fuerte San Geronimo is a fort that was built to tighten defense within the city. There is a small museum inside.
Centro de Bellas Artes is the largest fine arts center in the Caribbean. Concerts, Plays, and Operas are hosted here. This fine arts center opened in 1981.
Bacardi Rum Factory. M-Sa 9AM-4:30PM, Sunday from 10AM-3:30PM. Also called the "Cathedral of Rum" and covers 51 hectares. Free tour, including a trolley ride around the premises.
Check out the beaches in Condado and Isla Verde.
A popular point of interest is Old San Juan, a 7-block area that has become popular for tourists as well as residents. The narrow streets of old San Juan are packed with people so it is recommended to experience Old San Juan by foot in order to avoid too much traffic.
You can take a taxi for less than $20 from most hotels but for .75 you can also take the B21 bus which picks up from many locations near the hotels and is very easy to use.
Check out the parks in San Juan.
Central Park is the park to visit if you're looking for traditional activities such as jogging, tennis, baseball, etc.
La Marquesa Canopy Tour - Located about 30 minutes outside of San Juan in Guaynabo you can tour the La Marquesa Forest Reserve via zip line. It is a low impact experience suitable for people of all ages. Those who are up for extreme adventure travel may find this a little too easy.
Garfield, 7558 calle del cristo go far west.
Munoz Rivera Park, Av. Ponce de León. Tu-Su 9AM-5PM. Located by the ocean and has beautiful trees and landscaping. A great place to tour by foot.
Parque de las Palomas overlooks La Princesa Jail. From this park you are able to see a great view of the mountains, harbor and the city.
The Casino of Puerto Rico is a large building with a 12 foot chandelier and an open ballroom, built right before World War I.
The Teatro Tapia. Built in 1832, this is one of the oldest theaters in the Western Hemisphere. This building, which was named after Alejandro Tapia y Rivera, has been remodeled twice, once in 1949 and once in 1987. Plays, ballets, and other concerts and events are held here.
Flavors of San Juan Food and Culture Tours, Old San Juan. 10am-1pm (tues-sun) & 4:30pm-7:30pm (tues-sat). Local tour operator running daily foodie walking tours, as well as cooking classes and rum tastings.
Flavors of San Juan gives an exclusive taste of local food, rum, and coffee in the most memorable restaurants and streets of San Juan. They take you away from the tourist traps to discover the history, the sweet secrets, and the savory enclaves that San Juaneros call home.
Ateneo de Puerto Rico (museum) Founded in 1876, it is the largest cultural institution in Puerto Rico. Art contests and classes are held here as well. Hours are M-F 9AM to 4:30PM.
Casa del Libro. A museum holding nearly 5,000 early works of manuscripts and books, some as from as old as the 15th century. This museum is most known for having two royal mandates signed by Ferdinand and Isabella concerning arranging Columbus' fleet for his second voyage.
Cuartel de Ballaja. M-F 10AM-4PM, Sa,Su 11AM-5PM. Guided tours M-F 10:30AM, 11:30AM, 12:30PM and 2PM. Completed in 1863, and in 1881 a chapel was added. This building originally housed military personnel and is now a museum containing Caribbean and European American arts and artifacts. Free admission.
Felisa Rincon de Gautier Museum :At Calle Clara Lair. Open M-F 9AM-4PM. Felisa Rincon served as the mayor of the city of San Juan for 22 years, between 1946 and 1968. The museum that commemorates her memory is in a 300-year-old building. Free.
La Princesa, the former municipal jail, now a history museum, overlooks San Juan Bay. La Princesa was built in 1837. A beautiful structure that has beautiful landscaping. It is surrounded by a wall and contains many trees, as well as a fountain and a sculpture. Open M-F from 9AM to 4PM.
Museo del Nino or Children's Museum at Calle del Cristo 150. Open: Tu-Th 9AM-3:30PM; F 9AM-5PM; Sa-Su 12:30PM-5PM. Through interactive exhibits, children learn simple lessons, such as the benefits of brushing teeth or recycling aluminum cans, or the value of caring properly for pets. Admission $5; $4 children 14 and younger.
Museo de Arte or Museum of Art), 299 Av. Jose de Diego, Santurce. Open Tu and Th-Sa 10AM-5PM; W 10AM-8PM; Su 11AM-6PM. Puerto Rico's most important gallery, which opened in 2000 and was constructed at a cost of $55 million, is a state-of-the-art showcase for the island nation's rich cultural heritage. Admission is $6 for adults, $2.50 for seniors, $3 for children under age 12.
The Pablo Casals Museum, Calle San Sebastián 101. Tu-Sa 9:30AM-5:30PM. Casals came to Puerto Rico in the 1950s and was the conductor for the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra. The museum contains footage of his concerts as well as other pictures and manuscripts.
Spanish barracks is now museum de Ballaja.
Employment opportunities in Puerto Rico are to be found in the varying sectors of the territory's economy; key among these are education, financial services, government (municipal, territorial & federal), pharmaceutical and tourism. Proficiency in both Spanish and English are among the key skills required by local employers.
Employers in Puerto Rico are required to verify the eligibility of prospective workers to accept employment in the United States.
The Butterfly People, 257 Calle de la Cruz, Old San Juan. Real butterflies encased in acrylic. Stunning. Go to see it, even if you don't buy.
Plaza las Americas, The Center of it All, biggest mall in the Caribbean, containing more than 300 stores anchored by the world's largest JC Penney, plus Macy's, Lacoste, American Eagle, A|X, Sports Authority and Sears.
It has a movie theater and restaurants such as Chili's, Macaroni Grill, Margarita's and Tierra del Fuego. If you need or want to visit a good example of a modern, enclosed mall from the U.S. mainland, this won't disappoint.
Old San Juan, Shopping in Old San Juan is diverse, with retailers scattered among many narrow streets. Stores include many fine jewelers, arts, crafts and mercantil shops, at least one drug store, and a few branded outlets. You'll also find numerous cafes and a few fine restaurants.
For walkers, the humidity and tropical sun may make the mid-late afternoon temperatures a bit oppressive. Alternatives include going early as stores open typically 10AM on weekdays or catching a free trolley winding throughout the area, with opportunities to get off at marked stops wherever desired. The trolley tends to stay very full on afternoons when cruise ships are in.
Al Dente, Calle Recinto Sur 309, Old San Juan. M-F 12PM-3PM; M-Sa 6PM-11PM; Sun 12:30PM-4PM and 6PM-10PM. The oldest continuously operated Italian restaurant in Puerto Rico.
Cafe Puerto Rico, Calle O'Donnell. 11:30AM-11PM. Creole cuisine. On the Plaza de Colon, enjoy the view along with a great meal. Great spot to stop for a drink, snack & conversation too. Live music weekends & some weekdays.
ecently expanded to the second floor. Best meal: stuffed snapper (fillet + lobster, crab, shellfish in a flavorful broth) + rice & beans + sweet plantains. $9-$21 main course but order side dishes too.
El Alcazar, 1013 Ave. Roosevelt. New Spanish restaurant which serves a variety of Tapas, seafood and several meats. Also has a variety of Wines. The ambience is romantic and live music is offered several times a month.
El Asador, The Grill Old San Juan 350 San Francisco St. in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico 00902. 10AM - 4AM 7 Days a Week. El Asador Bar Restaurant The Best Meats Cuts & Puertorrican Cuisine located at the entrance of Old San Juan, the heart of nightlife in the Old City.
It is the most stylish and exclusive Bar Restaurant in San Juan, a two level Restaurant with an exterior patio the perfect environment for an exciting experience.
Delight with an early lunch or a romantic dinner in one of the most beautiful interior patios of the Old City, or why not enjoy the best music and liveliest party in San Juan until sunrise. El Asador is a cozy and sophisticated Bar Restaurant, patronized by upscale, trendy, local and tourist.
Luigi's Restaurant, 104 Diez de Andino, Condado. M-Sa 11:30AM-3PM and 6PM-10PM; Su 12PM-5pPM. Serves Italian and Genovese cuisine.
Margarita's, Several locations including 3rd level at Plaza las Américas and 1013 Ave. Roosevelt, 787-792-0283. One of the traditional Mexican food restaurants that exists in the island.
Milagros y Sean's, Isla Verde. Delicious traditional home cooked Spanish food and half-edible Irish cuisine if you're not in the mood for good tasting things. Bartender makes great cocktails and pours a terrible Guiness. Lounge area with 90's hip-hop, R&B classics, and semi-tolerable fiddle.
Ostra Cosa, Calle del Cristo 154, Old San Juan. Daily 12PM-10PM. Reservations recommended. The ambience here is one of the most sensual and romantic in Old San Juan.
Pamela’s Caribbean Cuisine, 1 Calle Santa Ana Ocean Park, San Juan Puerto Rico 00911. Lunch 11AM to 3PM, tapas and appetizers 3PM to 6PM, and dinner from 6PM. Pamela’s Caribbean Cuisine is an award-winning San Juan restaurant popular for special occasions. Adjacent to Numero Uno Pamela’s is known not only for its exquisite Caribbean-fusion menu, but also for its one-of-a-kind beachside location.
Parrot Club, Calle Fortaleza 363, Old San Juan. Daily 12PM-3PM; 6PM-11PM. Live music, either Brazilian, salsa, or Latino jazz, is offered nightly as well as during the popular Sunday brunches.
Ramiro's, Av. Magdalena 1106, Condado, 787-721-9049. M-Sa 12PM-3PM & 6PM-11PM; Su 12PM-3PM & 6PM-10PM. Creole" style cooking pioneered by owner and chef Jesus Ramiro.
San Juan Hard Rock Cafe, Old San Juan.
Tantra is located at 356 Calle Fortaleza and serves international cuisine. Great creative and nightlife atmosphere. A warm, candlelit environment with great food and great martinis. Moderately priced, entrees run from around $13-$17.
Tierra del Fuego, 3rd Level at Plaza las Américas. One of the best Argentinean restaurants where you will be able to savor a tender, juicy cut of meat prepared by chefs and cooks who, together with the warm staff of waiters and hostesses, are without representation of a trade union that can defend their rights of having fair wages and benefits.
UVVA Restaurant, 1 Calle Tapia, Ocean Park. International creative cuisine by Chef Jose Vicente is served from 8AM until 11PM. The ambiance is elegant and casual.
BUNS Burger Shop, 1214 Ashford Ave. (In front of Marriott Hotel). 11:30am-4:00am. Great burgers with high quality beef. Over 40 beers, some on tap.
Brava, At Wyndham El San Juan Hotel & Casino, Isla Verde. Cover $15, free for residents of El San Juan Hotel. Open Th-Sa from 10PM until 4AM.
Cigar Bar, At Wyndham El San Juan Hotel & Casino, Isla Verde. Daily 6PM to 3AM.
Club Laser, Calle del Cruz 251, near the corner of Calle Fortaleza.Cover $8-$12 free cover for women before midnight on Sat. The club is usually open Th-Su from 10PM until 4AM.
Dakiti, Calle San Sebastian, Pub with two floors. Idilic for the San Sebastián Festivities.
Dragonfly, Restaurant and bar on Forteleza Street in Old San Juan.
El Patio de Sam, Calle San Sebastian, Old San Juan. One of the most popular late-night joints with a good selection of beers. Live entertainment is presented here M-Sa.Open daily noon to 1AM.
Logan's Irish Pub, Calle Bori 496, Río Piedras. Daily 11:30AM to 1AM (closes at 2:30AM F-Sa). A sports bar with TV monitors and high-energy rock 'n' roll.
Rumba, Calle San Sebastián 152. The site for the filming of many of the crowd scenes within Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights. Cover $15.
Shannon's Irish Pub, Marginal Martínez Nadal, Guaynabo. Daily 11:30AM to 1AM (closes at 2:30AM F-Sa). A sports bar with TV monitors and high-energy rock 'n' roll.
Nuyorican Cafe, Calle San Francisco #312. Good live music venue in Old San Juan. Salsa, Latin jazz, folkloric music.
Ristorante Pinoli, 404 De Diego Ave. Puerto Nuevo,Just off Roosevelt Ave. on the right. 12-3 6-10. This is one of the finest Italian restaurants in Puerto Rico. The menu is very creative with new dishes added based on the fresh ingredients available on any given day. This is a cloth napkin establishment. $30.
BUNS Burger Shop, 1214 Ashford Ave. In front of Marriott Hotel. 11:30am-4:00am. Great burger place with over 40 beers. High quality beef is their priority. $8-12.
San Juan has a wide range of accommodation, from luxury resorts to European-style youth hostels. Colonial-style city hotels are clustered in Old San Juan, while the big beachfront resorts are mostly out in Condado and Isla Verde.
You'll be looking at $90 per night for a basic hotel room, and well north of $300 per night for a five-star resort. However, discounts are available in summer low season.
There are a number of vacation apartments which are walking distance to the beach, comfortable with fully equipped kitchen for saving money on meals. You can find these individually-owned apartments in either condos in front of the beach in Isla verde or in areas in Ocean Park and Condado walking distance to beach.
You might not have the daily housekeeping service but this option is good to receive a more authentic stay rather than in the sterile unchanging hotel. These accommodations can vary from $50-$80
Posada Colonial apartments at ocean park/ Condado area minutes from the beach has very high reviews, range $70 night complete and private apartment.
There are other areas of San Juan as:
Santurce in low income neighborhood: where Other hostels can be found for much less.
The Palace Hostel #720-432-0712
San Juan International Hostel
Alasol at 318 Calle del Sol, Viejo San Juan. Fully furnished one bedroom apartments with parking space in Old San Juan.
At Wind Chimes Inn, 1750 McLeary Ave, Condado.
Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde, 7012 Boca de Cangrejos ave. A beautiful hotel located on the gorgeous beach of Isla Verde just minutes from the international airport in San Juan, with several restaurants and a casino.
Doubletree by Hilton San Juan, 105 De Diego, Centrally located to the Airport, the beach, and Old San Juan. Free Wi-fi and a warm chocolate chip cookie upon arrival.
Embassy Suites, Isla Verde. Use their national web site.
Hampton Inn, Isla Verde. Use their national web site.
Hosteria del Mar, 1 Calle Tapia, (Ocean Park).
Hyatt House San Juan, 615 Ave Fernandez. Studio, one- and two-bedroom suites offering views of the Atlantic Ocean and San Juan Bay.
Le Consulat, 1149 Magdalena Ave Condado. The boutique-style hotel, is ideally located in the El Condado section of San Juan.
Palm View Realty, 5970 Isla Verde Avenue. Palm View Realty Specializes in short term rentals as well as condo, apartment and house sales in Puerto Rico. Affordable rentals are Beach Front and fully furnished.
San Miguel Plaza Hotel Lodging accommodations include free continental breakfast, parking, Internet, business center and gym, all for a low rate per room and the lowest tax rate, with no additional or hidden charges.
Tu Casa Boutique Hotel, 2071 Calle Cacique, Ocean Park.
La Concha a Renaissance Resort, 1077 Ashford Ave. A modern chic luxury resort in the Condado area of San Juan. Amazing views, restaurants, casino, and nightlife.
Condado Plaza Hotel & Casino, 999 Ashford (San Juan 00907, Puerto Rico. The only luxury property overlooking both the Atlantic Ocean and Condado Lagoon.
El Conquistador Resort, 1000 El Conquistador Avenue,Fajardo 00738 Puerto Rico. Located on the northeastern tip of Puerto Rico, near El Yunque Rain Forest and just four miles from the stores and attractions of downtown Fajardo and Las Croabas.
Hotel El Convento, 100 Cristo St. Located in the heart of Old San Juan, this Small Luxury Hotel was a Convent until the late 19th century. It has a 4 story courtyard with a pool on the roof and spectacular views of Old San Juan.
The Gallery Inn, 204 Norzagaray Street,Old San Juan 00901, Puerto Rico. The only hotel in Old San Juan with Atlantic Ocean views. Spectacular, 300-year-old boutique hotel, art gallery and museum in one. 26 gorgeously unique accommodations, owned by artist / sculptor Jan D'Esopo. Fascinating Old World charm.
El San Juan Hotel & Casino, 6063 Isla Verde Avenue. Beachfront location in the Isla Verde district of San Juan and 15 minutes from the shopping, entertainment, and history of charming Old San Juan.
InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino, 5961 Isla Verde Avenue.
Normandie Hotel , 499 Munoz Rivera Ave. Old San Juan.
Numero Uno Guest House, 1 Calle Santa Ana Ocean Park, San Juan Puerto Rico 00911. Numero Uno Guest House offers stunning ocean views, luxurious accommodations and the finest cuisine.
San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, 1309 Ashford Avenue.
SJ Suites, 253 Fortazela.
Use common sense when going around.
In 2010 there were 201 slayings in San Juan, a rate of around 50 per 100,000 residents. Law enforcement in San Juan is the joint responsibility of the Department of Police and Public Safety, also known as the San Juan Police Department and the Puerto Rico Police Department.
The Municipal Police, originally known as the San Juan Municipal Guard, was created in 1521 and has active military and law enforcement functions, until 1980 when act #77 created municipal law enforcement agencies in Puerto Rico.
It currently employs over 1,000 sworn officers plus civilian staff.
Most tourist areas, like the Old City, Condado, and Isla Verde tend to be very safe. There is a visible 24-hour police presence in the Old City. However, the La Perla slum next to the Old City is dangerous and should be avoided.
Use caution when riding a bicycle around the city as roads are often crowded and some are unpaved. Be sure to pay attention to the roadway on which you are riding and the traffic.
Pedestrians need to use similar caution in Old San Juan. While traffic usually is slower, the streets are narrow, and sidewalks very narrow, sometimes crowded, with occasional trip hazards.
Arecibo - You can go see the Arecibo observatory and Cavernas del Rio Camuy (Camuy River Caverns) in the same day. Arecibo is about one hour west of San Juan.
Loiza - On the north coast of Loiza you will find Pinones, a great place to go to the beach and eat some of the best Puerto Rican fried food. Just minutes away from El Condado and Old San Juan.
Fajardo - In eastern Puerto Rico a nice trip to make is Las Cabezas de San Juan, a natural reserve, you will have a tour around the place where they will show you the different types of plants in the reserve and then the lighthouse which now serves as a small museum, the place has a spectacular view. Reservation is required.
Rio Grande - The Caribbean National Rain Forest or El Yunque is located here, a great place to spend the day with nature, enjoying an awesome view and walking between trees and small rivers. There are many different trails, the La Mina trail affords hikers to swim in a waterfall towards the middle of the trail.