Salsa music, rich colonial record, blend of different races, beautiful tropical sunsets, exotic beaches, hearty food, hub of diving and snorkeling, great place for exploring wildlife and some great pieces of architecture, this place is an amazing blend of all these things. Yes! you guessed it right, it is Puerto Rico, an incorporated territory of the United States and located in the north eastern Caribbean. The cities of Puerto Rico like San Juan, Bayamon, Carolina, Ponce, Caquas, Guaynabo, Mayaquez, Tujillo Alto and Fajardo together complete this fabulous state. Let’s explore San Juan and know how it is one of the most visited city of Puerto Rico. San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico and it is also the most populous city of the state also. The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of United States but still you will be amazed when you will see the beauty of this place. San Juan is the oldest city under the jurisdiction of US and the history of this legendary city takes us to 1493 when it was found by Christopher Columbus. The island was named as San Juan Bautista in honor of John the Baptist at that time. In 1508, Juan Ponce de Leon was appointed as the first governor of the island and one year later, the island was named as Puerto Rico and this little town was named as San Juan. Also known as ‘La Ciudad Amurallada’, San Juan is one of the biggest natural harbors in the Caribbean.
San Juan has a typical rain forest climate with very hot summers. The temperature varies from 72 F to 89 F around the year and there are no dry seasons. You can easily expect at least 250 sunny days per year and rainfall is not so common here. The precipitation reaches its highest level in November and the thunderstorms can be experienced during that period. The best time to visit San Juan is from February to May.
How to get here?
The Luis Munoz Marin International Airport serves the city of San Juan and is located just 9 miles from the city downtown. It is the busiest airport in the Caribbean and receives numbers of leading carriers from airlines like BWIA, Delta, Air Canada, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic. You can easily get a taxi, public bus or rental car outside the airport and it takes just 10 minutes to reach the city center. San Juan is not connected via rail to the airport.
Accommodation and Food
From luxury, beachfront hotels to cozy paradores, San Juan offers limitless accommodation options. No matter what your budget is, you can easily get a place to stay. In the luxury options, Hotel El Convento tops the list because of the unmatched service and amenities. It features king size rooms with ocean view, spa, restaurant, club, outdoor pool, tennis court and free internet throughout the hotel. Other luxury options include La Terraza Hotel, doubletree by Hilton, Ciqala Luxury Suites and La Concha Resort. Budget options include Olive Boutique Hotel, Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel, Dreams Hotel Puerto Rico, The Condado Plaza Hilton, Welcome Inn, Holiday Express Inn, Da House Hotel, Casa Condado Hotel, Comfort Inn & suites and San Juan Park Hotel.
From Mexican to American, Indian to Italian, Chinese to Thai and Sushi to Mediterranean, you will find every type of food here in San Juan. There are more than 500 places to eat here, from luxurious dining to stalls at street corners. One of the best is Marmalade Restaurant & Wine bar featuring Caribbean, International, Fusion and Organic food. Other options include Yantar with Spanish food, St. Germain Bistro & Cafe with great sandwiches, Cafe Cola’o with nice coffee, Muzzarella with great Argentinian cuisine, Punto de Vista Restaurant & Bar with Latin and Puerto Rican food, Ali Baba Restaurant with Indian food and Bagua Restaurant with one of the best Caribbean food in town.
Castillo de San Felipe del Morro
The Castillo de San Felipe del Morro is the most famous landmark of Old San Juan. It is a castle located at Calle Norzagaray and you wouldn’t want to miss it for sure. It is one of the most impressive structures on the island and it was used by the US in World War II to track the movement of German submarines in the Caribbean. There is a large green field right in front of the castle where you will see people relaxing, enjoying picnic and flying kites. The Castle remains open daily and the admission costs just $ 5 per person.
Camuy River Cave Park
The Camuy River Cave Park is a cave system located between three municipalities and interesting thing is that the main entrance of the cave park is in the fourth municipality which is called Quebrada. The park covers a total area of 268 acres and is a very popular site among tourists and locals. It is the third largest cave systems in the world and remains open 7 days a week for public.
The Wildlife Museum, mainly known as The Museo de Vida Silvestre is located right in the heart of the San Juan city. It houses more than 200 animals in their respective habitats. It is surely a educational and fun spot to spend a full day learning about the animals and their habitats. You can take a guided tour which will help you in understanding the various environments and attend some hands on Exhibits. The Museum remains open daily except Mondays and entry fees is just $ 10 per visitor.