Tips For Visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico

Tips For Visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico

The town of San Juan in Puerto Rico is a city that rose like the Phoenix after Hurricane Maria in 2017. It has a lot to offer travelers, such as its amazing beaches. Tourism is thriving – here’s why.

What are the beaches like in San Juan?

Expect to find something that suits your tastes, because there’s a beach for everyone, from the trendy Condado beach to the small Escambron beach that’s straight out of a dream with its palm trees and crystal waters.

San Juan offers plenty for a holiday to remember.

From food to accommodation, you’ll find a plethora of good times to be experienced in this interesting town that combines the cobblestones and colorful streets of Old San Juan with trendy beach strips in New San Juan.

San Juan: The Lowdown

beach at san juan

Getting to San Juan is really easy, as you can hop onto a direct flight from all major airports in the U.S.

Once you’re there, you’ll enjoy the differences between New San Juan and Old San Juan. It’s like two different cities in one!

Old San Juan Highlights

views of old san juan
  • It boasts colonial architecture. Its ancient forts, fit with cannons and ramparts, are a must to see. El Morro is an example. Crowned a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, it’s the most beautiful military structure in Puerto Rico. Explore it’s six levels through which you can travel via tunnels in some places.
  • There are lots of charming places to eat out, and you’ll love a cup of coffee with leche at a cobblestone-street cafe.
  • Old San Juan is the place to go if you want to dance the night away at a salsa nightclub. 

New San Juan Highlights

panorama of new san juan
  • The beaches, which you won’t find in Old San Juan, are definitely worth enjoying. Isla Verde has some of the largest beaches as well as a water park. 
  • New San Juan has more cuisine options, serving everything from Japanese dishes to classic Italian food.
  • More modern clubs and bars steal the limelight in New Suan Juan, and there are also lots of glamorous casinos.


You’ll find lots of luxurious places to stay during your travels.

Most hotels in the city are on the side of the island where there are a lot of waves to view, as Frommer’s states. There’s also the choice of guesthouse accommodation, with many being right on the beach.

  • In Old San Juan, the Hotel El Convento is a historic hotel that was a convent before it was transformed into a luxurious hotel. Enjoy the courtyard and rooftop pool.
  • In New San Juan, visit the Caribe Hilton. It closed for over a year after Hurricane Maria, but now it’s undergone luxury renovations. With 652 rooms to choose from, the hotel boasts a secluded beach, tropical gardens, and even a bird sanctuary.  

How To Get Around

There are lots of buses and these are considered the best way to get around because they’re less stressful.

However, a tip from U.S. News is to ensure you know your route so you don’t miss a stop and have to shell out more money to the driver.

What To Eat

friends at old san juan restaurant

While the cuisine in Puerto Rico is essentially focused on a blend of Latin, North American, Caribbean, and indigenous Taíno influences, as U.S. News reports, there are modern dishes that can be enjoyed at what’s known as “fonda,” which is storefront eateries.

A must to try: South Fortaleza Street, which is called SoFo sometimes, as it’s packed with trendy bars and restaurants in the old part of town.

What’s Nearby

San Juan is just a stone’s throw away from glorious neighboring islands, such as Cayo Icacos. Here you can go on special tours, enjoy activities such as snorkeling, or just bask in the gorgeous waters.

Extra Tips For Visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico

  • US Dollars is the currency used, so carry cash.
  • Old San Juan can be explored by foot.
  • Although you’re probably going to want to explore the beaches, make sure you remember that some restaurants request you to dress up a little, such as with closed shoes, if you want to dine there.

Related Questions

Is it safe to travel to San Juan?

old town and new town

Yes, as long as you avoid rundown areas such as La Perla, where violence and drug-related activity are a problem.

Crime aside, make sure you avoid swimming in or drinking water from lakes or streams as some bodies of water are polluted, as U.S. News reports.

Do people speak English?

You will find that most people can speak English, which makes communication and getting around a lot easier, although if you know a few Spanish words, that’s always great!


San Juan is an interesting city to visit if you’re in Puerto Rico.

It’s a blend of old and new that gives off trendy Miami vibes in some places and history throwbacks in others.

There’s something for everyone and lots to see.

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