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* '''InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino''', 5961 Isla Verde Avenue, Phone: (787) 791-6100, Toll-free: (800) 443-2009, [http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/ic/1/en/hd/sjuha].
 
* '''InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino''', 5961 Isla Verde Avenue, Phone: (787) 791-6100, Toll-free: (800) 443-2009, [http://www.ichotelsgroup.com/h/d/ic/1/en/hd/sjuha].
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* '''San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino''', 1309 Ashford Avenue, Phone: (787) 722-7000, Toll-free: (800) 464-5005, [http://marriott.com/hotels/travel/sjupr-san-juan-marriott-resort-and-stellaris-casino/].
  
 
==Stay safe==
 
==Stay safe==

Revision as of 03:33, 1 May 2007

San Juan is a huge city with several district articles containing sightseeing, restaurant, nightlife and accommodation listings — have a look at each of them.

San Juan is the capital of, and at two million the largest city, in Puerto Rico. It has one of the best harbors in the Caribbean. The city will celebrate its 5th Century in 2008 or 2021, depending if they count from the founding of Caparra or the act of moving the Caparra settlement to Puerto Rico isle (Old San Juan)

Condado Beach, San Juan

Contents

Districts

  • International Convention Center District - now has the new Convention Center, which has a fountain that plays both typical and classical music, and in near-future will have a Sheraton Hotel, among restaurants and shopping centers
  • Hato Rey - the business center, hosting the main banks, the Plaza las Americas (a mall with over 250 stores, mostly American chains like Sears and Macy's), the Hiram Bithor Stadium, Roberto Clemente Colosseum and Coliseo de Puerto Rico
  • Rio Piedras - home of the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico
  • Santurce - a historical part of Puerto Rico and the cultural capital, having two art museums and a performing arts center
  • Miramar - near El Condado, known for expensive and historical houses

Understand

Location

San Juan is the oldest city in the United States. San Juan is located in the north-east 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. San Juan boasts magnificent beaches, hotels, plazas, historic sites, museums, etc.

Climate

San Juan is a tropical city, with temperature that ranges in summer from 67˚F to 97˚F (19˚C to 36˚C) in winter. San Juan is normally sunny, but has a tendency to receive rain from April to November in the afternoon. Be also mindful that San Juan and the rest of Puerto Rico have the possibility of having tropical systems such as hurricanes from July to November.

Culture

San Juan is a Latin American city with Spanish-based culture, mixed with African traditions and Taíno culture. Museums of modern art exist abroad. The citizens of San Juan (called Sanjuaneros) 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 3:00-4:00 AM. San Juan has become very modernized as of late, with its first Metro line (called Tren Urbano) and buses. Like most large cities, however, there is a small population of vagrants and beggars lining the streets.

Get in

By plane

San Juan is served by Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (ICAO: SJU), a large international hub airport about 9 miles away. Airlines with domestic flights include:

Most travellers opt to rent a car here or take a taxi (fixed fares of $10-16 to most points in the city). If you have more time than money, you can take public bus B-40 to Rio Piedras and connect onward to your destination in the city with another local bus or elsewhere on the island with a público (best only attempted in the morning).

By car

By público

San Juan's main público (shared taxi) terminal is in Rio Piedras, a southern suburb of the city. To get there, take any of buses M-E, M1 or A-9 ($0.50) from Old San Juan to their Rio Piedras terminus.

Sample público fares are $15 to Ponce and $5 to Fajardo. Waiting times may be long and most potential fellow travelers are early risers, so try to get to the terminal as early as humanly possible.

Get around

If you're planning on staying in and around San Juan, you can survive on public transport and taxis, but if you're planning to head off elsewhere, it makes sense to rent a car at the airport.

By taxi

Taxis can be found hanging around hotels and the east end of Calle de la Fortaleza in Old San Juan. In theory, they're 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. For reference, the official fares as of April 2007 are:

  • Airport-Isla Verde: $8.00
  • Airport-Condado/Miramar: $12.00
  • Airport-Piers in Old San Juan: $16.00
  • Piers-Old San Juan: $6.00
  • Piers-Puerta de Tierra: $6.00
  • Piers-Condado/Miramar: $10.00
  • Piers-Isla Verde: $16.00

Note that cabbies are allowed to charge extra for bags ($0.50 a piece) and more than three passengers, and a 10-15% tip is expected.

By bus

San Juan has a comprehensive but not very tourist-friendly bus system, which is currently being reworked to better fit the new train, so all information is in flux. Check with AMA [1] (Spanish only) or enquire locally.

Bus stops are marked PARADA and may or may not contain tiny panels listing what buses stop there and where they go. Fares are $0.50-0.75, payable in exact change only (stock up on those quarters!). Useful routes include B-21 (Condado to Old San Juan) and A-5 (Isla Verde to Old San Juan). Frequencies on most routes are low and you may have to wait for up to an hour, especially on Sundays.

Note that, in Puerto Rican slang, buses are called guagua.

By train

San Juan now is served by a new subway line (which mostly runs above ground) called "Tren Urbano" (Urban Train) [2]. The line connects San Juan to the towns of Guaynabo and Bayamón, but it studiously avoids points of interest like Old San Juan, Condado, Isla Verde and the airport, and is thus in practice useless for most tourists. If you want to give it a spin anyway, take the Acua Expreso ferry from Old San Juan to the financial district, where you'll find the "Hato Rey" station right next to the ferry dock.

See

El Morro from San Cristóbal
  • 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 Cristóbal is 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.
  • 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 León.
  • Castillo de San Jerónimo 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.
  • El Teatro Tapia is likely the oldest free-standing drama stage building still in use in a US insular area and one of the oldest in Latin America. Facing east, across from Plaza de Colon (Columbus), on Fortaleza street, and built about 1872.
  • Iglesia de San Jose dates back to 1523.
  • Ayuntamiento or Alcaldia or City Hall.
  • The municipal cemetery of Santa María Madgalena de Pazzis, located just outside the city walls.

Do

Learn

  • Ateneo de Puerto Rico (museum)
  • Spanish barracks (now museum de Ballaja)
  • La Princesa (former municipal jail, now a history museum)
  • Museo del Niño (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.
  • Felisa Rincón de Gautier Museum :At Calle Clara Lair. Open M-F 9AM-4PM. Felisa Rincón 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.
  • Museo Nuestras Raíces Africanas( Our African Roots Museum), Plaza San José, Calle San Sebastián. Open Tu-Sa 8:30AM-8:30PM. This museum documents the African contribution to the sociology of Puerto Rico. Admission is $2 for adults; $1 for seniors, children, and students; free for ages 10 and under.
  • Museo de Arte ( Museum of Art), 299 Av. José 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.

Work

Buy

  • The Butterfly People, 257 Calle de la Cruz, Old San Juan, Phone: 787-723-2432, [3]. Real butterflies encased in acrylic. Stunning. Go to see it, even if you don't buy.
  • Plaza las Américas, "The Center of it All", biggest mall in the caribbean containing more than 300 stores such as the world's biggest JC Penney, Macy's, Lacoste, American Eagle, A|X and Sears. It also has a 32 lane bowling alley, a movie theater and restaurants such as Chili's, Macaroni Grill, Margarita's and Tierra del Fuego. Be sure to spend a day at this mall if you visit Puerto Rico!

Eat

San Juan is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.


  • Café Puerto Rico, Calle O'Donnell 208, 787 724-2281. 11:30AM-11:00PM. Creole cuisine. On the Plaza de Colón, enjoy the view along with a great meal. Great spot to stop for a drink, snack & conversation too. Live music weekends & some weekdays. Recently 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.
  • Tierra del Fuego, 3rd Level at Plaza las Américas, 787-294-7019. 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.
  • San Juan Hard Rock Café, Old San Juan.
  • La Bombonera, Calle San Francisco, west of Tanca, Phone: 787-722-0658. 7:30AM-8PM. Authentic local cuisine in an unassuming landmark atmosphere unchanged for decades. Serves lunch and dinner. Fresh pastries. Superlative coffee. Inexpensive.
  • Ajili Mójili Caribbean San Juan, Av. Ashford 1006, Condado, Phone: 787-725-9195. M-F 12PM-3PM; M-Sa 6PM-11PM; Su 12:30PM-4PM and 6PM-10PM. Locals come here for a taste of mofongos (green plantains stuffed with veal, chicken, shrimp, or pork), arroz con pollo, medallones de cerdo encebollado (pork loin sautéed with onions), carne mechada (beef rib-eye stuffed with ham), and lechon asado con maposteado (roast pork with rice and beans).
  • Al Dente, Calle Recinto Sur 309, Old San Juan, Phone: 787-723-7303. M-F 12PM-3PM; M-Sa 6PM-11PM; Sun 12:30PM-4PM and 6PM-10PM. The oldest continuously operated Italian restaurant in Puerto Rico.
  • Parrot Club, Calle Fortaleza 363, Old San Juan, 787-725-7370. 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 Jesús Ramiro.
  • Ostra Cosa, Calle del Cristo 154, Old San Juan, 787-722-2672. Daily 12PM-10PM. Reservations recommended. The ambience here is one of the most sensual and romantic in Old San Juan.
  • Luigi's Restaurant, 104 Diez de Andino, Condado, 787-722-2672. 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.
  • El Alcázar, 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.

Drink

San Juan is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.


  • Babylon, At Wyndham El San Juan Hotel & Casino, Isla Verde. Cover $15, free for residents of El San Juan Hotel. Open Thursday through Saturday from 10pm until 4AM, currently it has a new name.
  • Cigar Bar, At Wyndham El San Juan Hotel & Casino, Isla Verde. Daily 6PM to 3AM.
  • Dragonfly, Restaurant and bar on Forteleza Street in Old San Juan.
  • 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 Thursday through Sunday from 10PM until 4AM.
  • El Patio de Sam, Calle San Sebastián, Old San Juan. One of the most popular late-night joints with a good selection of beers. Live entertainment is presented here Monday to Saturday.Open daily noon to 1am.
  • 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, 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.
  • Dákiti, Calle San Sebastián, Pub with two floors. Idilic for the San Sebastián Festivities.
  • Nuyorican Cafe, Calle San Francisco #312. 787-977-1276, [4]. Best Live Music Venue in Old San Juan! Salsa, Latin Jazz, Folklore.

Sleep

San Juan has a wide range of accommodation, but few budget options of any kind. 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 $100/night for even a basic hotel room, and well north of $300 for a five-star resort. However, discounts are available in summer (low) season.

San Juan is a huge city, so all individual listings should be moved to the appropriate district articles, and this section should contain a brief overview. Please help to move listings if you are familiar with this city.


Mid Range

  • Condado Plaza Hotel & Casino, Phone: 866-317-8934, [5].
  • El San Juan Hotel & Casino, Phone: 866-317-8935, [6].
  • Hosteria del Mar, 1 Calle Tapia, (Ocean Park), Phone: 727-3302 or Phone: 800-742-4276.
  • Palm View Realty, 5970 Isla Verde Avenue, Phone: 888-268-5281, fax: 727-1415, [7]. 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.
  • Tu Casa Boutique Hotel, 2071 Calle Cacique, (Ocean Park), Phone: 727-5100.

Splurge

  • Caribe Hilton, Phone: (787)-721-0303, [8].
  • InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino, 5961 Isla Verde Avenue, Phone: (787) 791-6100, Toll-free: (800) 443-2009, [9].
  • San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino, 1309 Ashford Avenue, Phone: (787) 722-7000, Toll-free: (800) 464-5005, [10].

Stay safe

San Juan is a city. Just use common sense when going around. The touristic areas, like the Old City, Condado and Isla Verde tend to be very safe.

Get out

  • 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 - In the north coast of Loiza you will find Piñones, 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 - Located in the east of 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 requited.
  • Rio Grande - The Caribbean National Rain Forest or El Yunque is located here, a great place to spend the day with nature, enjoying an awsome view and walking between trees and small rivers.
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!



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