Local's Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Curated By

Stephanie Cavazuti

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  • Luxury Travel

  • Family Travel

  • Babymoons

  • Honeymoons

  • Active Travel

  • Beaches

  • Nature Escapes

  • Puerto Rico

  • San Juan

  • Island

  • Local Food

  • Local Culture

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Curator’s statement

Easily accessible but a true escape, Puerto Rico is known as "la isla del encanto" which means the "island of enchantment." The Caribbean destination offers beautiful beaches, activities for the adventurous, delicious cuisine, and tons of history. The people are friendly and the weather rarely disappoints. If you're looking for a tropical getaway with a bit more to do than just sitting on the beach, Puerto Rico is your place!

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Insider knowledge

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Where to stay in San Juan

Condado Vanderbilt Hotel

Art Deco beauty with a mix of heritage and modern rooms, most with Atlantic Ocean views.

Fora Perks
  • $100 food / beverage credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

O:live Boutique Hotel

A unique hotel of relaxed luxury and laid-back intimacy located by the natural reserve of the Condado lagoon.

Dorado Beach, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve

Puerto Rico’s most luxurious resort, where apartment-sized suites and private butlers come standard, and there’s no bad view along the two-mile stretch of beachfront.

Fora Perks
  • $100 hotel / resort credit.

  • Breakfast daily.

  • Upgrade & extended check-in/out whenever possible.

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Unlock perks by contacting Stephanie to book your trip.

Things to do in San Juan

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  • Hit the beach: You're on a tropical island, after all. Make sure to relax and spend some time soaking up the sun.

  • Explore Old San Juan: Complete with quaint cobblestone streets and colorful houses, this historic district, which is walking distance from the bustling capital, has tons of shopping, bars + restaurants, and of course, lots of history. Visit the El Morro, the fortress that was built to protect the city, and La Fortaleza, the official residence of the governor. While you're roaming, grab a 'piragua', a Puerto Rican shaved ice.

  • Feeling adventurous? Zip-line in Toro Verde: About an hour and a half outside of San Juan, this zip-lining park is home to the longest zip-line in America.

  • Want to see a bay light up at night? Take Bioluminescence Bay Tour: There are a few options just over an hour away from San Juan - La Parguera or Laguna Grande - that offer guided tours of the bays that light up at night.

  • Discover the rainforest: Hike the the cool, mountainous, subtropical region of El Yunque, and see amazing waterfalls and beautiful flora.

  • Take a surf lesson, play golf or tennis: If you are staying at Condado Vanderbilt or Dorado Beach, in particular, there is a golf course accessible to guests. If you're wanting to get out on the water, take a surf lesson or rent standup paddle boards from Spectrum Surf School.

Places to eat & drink in San Juan

colorful houses and restaurants line narrow long street
  • 1919: Located inside the Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, this fabulous restaurant is helmed by Michelin-starred, Puerto Rico–born chef, Juan José Cuevas. The locally sourced ingredients make for amazing dishes and the setting pays homage to the elegant-era of when the hotel first opened its doors.

  • Raya: At O:LV 55, this Caribbean-Asian fusion cuisine offers something a little different on the island. The cocktails are impressive and it's a fun, lively atmosphere.

  • Santaella: Hit this spot in Santurce over the weekend! With a tapas-focused menu, it's great for groups looking for a fun night out on the town. The croquetas of the day are a must-try.

  • Prole: This farm-to-table restaurant is in the heart of Santurce. The impressive cocktail menu pairs well with the tropical, floral decor of the space. Be sure to try El Antitodo cocktail if you're a tequila fan!

  • Chocobar Cortes: Chocolate is the star at this eatery! Open for breakfast, lunch, and brunch, try family-owned recipes in a colorful setting.

Need to Know

If the mountains are more of your thing, check out my guide, From Alpine to Après-Ski: The Ultimate Guide to Vail, Colorado.

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Travel Advisor

Stephanie Cavazuti

Get in touch with Stephanie

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This is part of our ongoing series on travel to San Juan, and our longer series on travel to Puerto Rico.