San Juan

Puerto Rico’s Jewel

MSC Buon Gusto - - Contents -

With its high-rise build­ings and re­sorts tow­er­ing over beau­ti­ful beaches, San Juan is the Mi­ami Beach of the Caribbean. Puerto Rico’s cap­i­tal is also a ma­jor regional com­mer­cial cen­ter and a his­tory lover’s dream. Jux­ta­posed against this mod­ern land­scape is one of the re­gion’s old­est and best-pre­served colo­nial dis­tricts, rife with 16th-cen­tury cathe­drals, fortresses and plazas.

One of the most-vis­ited at­trac­tions of this U.S. com­mon­wealth is­land is the walled city of Old San Juan, which fea­tures nar­row cob­ble­stone streets, pastel­col­ored colo­nial build­ings and tree-lined plazas. Look for the bronze statue of Ponce de León and you will have found Plaza de San José, a fa­vorite gath­er­ing place in Old San Juan.

Next to Plaza de San José is Quin­cen­ten­nial Square, which opened in 1992 to com­mem­o­rate the 500th an­niver­sary of the ar­rival of Christo­pher Colum­bus in the New World. The square fea­tures a 40-foot-tall sculp­ture by Jaime Suarez, one of Puerto Rico’s most renowned artists.

For a truly stun­ning view of the har­bor, city and moun­tains, ven­ture up to Pi­geon Park. From the park, you can walk up Cristo Street to San Juan Cathe­dral, a me­dieval church where the body of Ponce de León lies in a mar­ble tomb.

Nearby El Yunque rain­for­est, Puerto Rico’s premier nat­u­ral at­trac­tion, is home to the endangered Puerto Ri­can par­rot and the diminu­tive golden co­qui frog, which is found only on Puerto Rico and is revered as a sym­bol of the is­land.

Taste of San Juan

Some of the most pop­u­lar ex­cur­sions in San Juan are culi­nary tours, which let guests take a taste of the lo­cal avors, in­clud­ing in­com­pa­ra­ble co ee and beloved Bac­ardi rum. Don’t miss the city’s renowned bak­eries, known in San Juan as panaderías.

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