Puerto Rico’s Jewel
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.