Top-Rated Attractions: Exploring the Best of San Juan, Puerto Rico
It was during my recent vacation in the United States when my friend and I decided to go on a trip to Puerto Rico. We were thinking of a new destination and we thought how about visit this captivating island in the northeastern Caribbean Sea. The island boasts a unique blend of rich cultural heritage, stunning natural beauty, and warm tropical vibes. After doing some research about the island, my friend and I created our itinerary and planned to stay in San Juan, the capital city of Puerto Rico. It’s a vibrant and historically rich destination that offers a wide range of attractions. So after we spent a couple of days in New York, we left the city and spent 5 days exploring the best of San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Top-Rated Attractions to visit in San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan is a picturesque capital city of Puerto Rico. It attracts travelers with its stunning soft-sand beaches, diverse cultural attractions, and an inviting tropical atmosphere that makes it the ideal destination. Throughout our 5-day journey in San Juan, Puerto Rico, my friend and I were able to visit a selection of the city’s top-rated attractions. From historic forts and colonial architecture to the sun-kissed beaches, our adventure was filled with unforgettable experiences. Here are some of the places that we were able to visit.
Old San Juan
Old San Juan is a charming historic district in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It features colorful colonial buildings, cobblestone streets, and impressive forts that makes it an interesting destination for history enthusiasts and those seeking a glimpse of the past. The colorful buildings are also perfect spots for photos. When you stroll around Old San Juan, you’ll see some interesting artworks. You’ll also find doors painted with the Puerto Rican flag.
The district of Old San Juan also offers a mix of museums, galleries, shops, and restaurants, all set within a vibrant and picturesque ambiance.
Calle de Fortaleza
Located in the heart of Old San Juan, Calle de Fortaleza is a charming and historic street that exudes colonial beauty. Along this historic street, visitors are guided to several landmarks, most notably the Governor’s Mansion. Calle de la Fortaleza is also renowned for its enchanting display of vibrant and colorful umbrellas, adding a whimsical touch to the narrow walkway.
San Juan National Historic Site
The San Juan National Historic Site in Puerto Rico is a captivating historical treasure built during the 17th and 18th centuries. It includes two iconic Spanish fortresses, Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro) and Castillo San Cristobal, along with the city walls that once protected the capital from invaders.
During our trip, my friend and I explored these historical sites on separate days. We started with Castillo San Cristobal, the largest Spanish fortification in the Americas, offering insights into the city’s strategic defense system during colonial times. The next day, we visited El Morro, another magnificent landmark known for its sturdy walls, majestic towers, and iconic lighthouse. Both fortresses showcased the brilliance of Spanish military architecture, leaving us in awe of Puerto Rico’s rich history and resilience.
La Puerta de San Juan
Puerta de San Juan, also known as the San Juan Gate, stands as a historic and iconic entrance to the Old San Juan district. This beautiful gate is a remnant of the original city walls that once encircled the colonial city, evoking a sense of its rich past. Beyond its historical significance, Puerta de San Juan is a perfect spot to witness the breathtaking sunset, adding a touch of natural beauty to its historical charm.
La Perla is a neighborhood located in the historic city of San Juan, Puerto Rico. It is known for its unique and colorful charm. The neighborhood’s colorful houses, adorned with vibrant street art, create a picturesque setting against the backdrop of the turquoise Caribbean Sea. In recent year, this neighborhood had a rough reputation. Today, it is now a tourist destination worth exploring because of its unique vibe against the colonial charm of Old San Juan.
A neighborhood situated along the northern coast of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, La Perla also offers several vantage points to witness the captivating sunset over the Caribbean Sea.
Another best of San Juan, Puerto Rico is Condado Beach. It’s a favorite urban destination renowned for its beauty and popularity among tourists. The soft golden sands and clear blue waters create a picturesque setting, ideal for relaxation and unwinding. Alongside luxury hotels, restaurants, and vibrant nightlife, Condado Beach buzzes with activity both day and night, ensuring visitors have a memorable and delightful experience.
These are just a few of the many top-rated attractions to visit in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Each spot offers a unique experience, whether you would like to explore the island’s history, soak in its natural beauty, or immerse yourself in its vibrant culture.
Budget for Puerto Rico Trip
To help you plan out your trip and explore the best of San Juan, Puerto Rico, here’s the estimated breakdown of my expenses (per person).
- My Hotel in Puerto Rico (3D/2N) – Php10,000
- AirBnb Private room for two (4D/3N) – Php6,980
- San Juan National Historic Site entry fee – $10 (Php540)
- Roundtrip flight from New York to San Juan via Spirit Airlines – Php9,700
- Other transportation expenses like Uber and taxi – Php3,000
- Food and drinks (estimated cost for my breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for 5 days) – Php7,000
Total per person: Php28,730
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