San Juan is one of the can’t miss areas of the Caribbean that anyone traveling to the area should incorporate into their travels. Located between the Dominican Republic and the British Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico shares some prime Caribbean real estate, and its capital, San Juan is a show-stopping destination.
San Juan, Puerto Rico – Two Sides of One Amazing Coin
When we visited the Puerto Rican capital for the first time, I didn’t know what to expect. Puerto Rico, in general, had been on my travel bucket list for five years or so. I figured that since it was an excursion stop on our cruise, it would be nice for the entire family to explore a new destination. The city – and the country, in my opinion – are highly underrated Caribbean locations. Much love is reserved for places like Jamaica, the US and British Virgin Islands, rightfully so because these are stunning family travel favourites, but don’t overlook Puerto Rico and its capital. San Juan has a rich history with glorious beaches. It’s also a photographer’s dream that should be on every Caribbean traveler’s list.
Old San Juan
If you love history, architecture and the feel of age, then Old San Juan is for you. Walking through this part of the capital city is like stepping back in time. As you walk down the streets, you’ll take in brightly colored homes that pop in vibrant shades of red, yellow, and other primary colors. Continue through the area, and you’ll find museums, landmarks, plazas, restaurants, and shopping. And through it all, you’ll experience that friendly, welcoming vibe that permeates everything in the city. You’ll also be able to experience the festive events that occur almost weekly. It’s an amazing experience in history and culture.
We began our day tour of Old San Juan at the port of San Juan of course on our most recent cruise. From the port to the major landmarks in the city, it was a very short drive. First up was the National Historic Site. I could have spent all day just photographing and walking around the walled city.
In fact Old San Juan remains one of the prettiest and most captivating capitals I have ever seen. There’s so much history here that my teenager and my tween were extremely interested. They both found the National Historic Site, the public art and monuments and the stunning President’s Walk truly memorable. We will try to return to Puerto Rico next time for a lengthier visit.
New San Juan
This amazing city has two sides – the old and the new. And if you’re less about history and more about dynamic contemporary cities, then New San Juan is the place for you. This bustling Caribbean metropolis is constantly on the move, ever growing and ever changing. In contrast to the old world architecture and feel of its counterpart, the modern side of the city features luxury hotels, posh beaches, upscale shopping and dining, and vibrant nightlife.
San Juan – Beautiful on Every Level
Whether you want a laid-back, island time experience or a super hot, super posh getaway, the Puerto Rican capital has what you’re looking for. We were on a family trip, so we kept mostly to Old San Juan, but for honeymooners or single travelers, New San Juan is definitely the place to be. Wherever you choose, you can’t go wrong in this city of contrasts.