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Top Puerto Rico

Old San Juan

Located on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, Old San Juan is the western part of the island’s capital. Hundreds of years old, this former military post is a huge draw to thousands of tourists each year.

Visitors will find a well-maintained historical district with a number of options to keep them interested. A trip to Old San Juan should include a visit to Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo de San Cristóbal, the tag team that once served as the city’s defense system against attacks. These days, Old San Juan has transformed into a docking port for cruise ships, giving passengers the chance to check out the many high-end retail shops down the street from the Plaza de Armas.

If history isn’t what you’re looking for, you can head to a number of entertainment venues among the pastel-colored buildings from the city’s colonial past. The Hard Rock Café or the Nuyorican Café are good choices for live music, and if you’re lucky, you might even catch a live plena or bomba performance in one the many plazas. There is also the San Sebastián street festival that takes place every year in January and Gallery Nights (Noches de Galería) once a month.

If there’s time, head to Berlin for the Sunday morning brunch buffet, a traditional lunch at Café Puerto Rico or an elegant dinner at The Parrot Club.

Visitors to the area will undoubtedly notice the small yet notorious neighborhood of La Perla, located between El Morro and the San CristĂłbal Fort. In sharp contrast to the beautifully restored buildings across the street, La Perla is home to working-class Puerto Ricans and not a tourist attraction. As such, residents are not likely to welcome uninvited guests seeking out voyeuristic photo opportunities.


By Alison Isaac
Alison Isaac is a writer, reader and pan-Caribbean Capoeirista from Toronto. Alison believes in ghosts, good music and the everlasting life of...
28 Jan 2009

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