To only have 24 hours in San Juan, Puerto Rico might seem unfair — pristine beaches with glistening white sand, gorgeous sun, ideal resorts, tantalizing food and a vivid night life would make anyone want to stay for much longer. But, let’s just say you are island hoping through the Caribbean, or sailing through the waters on a cruise ship — San Juan is a must-stop on any sunny destination list. The historic Latin city gives you a taste of Latin flavour with all the amazing amenities of a North American city, so you are full-swing in a new culture, but still have all the comforts of home. Here are some great ways to spend your 24 hours in San Juan.
Where to stay:
San Juan has a long list of truly amazing hotels and resorts, so much so that narrowing it down might be a bit tricky. From retro-esque to funky modern there is a hotel for every style taste and budget on the green island.
is perfectly located for a short sunny trip. Minutes away from Old San Juan, fabulous dining, designer shopping and situated on a beach, it’s ideal location wise. Step into the chic hotel and be impressed with the slick modern styling from the front desk to the sleek sofa and beds in the rooms. Did we mention the gorgeous pool, (we recommend a pool-side massage) and the steam room?
La Concha Resort and spa is the answer to a throw-back retro hotel. Recently redesigned and renovated by using the original blueprints from fifty years ago — this hotel embodies hotel retro glamour with modern twists and comforts. And there’s no way you won’t enjoy the view. Each stylish room overlooks the blue waters and the beach is steps away from the door.
Chateau Cervantes is located in Old San Juan and the first boutique hotel in the city — perfect for those who want to shop and dine in chic Old San Juan. It may not be located on a beach — which by the way is still only minutes away — but what it lacks in sand it makes up for in elegance and sophisticated styling by renowned Puerto Rican designer Nano Maldonado. The luxurious penthouse suite overlooks Old San Juan and has a steam room to help you release all your stress.
What to do:
San Juan is a city with endless possibilities. A walk through Old San Juan will lead you to the steps of Puerto Rican designer shops, kitschy stores and some of the best dining you will find in the city. Not to mention the glorious view of the old city and the city wall that used to protect the city. Get the best look at the history of the city by walking through the national historic site
El Morro fort with spectacular views of the ocean.
Poke your head into Lisa Capalli’s chic and stylish shop (206 Calle O’donnell) in Old San Juan and we’re positive you will leave with a great find. You will find smart and funky casual pieces from the Puerto Rican designer along with several up-and-coming designers that she features in her second shop. Pick up whimsical jewels, cute and funky flats and great casual and soft dresses — perfect for hitting a night on the town.
Get a different view of the city via the Atlantic Ocean while on a jet-ski. You will have new appreciation for the old city walls, get in an amazing leg workout (trust us, it’s all in the legs when it comes to hitting the choppy waters of the Atlantic), and cruise around the beautifully calm waters of the bay. There’s no better way to spend an hour or two in the afternoon. Check out
Aquatica to set up your jet-ski tour.
If you have time, set aside half a day to dedicate to the lush and simply stunning
. Approximately an hour outside of San Juan, you can truly get re-energized just by taking a walk through the fragrant forest and breathing in the moist, clean air. With numerous hiking trails to choose from, you can get up close to nature in the forest and treat yourself to a dip under a gorgeous waterfall. Feeling adventurous? The rain forest allows for visitors to hike to the highest point and camp out along the way. But, if you only have a few hours to spare, a trek and dip in the waterfalls pool will surly rejuvenate you.
Where to eat & nightlife:
If you’re looking to grab a bite that has a real Puerto Rican flare, head to
Ajili Mojili for simply delicious and authentic Puerto Rican fare. One bite of the house assorted fritters will leave you anticipating the scrumptious main courses. We recommend trying the Churrasco Crioll — a seasoned steak that melts in your mouth.
Tempt your taste buds with delicious sushi and Latin-inspired Asian dishes at Dragonfly in the heart of Old San Juan. The entrees are amazing, but just ask for a selection of their best dishes to share and you will be eating rice, duck, sushi, grilled steak and so much more. The bonus with Dragonfly is that you are in the prime spot for nightlife in San Juan once you are done with dinner.
For those staying at
Condado Plaza Hotel & Casino and added bonus is the sleek and sexy nightclub, Eternal, located in the same building. It the hot spot on the Ilsa Verde section of San Juan and is full of hipsters and fashionistas on any given night.
If you’re looking to hang out with the celebrity types in San Juan, dance the night away at
— host to many after parties including Puerto Rico Fashion Week after parties, where the "it" crowd of the city chill out. Vanessa Minnillo and Gabrielle Union have partied there until the wee hours of the morning, so expect to sleep in the next day.
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