7 Things to Love about San Juan
San Juan is Puerto Rico’s capital as well as the largest city. It sits on the island’s Atlantic coast and has the widest beachfront on the strip.
This city is famous for its colorful Spanish cobblestone buildings, rich fortresses, and mesmerizing views of the ocean. Below are 7 reasons why you should move to San Juan:
1. The Crowd
One of the best things about San Juan is its people. Puerto Ricans, in general, are known to be the beautiful people in the world, inside and out.
You might have had bad experiences with natives abroad and thought of them as mean or snobbish. However, in San Juan, you will meet the most helpful people. Their culture teaches them to be friendly and to welcome everyone. You’ll find them sharing knowledge about their island and giving tourists a free tour because they love this city and want to show it off.
What’s more is that at Puerto Rico, you won’t find people trying to forcefully sell you something or annoying you till you buy their product. You don’t have to worry about being harassed by random people on the street!
2. Historical Forts
Towards the north of San Juan, you will find two gigantic citadels. Castillo San Felipe del Morro, or more commonly known as El Morro overlooks the San Juan Bay and is one of the most popular attracts in Puerto Rico. The El Morro’s location is a strategic one- El Morro defended the port city from 1539 all the way to World War II.
A mile away from El Morro lies Castillo San Cristobal. Although a little less popular, this fort attracts lots of attention too. It features the Devil’a Guerite, also commonly known as Garita del Diablo. Tales of soldiers randomly disappearing while they stood watch have populated history.
The walk between El Morro and San Cristobal is breathtaking. You’ll find colonial houses with shades of pastel and beautiful architecture on one hand and the vast blue sea on the other. All in all, be prepared to experience beauty like never before.
3. Fruity Heaven
All around San Juan you will find small karts selling “piraguas”. These are crushed ice cones drizzled with local fruit syrups like passion fruit, strawberry, cherry, tamarind, coconut, and lemon. You’ll find these in Old San Juan and can take a break near these karts during your visit to El Morro.
Some residents set up small stalls at their front doors and sell homemade popsicles. These are called paletas and the best thing about them is that you’ll find flavors in almost every fruit available on the island. You’ll also find some freaky combinations of fruits such as an orange-and-cream mix. Paletas are super refreshing and are a treat to have during the hot summers.
4. Home to the Oldest Cathedral
At Casa Blanca, you will find a museum that was built for the Spanish explorer, Ponce de Leon and his family. De Leon went on a journey to search for the foundation of youth. However, he died on his expedition and was not able to move into his precious De Leon.
Today, he is entombed inside the San Juan Bautista Cathedral- the oldest cathedral in Puerto Rico and the second oldest in the United States. It also holds the shrine of Carlos Manuel Rodriquez Santiago. He was the first Puerto Rican and the first person to be beatified in the United States.
How can anyone come to San Juan and not visit its well-known casinos? Did you know that in San Juan, you’ll find all the casinos in hotels?
The El San Juan Hotel and Casino is the most famous. It is home to some A-list celebrities like Brat Pack. Celebrities in today’s industry also come here to have a good time. The lavish lobby, lounge, and bar area that is always crowded are some of the best things about the El San Juan Hotel.
The live salsa band adds to the buzz of the place, giving the hotel a nice vibe. With a 13,000 square feet gaming space, the casino has room for all. It features Blackjack, Craps, Baccarat, Roulette, Caribbean, Stud Poker, and over 300 slot machines that fill up fast during the night.
6. Walking Tours
At San Juan, you can easily book a walking tour to help you explore the rich history of the city. At these tours you will meet some amazing people and learn the intricacies of San Juan.
One of the places you will visit in Old San Juan is the Paseo de la Princesa Promenade. This translated to “Walkway of the Princess” and is the perfect place for an evening stroll. You can take a walk along the old city walls, the beautiful waterfront, and enjoy the view of fountains and the lovely tree-shaded boulevard.
Some people are not aware that Posea de la Princesa Promede has a dark origin. The name is derived from a famous prison, La Princesa that was once housed in and was located underneath Puerto Rico’s Tourism Company. You are allowed to take a free stroll of the cells and experience first-hand where the prisoners were tortured and shot. Tourists often say that they experience “weird things” during their visits to the old prison.
7. Incredible Street Art
You must have guessed that every corner of San Juan houses something creative. It is a hub of history and art which is why residents never get sick of their surroundings.
Everywhere in San Juan you will find colorful murals. These are bright, innovative, and attractive- promising to hold your stare longer than a minute. The Santurce es Ley is an annual contemporary art festival in Santurce that attracts street artists from around the world. They decorate rundown, abandoned buildings and empty parking lots to liven up neighborhoods.
Can’t Wait to Move to San Juan?
Moving to San Juan, Puerto Rico is a dream come true for many. If you want to pack your bags and rent out an apartment here, check out our website today and we’ll help you fulfill your dream!
Loving San Juan, but need to do more research? Check out our other local guides.