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  • Writer's pictureMadeline Hill

Why you need to visit San Juan,Puerto Rico!

Updated: May 24, 2020

San Juan Puerto Rico
The beautiful streets of Viejo San Juan

Just this year, Puerto Rico was named the number 1 destination to visit in 2019 by the New York Times! This is SUCH a big deal for the people of Puerto Rico. Hurricane Maria, a category 5 hurricane, hit the island in 2017 and created catastrophic damage. Puerto Rico suffered a devastating loss of tourism- which their economy heavily relies on. We visited before and after the hurricane- and I can happily say that Puerto Rico has never looked better! Between walking the streets of Old San Juan, visiting a nearby island, or touring one of their historical forts, San Juan is a must see! This was my third visit to the island, but it won't be my last. We hope we can convince you to book your tickets to this island soon! Here are my reasons why you need to visit San Juan ASAP:

1. Puerto Rico is a US territory, meaning that American citizens do not need a passport to travel to this island. The currency is in USD and everyone speaks English. Puerto Rico was originally a Spanish territory, so there is a unique mix of Spanish, Caribbean, and American cultures. This makes it super easy to travel to and from the island, from the US.

San Juan Puerto Rico, Calle de la Fortaleza
Visit the Umbrella street on Calle de la Fortaleza

2. San Juan is the capital city of Puerto Rico and a must see on your visit! Old San Juan is a 500 year old neighborhood that is home to 400 beautifully restored 16th-17th century houses. They are all painted the colors of the rainbow.

San Juan Puerto Rico El Morro
This was taken at one of the lookouts of the El Morro fort!

3. San Juan has two forts: Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo de San Cristobal. We toured both on separate trips. Walking through the forts helps you understand the history of the island and the views are spectacular. The people of Puerto Rico have worked hard to defend their islands from many invasions, and the forts played a huge role in doing so. The forts are open daily from 9AM-6 PM. It is definitely worth the small entrance fee of $7 and it includes a visit to both forts!

San Juan Puerto Rico El Morro
Iguanas are everywhere on the Island! We found this one checking out the view at El Morro fort

4. Visit some neighboring islands like Icacos and Palomino. We rented a boat with Serenity Sea Tours and it was honestly our favorite day of the trip! We were dropped off at Icacos first thing in the morning and had the island to ourselves. Our captain, Cesar, went above and beyond for our trip! He made the most delicious lunch and fruit platter! We spent the day snorkeling, island hopping, and basking in the sun. The next time we come back to Puerto Rico, we will definitely do this again!

Isla Icacos Puerto Rico San Juan
Isla Icacos- rent a boat to reach this island! We had the whole island to ourselves!

5. The coastlines along San Juan are unbeatable! This view is from the fort El Morro. Spend about 3-4 days in San Juan before moving on to another destination on the island. Explore the El Yunque Rainforest or Northern coastal city of Rincon- I can vouch, they're both fantastic places!

San Juan Puerto Rico
the view from El Morro Fort

Where to stay:

This last trip, we rented an Airbnb for our entire family to stay in Viejo San Juan- this was a 3 bedroom, 3 bath, 3 story airbnb in the heart of the city. It's located close to the seashore and in between the two forts.

We have also stayed at La Concha Hotel and Resort. We spent our days drifting from pool to beach. The staff went above and beyond to make sure our stay was comfortable, and the food from the pool restaurant was delicious! There is also a casino attached to the hotel for those looking for some night life activities.

Other notable activities in San Juan:

- Visit the Bacardi factory and take a mixology tour!

- Spend the day wandering through the El Yunque Rainforest.

- Go on a zip line tour through an eco farm and jungle! This is about an hour away from San Juan, but such a fun day trip! We booked with Batey Zipline Adventures- they did an awesome job!

We hope you are ready to book your trip now to the stunning island of Puerto Rico! We absolutely loved our trip there and will definitely return for a fourth trip!

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