Great San Juan Itineraries

If You Have 1 Day

Many people find themselves with a single day—or even less—to explore San Juan. There should be no question about your destination—head to Old San Juan. Spend the entire day rambling around the cobblestone streets and ducking into the many shops, being sure to save plenty of time for exploring the turrets, towers, and dungeons of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, the original fortress on a rocky promontory at the Old City's northwestern tip.

If You Have 3 Days

It's only fitting that you spend the first day enjoying a walking tour of Old San Juan. What to see? Castillo San Felipe del Morro is at the top of the list. You might want to explore the equally enthralling Castillo San Cristóbal, which has underground tunnels and hidden passages, plus cannons and a more impressive museum than at San Felipe del Morro. The city's original fortress, the Fortaleza, wasn't much protection from marauding pirates, but it does a great job at sheltering the governor and can be toured. And Casa Blanca, a home built for Juan Ponce de León, is a wonderful place to explore how the Spanish lived in colonial days. Day 2 should be for lounging on a playa (beach). Choose from the city's finest at Condado, Ocean Park, or Isla Verde, and park yourself in a rented chair with a good book, a cold drink, and plenty of sunscreen. In the evening, make sure you enjoy the warm weather by dining alfresco. On your third day, hop the ferry across the bay to Cataño for a tour of the Casa Bacardí Visitor Center. Return in time for some shopping in the shops and delightful arts-and-crafts galleries along Calle Cristo and Fortaleza, followed by dinner there are lots of great restaurants to choose from.

If You Have 5 Days

Follow the itinerary above for your first three days in San Juan. On Day 4, head for the Santurce district. You can immerse yourself in island art at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico and, nearby, the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico. Afterward, wander through the produce stalls at the Plaza del Mercado in Santurce, with a fresh papaya or soursop shake in hand. Be sure to note the giant bronze sculptures of avocados by artist Annex Burgos. If hunger strikes, head to José Enrique or Santaella, both are favorites among locals. On the morning of Day 5, hit the beach once more; then head to Avenida Ashford in Condado for an afternoon of shopping in its ritzy boutiques.

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