San Juan

San Juan's metro area stretches 12 miles (19 km) along Puerto Rico's north coast. Mapping the city is rather like working a jigsaw puzzle; neighborhoods are irregular in shape and sometimes overlap. There is some disagreement among locals, for example, about where Condado ends and Ocean Park begins.

The areas most visited by tourists run along the coast. Farthest west is Old San Juan, the showplace of the island's rich history. On this peninsula you will find some of the city's finest museums and shops, as well as excellent dining and lodging options. To the east is Puerta de Tierra, a narrow strip of land sandwiched between the ocean and the bay. The area is home to a couple of famous hotels and two noteworthy parks, the Parque del Tercer Milenio and the Parque Muñoz Rivera, as well as Escambrón Beach. The rehabilitation project of the waterfront and cruise docks, Bahía Urbana, is attracting new galleries, shops, and luxury housing developments. Beyond Puerta de Tierra is Condado, an upscale, older neighborhood with a mix of beautiful Spanish-style homes, larger apartment buildings, and resort hotels. Here you'll find designer fashions in the boutiques and on the people strolling down the main drag of Avenida Ashford. Ocean Park, east of Condado, is mostly residential, but the handful of inns and restaurants here are among the city's best. Don’t miss Calle Loíza, parallel to McLeary Street; it’s becoming the area's new gastronomic hub. Beyond Ocean Park is Isla Verde, a more commercial zone, where you'll find the biggest resorts on the best city beach.

Venture inland, however, and you'll find a number of neighborhoods with their own appeal. South of Condado and Ocean Park lies Santurce, a business district with a growing artistic community, thanks to the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico and the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo. La Placita de Santurce is home to two of San Juan’s top restaurants, Santaella and José Enrique. Bordering Santurce and across the bay from Condado, the quieter, residential neighborhood of Miramar is also a great place for off-the-beaten-path dining. Hato Rey is a busy financial district, where you'll find the large Plaza las Américas Mall. The mostly residential Río Piedras area is home to the Universidad de Puerto Rico.

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  • 1. Balneario de Carolina


    When people talk about a "beautiful Isla Verde beach," this Blue Flag beach is the one—even though it's so close to the airport that leaves...Read More

  • 2. Balneario El Escambrón

    Puerta de Tierra | Beach

    This government-run beach has a patch of honey-color sand shaded by coconut palms. An offshore reef generally makes surf gentle, so it's favored...Read More

  • 3. Condado Beach

    Condado | Beach

    East of Old San Juan and west of Ocean Park, this long, wide beach is overshadowed by an unbroken string of hotels and apartment buildings....Read More

  • 4. Pine Grove Beach

    Isla Verde | Beach

    This beach at the end of the Isla Verde strip is a great spot to take a surfing lesson. The sandy bottom and waves are perfect for beginners...Read More

  • 5. Playa de Ocean Park

    Ocean Park | Beach

    The residential neighborhood east of Condado and west of Isla Verde is home to this 1½-km-long (1-mile-long) stretch of golden sand. The waters...Read More

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