Things To Do In San Juan

Oftentimes considered to be the best harbor of the Caribbean, San Juan is the capital and largest city of Puerto Rico. The city is comprised of nine separate districts including the International Convention Center and Old San Juan districts. While the beaches of Condado and Isla Verde are the most popular for those who love the water, Old San Juan is a popular point of interest that many locals and tourists love to visit. In fact, find the cobblestone streets of the city and you will most likely plenty of things to do in San Juan.

The following are 5 must-see attractions and things to do in San Juan whenever you are vacationing in the city:

Castillo de San Felipe – one of the first things to do in San Juan is visiting“El Morro.” This brooding 6-level structure is an old fort that features a lighthouse at the top of it. The fort was constructed to defend the city against invaders who were out to overthrow the Spanish Empire. Its walls are 15 feet thick and 140 feet tall, some of which were constructed in the early 1500’s. It is believed to be one of the oldest of the Caribbean’s numerous Spanish forts.

Museo de Nuestro Raiz Africana – one of the main things to do in San Juan is to visit the historical attractions and museums housed within the Casa de los Contrafuertes (House of Buttresses). It is dedicated to the influence that West African culture had on Puerto Rico. Numerous pieces of art, maps, masks, and prints are on display. There is also a spectacular recreation of what life and living conditions were like aboard a slave ship, a common sight of centuries gone by.

Museo Pablo Casals – another one of the things to do in San Juan is dedicated to the famed Spanish cellist Pablo Casals. Casals’ mother was Puerto Rican so in 1956, he fled their to escape Francisco Franco, the repressive Spanish dictator who had risen to power. While living in Puerto Rica, he founded the Casals Music Festival. The festival is still being held today from February through March and is dedicated to classical music. His cello is on display at the museum as well as concert videos, manuscripts, and photos of the cellist and his family.

Cathedral de San Juan Bautista – one of the more enjoyable things to do in San Juan is to visit one of the more common features of every colonial city that existed under Spanish rule, namely the church which is situated in the main plaza. San Juan’s cathedral stretches out about a block in length and lies in the Hotel El Convento’s shadow. The neo-classical façade has been white-washed with a slight pinkish tint thanks to a massive 19th century undertaking to restore the structure.

El Yunque – the US Forest Service maintains and protects this national rainforest along with its dense, misted vegetation. Of all the things to do in San Juan, this should definitely be on your agenda. Rare Puerto Rican parrots abound here and the Coqui (a tiny frog species) constantly chirps its welcome to visitors. There are numerous waterfalls, some of which have picturesque pools where you can enjoy a quick swim. There is a road that will take you to the top of the mountain or if you choose, you can park at the bottom and hike up to the summit.

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