San Juan Puerto Rico 2023 - Tourism Guide

Where Old World Elegance & Modern Caribbean Meet to Create the Most Exciting Destination in the Caribbean.

Save a Spot - Top Culebra Day Trip from San Juan

Welcome to San Juan, the capital city of Puerto Rico, where Old World elegance, modern luxuries, and tropical allure come together to offer unforgettable experiences like no other destination.   Swim, snorkel, surf, and relax at San Juan’s beaches, explore the historic and romantic district of Old San Juan, and immerse yourself in the vibrant culture.  Whether you’re honeymooning, a solo traveler, a young family, or young at heart, San Juan will deliver extraordinary experiences.

Go on a number of exciting day trips from San Juan, such as exploring the El Yunque Rainforest, seeing the magic of the bioluminescent bays, sailing to secluded islands, beach hopping to stunning beaches, exploring world-class caves, going on off-road adventures, ziplining, and much more.

Experience Two Distinct Exciting Destinations

The Romance of European Charm & A Modern Tropical City

Old San Juan / El Viejo San Juan

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Old San Juan (El Viejo San Juan) is the most beloved town in Puerto Rico by both locals and visitors; you’ll feel like you’re in a European city, but more intimate, colorful, and certainly livelier.  We invite you to make Old San Juan your first stop in Puerto Rico.  Wear comfortable shoes; you’ll

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… want to walk every block leading to five-century-old forts, museums, cathedrals, elegant squares, romantic promenades, delightful restaurants, and one-of-a-kind shops.  Immerse yourself in our vibrant culture by joining the festive events celebrated throughout the year.  For honeymooners, the Old City unfolds romantic experiences and quiet spots to cherish moments of love. Get lost in the allure of this historic gem and create memories that linger in the heart.

About Old San JuanHotels in Old San JuanOld San Juan Tours

The New San Juan

San Juan Puerto Rico

Discover the ever-evolving “New San Juan,” the vibrant metropolis of the Caribbean that seamlessly blends modernity with tropical allures.  Our capital city presents a dynamic fusion of urban amenities and lively entertainment, complemented by the enchantment of tropical beaches…

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… lavish beachfront hotels, excellent dining options, shopping extravagance, and exhilarating nightlife.  Explore the tourist hotspots of Condado, Ocean Park, and nearby Isla Verde, where you can revel in the best of both worlds — experience the energy of bustling city life and unwind in the true spirit of a fun and relaxing tropical escape. 

Take a few minutes to learn more about the Best Tourist Spots to Stay in San Juan that fit your travel preferences.  

Where is San Juan, Puerto Rico?

San Juan is located on the north coast of Puerto Rico, a great location to explore the greatest natural wonders and fun activities of Puerto Rico.   Puerto Rico is situated in the Greater Antilles of the Caribbean.  Spanning 35 miles from north to south and 100 miles from west to east, makes Puerto Rico a wonderful destination for exploration; since no place is too far.   Puerto Rico is nestled between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.  From San Juan, you can hop on a small plane and visit the offshore islands of Culebra and Vieques for the most pristine beaches and breathtaking landscapes that one may think only existed in the Caribbean of the past. 

Experience The Beach Life of San Juan - Welcome to PRdise!

San Juan Puerto Rico Beaches - 2024 Guide

Indulge in the allure of San Juan’s stunning beaches, each offering a unique experience from snorkeling in clear waters with sea turtles at Escambron to sunbathing at the trendy Condado Beach, taking long walks on the golden sands of Isla Verde, kiteboarding at Ocean Park, or, of course, doing nothing at all with a refreshing Piña Colada in hand.  If you dream of seeing a dreamy beach, there’s a plethora of more pristine beaches to visit around Puerto Rico; the hardest part of your vacation will be not having more days to explore, which is the reason why so many visitors keep coming back to Puerto Rico. 

Experience the Historical Marvels of San Juan

San Juan National Historic Site - San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan, the oldest city under the United States Flag, celebrates 500 years of history.  Puerto Rico became a Free Commonwealth (territory/colony) in 1898 following the Spanish-American War.  Embark on a captivating journey in Old San Juan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that unfolds like a living storybook full of history and legends. 

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The majestic forts of El Morro and San Cristobal, built five centuries ago to protect the city, now stand as formidable guardians of the city’s rich history, offering breathtaking panoramic views of the coastline and sharing tales of resilience and historical significance.  Walk through the red-colored gate, walk into San Juan Bautista Cathedral, the second oldest church in the Western Hemisphere, take a tour of Casa Blanca, Ponce de Leon’s family mansion, and so much more.  You’re invited to experience San Juan’s historical marvels of history and create your chapter in the captivating story of this historic gem.

Experience The Natural Wonders & Fun Adventures of Puerto Rico

Best Places to Visit in Puerto Rico from San Juan

Get ready for a fun and adventurous vacation or as relaxing as you want it to be.  There’s plenty to see and do in San Juan, but we encourage you to go beyond the city to explore the treasures around the island.  Take a hike at El Yunque Rainforest and jump into gorgeous waterfalls, go on a snorkeling excursion to the idyllic islands of Puerto Rico, go ziplining or horseback riding, have a thrilling off-road adventure, explore caves, and have the best and most exciting beach hopping experience in the Caribbean.

See the wonderful adventures you can enjoy from San Juan.

Experience San Juan's Hospitality

San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan Puerto Rico Hotels Guide 2024

San Juan’s diverse lodging options reflect the richness of its culture and the warmth of its hospitality, ensuring that every visitor finds their perfect hotel, resort, or rental to feel at home.  Whether you seek budget-friendly simplicity, family-oriented comfort, romantic, historic charm, or lavish beachfront luxury, San Juan has the perfect lodging experience for your Caribbean getaway. 

We recommend you start by learning the differences among the tourist districts / best places to stay in San Juan

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Budget-conscious hotels, cozy guesthouses, and affordable hotels dot the city, offering a wallet-friendly retreat without compromising comfort.  Saving money on accommodations in San Juan doesn’t mean sacrificing fun; most budget-friendly hotels and small inns are within walking distance to beaches and some attractions or a short taxi ride away.

Families with children can find spacious accommodations with kid-friendly activities and great service to keep everyone comfortable.  Save a little money by staying just a block away from the beach or rent an apartment with all the amenities of home.

Romantics & History Buffs – Old San Juan offers small inns and luxury hotels in beautifully restored buildings for those yearning for a touch of history and Old World romance.  Immerse yourself in the charm of colonial architecture while being steps away from all that Old San Juan has to offer.

Experience the epitome of indulgence with our luxury accommodations in San Juan.  Select from a range of exquisite options, from lavish waterfront and beachfront resorts like The Condado Vanderbilt to the charm of elegant colonial buildings such as Palacio Provincial or El Convento.  Immerse yourself in a haven that seamlessly blends European sophistication with tropical allure.

Experience the Sounds & Vibrant Culture of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico Culture / Cultural Experiences in San Juan

We warmly welcome you to San Juan, the pulsating cultural heart of Puerto Rico.  San Juan is a captivating blend of Taino, African, and Spanish influences intricately woven into our music, art, and cuisine.  Immerse yourself in our vibrant tapestry of culture by joining island residents as they flock to San Juan to revel in countless festivals and exciting events throughout the year.  Embark on a journey…

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… of discovery as you explore museums, art galleries, and cultural centers that proudly showcase the island’s rich heritage and artistic expressions.  Enrich your experience with various cultural activities, from taking salsa, plena, and bomba dancing lessons to indulging in food-tasting tours led by passionate locals, all designed to offer you an authentic experience of our vibrant culture.

At Christmas time, we invite you to come to San Juan to celebrate the longest festivities in the world. Christmas celebrations begin right after Thanksgiving and end in the third week of January.

Experience The Flavors of Puerto Rico

Homeplace of Piña Coladas & Mofongo

San Juan Puerto Rico Food Culture

Prepare for an exciting culinary journey, rooted in three cultures and expertly combined to serve up tantalizing, sultry flavors. And, if you like Piña Coladas, get ready to sip on the best you’ll ever have—San Juan is where the drink was invented.

San Juan proudly stands among the top Caribbean destinations for food enthusiasts. Delight in the authentic flavors of Puerto Rico, from traditional dishes like mofongo, the most delicious rice and beans you’ll ever eat, to delicious fritters such as alcapurrias and empanadillas and innovative fusions.  San Juan offers fine dining experiences that cater to the most refined palates. Visitors on a budget will find plenty of dining options where flavor is not compromised.

Experience The Rhythms of San Juan Nights

Nightlife in San Juan, Puerto Rico / Activities

Get ready to ignite your evenings in San Juan, Puerto Rico, as we unveil the vibrant heartbeat of the city’s nightlife.  Even in nature, San Juan’s activities continue through the night, such as the beloved Condado Lagoon and nearby bioluminescent bay in Fajardo, where you can kayak in calm waters and experience the magic of bioluminescence.  From lively beachfront bars and Old San Juan pubs to sultry salsa clubs, San Juan offers a diverse and electrifying array of nighttime experiences.  Sip on tropical cocktails while enjoying the rhythmic beats of Caribbean music, or dance the night away in the energetic ambiance of salsa and reggaeton hotspots.  The Old San Juan district comes alive after dark, with its charming cobblestone streets lined with trendy lounges and historic pubs.  Whether you prefer a laid-back beachfront vibe or a high-energy dance floor, San Juan’s nightlife promises unforgettable moments for every nocturnal adventurer.

Experience Happiness

Experience Happiness in San Juan, Capital City of Puerto Rico

If you love taking photos,  you may find yourself already ready for a selfie with a smile.  San Juan invites you to be free, just look at the locals and follow their lead… run around the grounds of El Morro and fly a kite, basking under the sun and jumping on the water at the beach, dancing to the rhythms of salsa, to smiling to the effects of chromatherapy as you pass by candy colored painted buildings in Old San Juan… it just feels happy and it quickly fills your heart.  

San Juan has something for the young and the young at heart with a high dose of happy vibes.

Experience San Juan Just a Quick Flight Away

Travel - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is a Free Commonwealth of the United States, so no passport is required for citizens of the U.S.A.  With daily flights offered from major cities in the United States, travel to San Juan is convenient and affordable.   As you sleep, dine, and shop, you’ll receive warm and friendly hospitality for an enjoyable stay.  Plus, the weather is perfect with an average temperature in the 80’s all year.  It’s always a great time to vacation in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Tourism in San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan Puerto Rico - Best of Tourism Travel Guide - 2024

Five centuries ago, San Juan was an impenetrable walled city; today, it is a hassle-free and exciting tropical escape in the Caribbean, welcoming visitors with open arms.  San Juan is the most popular tourist destination in Puerto Rico and a bustling cruise port in the Caribbean, giving visitors world-class attractions, fun activities, and rich cultural experiences easily accessible, so no precious vacation time is wasted.  

Getting around San Juan to enjoy it all is easy; no car rental is needed; you can walk to many places, take a taxi or Uber, or enjoy scenic bicycle rides around the city.

+ Key Facts for Visitors

  • If you’re a U.S. Citizen, there is no passport requirement; it is like traveling to another state. 
  • There is no need to travel far; the average flight from many US city airports is just 3.5 hours. 
  • Spanish and English are the official languages, and most of the staff in the tourism industry are bilingual. 
  • No car rental is needed to explore and enjoy the city of San Juan. 
  • Outside of the city, you can explore the natural wonders and fun things to do around the island; visitors can book tours with friendly professional guides or rent a car to explore at their own pace. 

This travel guide includes everything you need to help plan an extraordinary vacation.  Sit back, relax, keep this page open, and begin your adventure in San Juan, Puerto Rico. 

The Tourist Districts of San Juan, Puerto Rico

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

+ Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Whether you choose to stay in Old San Juan or another destination around the island, this is one place you simply cannot miss visiting while in Puerto Rico.  Old San Juan equals happiness, with many fun events held throughout the year, giving visitors an opportunity to immerse themselves in the culture of Puerto Rico.  Everything you could possibly need during your vacation is within walking distance along the charming narrow streets with candy-colored buildings and blue cobblestones.   Visitors will be captivated by the European charm, majestic castles that protected the city five centuries ago, the sounds of salsa, the romantic restaurants, unique shops, and friendliness of welcoming locals.  Nightlife is vibrant, and days can be full of interesting places to visit, yet you’ll find many spots to simply relax.  During Christmas, Old San Juan is the best place to be with live music, lights, and activities young and old will enjoy.  Foodies seeking extraordinary culinary experiences will have plenty of great choices without necessarily breaking the budget. 

+ Old San Juan, Puerto Rico  ⎮ + Hotels in Old San Juan

Condado – San Juan, Puerto Rico

Condado - San Juan, Puerto Rico

+ Condado - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Condado is the most popular tourist vacation destination in New San Juan.  Condado is a cosmopolitan destination boasting some of the trendiest and most luxurious waterfront resorts and hotels.  Condado offers visitors: excellent dining options, lounges, casinos, nightclubs, and beautiful event venues.  Pack light and bring empty luggage, just steps from Condado Beach, you’ll be shopping at high-end boutiques and shops including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Cartier, and Salvatore Ferragamo.  Condado is a great location for couples and families wanting beachfront accommodations.

Condado Hotels  ⎜ Condado Beach

Convention Center District – San Juan, PR

Puerto Rico Convention District - Tourist destination in San Juan

+ Convention Center District

Convention Center / Miramar is a hot spot for events and business travelers and home to the Pan American Cruise Pier, Isla Grande Airport, and Puerto Rico Convention Center – a state of the art convention center offering year-round events for both locals and businesses across the globe.  The harbor is currently being re-developed, and a beautiful new luxury hotel by Starwood was just built.

Hotels at the Convention Center District

Ocean Park

Ocean Park - Tourist Destination in San Juan

+ Ocean Park - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Ocean Park is a popular destination for its beach, water sports, recreational park, small boutique hotels, and guest houses offering beachfront access at very affordable rates. Compared to Condado, Ocean Park has a more laid back and casual feel.

Ocean Park Hotels  Ocean Park Beach

Map - Capital City of San Juan, Puerto Rico

Beaches, Top Attractions, Hotels, Resorts, Services & More

Basic & Interesting Facts about San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan is the capital city of Puerto Rico.  Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States.  San Juan is the financial and industrial center of the island and the most visited tourist destination.  The tourist areas span over 8 miles of the beautiful Atlantic coastline, from historic Old San Juan to the beaches of Isla Verde in the neighboring town of Carolina.

The San Juan Airport and Cruise Port are both Caribbean hubs welcoming millions of tourists every year.  This modern city is the second oldest settlement in the Americas, it is rich in history, treasuring its past, but setting new standards in technology across the Caribbean by always moving forward.

Formal Name of San Juan

 Municipio de la Ciudad Capital San Juan Bautista (Municipality of the Capital City, Saint John the Baptist). 

The original name for what today is the capital city was Puerto Rico (Rich Port), which was later named San Juan, and the entire island was named Puerto Rico. 

Pronunciation of San Juan

 “Sahn HwahnPwer-toh ree-koh”

The pronunciation of "San Juan" in Spanish is approximately "sahn hwahn." The "San" is pronounced with a short "ah" sound, and "Juan" is pronounced with the "hw" sound, which is similar to the English "wh" in "what." Together, they form "sahn hwahn." Remember that the "J" in Spanish is pronounced like an "H."

Where is the Capital City of San Juan?

 San Juan is located on the north-east coast of Puerto Rico bordered by the Atlantic Ocean on the north side.

Map - San Juan, Capital City of Puerto Rico

City Hall (Alcaldia) Office

  • Address: 153 Calle San Francisco, San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
  • Tel: +1 787-524-2500

Culture of San Juan Puerto Rico

The capital city is the cultural center of Puerto Rico.  San Juan is a happy place all year round and around the clock!  Residents from across the island flock to the capital city to attend cultural events and visit the many points of interest. Visitors are encouraged to join in and experience the heart and soul of San Juan.  + Culture in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Electricity in San Juan / Puerto Rico

Current is 110 volts AC, same as the United States

Puerto Rico Flag

The current flag of Puerto Rico was officially adopted in 1922.  The red stripes are symbolic of the “blood” that nourishes the three branches of its government; Legislative, Executive, and Judiciary.  More about the Puerto Rico Flag

Hospitals & Pharmacies in San Juan

During your visit to San Juan, easily find pharmacies in tourist areas within walking distance of hotel/resort areas.  Should you need any medical assistance during your travels, there are various hospitals ready to give you care.  + Hospitals and pharmacies in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Land Area

76.93 sq. miles (199.2 km²)

Language in San Juan / Puerto Rico

Spanish & English are the official languages in Puerto Rico.  Spanish is preferred, but most locals, especially in tourist areas, speak English.

Mayor of San Juan, Puerto Rico

Miguel A. Romero Lugo
Address: P.O. Box 4355, San Juan, P.R.  00901-4355
Telephone:  (787) 524-2500

Money Matters

  • Currency:  U.S.A. Dollar (dolar, peso)
  • Banks – You’ll find local banks throughout the city with ATH’s (in U.S. called ATM’s) that function on U.S networks.  Banco Popular, Scotiabank, Doral, Santander, & FirstBank ATH machines are most frequently available.
  • Methods of Payment – Cash, VISA, MasterCard, and ATH (debit cards) are the most commonly accepted methods of payment.  American Express, Discover, and Diners Club are not as commonly accepted in Puerto Rico.
  • Sales Tax Rate:  11.5%

Population

Population is 395,326 according to the 2010 US Census.

Sources:  US Census

Police & Emergency Services

Visitors can feel comfortable exploring the tourist areas of San Juan.  There is a strong police presence and the officers are trained to help visitors feel safe.

Police and emergency services in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Post Offices

There are various Post Offices located in tourist districts of San Juan, visitors are welcome to stop by and send postcards and packages back home.  Post Service is by the United States Postal Service.

Subdivisions of San Juan

The municipality of San Juan (like a county in the U.S.) is divided into 18 districts (barrios), which are further divided into communities/ neighborhoods (sub-barrios).

Television & Internet

Television and Internet access are available via satellite or cable companies as in the United States.

Temperature / Weather in San Juan

Average of 81 degrees F.  See our Weather page for more information.

Time Zone in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is on Atlantic Standard Time (AST) = Eastern U.S. Daylight Savings Time (EDT)

Puerto Rico does NOT recognize daylight savings as in the U.S.

If you're traveling from the U.S., here are the time zone conversions:

During U.S. Daylight Savings time months (early March thru October):

Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) is the same as Puerto Rico time

Central Daylight Time (CDT) + 1 hr. = Puerto Rico time

Mountain Daylight Time (MDT) + 2 hrs. = Puerto Rico time

Pacific Daylight Time (PDT) + 3 hrs. = Puerto Rico time
(i.e. Noon PDT = 3 pm in San Juan)

During U.S. Standard Time months (November into early March):

Eastern Standard Time (EST) + 1 hr. = Puerto Rico time
(i.e. Noon EST = 1 p.m. in San Juan)

Central Standard Time (CST) + 2 hrs. = Puerto Rico time

Mountain Standard Time (MST) + 3 hrs. = Puerto Rico time

Pacific Standard Time (PST) + 4 hrs. = Puerto Rico time

Tourism Offices

The tourism office is a great place to stop after arriving at the airport or beginning your walking tour of Old San Juan.  The staff is ready to help you and answer any questions you may have.  See locations and maps of tourist offices.

Typography of San Juan, PR

San Juan is mostly flat, with coastal areas facing the Atlantic Ocean and the San Juan Bay.

Water in San Juan / Puerto Rico - Can you drink it?

San Juan Puerto Rico Tap Water, and around most of the island, is “city water” and safe to drink, tastes good, and meets the same requirements set by the EPA for the United States.  The Puerto Rico Water Company, Autoridad de Acueductos y Alcantarillados (AAA), uses the latest technology to filter and purify drinking water for San Juan and other towns throughout Puerto Rico.  For water quality information, visit their website at acueductospr.com.  As in the U.S., if a business or home uses well water (rural areas only), they are responsible for monitoring its quality and safety.

When was San Juan founded?

San Juan was founded on August 8, 1508, by Juan Ponce de León, an explorer from Spain. 

Zip Codes & Area Codes of San Juan