San Juan, Puerto Rico a Great Travel Destination

May 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Featured, Guide

el morro 2
Article by Robert Petrossian of Travel E Zone

San Juan, Puerto Rico is a great travel destination. It offers centuries of history, dating back to the island’s discovery by Christopher Columbus in 1493 and the massive 16th-century Spanish forts overlooking the sea. The Old San Juan has great old architecture, many great restaurants shopping offerings. The National Rainforest of San Juan is an amazing place to visit. There are also numerous historical places to visit such as the El Morro.

I visited San Juan recently with my family as part of a cruise and was there only for a day. I think it was a bit too short, so probably a 2-3 day visit would have been better to visit most scenarios and tourist attractions in San Juan. We took a 5-hour day tour that took us through parts of the city, the National Rainforest and the El Moro.

The National Rainforest itself has a lot to offer, with its beautiful exotic trees, birds and water falls. This alone probably needs a full day to enjoy. The main water fall that we visited on the side of the road was full of tourists and did not offer good picture opportunities. I would suggest for anyone visiting San Juan National Forest, to rent a car and try to visit the water fall in early morning hours were there would be less tourists. Be advised that in some parts of the rainforest it rains everyday, so dress appropriately or bring an umbrella.

El Morro, AKA Fort San Felipe del Morro, or Morro Castle is a 16th-century citadel located on the ocean front of San Juan on the most Northwestern point. Named in honor of King Philip II of Spain, the fort was designed to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay, and defend the city of Old San Juan from seaborne enemies. The structure which started in 1595 has very tick walls probably around 6-10 feet to protect it against enemies. It took many years to built and over next 400 years has had many additions.

Finally the Old San Juan is a beautiful place to visit. You can walk from one end of Old San Juan to the other in about 15 minutes, passing buildings in every pastel hue imaginable.  Many balconies have vines. Trees have vibrant colors and you can see the turquoise sea from some places. Make your way to Calle Tetuan and you’ll see a house reputed to be among the world’s narrowest at about 5 feet wide.

The shopping ares offer many brand name shops such as Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren, but also many mom and pop souvenir and gift shops.  The restaurants are plenty and sea food is recommended, being on island were you can get fresh sea food.  A good  recommendation is Toro Salao, 367 Calle Tetuan, a Spanish-Puerto Rican fusion restaurant with (rare) outdoor seating on a plaza at the southern edge of the old city.

There is a good French restaurant called Trois Cent Onze. There is  a waterfront restaurant near e southern entrance to the old city called Melao, which is also a good choice, with outdoor seating.  Verde Mesa, 216 Calle Tetuan, a tiny vegetarian restaurant, only serves lunch but is known for fantastic fruit shakes .

Puerto Rico, being a US Commonwealth, uses  US Dollar as currency and you can visit with a US Passport, without a Visa.


Comments are closed.