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San Juan, Puerto Rico is a vibrant city of over 400,000 people. It is a very popular tourist destination. Each year people flock to this tropical paradise. It features some of the best nightlife and entertainment in North America. Let’s take a look at ten things you can do while visiting San Juan, Puerto Rico.
- Things To Do In San Juan
Things To Do In San Juan
With its array of diverse activities and Caribbean culture, it’s easy to see why San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a vacation destination for many worldwide.
La Puerta de San Juan (The Gate of San Juan)
When the city of San Juan was founded in 1521 a fortified massive wall was constructed around the city. The entrance to the city was through a series of heavy wooden doors. Of these, The Gate of San Juan is the remaining gate into the old city. With its red framework providing contrast against the old bricks of the 40-foot high wall, the Gate provides a majestic entrance into the city.
La Catedral de San Juan (The Cathedral of San Juan)
Once inside the city through the Gate of San Juan, it’s a short distance to the Cathedral of San Juan. Built in the 1540s and restored after damage from hurricanes, the Cathedral is an exquisite display of Gothic architecture. The Cathedral is also the resting place of famed explorer Juan Ponce De Leon. Those visiting the Cathedral can go on the regularly scheduled tours that are offered.
La Fortaleza (The Stronghold)
Built in the 1940s to protect the city against attacks from the island’s native population, La Fortaleza later was converted into the Governor’s mansion when it proved a bit too inadequate a fort to protect the harbour. Over the years the mansion has housed over 150 different governors, including the current one.
If La Fortaleza failed as adequate protection for the harbour, El Morro more than made up for the earlier fort’s shortcoming. El Morro is a magnificent castle that rises almost 150 feet above the sea. This six-level castle comes equipped with dungeons, tunnels, turrets and towers. El Morro played a prominent role in the history of the Island, helping Spain defend the city against assaults by Sir Francis Drake in 1595, and later against a siege by the Dutch in 1625.
El Fuerte de San Cristobal (The Fort of San Cristobal)
If visiting El Morro is not enough and you need another Historical Fort to visit on your trip to San Juan, you should also check out the El Fuerte de San Cristobal. This fort completed in the latter part of the 1700s also helped protect the city from land invasions. Along with El Morro, both sites are now part of the San Juan National Historic Zone.
Plazas of Old San Juan
The neighbourhood known as Old San Juan is a 7 square block district of paved cobbled stone roads, restored 17th-century buildings, and several plazas. Among the most popular of these plazas are Plaza de San Jose and Plaza del Quinto Centenario. Plaza de San Jose is surrounded by historic buildings and has at its centre a bronze statue of Ponce De Leon. Plaza del Quinto Centenario was opened in 1992 to mark the 500th anniversary of the discovery of the New World by Christopher Columbus.
San Juan Museum of Arts and History
Built in the mid-1850s when it served as a market, The San Juan Museum of Arts and History now houses some of the Island’s finest art work. The museum also plays host to various music concerts and festivals.
Casa Blanca (White House)
Built in 1521 and home to Ponce De Leon and many generations of his descendants over the next few centuries, the mansion is known as Casa Blanca and has since been converted into a National Historic Museum. This museum, with its beautiful collection of native artefacts, is also relatively inexpensive to visit.
Beaches of San Juan
Not to be forgotten as a place to visit are the beaches of San Juan. Two of the more popular beaches in the San Juan area are Ocean Park Beach and Condado Beach. The two beaches actually connect to each other and lie within 5 minutes of one another. These two fine sand and rather broad beaches rate among the cleanest on the Island. The areas around the beaches offer plenty of places to eat as well as an assortment of hotels to stay in.
For a change of pace from the beaches and historical sites, San Juan offers plenty of gambling opportunities for visitors within their casinos. Places like the InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino or the Hyatt Dorado Beach Resort and Country Club are casinos which feature hundreds of slot machines and such table games as Craps, Roulette and Poker.