San Juan, Puerto Rico is the perfect place to visit if you’re going on vacation for a few days, but want to experience a little bit of the culture and everyday life. I’ve compiled a short list of things to do and places to see as recommended by many of the locals of San Juan, Puerto Rico when Daniel and I visited.
1. Take a walk around Old San Juan town
Old San Juan is a colourful town with art along many of the buildings. If you’re looking for Instagram photos, this is a great place to just take a stroll and take photos on different streets. If you’re coming from a pretty monotone city, the variety of colour will surely brighten up your day.
While in town, you can also get a taste of some sweet treats and drinks from vendors or look at many of the adorable dogs and cats walking around the streets.
2. Enter Castillo San Felipe del Morro
Also known as ‘El Morro‘, this fort was created long ago to defend the entrance of San Juan Bay from seaborne enemies. Now for a small fee of $7 USD, you can go inside and explore all 6 floors while taking a look at history.
However, if history isn’t your thing, it’s also a nice place to have a picnic or fly kites. It’s surrounded by a large grass field that you have to walk though (don’t worry, the path is paved!) to get to the fort. If you’re low on spending money, even exploring the outside has some refreshing views from the combination of water, buildings, and grass.
3. Take a soak by Isla Verde beach
15 minutes away from Old San Juan is a beautiful beach called Isla Verde with white sands and crystal clear blue waters. Don’t worry about it being too crowded, because this beach is huge, providing plenty of space for everyone. If you need umbrellas or chairs, you can rent them for a few dollars. If you get thirsty or hungry, there are vendors higher up on the shoreline selling varieties like coconut water, kebabs, sodas, and burgers. No matter what, you’ll find something to suit your tastes among the many vendors. And the best part about this beach? The water isn’t cold! So you can jump right in and swim around.
4. Go on a hunt for Coquí
When visiting San Juan, you’ll find that at night, there are very particular sounds that occur. When it rains, it gets much louder and frequent. In my opinion, it sounds like a bird repeating the name “Coquí“. It’s actually a plethora of little frogs known as Coquí that become active at night.
A fun little activity that you can partake with children or your friends is finding the tiny frogs. It’s like playing an audio ‘Where’s Waldo?‘ game. You may even find lizards, salamanders, and iguanas while you’re at it. So get out your flashlights and mosquito repellent to find the little frogs that San Juan, Puerto Rico is known for having.
5. Try the local food
I find the best way to transition yourself into learning more about the culture is to try the local food. If you’re not sure where to go, look into home stays or check out Yelp to see what there is to offer around you. Some notable things to try that have been recommended to me and are delicious are: plantain dishes, rice and beans, and guava treats.
What’s your favourite way to find local food when travelling?
Photo credits: DanDanExplores