Help me San Juan it up on a Short Trip to Puerto Rico
January 10, 2016 1:59 PM   Subscribe

Going to San Juan as a quick 3-day getaway from the cold, Northeastern winter. We will be staying right on the beach in the Condado neighborhood in San Juan. Looking for some advice and tips on beaches accessible within San Juan, San Sebastian Festival, and seeing the rain forest.

There's been a few helpful questions about Puerto Rico and San Juan on the green before, but none are particularly focused on beaches and sites just within San Juan proper.

We will be staying in the Condado neighborhood. We're renting an AirBnB right by the beach there, but I'd love to check out some more of the public beaches in San Juan. My girlfriend isn't big on swimming in the ocean, so we're mostly looking forward to just renting some chairs and an umbrella and hanging out on a quiet beach.

The San Sebastian Festival will be on going on while we're there, and it looks pretty cool. We're not huge partiers, so any suggestions to get the most out of the festivities while avoiding some the over-the-top drunken masses. Also, any tips on getting to Old San Juan from Condado using public transit might be handy.

We also want to try taking one of the day trip tours to the rainforest where a tour operator in San Juan drives people out to El Yunque and back. We are pretty experienced hikers, so I'd rather try to get to some of the quieter, less tourist-y parts of the park.

For going out, I'm looking for recommendations for fun bars that are on the quiet side with great beer selections.
posted by forkisbetter to Travel & Transportation around San Juan, PR (4 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
It's pretty easy to hike El Yunque to the top and back in a morning. Get there as early as you can and you'll be leaving by the time the park fills up.
posted by checkitnice at 5:37 PM on January 10, 2016

I just wrote a blog post on our trip to San Juan last month.
posted by COD at 5:56 PM on January 10, 2016 [2 favorites]

The Laguna Condado is so beautiful. The beaches in Condado are great but a walk to the bridge over the lagoon is a must. It's less sandy and might be fun for you guys to rent a kayak or paddleboards or something.

Defintely try to go to El Younque. It's about an hours drive and can be a half day or a full day.

The hip new neighborhood is apparently Santurce. I haven't been there yet but you could spend an evening walking around and probably not see many tourists. It's pretty easy to take a bus that that nieghborhood or Old San Juan from Condado.

I do recommend Old San Juan. I really love it. It can be SUPER touristy, especially if there are cruise ships at dock, but it's still worth exploring. There is a lot to look at if you just want to wander around, and there are some great restaurants and cocktail bars there. I like Inaru for food (trifungo!) and La Factoria for cocktails. You can also go to the Caribe Hilton on the Laguna Condado and Barrachina in OSJ, both of which claim to have invented the pina colada (you decide!). If you like beer check out La Taberna L├║pulo in OSJ.

From Condado it's also about an hour's drive to Fajardo, where you can go snorkeling or scuba diving off some of the smaller uninhabited islands, if that's your thing.

More than anything when I'm in PR I like to just wander around. Have fun. I <3 <3 <3 PR.
posted by Brittanie at 4:14 AM on January 11, 2016

I found this site helpful for pointers to a broader variety of sights than were listed in the guidebooks (although if you have only 3 days, the highlights should also keep you busy.) Either a bus or taxi will get you to Old San Juan easily; your choice will depend on whether you want to save time or money. I found the online bus information difficult to follow, so ask your Air BnB owner for specifics. You might also want to walk one-way once to get a better sense of the town.
posted by Mr.Know-it-some at 6:22 AM on January 11, 2016

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