Weekend Guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico
Spend the weekend exploring Puerto Rico’s capital, San Juan. This bustling city is the biggest on this beautiful island and sits on the Atlantic coast. It is best known for its sunny beaches and the Isla Verde strip with hotels, nightclubs, restaurants, and casinos.
Visit Old Town San Juan with its cobblestone streets and vibrant Spanish colonial architecture. Many of the landmarks in the section of the city date back to the 16th century and should not be missed!
Visit old castles, forts, and homes while you spend the weekend in San Juan. There is so much to see and experience you will want to come back time and time again. Stretch out on the beach and soak up some sun and then head indoors to explore unique museums.
There really is a little bit of everything in San Juan, so bring the family or make it a girls’ getaway or guy’s trip for the weekend. While exploring, leave your bags in a luggage locker for safekeeping so you can enjoy strolling through the streets.
Castillo San Felipe del Morro
Built during the 16th and 18th centuries, the Castillo San Felipe del Morro is a historic landmark you will want to see during your weekend trip to San Juan. Locals commonly refer to it simply as El Morro.
The castle represents the storied past between the Americas and the Caribbean and has withstood many attempted seizes. It sits on the islet of Old Town San Juan and is now a friendly cruise ship port where passengers can come ashore.
The Castillo San Felipe del Morro has been an important and strategic military base for Spain and the United States throughout most of its 500 years. Now, you can wander through and see several amazing features and details.
Castillo de San Cristóbal
Don’t miss the chance to visit the Castillo de San Cristóbal, the Spanish fortress that protected the city against attacks by land. It was completed in 1783 and still stands proudly today, although parts have been demolished and rebuilt.
The fortress sprawls out over 27 acres and was the main entry point into the city if you came by land and not by sea. During World War II, the five large cisterns inside the fortress were used as bomb shelters.
Today, you can sign up for a guided tour through Castillo de San Cristóbal or you can wander through on your own. Bring your camera for absolutely wonderful views of San Juan. Be sure to visit the gift shop before you leave.
Puerto Rico Museum of Art
Head over to the Santurce neighborhood or barrio and visit the Puerto Rico Museum of Art or the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico where you can meander through 18 exhibition halls filled with a variety of artwork from local artists dating back to the 17th century.
This museum is one of the best cultural experiences in Puerto Rico, allowing you to see works of art by Puerto Ricans throughout the ages. Check out the permanent exhibits and then wander through the temporary or seasonal exhibits.
Before leaving, step outside and take in the outdoor sculpture garden. If you have kids in tow, the craft workshop area is a fun place to visit. Grab lunch at the on-site restaurant and then pop into the gift shop.
Museo Casa Blanca
While you are in Old Town San Juan take a tour of the Museo Casa Blanca, an adorable museum filled to the brim with artifacts from the 16th and 17th centuries. It is located along the city wall at the corner of Calle de Casa Blanca.
The museum is in the house that was once the main residence of Juan Ponce de León, the first governor of Puerto Rico. The house was built in 1521 and is the oldest home in San Juan.
Sit in the elegantly manicured gardens and then gaze out the windows of the living room to see breathtaking views of the city and sea. The dining room is set much like it would have been when Ponce de León was in residence.
Museo de las Américas
The Museo de las Américas is located in an old army barracks that dates back to the 1800s and is home to a large collection of pre-Columbian artwork. There are three permanent collections at the museum:
- Our African Heritage
- Folk Arts in the Americas
- Conquest and Colonization
The museum’s mission is to promote and conserve the cultural heritage of Puerto Rico and its people as well as the Americas. The museum also hosts several temporary or traveling exhibitions throughout the year.
Balneario El Escambron
No weekend trip to Puerto Rico is complete without a trip to the beach. Balneario El Escambron is the most breathtaking beach in San Juan. The beach’s golden sand will beckon to you and you may even find yourself spending most of the weekend here!
The beach is protected by a coral reef and has mature palm trees that provide the perfect shaded spots for those looking to get out of the direct sunlight. Grab your sunscreen, beach towel, and swimsuit and head over to Balneario El Escambron.
Located in Puerta de Tierra, it is easily accessible from Old Town San Juan. It is one of the best public beaches in all of Puerto Rico. Soak up some sun and spend time hanging out with tourists and locals alike.
Fortin de San Gerónimo de Boquerón
Take a few hours and head to the Fortín de San Gerónimo de Boquerón located along the Condado Lagoon. This small fort was originally built in 1595 to defend San Juan from Sir Francis Drake.
The fort was destroyed in an attack by the third Earl of Cumberland, George Clifford in 1598. The fort was rebuilt and acted as a major line of defense against incoming attacks from the sea. Today, you can tour the fort and wonder at those who fought there.
Whether you are planning to spend your weekend in San Juan visiting the beach or you are going to fully experience the culture and history of the city, this splendid island destination is a fantastic place to unwind and revel in the beauty of a tropical getaway.
4 responses to “Tropical Getaway: Weekend Guide to San Juan Puerto Rico”
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