There are so many places in the world that I’m looking forward to traveling to and San Juan, Puerto Rico happens to be one that I’ve crossed off my list. Last January I went to San Juan for a swim team training trip. Though the training part of the trip was painful and shitty, getting to explore San Juan was an unforgettable experience. Here are my top 6 reasons for visiting San Juan:
1. The beach. If you go on vacation and don’t come back tan, did you really even go on vacation? San Juan has a multitude of beaches just waiting for you to kick back and relax on. Whether it’s a step outside your hotel or a drive away, I highly recommend taking a trip to one of these beautiful beaches. My favorite thing about the beach I visited in Puerto Rico was getting to drink a coconut while I tanned. For a few dollars a vendor cut open a coconut for me and after I finished drinking the water, he cut it in half so I could eat the coconut meat.
2. Culture. Old San Juan is one of the most beautiful parts of the city. With colorful buildings and a historic fort, you’re sure to soak up the history of this small country. I loved walking on the old cobblestone streets and seeing the tiny shops San Juan has to offer. I recommend visiting the Castillo San Cristobal. It’s right next to Old San Juan and has a large field where you can hang out and relax. When I visited, some tourists were picnicking and even flying kites. There is a cemetery is right next to the fort and both overlook the water. The cemetery contains beautiful sculptures and so many headstones you wouldn’t be able to keep count. If you ever get the chance, take a walk through and take in the chilling beauty of it. Keep in mind, that you need to be respectful in places like this, because even though it’s beautiful, it’s a sacred place for some people.
3. Food. Who doesn’t love to pig out while on vacation? I for one, am all for ignoring calorie counts when I travel. San Juan has a bunch of cute eateries where you can experience some real Puerto Rican food. Unfortunately, I didn’t get to try any of these places on my trip (Puerto Rican food and swimming don’t mix) but I did get to try some of the food vendors were selling in old San Juan. If you get the chance to visit PR, try one of the churros. It was phenomenal.
4. Scenery. Of everything you can experience in San Juan, the scenery is by far the most enticing aspect. From the historic buildings to the beautiful beaches, there are so many places that will visually stun you. Some may take a little exploring, like this ocean view (pictured below) that was hidden behind a cemetery, but others will be right in front of your face.
5. Animals. Between the pelicans and manatees, there is plenty of unique wildlife to experience in San, Juan. On my trip to PR, we saw a manatee in the bay next to one of the beaches we visited. I love seeing animals in their natural habitat rather than a zoo and if you visit PR, you’re sure to see some
6. Activities. With the ocean nearly everywhere you look, water activities are something to look into on your visit to San Juan. You can kayak, paddle board, snorkel, etc. I’m no professional paddle-boarder but I’m also not new to it. A group of friends and I went paddle boarding in a bay and it gave us beautiful views of the city, not to mention my friends got to try something new. If you’re looking for something to do on your trip, check out Trip Advisor’s list of things to do for some inspiration.
I won’t ever be returning to San Juan for a training trip but I look forward to exploring it in the near future. I would love to stay in Old San Juan on my next trip to Puerto Rico and spend more time at the beach.
Have you ever visited San Juan? What’s your favorite memory from the trip?