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Best Places to Stay in San Juan Puerto Rico

El Viejo San Juan (Old San Juan)

Cultural Epicenter & Historic District

Photo: Palacio Provincial

Old San Juan is a 500-year-old vibrant city, a living outdoor museum, condensed into 7 blocks that you can explore by foot.  Choosing to stay in Old San Juan, gives visitors the ability to simply walk out of their hotel and step into a colorful, romantic outdoor space with world-class attractions, and many interesting places to explore with wonderful experiences to share with the people you love.

Old San Juan offers unique accommodations from luxurious boutique hotels in restored historic buildings, a Sheraton Hotel & Casino,  charming budget-friendly inns, and vacation rentals so you can feel right at home.

+ Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Condado – San Juan, Puerto Rico

Beachfront Resort Tourist District

Photo: La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort

If you wish to stay at a beachfront hotel or resort, Condado is the best tourist destination in the city of San Juan.   Condado is a walkable tourist-friendly place offering easy access to many restaurants, casinos, and shops.  A short taxi ride and you can explore Old San Juan, you can also get there by bike, there’s a designated bike lane all the way to Old San Juan.  If you’re going to spend a few nights in San Juan and wish to stay near the cruise port, Condado is a good spot.

Most beachfront resorts are in Condado Beach right off Ashford Drive.  A block away from the beach, there are more budget-friendly accommodations such as local boutique hotels and recognized hotel brands.  Be aware that Condado Beach is not safe for swimming, but nearby you can go to Playita del Condado and Escambron Beach.

For relaxation free of crowds, there are some waterfront hotels to choose from within walking distance of beaches.  Condado Ocean Club and Condado Vanderbilt are the best options offering oceanfront restaurants and attractive pools for relaxation with the sights and sounds of the ocean.

Puerto Rico Convention Center, San Juan

Photo: Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino

The Convention Center District is a popular tourist district for business travelers and cruisers for its proximity to the Pan American Port.   The Puerto Rico Convention Center District has been evolving for the past years, with the newest addition of Distrito T-Mobile and Aloft Hotel, making it a lively and fun place to be for both locals and visitors.  There are many restaurants within walking distance and entertainment for the whole family.  A quick taxi ride or walk across the bridge gives visitors access to Condado’s beaches, lagoon, watersports, shops, and more restaurants.  Old San Juan is a 10-minute taxi ride, and 50 minutes walking. 

Those attending an event at the Convention Center have four hotel options, popular places to stay for business travelers are Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino and Hyatt House. 

Families with small children will enjoy the pool at Hyatt Place. 

Ocean Park, San Juan

Ocean Park is a residential community with homes and high-rise condominiums.  Along Ocean Park Beach and a few blocks back, there are a few small inns, guest houses, and apartment rentals.

Compared to the lux and trendy feel of Condado, Ocean Park is more casual and laid back.  The beach is less crowded and loved by locals who jog and walk their dogs.  The most popular activities at Ocean Park Beach are beach volleyball and windsurfing.

Tips for Saving Money on Places to Stay in San Juan, Puerto Rico

The high season for San Juan is from mid-November until mid-April.  Summer months are also busy, especially July.  

To save money, we highly recommend you book your hotel in advance to get the best rates, as hotels fill up the rates get higher.   Rates go lower from August until early November.  The month of September is a gamble since most hurricanes occur during this month, if you do choose to travel in September choose a hotel and flight with a flexible cancellation policy, just in case you need to make any last-minute changes. 

Eat where the Locals Eat – Food can be pricey in San Juan, especially in the tourist places we have mentioned.   Go where locals go to eat.  A popular place in Old San Juan is Manolin, great for breakfast and lunches.  La Picadera Bar & Grill is a popular place serving traditional dishes and fritter platters.

Where are the safest places to stay in San Juan?

We highly recommend that you stay in the tourist districts we have recommended in this guide.  Police presence is greater, lighting is better and the main streets where hotels and restaurants are located are considered safe.  Some travel guides recommend visiting places such as Santurce where you may find vacation rentals; while it may be popular for locals, we don’t recommend it, since not all parts are safe for walking at night, and parking may be difficult if you have a car rental.

What is the best area to stay in San Juan?

In summary, the best, most fun, safest, and most tourist-friendly places to stay in San Juan are the following:

  • Old San Juan where you can enjoy the best attractions on foot.
  • Condado is the best place to stay for easy access to beaches.
  • Ocean Park is low-key with budget-friendly accommodations but you’ll need a car to get around.
  • The Convention Center District is great for business travelers.

Related Guide: Best places to go and stay in Puerto Rico.

Which areas should you avoid in San Juan?

If you stay around the beaches and places of main attractions you should not encounter any issues.

Santurce – Many travel guides recommend tourists go to Santurce, such as La Placita de Santurce, and roam around the streets to see art murals.   La Placita is a farmer’s market during the day; at night, especially on weekends, it is a local hangout place with street bars, and chinchorros.  In the past years, some nicer restaurants have opened up changing the scene and inviting a more discerning clientele.  During the weekends,  people congregate at the square eating, drinking, and dancing.   If you choose to go, we recommend you leave at a reasonable time and not stay into the late night hours.  Like most places, most issues occur when people become heavily intoxicated with alcohol.  Bars and restaurants in the tourist districts get less out of control, it is more casual, in Santurce it is a party scene, a place we don’t consider family-friendly to take children.  If you wish to go bar hopping, we recommend you stay in Old San Juan and Condado.  While Santurce has many art murals of interest to art lovers, we recommend you go during the day and don’t walk the streets at night.

The crime statistics in San Juan have mostly been related to drugs in clusters of neighborhoods away from tourist areas such as government housing called caserios.

La Perla in Old San Juan – In between Castillo San Cristobal and El Morro, you’ll the one and only place considered a slum in Puerto Rico, La Perla.  For decades this place was considered one of the most dangerous places on the island basically run by drug lords.   A unique aspect of La Perla is that they don’t bother anyone outside of the neighborhood, in the same way that locals never went inside unless you lived there or had business to do there.  A music phenomenon happened with the popular song Despacito, La Perla was a filming location, therefore gaining interest from people all around the world.  Over the past years, the neighborhood of La Perla got a facelift, many of the abandoned homes were painted with murals and rich colors making them more pleasing to the eye.  Some tourists that love the song, have gone down the steps to see the neighborhood.  We don’t recommend you go there on your own, but if you really wish to do so, go with a local professional tour guide.

The 10 Best San Juan Excursions to Puerto Rico

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San Juan Old and New Tour

Price: $64.00   Sale Price: $49.00   Save: $15.00

Likely To Sell Out

Escape the mob tours and see an overview of old and new San Juan with an experienced guide.

162 Reviews

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Catamaran Sail and Snorkel

Price: $130.00

This catamaran sail and snorkel tour offers the perfect balance of adventure and relaxation for spending the day in the beautiful Caribbean waters off Puerto Rico.

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Historical Old San Juan

Price: $86.00

Explore Old San Juan, the oldest settlement within Puerto Rico, and the historic colonial section of the city of San Juan.

1 Review

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Rain Forest and Beach Adventure

Price: $109.00

Sit back and relax on this leisurely trip to the El Yunque Rainforest, the only subtropical rainforest in the United States Forest Service, and one of the oldest reserves in the Western Hemisphere.

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Rainforest Nature Walk and Swim

Price: $88.00

Take a journey into the rainforest and you will soon discover there is truly no other place like it in Puerto Rico or the USA. This rainforest nature walk and swim is just what the nature lover in you have been looking for!

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San Juan Jewish Tour

Price: $105.00

Immerse yourself in San Juan’s Jewish culture as you explore the Chabad House, the Holocaust Memorial, and more on this guided sightseeing tour.

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Hacienda Horseback Riding

Price: $149.00

Experience the Puerto Rico countryside on this great horseback riding tour.

1 Review

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Private Walking Tour of Old San Juan

Price: Starting at $20.00/person

Explore the centuries old history up close with your private guide on a tour for only your group.

23 Reviews

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Private Hands On Culinary Trails of San Juan Experience

Price: Starting at $100.00/person

A day on the town for all your senses with the sights, smells and tastes of San Juan

1 Review

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Private Secrets of Espresso, Walking and Tasting Tour

Price: Starting at $99. 00/person

Have you ever taken a coffee break in beautiful Old San Juan? Explore the Old Town on a tour geared towards the java junkie.

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Private Old and New San Juan

Price: Starting at $51.00/person

Escape the mob tours and see an overview of old and new San Juan with an experienced guide.

5 Reviews

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Private Post Cruise Old and New San Juan

Price: Starting at $47.00/person

This post cruise transfer tour will allow you to escape the mob tours and see an overview of old and new San Juan with an experienced guide.

7 Reviews

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Due to its rich landscape, San Juan has made a name for itself, ranking as one of the top cruise vacation destinations in the Caribbean. San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, houses some of the world’s most beautiful waters, reefs, resorts, and so much more.

San Juan is sure to stimulate your senses with the multitude of cruise excursions that we offer at Shore Excursions Group. Treat your taste buds to pure bliss as you experience the native cuisine of San Juan with our bountiful culinary experience tours. Appeal to your wild side as you go cave rappelling, ziplining, offroading, horseback riding, and ATVing through the rainforests of San Juan. Kayak over the radiant waters of the coast and discover the beauty of the marine life below the surface in your own personal sea trekking suit.

In addition to the outdoor and culinary shore excursions, our walking tours through the historic parts of San Juan allow you to marvel at the culture of Puerto Rico when your cruise is in port. Check out our tour reviews and book your next adventure now!

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Caribbean Cruises 2023 ☛ prices and schedules of sea tours in the Caribbean from Havana, Miami and other points of the world

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sea spaces of the color of Aquamarin and Vasilok Sapphire, the affectionate beauty of local beaches — all this give lovers of unforgettable sea trips to the Caribino, who are among the Caribino, who are among the Caribino, who are among the Carbian special charm.

About the most popular cruise itineraries in the Caribbean

If you are attracted by the exoticism of a tropical area that pleases its guests with a warm and welcoming climate for most of the year, if you are interested in the variety of many unfamiliar islands and archipelagos, then a cruise in the Caribbean Sea on a liner will give you exactly the impressions that every lover of an exciting and complete vacation dreams of. What places are available for visiting European tourists who want to get acquainted with the beauties of the opposite side of the globe. Let’s take a brief tour of the local cruise routes.

To begin with, the local travel area is divided into three destinations. These are the western, eastern and southern parts of the region. The most favorite travel destination among European tourists is the eastern part of the Caribbean. Here, amazing places are available for visits that immerse the traveler in a rich world of entertainment or allow you to plunge into the mysterious beauty of ancient castles:

  • Port of San Juan is the most important transport and trade hub of the state of Puerto Rico, which is also its tourist center, as well as the center of cultural and economic life (in fact, it is a well-preserved ancient city in which the traveler has access to architectural monuments, masterpiece cathedrals and a whole list of more modern entertainments).
  • St. Thomas Island is another attraction for Caribbean cruises. Here, tourists will have an unforgettable beach holiday, as well as a generous portion of the exotic in the form of the Blackbeard castle, which in its appearance resembles a visual decoration for historical films about pirates, treasures, as well as magic and sorcery;
  • Very popular cruises from Miami to the Caribbean, the purpose of which is to visit the Bahamas. Without exaggeration, they are the center of local entertainment, which Coco Cay is especially famous for.

Smoothly moving to the western direction, which in the past started cruises from Havana in the Caribbean, but now the port of departure has changed and you can go on such a cruise either from Miami or from Fort Lauderdale (with a call to Cuba). The most interesting places to visit are located on the sandy coast of Mexico, which was the home of the legendary Mayan tribe. Here, to this day, outlandish monuments of the legendary civilization have been preserved, which every traveler reveres for happiness to see with his own eyes. Another outlandish place to visit, located in the western direction of the Caribbean, is the state of Belize. Its coast is famous for the chain of the largest coral reefs, which cannot be found in the entire Western Hemisphere in terms of area. Caribbean cruises from Miami targeting the west also include stops in Cuba and Jamaica. In these states, there is a visa-free regime for Russian citizens, which makes travel much less problematic.

The southern direction is famous for the Lesser Antilles, where the purest natural beaches are located. Most of them are suitable for modern water activities like snorkeling or diving. But the most interesting place from the point of view of a visiting layman is the small self-sufficient state of Barbados. Its capital is the center of popular European entertainment, but at the same time it is famous for its historical monuments and developed hotel business.

On our website you will find great offers in all three directions, while everyone can find routes that include visiting the most popular islands among tourists. By the way, they can cover the entire territory of the modern Caribbean.

The best time to visit the Caribbean

According to the statistics of the most developed travel companies, a cruise to the Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale or, say, from Florida (USA) is best done during a period when cold reigns on the European continent (that’s all winter months plus March and April). The fact is that already in June the hurricane season begins in the Caribbean, which lasts until mid-autumn. And, as you and I understand, this is not the best time for idle travel. In addition, the period that lasts from the beginning of autumn to the end of spring is characterized by high air temperature and a simultaneous decrease in humidity. That is why, waiting for winter, you can make the most comfortable cruise from Miami, Florida or New York to the Caribbean, enjoying leisurely walks to the most remarkable places of the chosen direction.

Additional benefits of a Caribbean tour

It is no coincidence that the Caribbean has another (unofficial) name. It sounds like a «paradise for tourists.» After all, dozens of large and small islands are available for visiting here. Some of them are popular among lovers of civilized entertainment, while others are popular with connoisseurs of exotic and ancient monuments of bygone civilizations. If you have never been to a real desert island, then it’s time to visit the Caribbean, especially since tickets for winter tours can be purchased today, and prices in 2022 attract travelers with their affordability.

Any trip to these parts, regardless of the direction of the tourist route or the name of the tour operator that organizes this route, will open up dozens of previously inaccessible opportunities for vacationers:

  • visiting real tropical forests;
  • the opportunity to admire the landscapes of the area saturated with volcanoes;
  • tours of natural coffee or sugar cane plantations and so on.

These exciting tours are made for fans of controversial history, for those who are interested in the colonial past of lands with a unique natural landscape, as well as for lovers of clear sea and unforgettable beach holidays.

Any cruise to the Caribbean Islands from New York or Port Canaveral, for example, is an opportunity to have an original and exciting vacation, to improve the body, which will literally perk up after a stay in a mild sea climate, and also to get a lot of unforgettable impressions that you not a single, say, European resort can give.

Tours from Miami with a visit to Cuba deserve special attention, which, as we have already said, open up visa-free travel for Russian vacationers to all directions of the modern Caribbean. This choice allows you to make a leisurely tour of the capital of the Cuban land before starting the tour, using one of the legendary retro cars for travel, as well as get acquainted with the peculiarities of the local cuisine.

Which liners make tours of the Caribbean islands

In order to cruise from Cuba to the Caribbean on a capacious tourist liner, as usual, you need to choose the right ship and the right cruise company. On our site you can find dozens of different offers that are attractive in terms of cost and other travel conditions.

For example, cruise companies such as Costa Cruises or MSC Cruises organize trips on the most popular routes, providing vacationers with a standard level of service and demonstrating quite loyal pricing policy. Cruise companies of this level also include: Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises. For those who prefer a high level of service focused on the individual preferences of the client, cruises from Holland America Line, Oceania Cruises, Celebrity Cruises, Seabourn or Regent Seven Seas Cruises are suitable. Each itinerary offered by these tour operators is especially interesting and best suited to the needs of travelers.

Most often cruises from Miami to the Caribbean Islands, as well as trips to the specified destination from other popular ports, are made on ships: MSC Seaside, Harmony of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Costa Favolosa, Costa Luminosa, Niuew Statendam, Koningsdam, Eurodam and others. However, this list of comfortable motor ships, with all desire, cannot be called complete.

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