Condado san juan pr: Puerto Rico Hotel Packages | Condado Vanderbilt

Which is Best for a San Juan, Puerto Rico Vacation? –

Are all Puerto Rico beach vacations created equal? Probably not. The San Juan metropolitan area, is home to multiple beachfront neighborhoods — including Condado and Isla Verde, the two largest — and each has its own charm and style. But which San Juan beach neighborhood is right for you? 

A while back, an article in the New York Times noted that the New York State Assembly’s Puerto Rican/Hispanic Task Force moved its annual conference from the InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino (now the Royal Sonesta San Juan), which is located in San Juan’s Isla Verde district, to the Condado Plaza hotel (now a Hilton), which is in Condado. The reason for the move, according to the article, was that the new location would put less emphasis on the beach and festivities and more focus on “serious policy discussion.”

But I beg to differ. Both of these beachfront San Juan neighborhoods are festive and beach-oriented, just in different ways. So when it comes time to plan your Puerto Rico vacation, which should you go for: Isla Verde or Condado? Here are a few guidelines to help you decide (disclaimer: I used to own a condo in Condado, so while I’m logically partial toward that neighborhood, I’ve stayed at hotels in both places and can appreciate the allure of each).

Beaches: Both Isla Verde and Condado have wide, long stretches of beach. Condado may sometimes have stronger waves, although the small beach next to the Condado Plaza Hilton has the most tranquil waters of all, since it’s more on the lagoon than the ocean.

Convenience: Isla Verde is much closer to the main San Juan airport and a bit closer to the El Yunque rainforest, but Condado is much closer to Old San Juan (as well as to the smaller Isla Grande airport in San Juan, the departure point for some flights to Vieques and Culebra). So the amount of time you’ll be spending in Puerto Rico, and what you plan on doing, may influence your decision. 

Vacation Activities and Ambiance:
Beach-related activities abound in both neighborhoods, but Isla Verde, being further from the city center and constructed later, has more of a suburban feel, with more emphasis on driving and less on walking (except when you’re on the beach, of course). Condado feels more like an upscale urban beach neighborhood, and walking is the fastest way to get around to the restaurants, chic bars and shopping. Most of the upscale restaurants in Isla Verde are inside the large hotels, while in Condado, local celebrity chefs are just as likely to set up shop in independent restaurants as they are inside the hotels.

If you enjoy a highly walkable neighborhood with lots of independent restaurants and bars nearby, you may prefer Condado. If bigger hotels with everything you need onsite are a priority (or if you don’t mind driving), then Isla Verde will probably fit your vacation needs.

Hotels in Isla Verde and Condado:
There are a lot of amazing hotels in Puerto Rico, and both Isla Verde and Condado offer excellent Puerto Rico hotel options.

In Isla Verde, the hotels tend to be larger, with noteworthy choices including the following:

• The luxurious El San Juan Resort & Casino
• The classically elegant The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan
• The well-appointed InterContinental San Juan Resort & Casino
• The smaller, hip boutique hotel called San Juan Water and Beach Club Hotel, which has an excellent contemporary restaurant called Zest

Top Puerto Rico hotel choices in Condado include:
• The Condado Plaza Hilton, which has an especially good beach for children
• The tropical modern La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort, which has a very happening lobby bar that attracts locals and visitors alike
• The beautiful Olive Boutique Hotel, a small luxury hotel with great service and a gourmet restaurant
• The well-located San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino
• The Condado Vanderbilt, which is set partly in a restored historic hotel built in 1919 by one of the famed Vanderbilts.

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