San Juan, Puerto Rico – Luggage Factory

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San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan is the Capital of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, a territory of the United States. Both Spanish and English are spoken here and the official currency is the US Dollar. Whether embarking on a cruise or taking a land-based vacation, Puerto Rico offers everything from rainforests to beaches to history. 5 Must-See Attractions
  1. Bioluminescent Bay: “Bio Bay” is one of the top sites to see in Puerto Rico. The water illuminates and appears to be sparkling! Take a guided kayak tour to see the magic for yourself.
  2. San Juan National Historic Site: This US National Park site consists of two forts: Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro) and Castillo San Cristobal.
    • El Morro: El Morro, the better known of the two forts, sits at the entrance to San Juan Bay and is one of the largest forts built by the Spanish in the Caribbean.
    • Castillo San Cristobal: Castillo San Cristobal sits at the Eastern entrance to the city of Old San Juan and was constructed to assist in preventing land attacks.
  3. Casa Bacardi: Not for kids, but when in San Juan a trip to the Bacardi factory is a great way to spend some time (and get free samples).
  4. Old San Juan: With so much history and lovely architecture, a stroll through the old section of San Juan is a great way to spend the day.
  5. Museum of Art of Puerto Rico: Housing paintings, sculptures and religious articles from the 17th-19th centuries, as well as more recent works of art, the museum also features a two acre sculpture garden offering a lovely place to relax and enjoy the area.

5 Kid Friendly Sites

  1. San Juan National Historic Site: Kids will enjoy visiting the Discovery Center located near the entrance of Castillo San Cristobal and kite flying at El Morro.
  2. El Yunque: Kids will love to see the wildlife swimming in the cool river pools and see many of the indigenous plants that grow in this tropical rain forest.
  3. Bio Bay: Kayaking through the Bio Bay is an activity that the entire family will enjoy. The plankton in the water will light up with a fluorescent glow making this an exciting experience for tourists of all ages.
  4. The beach: Head to one of the many beautiful beaches in Condado or Isla Verde for some fun in the sun.
  5. “Piraguas” Cart: Like a snow cone, this sweet, shaved ice treat will be refreshing on a hot day. You may also see the Ice Cream Man ringing bells on their yellow carts. A little different than regular ice cream, you’ll find a couple tropical flavors to tantalize your taste buds.
5 Free Things To Do
  1. El Yunque: This National Forest is the only tropical rainforest that is part of the US National Forest System. Its location on the northeast coast of Puerto Rico means that El Yunque receives over 240 inches of rain per year.
  2. The beach: You’re on an island, head to the beach! Try Condado, Isla Verde or El Escambron! Grab a towel and some sunscreen and relax!
  3. Old San Juan: Take a stroll through the cobblestone streets of Old San Juan and soak up history, charm and do some window shopping. Old San Juan offers great opportunities for photos and it’s here that you’ll find many historic sites such as El Morro.
  4. Music and Salsa: While grabbing a bite or having a drink is not free, you can often enjoy great live Salsa music in many of the clubs and hotel lounges around San Juan. Sometimes you’ll even find free Salsa lessons.
  5. Ride the free trolley in Old San Juan: Not technically a tour, you’ll still get a nice overview of the city and it’s a way to get off your feet for a while. Although it’s not the fastest mode of transportation, you’re on vacation so grab a seat, see the sites and relax.
5 Great Restaurants
  1. Metropol: Excellent Cuban and Puerto Rican food in a casual atmosphere.
  2. Parrot Club: Enjoy Nuevo Latino cuisine, wonderful cocktails and live Latin jazz in Old San Juan.
  3. BLT Steak: Head to BLT Steak in the Ritz Carlton for the coziness of a French bistro along with modern décor where you can enjoy specially selected steaks, fresh seafood, and an extensive wine list.
  4. Marmalade: This restaurant, wine bar and lounge mixes California cuisine with a French and Latin flair. Build your own tasting menu, and pair it with your choice of wine. Marmalade is also vegetarian and vegan friendly and willing to accommodate dietary restrictions.
  5. Ciao Mediterranean Café: Located at the Intercontinental hotel, Ciao Mediterranean café offers a reasonably priced menu featuring pizza, pastas and other Mediterranean specialties. Dine at one of the many tables along the boardwalk adjacent to the beach.
5 Nightlife Recommendations:
  1. Casinos: San Juan has several casinos, the largest of which is at the Ritz Carlton. Others are at the San Juan Marriott Resort and Stellaris Casino, the Sheraton Old San Juan, the Condado Plaza and others.
  2. La Rumba Party Cruise: Located at Pier 1, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday nights, this party cruise is guaranteed to be a great night!
  3. Club Brava at the El San Juan Hotel: Whether you want a high-energy dance club or a relaxing lounge, Club Brava, in the El San Juan hotel is the place to be. Popular with residents and tourists alike, you’ll find great dance music in this fashionable club.
  4. Nuyorican Café: Experience some traditional Puerto Rican nightlife at the Nuyorican Café and enjoy watching and participating in Salsa dancing.
  5. Bar hopping in Old San Juan: Have some tapas and drinks at El Picoteo in the El Convento Hotel and then head out for the evening where you can hear great music until sunrise.
5 Romantic Getaways
  1. Perla Restaurant: Enjoy fresh seafood, beautiful décor and dancing in this clamshell shaped restaurant at the La Concha Resort.
  2. Mist: Stop by the rooftop bar at the San Juan Water Beach hotel in Isla Verde, sip cocktails, and choose from a variety of “socializers” (like Spanish-style tapas) as you watch the sunset. Dance the night away under the stars to music played by local DJs.
  3. Catch the sunset: Head to Old San Juan along the Paseo de la Princesa, or at the base of El Morro to see the stunning city as the sun sets over it. On Sunday nights, enjoy some live music here as well.
  4. Swim in a waterfall: Cool off in the waters at La Mina falls, located within the rain forest of El Yunque.
  5. Take Salsa lessons at the Nuyorican Café: What could be more romantic than learning some new dance steps with your loved one?
5 Great Hotels
  1. Ritz Carlton: 6961 Avenue of the Gobernadores, Carolina, Puerto Rico 00979
  2. Hotel El Convento: 100 Calle del Cristo, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico
  3. La Concha: 1077 Ashford Avenue, San Juan00907, Puerto Rico
  4. Hotel Casablanca: 316 Calle Fortaleza, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico
  5. Condado Plaza: 999 Ashford Avenue, San Juan, PR 00907
5 Must Try Foods:
  1. Mofongo: The signature dish of Puerto Rico, mofongo is served almost everywhere. Typically consisting of mashed plantains with either meat, seafood or vegetables inside, sometimes accompanied by beans and rice, mofongo is a must try food for every visitor to Puerto Rico.
  2. Mallorcas: Also widely available, mallorcas are sweet pastries grilled with butter and great when washed down with café con leche. Sometimes, the mallorcas are filled with eggs, cheese and breakfast meats.
  3. Pina Coladas: Yes, this rum based sweet drink has its origins in Puerto Rico, allegedly first prepared by a bartender at the Caribe Hilton, or maybe at the Barrachina Regardless, pina coladas are refreshing and delicious.
  4. Lechon Asado: This barbequed pork dish is a staple that any visitor on the island must try
  5. Arroz con Gandules: Rice with pigeon peas, pork, chorizo, olives and red peppers is considered Puerto Rico’s national dish.
Climate and What To Pack: San Juan experiences a tropical monsoon climate with average temperatures around 80° F throughout the year. Rain storms can pop up at any time, with the driest months being January, February and March. Shorts and light shirts are appropriate for day wear; with slacks, dresses and capris at night. Don’t forget to pack a swimsuit. You’ll want sturdy shoes for touring the forts, sandals or deck shoes for during the day and don’t forget your dancing shoes for evening fun. While San Juan never really gets below 70° at night, you may want to bring a light sweater or jacket just in case. Electrical Converter Information: Most electrical outlets in San Juan are equipped for standard U.S. plugs, best for 120 volt appliances and 60 Hz. Cultural Differences: Puerto Rico is a US Territory, and while English is widely spoken, you’ll hear more Spanish. As it was originally a Spanish colonial city, San Juan still shows attributes of its former Spanish culture, mixed with a touch of Caribbean influence, and of course, American customs. Transportation: While taxis are readily available in tourist areas, many visitors will rent a car to get to areas surrounding the city. Cab fares are regulated and you should be told beforehand how much it will cost. There are no commercial airport shuttles available. There are also free trolleys available in Old San Juan that will take you around the city Safety Precautions: It’s important to keep in mind that San Juan is a big and crowded city. Because of this there are always precautions to take that reduce the risk of loss and theft. Scan all major documents and email them to yourself before leaving, so even if your bag goes missing you still have copies. Be sure to keep a list of your emergency contacts with you at all times and always send your itinerary to a friend. Both men and women should avoid carrying valuables in their pockets, especially in their back pockets. Women should consider wearing an over the shoulder bag purse with a zipper; we carry a great brand of these bags called PacSafe, which greatly helps in reducing the risk of theft. Paperwork Needed: For U.S. residents only the paperwork that is required by the airline is needed to visit San Juan. Vacationers who are driving or taking public transportation should be sure to bring an I.D. to enjoy the nightlife. Air Travel Information: San Juan is served by one main airport, Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU). The airport has ample public transportation and taxi services to carry you to and from your destination. Nearly all major airlines fly to these airports such as: JetBlue, United, Delta, Southwest, American Airlines, and more. Trip Highlights: El Yunque, the forts, Old San Juan and the beaches will make your trip to Puerto Rico memorable. Best Luggage to Use: Wheeled luggage is the way to go because often in the city you are walking from block to block for a taxi or subway. Also, a small over the shoulder bag would be useful for daily travels. Must Have Travel Accessories: As with any city, it is best to carry your money and credit cards in your front pocket. To accommodate this, try using a small money clip to keep in your pants pocket. Also, these garment bags maybe useful if you plan to bring a suit or dress for a night on the town check out our garment bags.

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