Tips On How To Do It Down in Puerto Rico
People that live in New York City are likely already familiar with the vibrant culture of Puerto Rico, but few of them have actually been to the island. Puerto Rico has gotten a huge boost thanks to the Justin Bieber remix of Luis Fonsi's hit song, "Despacito," featuring reggaeton legend Daddy Yankee. It recently became the most streamed song of all time and has more people than ever considering visiting the Caribbean paradise for themselves.
The territory boasts a rich culture and has so much to offer potential visitors it's nearly impossible to cover it all. I thought it'd be a good idea to start by focusing on one city. San Juan is the biggest city in Puerto Rico and is also the capital. With a bustling nightlife, delicious food, beautiful beaches, and much more it should be the first place you visit. If you're looking to see how they do it down in Puerto Rico then here are a few things and places you need to see and do.
Old San Juan
I’ll start off with kind of a cliché offering, because I have to agree with the rest of the known world that Old San Juan is worth a stop, even if you’re just strolling through. If you couldn't tell by the name, this is an old town center and one that feels beautifully preserved. It’s known for colorful houses, romantic, tucked away restaurants, narrow, hilly streets, and a lot of history. I really loved being able to visit the burial site of legendary explorer Juan Ponce de León—and apparently you can also visit his old mansion.
Usually when you visit an old fort, it can be underwhelming. But El Morro (which has protected Old San Juan throughout history) will blow you away. The citadel was built during the 16th century and has stood for nearly 500 years. Walking along the ramparts of this ancient fortress is just like stepping on history. Not only is it a historical marvel, but it also has incredible views of the ocean that you can't afford to miss during your visit.
Bacardi Rum Factory
Visiting a rum factory might sound like something you'd do for Spring Break, but the home base of Bacardi in San Juan is a blast. You can tour through the facility and learn a surprising amount about the history of the company and the process behind rum. Plus, you’ll get to try a few samples, and cap it all off hanging out in a big, casual outdoor bar, where you’ll be served some excellent cocktails. There's nothing like getting your drink straight from the source.
Casino Del Mar
There are actually a few fun casinos in San Juan, but this one at the Renaissance La Concha resort is my pick. I've mentioned before how I'm not a huge gambler, but it's hard to resist partying like the rich and famous at a proper casino. It feels like the real deal with slots, roulette, and more, making it a great option for visitors that don't want their nights to end. Most people are more used to casinos being on computers and phones thanks to the rapid growth of the mobile gaming sector, and they've forgotten just how fun and exciting a real casino can be! At Casino Del Mar you can feel like a high roller as you party and play the night away in San Juan.
Ocean Park Beach
Ocean Park is one of the more upscale districts in San Juan, but the areas beaches offer the same pristine stretches of Caribbean, sugar-white sands you've come to expect. The big difference here is that it's usually a lot less crowded then other spots in town. That’s not to say you’ll have the beach all to yourself, but it’s a wonderful place to relax and soak in the beauty of the Puerto Rican beaches
There are a lot of cool places to eat in San Juan, but instead listing a bunch of restaurants, I wanted to focus on one. Verde Mesa is a terrific spot, and I don’t think I could put it better than one review that said the flavor combinations are anything but accidental</a>. It’s one of those places where the menu can't properly express just how awesome the food tastes. This, plus a unique aesthetic that blends casual and chic, make it a great place for an evening meal with your girlfriends or your romantic partner.