Nicknamed ‘The Walled City’ due to its ancient forts that encircle the old town, Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan is filled with historic architecture, soft sandy beaches and a food scene known for pushing the boat out.
As the oldest continuously inhabited city in United States territory, San Juan is filled with historic sites to explore. The 16th and 17th-century forts of El Morro and San Cristobal gain the most attention due to their size and dramatic locations overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. Wander through Old San Juan and you’ll feel as if you’ve travelled back to another era, what with their colourful cluster of Gothic, Renaissance and baroque buildings.
Many of San Juan’s best beaches are conveniently located a short distance from the centre of town. The closest is Escambron, which offers warm waters that are great for swimming and snorkelling. Other top spots include Ocean Park Beach and the water sports hub of Isla Verde.
San Juan’s cuisine is infused with a cocktail of cultures, demonstrated by its range of Caribbean, Spanish, French, African and traditional Puerto Rican dishes. You’ll find a wide variety of eateries like bakeries, cafés and fine dining restaurants by the sea. For a taste of something truly local, order a plate of mofongo, a mashed mixture of fried green plantains filled with meat, vegetables or seafood. Other local favourites include beef-filled fritters known as alcapurrias and a coconut rice pudding called arroz con dulce.