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Planning Your Trip

With its vibrant nightlife, eccentric food scene and culturally rich history, San Juan, Puerto Rico, has all the makings of an entertaining experience for everyone. Here’s what to pack.  

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Exploring the City

From charming Old San Juan, lined with well-preserved colonial architecture, to the artsy district of Santurce, home to the city’s most important museums, no two neighborhoods of Puerto Rico’s capital are the same.

 

 

  • Pack chic, flat sandals for walking around the various districts. Comfortable shoes will do you especially well for navigating the cobblestoned streets of Old San Juan.
  • Take inspiration from the pastel-hued buildings with bright, lightweight clothes and accessories — and channel Puerto Rican style with a Panama hat.
  • It’s always warm here, but the shops and museums will be air-conditioned. Bring a sweater or shawl.
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Summer Escape

The beauty of San Juan is that it offers all the trappings of a world-class city (the museums, culture and nightlife) as well as all the nonchalance of Caribbean life. Fill your bag with breezy essentials, and get ready to set your watch to island time.

 

  • Pack swimsuits, flip-flops and a wide straw hat for lazy afternoons spent on the beach or by the pool.
  • For women, a colorful caftan or sundress is an easy transition piece for casual lunch breaks or a stroll through town.
  • For men, pack shorts, polos and loose linen shirts for the ultimate “vacation mode” look.
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Evening Chic

With live salsa, glamourous beachfront lounges and thumping nightclubs, San Juan comes alive at night. And as with other metropolitan locales, you’ll want to look your best.

 

 

 

 

  • Ladies, be sure to pack a pair of heels and nice dresses, blouses and skirts. Dress codes, especially at posh clubs and elegant restaurants, will be strict.
  • A compact purse or clutch, preferably with a cross-body strap, will be easy to carry (and not lose!) while you’re on the dance floor.
  • Men should bring button-down shirts, slacks and sharp shoes. While jeans and polos may be appropriate for some dinner settings, you’ll want to change for a night on the town.
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Don’t Forget:

The climate on the island is subject to unpredictable rain showers. Pack a light raincoat or umbrella just in case a storm passes through during your stay.   


Founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, San Juan has managed to retain several relics of its colonial history while becoming a cosmopolitan capital full of world-class dining, art and culture. Here are some suggestions to fill up your itinerary.

Dining Reservations

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A local cuisine that blends indigenous influences with Spanish and American flavors has some calling San Juan the culinary capital of the Caribbean. The hottest chef in town right now is Jose Enrique, a James Beard semifinalist whose eponymous restaurant elevates traditional Puerto Rican fare with dishes like fried fish and crispy plantains. At the new Sabrina Brunch & Bistro Bar, named after Audrey Hepburn’s classic film, a Jean-Georges alum turns out traditional-meets-tropical dishes. San Juan aces international cuisine, too. For top-notch steak in a French bistro setting, book a table at BLT Steak at The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan.

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With so much to see and do in San Juan, an indulgent break is in order. The 12,000-square-foot spa at The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan features tropical treatments inspired by the El Yunque rainforest and incorporate ancient methods. Detox with the Café con Leche Body Polish, which uses a fragrant concoction of coffee and lemongrass oil, or opt for reflexology therapy with the Melter Ritual, which uses natural salts from the southwest coast of Puerto Rico. For a little rebalancing, try the Sea Shell Indulgence and feel the instant relaxation as warm lava shells filled with minerals, algae and essential oils are drizzled over your body.  

Museum Tickets & Cultural Sights

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Anchoring the cobblestoned streets of Old San Juan are fortresses built in the colonial era to protect against invaders. Both the Castillo San Felipe del Morro and the Castillo San Cristobal are UNESCO World Heritage sites. You can visit the tomb of the conquistador (and first governor of Puerto Rico) Juan Ponce de León at the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista or see where he lived at Casa Blanca. For the best in local art, don’t miss the acclaimed Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico or the equally regarded Museo de Arte Contemporaneo de Puerto Rico.  

Nightlife

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San Juan’s after-dark scene is eclectic and varied. Start your night at La Factoria, a speakeasy that helped start the mixology trend, and order the Lavender Mule. Or check out their sister place, Jungle Bird, a modern-day tiki bar with Instagram-worthy décor. In the glitzy Condado District, the upscale Oceano is a three-story lounge right on the beach. Over in Isla Verde, Club Brava attracts guest DJs and VIPs. And don’t forget you’re on the island where salsa was born. Take in the live music and learn a few moves at Nuyorican Café in Old San Juan.

You simply can’t visit Puerto Rico without experiencing the charm of its largest city and capital, San Juan. The old town is filled with cobblestone streets, a bustling harbor, and picture-worthy architecture ranging from majestic Spanish colonial fortresses with marble mosaics to colorful rows of homes with splashes of light yellow, cornflower blue and cherry red. Explore vibrant art galleries, delectable local foods and cultural museums. And enjoy the comforts of your room at The Ritz-Carlton, which sits on eight beachfront acres and one of the most pristine strips of sand in the city.


A Culinary Tour

It wouldn’t be an overstatement to say San Juan is the food capital of the Caribbean. The city has an eclectic mix of Spanish, American and African influences. You can dine on everything from freshly caught fish served in a white-tablecloth setting to farm-to-table vegetables at hip cafés, and, of course, there are plenty of charming, abuela-run kitchens where you can experience Caribbean classics like garlicky shrimp and mashed plantains.  

 

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Cultural Treasures

Puerto Rico’s capital of San Juan is one of the most historic and culturally significant cities in the Caribbean. In fact, colonized in 1521 by the Spanish, it’s one of the oldest cities established by Europeans in the Americas. From cobblestone streets to fantastic ruins, you see remnants of its history all over the neighborhood surrounding The Ritz-Carlton, San Juan, which also sits next to one of the city’s dreamiest plots of beach.  

 

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