There are many attractions in San Juan including architectural treasures and restaurants with delicious dishes, but that’s not all. Visitors to San Juan can experience a variety of environments in one day by going to beautiful beaches, a natural reserve, and spending time in the historic Old San Juan district or stopping by more modern surroundings.
An iconic coconut drink, the piña colada, was created in San Juan, Puerto Rico. There are currently two creation stories, one featuring the Barrachina Restaurant in Old San Juan, which has a sign out front naming it the “house where the piña colada was created”, and the other alleging that the drink was created at the Caribe Hilton Hotel in Condado. Luckily for visitors, both businesses are currently still open and they can sip on the popular drink at its two alleged birthplaces when in the capital city.
Few houses have the distinction of being so narrow that they stand out, but there’s a house just like that in Old San Juan. Called la Casa Estrecha in Spanish, it’s one of the most narrow homes in the world. The house is just five feet wide and 36 feet deep.
The San Juan Cathedral dates back to the early 1500s when Puerto Rico was under Spanish rule. A Gothic-style structure that features stained glass windows and ornately decorated ceilings, masses continue to be performed and so are weddings. Couples married at the cathedral have the distinction of marrying in one of the oldest churches in the Americas, which is currently home to the Archbishop of San Juan.
What is now known as the Puerto Rico Tourism Company building, which sits along the Paseo de la Princesa, was once a jail called La Princesa. The jail was built in 1837 and it had space for 240 prisoners. Open as a jail until 1965, the office is now home to a contemporary art gallery as well as the Tourism Company.
The Hotel El Convento is named The Convent Hotel in Spanish because it used to be a nunnery. Located across the street from the San Juan Cathedral, it’s now a boutique hotel that is a good getaway resort for honeymooners. Among the hotel’s features are a variety of suites and a rooftop pool and hot tub.