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Top Things to Do and See in San Juan, Puerto Rico
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Top Things to Do and See in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Picture of Chanel Mowatt
Updated: 9 February 2017
With so much happening in the capital city of Puerto Rico it can be tough to choose what to do first. From favorite distilleries to caves and forts, let us introduce you to the best sights and activities in San Juan.
Casa Bacardí | © Serge Milki/Flickr
Casa Bacardí | © Serge Milki/Flickr
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Casa Bacardí

Casa Bacardí might be the most exciting tour you take whilst visiting Puerto Rico. Not only will you learn how Bacardí produces 100,000 gallons of rum per day, but you’ll also have a bartender demonstrate how to make popular drinks featuring Bacardí. If you choose to take the mixology tour you’ll receive a complimentary cup and four Bacardí drinks throughout the tour. Be sure to pack snacks for this trip and stop by the the gift store to pick up rare Bacardí drinks.

Casa Bacardí, Route 165, Km 2.6, Cataño, Puerto Rico +1 787-788-1500

Ocean Park, San Juan, Puerto Rico | © Alan Kotok/Flickr
Ocean Park, San Juan, Puerto Rico | © Alan Kotok/Flickr
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Ocean Park Beach

If you’re looking to work on the perfect tan make sure to visit Ocean Park during your trip. Being near a quiet residential area helps make the beach a bit more relaxing despite having some very rough waters compared to other beach spots on the island. Volleyball and windsurfing are popular activities on this beach.

Ocean Park Beach, Calle Park Boulevard, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Rio Camuy Cave Park | © Todd Van Hoosear/Flickr
Rio Camuy Cave Park | © Todd Van Hoosear/Flickr
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Rio Camuy Cave Park

Rio Camuy Cave Park is a day trip from San Juan, and is one of the most popular natural attractions in Puerto Rico. This immense cave system is drenched in history, with archaeological evidence suggesting the caves were first explored by the Taíno Indians, the first inhabitants of Puerto Rico. In order to guarantee seeing one of Puerto Rico’s most unique experiences you should arrive prior to 10 a.m. because crowds and inclement weather can lead to tickets being sold out or cancellations. Shoes with a strong grip are required and be prepared to not only see Taino Indian petroglyphs, but a few bats as well.

Rio Camuy Cave Park, Route 129, Km 9.8, Camuy, Puerto Rico +1 787 898 3100

The San Juan Gate | © MJCdetroit/WikiCommons
The San Juan Gate | © MJCdetroit/WikiCommons
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La Puerta de San Juan

For centuries this 16 feet tall, 20 feet thick crimson gate has protected the city and kept invaders out. It sits along the promenade of the bay and makes for a beautiful view of the San Juan Bay. When you walk through the giant red doorway that is La Puerta de San Juan you embark on a romantic and magical journey through the streets of Paseo La Princesa.

La Puerta de San Juan, Paseo de la Princesa, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Museo de las Américas | © Daderot/WikiCommons
Museo de las Américas | © Daderot/WikiCommons
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Museo de las Américas

All American cultures, time periods and genres are on full display in the Museo de las Américas, displayed through archaeological artifacts, handmade folk art, paintings and sculptures. There are even carved figureheads all the way from New England and Caribbean and Indian canoes on display. The permanent display everyone must see is the Puerto Rican santos (famous hand-carved figurines of saints), but considering the museum is located in an old Spanish troop barracks, the largest Spanish-built building in the Americas, everything in this museum is fascinating and definitely worth a look.

Museo de las Américas, Antiguo Cuartel Ballajá, San Juan, Puerto Rico +1 787 724 5052

Viejo San Juan - "La Rogativa" | © Hernan Bustelo/Flickr
Viejo San Juan – “La Rogativa” | © Hernan Bustelo/Flickr
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Plazuela de la Rogativa

In 1797, the British fleet surrounded the outside walls of San Juan and blocked any incoming supplies; citizens were desperate as they waited for reinforcements to arrive. The governor asked for prayers to the saints for assistance. Women in the city marched through the streets of San Juan carrying torches and the British believed reinforcements had arrived which led them to abandon their siege. This powerful bronze statue of three women marching, sculptured by Lindsay Daen, is a reminder of an important event in Puerto Rican history, and pays tribute to the bishop and the townswomen who took part in La Rogativa.

Plazuela de la Rogativa, Caleta Las Monjas, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Tank on Flamenco Beach | © Angel Xavier Viera-Vargas/Flickr
Tank on Flamenco Beach | © Angel Xavier Viera-Vargas/Flickr
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Flamenco Beach

Most people enjoy spending an entire day at the beach, especially when that beach is three miles of soft white sand and clear blue water on Culebra Island. You might see some old U.S. Army tanks around since the area was used for military exercises until 1975. Pack a ton food for the day because picnic tables and campgrounds are available if you choose to stay overnight.

Flamenco Beach, Route 252, Culebra, Puerto Rico

El Morro - Old San Juan, Puerto Rico | © Jaime Olmo/Flickr
El Morro – Old San Juan, Puerto Rico | © Jaime Olmo/Flickr
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El Morro: Castillo de San Felipe Del Morro

El Morro was named a World Heritage Site in 1983 by the United Nations and is the largest fort in the Caribbean. El Morro was built to honor King Phillip II and also overlooks the San Juan Bay at 180 feet above the sea. Within are corridors, dungeons, ramps and vaults that allow you to literally explore history. You can also purchase a combination ticket to visit Fuerte San Cristobal and make an entire day of sightseeing.

El Morro: Castillo de San Felipe Del Morro, Calle Norzagaray, San Juan, Puerto Rico +1 787 729 6960

Casa Blanca | © James Byrum/Flickr
Casa Blanca | © James Byrum/Flickr
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Casa Blanca

Though he never lived here, this house was built for Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in 1521. His descendants called it home for 250 years until it was seized by the Spanish government for military housing. Now it is a museum that focuses on 16th to 18th century Puerto Rican life. Within the house are paintings, antiques and artifacts, and outside are beautiful gardens blooming in tropical colors.

Casa Blanca, 1 Calle San Sebastián, San Juan, Puerto Rico +1 787 725 1454

San Juan - Alcaldia in Plaza de Armas | © Roger W/Flickr
San Juan – Alcaldia in Plaza de Armas | © Roger W/Flickr
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Alcaldía

Inspired by the designs of the Madrid city hall, San Juan’s city hall is a must see for any visitor. The project began in 1604 and finished in 1789. At the entrance you’ll find a small information center and an art gallery on the first floor. Not to mention it has its own tiled courtyard and overhanging balcony. When you’re done, enjoy a fruity drink in the plaza and listen to the fountains play.

Alcaldía, 153 Calle San Francisco, San Juan, Puerto Rico +1 787 724 7171