If you’re touring Puerto Rico and have just one day to spend in the capital city, San Juan, this list should help your family get the most out of the quick visit.
Old San Juan
First things first, your family is going to want to see Old San Juan. Walk along the city streets viewing 16th– and 17th-century Spanish colonial buildings, complete with pastel colors and intricate designs. Stop in locally owned shops and restaurants, getting a feel for this quaint part of town before heading to the San Juan Bautista Cathedral. Dating back to the 1500s, this Medieval structure has survived, been restored and withstood many a hurricane. This history here is remarkable and definitely worth a few hours’ stroll. Take a free tour of the Palacio de Santa Catalina, also known as the La Fortaleza, and walk through the pristine gardens or pose for a picture beside the baby blue exterior.
A Touch of Strange
For stunning views and history, head to the Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery. Sure, it can be a bit strange wandering around ancient tombs with the kids, but the views are worthy of the trek and the cemetery plots are true masterpieces.
If You Like Piña Coladas …
Head to Barrachina, known as the birthplace of the famous drink. A bit touristy, sure, but this place is the real deal. You’ll spot the vibrant building from down the block and feel lured in by the tropical oasis in the courtyard. That, and the famous drinks readily available at 9:30 a.m. Fill up on authentic Puerto Rican cuisine and get a taste for the local culture.
Music is synonymous with San Juan and a must while in the city. If your stay doesn’t allow for live music, dancing and quintessential San Juan nightlife, a museum visit should suffice. The Pablo Casals Museum honors Spanish cellist Pablo Casala with a small exhibit of memorabilia and local history. Guests enjoy this small museum for just $1 a person.
Views for Miles
Commonly known as El Morro, Castillo San Felipe del Morro is a 16th-century fortress with some of the best views in the city. Dating back to 1540, this six-story structure is not only historic and an architectural wonder, it’s also positioned 140 feet above sea level with views for miles. Enter the twisting, turning, maze-like walls and explore ancient dungeons.
Pro tip: While San Juan is easily walkable (and it’s one of the best ways to see the city) save some time and hope on the free trolley system to maximize time in the city. The trolley runs daily 7 a.m.– 6 p.m., (Monday–Friday) and 9 a.m.–7 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
With indoor dining finally (mostly) reopened in Philadelphia, my mom, sister and I were able to enjoy a day roaming around the city, eager for a warm place to enjoy a late lunch after a cold day out and about. For anyone who recently enjoyed the creativity and ingenuity of the city’s outdoor winter dining, an indoor space with heat, cozy furniture and rich wood walls is a much-appreciated semblance of normalcy.
The Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Card recently launched BoldFamilyTravel.Chase.com, an interactive, online resource allowing families to plan future travel together. The launch followed the Marriott Bonvoy Bold™ Card Survey of parents and grandparents that revealed most parents believe children are important resources for planning family vacations and that one-third of parents don’t currently involve their children in planning but would like to.
Theme parks are a great way to escape reality as most offer different worlds in each section. Guests can explore different worlds, from their favorite TV show and movie franchises to much-loved video games. Mario and friends have been beloved video-game favorites for decades, and they finally get their own section of Universal Studios Japan.
Although FaceTime, Zoom and other forms of virtual communication have helped during these difficult times, sometimes it just doesn’t feel like enough. Let your friends and family know you are thinking of them by sending something personal, so they will have a piece of you with them.