No passport? No downside. For a lot of in Higher Manhattan, the coastal metropolis of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital and largest metropolis, is a staple getaway—a vibrant Caribbean expertise wealthy in Spanish, African, and Taino tradition, with a veritable abundance of conventional meals and a vigorous nightlife scene besides. Crack a contemporary coconut and discover miles of seashores earlier than having fun with a few of the finest rum on the planet. Cue the salsa.
Not all seashores are constructed the identical. No less than that’s positively the case in Culebra, a small island off the coast of San Juan solely accessible by airplane or boat. With pristine turquoise waters and white sand, it’s the optimum venue for snorkeling and immersing your self in sea life—the island is a nesting website for large sea turtles and the endangered brown pelicans. Professional tip: Guide your tickets for a day journey on a catamaran.
El Yunque Nationwide Forest
Up for an out of doors tour? Look no additional than El Yunque—the solely tropical rainforest in the USA. A favourite of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s, this must-see sight consists of miles of mountaineering, zip-lining, and waterfalls in one of the various ecosystems on the island. Be ready, because it does (unsurprisingly) rain right here very often. (It isn’t referred to as the rainforest for nothing.) El Yunque is situated solely 35 minutes by automobile from the airport, and plenty of inns provide day journeys and guided excursions. Discover the rope swing, it’s a should.
Castillo San Felipe del Morro
As a New Yorker who likes to stroll all over the place, I shortly fell in love with each colourful cobblestone avenue in Outdated San Juan, lined with pastel-painted buildings and bustling retailers, excellent for capturing that outfit of the day pic. Make certain to cease by Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a six-level fortress overlooking the Atlantic ocean on the very tip of city. The views listed below are unmatched—the 500-year-old Spanish citadel sits excessive on a hill surrounded by acres of meticulously manicured grounds. How do they mow all that grass? Sip on a piña colada and ponder.
At Caña, having a tremendous meal received’t be a problem; the toughest half is determining what to order. Whether or not you favor avenue stands or eating ocean facet with magnificent views, chef Juliana Gonzalez has developed a menu utilizing her culinary background of Spanish influences to serve a contemporary tackle basic Puerto Rican dishes (suppose: blue crab rice and grilled prawns). The restaurant lives contained in the Fairmont El San Juan Resort, dealing with the shores of Isla Verde seashore—the best vista for an superior solar set.
You should, I repeat, should, have the fish of the day. Named after Puerto Rico’s most adorned chef, the acclaimed José Enrique is housed in an not easily seen constructing, however don’t be fooled: Inside, the attract lives on the desk. From mofongo and pork stomach bites to the beloved bacalaitos (crispy fish flatbread), you’ll shortly understand how Enrique has attracted a lot consideration for mixing native substances right into a plate of deliciousness.
Basic and modern flavors mix at Santaella in the very best approach. The menu boasts elevated conventional plates with a distinctly tropical vibe. Get pleasure from staples just like the rice of the day and empanadillas (fried Puerto Rican turnovers), and don’t dare name it quits with out making an attempt the alcapurrias (fritters)—Jimmy Fallon authorised throughout his final go to to the island.
The vibes at Membership Brava are merely unmatched. Beforehand generally known as Membership Babylon, the high-energy lounge is a scorching spot for celebs, along with serving as one of the vibrant going-out spots on the island. Conveniently situated contained in the Fairmont El San Juan Resort, Membership Brava is a superb alternative for a women’ night time out. We suggest dressing particularly for the flashing neon lights to draw consideration on the dance ground. Should you’re a visitor of the lodge, then you definately’re in luck, as admission is free.
Voted one of many prime 50 bars in North America for 5 years in a row, La Factoría makes a speciality of craft cocktails and having a extremely, actually good time. Its signature drink, the Lavender Mule, is a very sensible choice for listening to salsa. Once you really feel the urge to bounce, hit the dance ground within the again room—and produce a buddy.
Pair every criollo-inspired dish with a craft cocktail made by San Juan’s premier mixologists at this in style Caribbean restaurant. The customized pairing expertise will shortly make it your favourite upscale eating choice on the island, to not point out the final word setting to have fun your subsequent birthday.
Fairmont El San Juan Resort
You’ll really feel like the principle character of your personal film at San Juan’s epicenter for tradition and leisure. The newly renovated Fairmont El San Juan Resort options 11 eating places, lounges, a on line casino, and a health middle. Translation: You can spend a whole day experiencing the facilities. Get your spa sesh in earlier than taking within the stay cabaret band at Chico Cabaret, adopted by a luxe on line casino expertise. Attempt reserving the newly opened Banyan Villas, full with a personal terrace and direct entry to one of many property’s 4 swimming pools, and only a few steps from the seashore. There’s by no means a uninteresting second right here, which makes it very exhausting to depart, however for those who’re itching to discover, the Fairmont sits simply quarter-hour from Outdated San Juan.
Resort El Convento
Since 1962, Resort El Convento has had a robust repute as Outdated San Juan’s premier boutique lodge. Previously a convent within the coronary heart of Cathedral Sq., the Sixteenth-century El Convento sits subsequent door to a few of the finest buying and nightlife within the space. After spending your day on the seashore membership, take a three-minute stroll to La Factoría, or simply take pleasure in a espresso on the terrace as you’re taking within the previous world attraction.
As soon as Puerto Rico’s first submit workplace, Palacio Provincial has since underwent a captivating, modern renovation. Primarily, lovely courtyards with open-air eating, rooms with wood-beamed ceilings, polished checkered flooring, 12-foot home windows, and Juliet balconies, and the spotlight: a rooftop infinity pool with a fowl’s-eye view of San Juan bay.