Discover amazing food, drinks and shops while exploring the urban side of Puerto Rico, where history and culture intersect with bustling city life.
The metropolitan area refers to seven towns that make up the urban “downtown” of Puerto Rico, including the capital, What was once the crown jewel of the Spanish Empire is now the Island's historic and cultural center, as well as the most popular launching point for Puerto Rico vacations. Founded in 1521, San Juan is the oldest European-founded city in the Americas but is home to much more than just history.
Only 15 minutes from , San Juan blends elements of the Old World (cobblestone streets and colonial architecture) with all the amenities of modern urban life (craft cocktails, contemporary dining, amazing shopping, and vibrant nightlife). Immerse yourself in the culture and explore the wealth of art, food, adventure, and beauty that is waiting to be discovered.
The Old World comes alive at fortresses like and . These impressive citadels are part of the and are two of the largest fortifications built by the Spaniards in the Caribbean during the 16th century. Other important landmarks include (the one-time residence of the family of Juan Ponce de León that was built in 1521), the , the , and the .
Many local designers and artists have shops and boutiques in , where you can browse stores like Mademoiselle, featuring European brands; Nono Maldonado, one of Puerto Rico's premier designers; and 1054 Ashford Avenue, featuring some of the world's top luxury brands. You’ll also find some of the biggest shopping malls and outlets in the Caribbean, carrying big name brands from around the world.
There are two beaches perfect for relaxing in Carolina:
For a truly unique dining experience, head to the area known as — which runs from the town of to — to enjoy ocean views and a uniquely Puerto Rican dining tradition. Here you can practice the art of chinchorreo, which means hopping from food kiosk to food kiosk to grab a variety of finger foods and drinks (each place has its own specialty). This area is best known for crispy, delicious bacalaítos (a simple batter of flour and water with chunks of salted cod and parsley, deep-fried into what look like giant corn flakes), and alcapurrias (a fritter shaped like a torpedo, made from shredded root vegetables like yuca and yautía, stuffed with your choice of meat). Enjoy both of these with an ice-cold beer.