A Day in Old San Juan.

Old San Juan.

A Day in Old San Juan.

Visiting Old San Juan was one of the highlights of April’s trip to Puerto Rico, and even though my time was limited, Diana and I were still able to do a lot of exploring. There’s lots to do and see, and even though we didn’t get to do it all, we made sure to do as much as we could in our short amount of time.

Old San Juan.

While it may seem impossible, it’s pretty easy to spend just one day in Old San Juan, even though after that one day, you’re never going to want to leave. It’s impossible not to fall in love with its charm, especially when there’s so much to see, do, drink, and eat.

Start your day at Casa Cortés ChocoBar where you can get delicious coffees with cheddar bites and meals made entirely of chocolate. Everything on the menu is delicious, and you won’t be disappointed. Plus, you’ll be caffeinated and ready for your big day of exploring.

Croissant relleno de chocolate con avellana and churros.

Walk off the calories from breakfast by roaming around the streets and admiring the architecture. Everywhere is so beautiful and the colors are so bright, that it’s hard to pick a favorite building or area. You can also wander in and out of the great selection of shops.

Old San Juan

Take a food tour with Spoon Food Tours to find out the best spots to eat in around three hours. They offer driving and walking tours, and you’re sure to learn a lot, while also making sure you try the best of the best in the city.

Tres leches cake and flan.

Tour around the two forts that are located in Old San Juan. You can visit both, but since our time was limited, we only saw Castillo San Felipe del Morro, which was the suggestion of a few different people. It’s a further walk from the city center, but the views were worth it.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Go to happy hour at The Mezzanine at St. Germain. The decor is adorable and there are balconies that allow you to see the city from another perspective. Plus, the drinks are tasty and come at a good price during happy hour.

The Mezzanine at St. Germain - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Grab dinner at Verde Mesa. This spot was much different than other places Diana and I had dined at, and we were pleasantly surprised. The food was light, and geared mainly toward vegetarians, which was perfect after our food tour. The decor was one of my favorite parts, with tin ceilings and mason jar light fixtures.

Verde Mesa

After dinner, stroll up to La Factoria. It’s a great bar with a cool vibe and drinks that are hard to compete with. It’s something that you’d expect to find in New York City and a welcome change to the traditional Caribbean cocktails. There’s also a “secret” wine bar in the back for anyone interested, although Diana and I were too tired to venture inside. It’s just something we will have to leave until next time.

La Factoria - San Juan, Puerto Rico

One day is not enough for Old San Juan, but if it’s all you have, than this is the best way to get a taste for it. Rich in culture, history, and culinary delights, you are sure not to be disappointed by Puerto Rico’s gem.

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Comments (10)

  1. Heather

    I commented on Twitter, too, but thanks for this. I was just in Puerto Rico on business two weeks ago and very underwhelmed with Old San Juan. I go back for a week in September and will definitely look into the food tour. I prefer the smaller towns, but my colleagues will definitely want to venture out from our area (40 minutes away) and this time I’ll be more prepared! Thanks again. – Heather, Life of a Traveling Navy Wife

    1. The World Wanderer

      Let me know how you like it, Heather! We were lucky to have some great guidance and these suggestions were pretty fabulous. I have a bunch for Condado, if you want those too. 🙂

  2. Amy Lynne Hayes

    I only had one day to spend in San Juan when I was there as well! It was about 8 years ago though so I don’t remember the names of any of the places we went. We spent the majority of our time just wandering – my favorite way to see a place. 🙂

    1. The World Wanderer

      Mine too!! You’ll have to head back 🙂

  3. Karisa

    Ugh, I’m literally dying to go to Puerto Rico and you make it look so enticing!. Earlier in the year it really looked like it was going to be our family summer trip but now it’s June and we haven’t booked anything yet! I keep sharing all of your PR posts on my dad’s facebook. Fingers Crossed!! 🙂

  4. Craig Zabransky

    I definitely need to revisit Puerto Rico and Old San Juan., my last time there I was 8… I suspect the neighborhood is much the same, but I would certainly enjoy it a little differently… thanks for the tips…

    stay adventurous, Craig

  5. Francesca - @onegrloneworld

    I never considered a food tour anywhere before! But considering the things I’ve heard about San Juan, I may want to look into that when I have the opportunity to go! Looks like you had a great experience!

  6. Traveling Ted

    Looks like a beautiful part of the city and has a kind of European charm to it looking at a few of the pictures. Nice that you can get that in a tropical atmosphere with good eats. I am sold.

  7. Valerie

    Beautiful photo Erin. San Juan looks like a lovely place. Food looks amazing!

  8. Lance | Trips By Lance

    I’m still tossing around the idea of visiting Puerto Rico this summer. My trip to Puerto Vallarta really has my wife into the idea of heading to Puerto Rico, even if we probably have to consider it during hurricane season. I think a day in the city like this would be perfect for us, followed by some sand and sea.

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