San Juan was established in 1521 and is the second oldest European city in the Americas under US jurisdiction. The city is now a historic wonderland with its collections of well-polished colonial -era artifacts, mosaic, neighborhoods with raw vitality street art and silky sand beaches.
TOP 8 PLACES TO VISIT
1.FORT SAN CRISTOBAL
The majesty and significant fort was built between 1634 and 1790 to protect the city of Old San Juan from land attacks. Spread over 27 acres, the five independent units is connected by moat and tunnels. While roaming the fortâ€™s ramparts, walking through the tunnels, checking out the dungeon and standing in the courtyard imaging what is felt like when it was in use.
2.SAN JUAN CATHEDRAL
The cathedral built in 1530 is known for being one of the oldest in the Americas and is also one of the oldest buildings in San Juan.The black and white checkered tiles floors and yellow dÃ©cor is quite surprisingly ornate. Ponce de Leon the great Spanish explorer has lain here in a marble tomb since 1913 as well as a Roman Catholic, since 1862. The cathedral still holds regular services.
3.MUSEUM DE LAS AMERICAS
The museum is the best place to start before embarking on a tour of the countryâ€™s cultural and historic sites. The museum explores the history of Puerto Rico, art, ethnic groups and the colonization of the country. Permanent exhibits offer a overview of the countries history while temporary exhibits round out the experience with interesting themes that may include anything from contemporary art to traditional practices.
4.MUSEUM OF PUERTO RICAN ART
The museum reopen in 2010 following extensive renovations and houses know more than 4500 works of Europe, Africa and the Americas art as far back as the early 14th century. The museum displays excellent permanent and temporary exhibitions. The new addition consist of a atrium a theater, a sculpture garden and a restaurant.
5.PUERTO RICO MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY ART
The museum was founded in 1984 and is the place to see the finest work of the modern day artists of Puerto Rico. With changing exhibits showcasing the museum's collection of modern island-made prints, paintings, posters, and sculptures.
The fortress was built between 1539 and 1589 and is just outside the San Juan harbor. Withstanding two World Wars and several other scrimmages, its extensive history and the panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean make it a must go and see attraction. The fort today is a maze of ramps, outposts, barracks, dungeons, and tunnels, dotted with small, circular sentry boxes called "garitas." These garitas have become a national symbol due to there uniqueness.
The fort was built as a defense against the Carib Indians and other foreigner invaders in 1540. The fort is the oldest governorâ€™s mansion and is still used as such, with more than 150 governors having lived or stayed here. Due to the many changes it has undergone resulting in a blend of 16th century military architecture with the refinements of the 19th century.
8.SAN JUAN CEMETERY
The cemetery is set on a hill above the sea with the graves above the ground. Noted is the elaborate tombstones; statues; and a circular, red-domed Neoclassical chapel dedicated to Mary Magdalene. The chapel dated to the 19th century and many of Puerto Rico's earliest colonists are buried here.
OTHER PLACES TO SEE
The best way to get around San Juan is by renting a car, taking a taxi or bus or walk.
The best time to visit San Juan is during spring or between mid-April and June when the weather is balmy.