San Juan Journals

San Juan Sampler

A March 2006 trip to San Juan by bentropy

Old San Juan Street Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico More Photos
Quote: This was my first time in Puerto Rico, exploring San Juan and surroundings.

San Juan Sampler

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Overview

Old San Juan Street Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Old San Juan is definitely the most appealing neighborhood of the San Juan metropolitan area. It's pretty, offers a variety of restaurants, shops, etc. and small enough to explore on foot in a day.El Yunque Rainforest (45 min east of San Juan). You can drive through the rainforest and stop off for vistas and trails. This is a real, sizeable rainforest. If you're in a rush this can be done in half a day.Condado Beach is San Juan's Condado neighborhood, which feels a bit like Miami beach under construction. The beach is pretty nice in some areas, though some stretches are better for surfing than for swimming as the beach drops off steeply. It is convenient to...Read More

Hotel Milano

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Hotel

Hotel Milano room Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Hotel Milano is the most affordable, non-crappy hotel in Old San Juan. While it has small rooms that are nothing special, it is clean and in a great location. I paid $125 (without taxes) for a room in the back. The rate includes a simple continental breakfast that is served at the rooftop restaurant, offering a view of Old San Juan and the harbor. The restaurant is also accessible to non-guests. The receptionists were very helpful in organizing transportation, etc. Hotel Milano is a place for people who value location and not paying excessive amounts of money for accommodations over anything else. If you want a magical honeymoon experience, this is *not* the place. For that, try El C...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 6, 2006

Hotel Milano
307 Fortaleza Street
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
(787) 729-9050

Patio del Nispero

Restaurant | "El Patio del Nispero"

Patio del Nispero Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Having just missed breakfast, I decided to eat lunch here. What a great decision!

The restaurant is located in the courtyard of the Hotel El Convento, and the atmosphere in the hotel's courtyard—with palm trees and birds—is hard to beat.

I had a chicken sandwich, which was not only excellent, but also pretty big. If you want to fill up, and relax away any frustrations, this is a great place to spend some time.

If you go to San Juan, don't miss checking this place out—even if purely for its nice atmosphere.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 5, 2006

Patio del Nispero
100 Calle Cristo
San Juan, Puerto Rico
(787) 723-9020

Parrot Club

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Restaurant

Parrot Club Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Parrot Club is definitely one of the best in Old San Juan.

Open for lunch and dinner, Parrot Club has a colorful decor and open and clean atmosphere. I enjoyed the excellent chicken skewers for lunch amongst the largely gringo crowd with salsa playing in the background. The bilingual wait staff was really friendly. They also have excellent seafood dishes.

If you can't decide where to go, just use this as your default. You won't regret it.

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on May 5, 2006

Parrot Club
363 Fortaleza St
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
+1 787 725 7370

Sonne

Restaurant

Sonne Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Sonne is part of the Calle Fortaleza restaurant cluster. Walking in, I got the same impression as walking into a modern New York bar/lounge in SoHo, although Sonne is actually a restaurant (but has a bar as well).During dinner, they were playing pleasantly quiet Jazz fusion in the background, allowing for an unrestrained, scream-free conversation.The walls are covered with paintings by local artists, which may even be for sale for a few thousand dollars. One painting of a pale female face coming out of a colorful foggy background was particularly striking.Sonne definitely presents a feast for the eyes. The presentation of the food is excellent, and their dessert menu offers a better selection than mos...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 5, 2006

Sonne
Calle Fortaleza
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Tantra

Restaurant

Tantra Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Tantra initially looked very promising. It offers Indian-Latin fusion food cooked by a touted Indian chef.Part of Tantra's selling proposition is a belly-dancing show, which the hostess pointed out over and over to me, so that I decided to postpone eating there to the next night to catch one of the scheduled shows.Their hummus appetizer ($6) was excellent, and the food overall very tasty. However, the belly-dancing never materialized, which was really disappointing, because that was the main reason I checked out this place. Also, my friend got sick the night after eating there, but that could have just been a fluke.I recommend you try Dragonfly next door instead—it's packed with a hipster crowd, the f...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on May 5, 2006

Tantra
356 Calle Fortaleza
San Juan, Puerto Rico
(787) 977-8141

El Morro/Castillo de San Felipe del Morro

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Attraction | "El Morro"

El Morro/Castillo de San Felipe del Morro Photo, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Quote:
Just walking up to El Morro shows the impressive expanse it covers, and provides a glimpse into its past importance in fortifying San Juan.Admission is something like $3 for an adult. Not too bad. I didn't take any tours, just walked around the whole complex. You can cover the whole place and have time to enjoy the views in a couple of hours or less.El Morro also has a "sibling" fortress (San Cristobal) at the northeastern end of Old San Juan. You can buy a combined ticket, but one historical fortress per day is probably enough.The meadows surrounding El Morro are a great hangout spot, locals relax there and fly their kites. Just make sure you're protected against the sun. There is no shade on the gre...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 5, 2006

El Morro/Castillo de San Felipe del Morro
On San Juan Bay Calle Norzagaray
San Juan, Puerto Rico 00901
(787) 729 6960

Bosque Nacional del Caribe-El Yunque Camp Ground

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Attraction | "El Yunque"

If I only knew what this was... Photo, El Yunque, Puerto Rico
Quote:
El Yunque is Puerto Rico's main rainforest. It's a 45 minute drive away from San Juan, and makes a good day trip or even half-day trip, if you don't plan on doing any major hiking.The fastest way to get there is by taking Road 190 and then Highway 3 East. I took a different route along the coast on 187, which according to the car rental guy was supposed to be scenic. It really wasn't that scenic, as you can't see the beach from the road much, and you just drive through a bunch of random small towns. If you have some time to spare, give it a try, but don't expect anything spectacular.El Yunque itself is really nice, expect to get rained on though. The one thing I didn't like that much is that all the t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on May 5, 2006

Bosque Nacional del Caribe-El Yunque Camp Ground
Route 191 Km 4.2 (visitor's center)
Palmer, Puerto Rico 00721
+1 787 888 1810

Quote:
The eastern part of Calle Fortaleza (by Hotel Milano) is informally considered Old San Juan's Restaurant Row, as it has a small cluster of atmospheric restaurants, offering local and fusion cuisine and stylish interior decors ranging from traditional to ultra-modern.Prices range from $10-40 per entree, depending on the dish and restaurant. Many of restaurants are only open for dinner.Some restaurants there are Parrot Club, Sonne, Tantra, and DragonflyFor dinner I definitely recommend making reservations. There are also a bunch of bars/lounges in the area.