San Juan, officially the Municipio de la Ciudad Capital San Juan Bautista, is the capital and the most populous city in the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, an unincorporated territory of the United States. As of the latest census, the population stands at 395,326 (2010), making it the 46th largest city under the jurisdiction of the United States.
San Juan was originally founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, who called it Ciudad de Puerto Rico or 'Rich Port City'. San Juan is the second oldest European-established city next to Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, and is still one of the more active and culturally endowed cities in the area. Several historical buildings are located in San Juan; among those most notable are the city’s former defensive forts, Fort San Felipe del Morro and Fort San Cristobal; and La Fortaleza, the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the Americas.
Today, the city centre of San Juan is one of Puerto Rico’s most important ports and is the island’s industry headquarters. Almost all sectors of the economic industry has offices here; financial, cultural, tourism, and manufacturing activities are all done in the area. It is also an architectural wonder and a mark of Hispanic tradition, a city kept wonderful by tints of Spanish colours.
What to see & do
Old San Juan/Zona Historica de San Juan – the Old San Juan or San Juan’s historical centre is the oldest settlement within Puerto Rico and is the historic colonial section of San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historical Places in 1972 as the San Juan Historic Site, and declared a National Historic Landmark District in March 2013. Within the area, blockhouses and sub-barrios can be found lining along an abundance of ships, historic places, museums, open-air cafes, restaurants, and plazas. The place is considered
as a tourist destination as a whole – even if it is a whole city. A free tourist trolley serves the city and takes travellers to certain historical spots and points of interest.
Castillo San Felipe del Morro – also known as Morro Castle, the Castillo San Felipe del Morro is a 16th-century citadel located in San Juan. It was used by various forces, including the Spanish and the Americans, before becoming a national park from 1961. It is well-visited for its historical value, mainly because it is one of the important citadels defending the city.
Camuy River Cave Park – the Parque de las Cavernas del Rio Camuy is a cave system located in Puerto Rico. It is located in various municipalities in the area, but the main entrance to the park is located in Quebrada. The site is popular because its caverns are part of a large network of natural limestone caves and underground waterways carved out by the third largest underground river in the world, Rio Camuy.
How to get around within San Juan
Rental cars, buses, ferries, taxi cabs, and trains are the main modes of transport in San Juan. Most people opt for rental cars, but if trying to budget travel cash to get to more destinations and save up on transport fees, travellers are advised to use buses and trains. If travelling by group without a car, travellers may instead hire cabs and just split the fees.
How to get there
The Luis Munoz Marin International Airport is the main airport serving the capital of San Juan. It is about 14 kilometres away from the city centre, and is well-endowed with ground transport. The Luis Munoz Marin International Airport is also one of the most important hubs in the Caribbean, alongside Miami and Panama City’s airports, and is served with various airlines.
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Airports near San Juan
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