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8 Reasons You Should Visit San Juan, Puerto Rico This Year

Live Like It's the Weekend's Michelle Halpern takes us through her photo diary of her recent trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico following the destruction of Hurricane Maria. Follow along as she shares her favorite spots and tips.

As Puerto Rico still continues to rebuild from the extreme damage of Hurricane Maria back in 2017, the best thing you can do to support the island is to visit it, enjoy it, and spread the word to others that the isla de encanta is still as wonderful of a place as it’s always been. I had the opportunity to visit in 2018, just months after Maria’s destruction and was met with immense gratitude from locals, many of whom depend on tourism for their family’s livelihood.

At the time, I found the island to be quieter than usual but still fell in love with its colorful streets, delicious restaurants (their signature Mofongo dish is a must-try) and buzzing salsa culture. If you’re considering heading south for a warm getaway this year, then you can’t miss these spots to round out an ideal trip to Puerto Rico’s sunny city of San Juan.

Reporter: Michelle Halpern of Live Like It's the Weekend
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Hotel El Convento learn more

The most convenient and beautiful stay in the heart of Old San Juan, Hotel El Convento is a historic property and Small Luxury Hotel of the World that was once a monastery. The rooms are all situated around the perimeter of the building surrounding a stunning courtyard, which gives the hotel a wonderfully intimate feeling despite its amazing proximity to everything in town.
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Cayo Icacos

Fajardo, Puerto Rico
If you’re itching to get out on the water, opt for a day cruise out to Culebra island or Cayo Icacos (pictured), two of the best small islands to visit off the coast of Puerto Rico. You’ll spend the day sipping cocktails, working on your tan and getting friendly with the colorful fish below.
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Go Hunting for Street Art

San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan has its fair share of street art, from large graffiti murals to more subtle artistic touches on the city streets. The Santurce neighborhood is the best place to find tons of murals, but you’ll undoubtedly spot them everywhere you go in town. Make sure to take note of the artist’s signature (typically their Instagram handle) so that you can follow along on their next art projects!
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Condado Vanderbilt Hotel learn more

Another favorite hotel stay on the island is the coastal Condado Vanderbilt which has stunning views of the ocean from its infinity pool and outdoor eateries. If you’re looking for a place to stay outside of Old San Juan with classic Puerto Rico vibes, this is it.
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Lote 23

San Juan, Puerto Rico
A must stop for lunch while on the island, Lote 23 is a bit outside of Old San Juan but worth it for the array of foodie options. With a large selection of kiosks and vintage airstreams hawking gastronomic eats, groups of travelers will find this the ideal spot to satisfy a variety of taste buds.
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Waterfront

San Juan, Puerto Rico
Follow the wall surrounding Old San Juan to El Morro, a fort built back in the 1500s to protect the island from potential enemy threats. Adjacent to the fort you’ll also find a large park where kite-flying is the most popular past time. This is the best spot in the city for a relaxing day in the sun spent people watching.
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La Factoría

San Juan, Puerto Rico
Hands down the best place for an epic night of salsa dancing, you simply can’t miss an evening at La Factoría -- in fact, we went several times in a row! Don’t make the mistake of plopping yourself in the entry room all night. There are three speakeasies inside, each with their own unique flavor of music and dancing.
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Old San Juan

San Juan, Puerto Rico
A simple activity that’s completely free but not to be missed is a simple stroll through the streets of Old San Juan. There’s so much color throughout the local neighborhoods that you’ll be hard-pressed to keep your camera away!
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