Old San Juan

San Juan Bay promenade

City + beach, all in one. It's like getting the best of both worlds and that's the great thing about San Juan, Puerto Rico. When we weren't out snorkeling in the water, ziplining in the rainforest, or reading on the beach, we were in Old San Juan. With its prominent colonial architecture, Old San Juan stands out as an historic area resilient in preserving what was left to, well, preserve.

Each shop house is colored differently reflecting its own unique character. The windows have their own personalities. Many of the streets are made of cobble stones. Some hilly streets of Old San Juan even reminded us of San Francisco but without the vibe of a massive city. Old San Juan is quaint and beautiful.

During the day it is bustling with pedestrians. At night, foot traffic is equally, if not more, heavy as the crowd trickles in for a good time at the many fantastic restaurants before heading to a bar located either a few doors, streets, or blocks away depending on where they are headed to. As much as we saw curious tourists, there were as many locals hanging out in Old San Juan.

Street vendors abound all through the day and night. The most memorable ones were definitely the many popsicle carts which we kept seeing over and over again. All of those popsicle carts sold the exact same three flavors: coconut, passion fruit, and pina colada. Even their carts and the labels on the carts looked exactly the same. The only difference between those carts was the person handling it. Before we became popsicled-out, luckily we saw the candy floss man who was ever so glad in posing with a peace sign for our camera.

We veered off the cobbled stone streets towards the bay where El Morro could be found. Historically this fort was built to guard San Juan Bay against enemies coming in from the sea. Today el Morro is declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. San Juan also has an impressive city wall that is about 20ft in thickness and 60ft in height built to guard the city against attack.

El Morro
20ft thick city wall
Old San Juan is tremendously rich in history and culture. It really is a great example of how a city can be relevant as today's entertainment and nightlife district without all the contemporary exterior to it. It's
a perfect blend of the past and present.

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