Although many of our guests find that Bahia Beach Resort offers everything they need and want during their Puerto Rico vacation, if you’d like to get out and explore, spirited Old San Juan is just 25 miles away, mas o menos.Viejo San Juan nestles on a small island connected to Puerto Rico's mainland by a causeway and two bridges. It’s the oldest settlement within the territory of the United States, founded in 1513. The narrow blue cobblestone streets wind through hundreds of brightly colored, impeccably restored 16th- and 17th-century Spanish colonial buildings. You could easily spend two days poking around the plentiful plazas, shops, cafes, and historical attractions in this seven square block paradise. Grab your most comfy walking shoes, gobs of sunscreen, and a good map, and set off for a very colorful, cultural, hip, and historic adventure.
A massive 60-foot- tall and 20-foot- thick wall, known as “La Muralla”, surrounds Old San Juan. The meticulous preservation of the ornate colonial buildings gives each cobblestone street a romantic Old World Spanish flavor that lends itself to strolling up and down the hills, poking into antique stores, funky art galleries, and souvenir shops. The vibrant arts and crafts scene boasts over 20 galleries, and you’ll find the locals extraordinarily warm and welcoming.Take a self-guided walking tour or book a half-day guided tour. Explore Old San Juan on electric bikes or Segways. There’s a free trolley service if you tire of walking.
Make time for the San Juan National Historic Site. You’ll find the majestic Spanish fortress Castillo San Cristóbal here; the largest castle ever built by the Spanish Crown in the New World. Popular citadel Castillo San Felipe del Morro offers a sweeping view of the entrance to San Juan Harbor from each of the six levels. Children fly kites, adults exercise along the beautiful trail, and couples cuddle on the grassy hills at sunset at this impressive UNESCO World Heritage Site.
It feels like every few steps bring you to another amazing spot to eat and drink. Food vendors, sidewalk cafes, lively bars, and gourmet restaurants are everywhere. Fortaleza Street is Old San Juan’s Restaurant Row, housing some of the best eateries in the area. For a five-star dining experience and an ultra chic atmosphere, visit the Marmalade Restaurant & Wine Bar for traditional Puerto Rican cuisine, and then swing by Barcelona Bar, who is said to have invented the Piña Colada.
Some of Puerto Rico’s most prestigious museums are located in Old San Juan. The San Juan Museum of Art and History showcases Puerto Rico art and music with concerts and festivals. The Casa Blanca was built in 1521 and is the oldest continuously occupied residence in the Western Hemisphere, sheltering Ponce de León descendants for over 250 years. Today each room is designed in 16th, 17th, or 18th century decor associated with the house’s fascinating history.The inspiring collection at the Pablo Casals Museum includes manuscripts, photographs, memorabilia, and a library of concert videotapes. Casals and his wife moved to Puerto Rico in the 1950s, and he served as the conductor of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra.Let the Bahia Beach Resort concierge team arrange a once-in-a-lifetime excursion into Old San Juan, Puerto Rico for you. It would be our greatest pleasure!