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The Best Places to Stay in San Juan 2020

ViaHero
Updated February 5, 2020

What are the best places to stay in San Juan? It depends on your travel style. Here’s what Puerto Rican locals said about the pros and cons of each neighborhood, including budgeting, nightlife, and specific recs on things to do. 

Benefit from local knowledge by working with a Puerto Rico local to plan your trip. They'll design a custom guidebook based on your interests and their insider knowledge. With their help, you'll see a side of San Juan that most tourists miss. Learn more

"Linelly helped us beyond anything we could've planned ourselves. Everything she suggested for us was spot-on, and I feel we got the best experience by following a local's guidance."
Kate, Recent Traveler
Kate, Recent Traveler

Old San Juan

Old San Juan | Nikita Castro/Unsplash

Locals tell us that Old San Juan is one place you have to visit in Puerto Rico. Beautiful and romantic, this area is packed with colonial architecture, cobblestone streets, Spanish forts, and legendary restaurants. Well-traveled by tourists, it's a place where some local insights can come in handy. Here's what our trip planners say are the advantages and disadvantages of staying in Old San Juan:

Advantages

  • Proximity to some of Puerto Rico’s most popular attractions, like the del Morro and San Cristobal forts, La Fortaleza, and Paseo de la Princesa.
  • The area is beautiful, charming, and safe.
  • You'll find lots of incredible restaurants—locals tell us Cafe El Punto is great for traditional Puerto Rican food. 
  • There are plenty of lodging options, for any kind of travel package.
  • English is widely spoken.
  • The area is walkable. 

Disadvantages

  • Old San Juan is full of tourist attractions, which means it can be hard to discover the soul of the neighborhood. Don't get stuck in a tourist trap. Our trip planners can steer you towards locally beloved shops and restaurants.
  • The hotels can be on the pricer side (average $175–$300 per night).
  • The roads are narrow (they were made for horses!).
Local Tip:

No need to to stay in big-name hotels to be comfortable—Old San Juan is packed with phenomenal Airbnb and little boutique hotels, like The Gallery Inn, The Dream Catcher, and Hotel El Convento.  

Condado

Condado | Cristian Escobar/Unsplash

Locals tell us that Condado has a reputation as San Juan’s glitziest neighborhood (think Miami Beach). And since the whole neighborhood/beach stretch is one of Puerto Rico’s major attractions, you’ll be sure to find popping nightlife and daytime beach parties no matter what time of year you visit.

Advantages

  • Centrally located. It's only a 15-minute walk to historic San Juan and a 10-minute walk to La Placita de Santurce (one of the city’s most popular places to visit).
  • Condado is full of beachfront hotels and 4- and 5-star restaurants.
  • There are countless boutiques and great luxury shopping on Avenida Ashford.
  • The neighborhood one of the safer neighborhoods in the city.

Disadvantages

  • There’s less flexibility in meal and outing choices if you want to stay in the neighborhood.
  • Condado accommodations can run $290–$500 a night for the high-end hotels.
  • You'll probably end up taking a lot of Ubers to go elsewhere—unless you want to spend your whole vacation on the beach.
  • Some of Condado's hotels were damaged in the hurricane, but almost everything is back to normal. See this Puerto Rico tourism update for more info. Or, better yet, get updates from people on the ground. Our local trip planners can tell you exactly what to expect. 
Local Tip:

Hotel prices in Condado peak on Saturdays and Mondays, when most travelers check-in and out of rooms. Make reservations on Sundays or Fridays.

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Enter your travel preferences below and we’ll connect you with a likeminded local in Puerto Rico to help you plan your trip based on your specific interests.

Santurce

Santurce street art | Juan Cristobal Zulueta/Flickr

Get personalized recommendations as you plan your Puerto Rico adventure. Our trip planners tell us that Santruce is one of the best places to stay in Puerto Rico if you want to soak up the island’s hipster culture—here you'll find great nightlife, colorful street art, and plenty of hip restaurants. 

Advantages

  • The hotels and Airbnbs (average $70–$90 a night) are considerably cheaper than in Old San Juan.
  • The neighborhood is less touristy than Old San Juan
  • You'll find tons of beautiful murals, galleries, shops, and super-trendy bars.
  • La Placita de Santurce is an excellent nightlife hub.
  • It’s a popular area for food trucks, street food, and cheap beer.

Disadvantages

  • Santurce can get sketchy at night—you should use taxis or Uber to get around.
  • Santurce's location can make it difficult to walk to other areas of the city—especially at night.
  • You'll find fewer accommodation options.
  • The neighborhood can get really loud on the weekends.
Local Tip:

If you stay in an Airbnb or hostel with a kitchen, take advantage of Santurce’s farmers’ markets on the weekends. Cooking a meal is a great way to support the local economy, keep your trip under budget, and to travel in a sustainable way

Hato Rey

A financial and urban hub, locals say that Hato Rey is known for its baseball games, concert scenes, and gorgeous parks. It’s an ideal place to visit in Puerto Rico if you're looking to enjoy the island like the locals do. Our trip planners can give customized advice on what to do here. 

Advantages

Disadvantages

  • It’s mainly a business district—there are plenty of skyscrapers, but few accommodations.
  • The hotels are oriented to brief business travel, not week-long vacations.
  • It’s located pretty far south, so you’ll have to Uber everywhere.
  • While Hato Rey itself is safe, it’s easy to accidentally wander into areas that are a little more sketchy.

Local Tip:

Hato Rey’s most happening area is Roosevelt Avenue, the go-to street for shopping and dining out.

Work with a local to plan your trip.
See a side most people miss.

Ocean Park

Ocean Park | Alan Kotok/Flickr

Just as its name implies, Ocean Park has sublime views of the Caribbean, tropical breezes, and clean beaches. Since it’s mostly upscale housing, Ocean Park is one of the safest places to travel right now—perfect for mingling with locals worry-free. Benefit from an insider's perspective—here's what our local trip planners say are the advantages and disadvantages of staying in Ocean Park.

Advantages

  • You can find Airbnbs at only $35 per night, and great hotels on the beach.
  • The beaches are fantastic—big, clean, and beautiful.
  • The beaches are less crowded than those in Condado.

Disadvantages

  • Ocean Park is a more residential area, so there are fewer restaurants and nightlife options.
  • Less entertainment-oriented than Condado or Old San Juan, the neighborhood is really centered around hotels.
  • You need to take Uber to most other parts of the city.
Local Tip:

If you’re doing Puerto Rico on a budget, private lodging rentals are the name of the game in Ocean Park. Residents post accommodations on Airbnb and VRBO, which go for $35–$120 a night.

Rio Piedras

Brimming with tropical gardens and coffee shops, Rio Piedras is home base for the University of San Juan. If you're looking to get off-the-beaten-path in Puerto Rico Rio Piedras is a good choice, but it's definitely a place where you'll want to get some local recommendations. Our trip planners can give suggestions on how to explore this area. 

Advantages

  • Low-key college town vibes.
  • Safe and residential area.
  • Rio Piedras is home to Jardin Botanico, some of Puerto Rico’s most extensive botanical gardens.
  • You'll find some great farmers markets in this area.

Disadvantages

  • It’s a 30-minute drive to Old San Juan.
  • The restaurants are just ok—you'll find better options closer to the city center.
  • Rio Piedras is located in the southern area of San Juan, so you aren’t going to want to walk far out of the neighborhood.
Local Tip:

Public transportation in Puerto Rico can be spotty, but you can easily drive to the Old San Juan ferry.

Miramar

Right on the sea, locals say that Miramar is a great place to visit for those looking for a little adventure. Miramar is one of San Juan’s smaller barrios, but with kayak tours, sailing, and deep-sea fishing, you could easily add a few days in Miramar to a Puerto Rico itinerary.

Advantages

  • Location—it’s right on the sea, so it’s perfect for spending time on the waves.
  • Locals say Miramar is full of hidden gems like the haunted Teatro Tapia and classy Casita Miramar.
  • You can easily walk to Condado and Old San Juan if you know what routes to avoid—one of our trip planners can help with that.
  • Aside from being kitty-corner to some of Puerto Rico’s best beaches, it’s also got great views of the Condado Lagoon and San Juan Bay.

Disadvantages

  • It’s mostly residential—there are only a few restaurants and hotels to choose from.
  • There’s not much to do in the neighborhood itself as far as nightlife goes.
  • You might end up most of your time outside of the neighborhood.
Local Tip:

Looking to set up a tour in Miramar? Tropical Eco Tours or Aqua Adventure are good choices. 

Still have questions about travel to Puerto Rico?
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