San Juan-the capital of Puerto Rico is a popular destination for weddings, honeymoons, and romantic getaways. In the barrio of San Juan, lies an old colonial settlement called San Juan Antiguo or in English, Old San Juan. San Juan Antiguo is a popular tourist attraction. The ares is known for its festival atmosphere, exquisite food choices, and romantic ambiance around the city.
Linda and Charles went to visit Old San Juan in August 2017. When they arrived, they noticed that the streets of Old San Juan were cobblestone and narrow. The architecture was captivating and the buildings had vibrant colors. According to the website, the people of Old San Juan used bright pastel colors to bring on feelings of happiness.
The first hotel they stayed at was the La Terraza de San Juan hotel which is located in the historic district of Old San Juan. The La Terraza is a spanish colonial refined hotel with 1-2 bedroom luxury apartment suites. It also includes a pool, a bar, and a restaurant all located on the rooftop of hotel. The hotel is a 4-5 minute walk from two historical sites, the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista and Castillo de San Cristóbal which is located on the National San Juan Historical Site.
Castillo de San Cristóbal is a fort that was built 150 years ago by Irish Born Chef Engineer, Thomas O’Daly. The forts purpose was to protect the city from being attacked by English and the Dutch. The fort covers over 27 acres of land and has 3 levels: the main plaza, the second the main firing batter and the observatory.
The hours are daily from 9AM-6PM it’s 5 dollars for adults and free for children ages 15 and under. Before a tour, they show a 15 mins movie about the history of the fortress.
Old town has a lot of interesting attractions from shopping and visiting museums to eating traditional cuisines. Whether it was dining at restaurants or small cafes, there was a place for everyone’s budget. Rum is the capital of Puerto Rico and it is often served in mojitos. Tourist can carry their drinks while shopping and exploring around the area. Some of restaurants have dance floors where people can dance to salsa music or even take salsa lessons. Old San Juan has an amazing view of the Atlantic Ocean. Visitors can relax on the beach or enjoy water sports like kayaking and snorkeling. If people are looking for an adventure, they can rent a car and take day trips around the caribbean.
When the sun goes down, the day isn’t over. If you enjoyed the day tours, you can also take a night tour and see a different side of Old San Juan. The town has a lively nightlife and there’s music everywhere. There over 200 casinos, restaurants, night clubs and lounges. You can hear the sounds of jazz, salsa and flamenco music coming from the nightclubs and music venues. There’s often live music events held at every plaza in town. There are also plays and cultural events to check out and they’re held through the year like the Puerto Rico Tango festival or the Rum and Beer Fest.
After a spending a few days in the historic district, Linda and Charles headed to another location on the beach. They stayed at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in San Juan.
The Ritz Carlton San Juan looks over the Atlantic Ocean. The hotel has 416 rooms, six executive ocean view suites and four suites that overlook the garden. It has a 12,000 square-foot spa, a casino and a fitness center. For couples who privacy and exclusivity, they can upgrade to a club level suite with incredible views of the ocean.
For relaxation, guest can head over to the hotel spa with 11 treatment rooms, a full service salon and make-up service. The spa also comes with a co-ed sauna and steam rooms. A few of the treatments include melter rituals, seashell indulgence, cafe con leche body polish, and anti-aging guava manicure and pedicure. Guest are welcome to take home some of the products from the spa to enjoy that continue that relaxation feeling they experienced.
For dining options, the hotel has four restaurants onsite that offer traditional and italian cuisines, and local seafood options. Linda and Charles dined at The Ocean Bar and Grill and the Il Mulino New York. The Ocean and Bar and Grill serves an island inspired cuisine. Guest can dine by the poolside or along the beach.
The Il Mulino New York, voted “Diners Choice” by OpenTable, serves an authentic Italian cuisine that can be traced back to the Abruzzo region of Italy. Some of the food items on the menu include veal, chicken parmesan, and pastas like spaghetti and risotto. They also have seafood options like wild salmon and swordfish.
Like every hotel, there are activities. The hotel is only 15 minute walk from San Juan Antiguo so guest can still check out the art museums and other attractions in the historical district. If guest want to stay onsite, guest can visit the pool and casino.
The Ritz Carlton casino is one of the most luxurious casinos in Puerto Rico completed with traditional casino games like roulette and Texas Hold’em and a selection of over 250 slot machines. There are complimentary drinks with offered at table games. Next to the casino entrance, there’s a bar and lounge with lively music at night time. Guest can enjoy themselves until 4AM when the casino closes.
For recreational activities, guest can go swimming in the hotel pool, have private tennis lessons or visit the hotel fitness center. The fitness center includes state-of-art cardiovascular and weight training equipment. Guest can also have a personal trainer and take classes to like cycling, yoga, and kickboxing. You can exercise anytime of the day because the center is open 24 hours.
All in all, Old San Juan is one of the best romantic destinations for weddings, honeymoons and couples who just want to spend time together. They city brings and romantic vibe with beautiful ocean scenery, the salsa music, and fine dining in the daytime, and lively music in the plazas and music venues at night. Couples can learn together by walking through the historic cobblestone streets of San Juan, visiting tourist sites, and art museums. Or they can stay in and relax by the hotel pool or at the spa.
Summer is approaching soon and plane tickets are being booked as we speak. So hurry up, book yours and head to San Juan!
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