We arrived in San Juan in the evening after a fun couple of days in Ponce and San German. Our hotel was the Caribe Hilton, and I have to say that it is one of the best beach resorts I have ever visited, despite not being an all-inclusive. The room was great, and the hotel has so many amenities for adults and especially children (it didn’t mean much to us this time, but I can see their value). Most important, there was a swim up pool bar and drinks service on the beach.
The next two days were spent relaxing on the hotels private beach, and enjoying the sun and the ocean. We had a great ocean view room, and between that, the ocean-side daybeds, the hammocks and the beach chairs, our itinerary was mostly set.
We did take some time out to wander off the hotel property and visit Old San Juan. It is a small (deceptively tiring to walk though because of all the uphill streets) area that is chock full of historic sites and buildings. Unfortunately, we underestimated the time it would take to explore it all, and had to skip quite a few things.
We took a walk along Constitution Avenue, which has some really great looking buildings (like the Puerto Rican legislative building), to get to the old walled city. We then took a stroll on the esplanade called Paseo de la Princesa that follows the city walls and the oceanfront. There was a really great photo exhibition called “Earth From Above” that had been set up on it. We also saw some great sculptures and fountains. And, of course, we got to admire the old walls that were once part of the most impregnable fortress in the New World.
Within the walls we came across some great piazzas, historic buildings (including a building that houses the Academy of Music and Art that was originally built as an insane asylum) and statues commemorating events in Puerto Rican history (the funniest was a statue that commemorates a time in 1797 when British soldiers mistook a religious procession for the arrival of Spanish reinforcements and fled).
Dinner was an interesting experience. We met up with all the others in the evening, without an idea of where to eat. We just picked a place called Ostra Cosa near the old Cathedral. The proprietor, Alberto, decided to spice things up by ordering for us instead of letting us pick the dishes. He spent a lot of time initially chatting with us and learning what we liked, and then he just sent out one great dish after another. The ceviche was especially good.
Later, we walked around a little bit to enjoy the night sights. The trend of fantastically lit up buildings continued in Old San Juan as well, the best being City Hall (photo below).
That was it for our journey through Puerto Rico. The trip was way too short, and there was so much more that we wanted to do. We will definitely be making our way back there, once Arav is a little older and can appreciate it. Need to give ourselves enough time to savor the beach, the history and the beauty of the island.
Website Updates: I added photo albums for our Puerto Rico trip and our Napa Valley trip to my website. Both can be found in the Travel Journal section. Keep in mind that the Napa Valley album is actually titled “Wine Country”. Reflects my hope to add more photographs to it when we make our way back there, and when we do a trip up to Sonoma.
Tags: Caribe Hilton
, Old San Juan
, Puerto Rico
, San Juan
, Website Updates