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As part of our surprise trip to Puerto Rico, we spent a day in Old San Juan Puerto Rico. Old San Juan Puerto Rico is on the UNESCO World Heritage Site list, so since I like to update my travel maps, it seemed like a natural fit!
Getting to Old San Juan Puerto Rico
We were staying at the Hyatt House San Juan, which is in Miramar, also called Distrito del Convenciones (Convention District). The hotel recommended a taxi (which was probably prudent), but we’re cheap and had nothing pressing going on, so we walked. It was about a 45 minute walk. For most of the way we were on Rte 1, Avenida Fernandez Juncos, but at some point we cut over a couple of blocks north to Avenida Luis Munoz Rivera, which parallels the Caribbean Sea and passes by the Territory Capital, the Plaza de San Juan Bautista, and an all around nice view. Both of those roads were just fine, but in the few blocks where we cut between them, we ran into a…
In addition to the mangy malnourished animals and rundown buildings (I lived in the Dominican Republic for 2 years, so neither of those really faze me), as we were crossing up to Avenida Rivera, a guy came up to us and asked if we spoke English. His English was native, and he proceeded to tell us a story about he was on a cruise ship and he was walking with his dad and they got lost, and then mugged, and the police had taken his dad to the hospital but he needed like 4 bucks to pay this guy for taxi fare (or something). Perhaps I’m just overly jaded, but it sounded a bit fishy, so we moved on and he didn’t pursue us.
The forts of Old San Juan Puerto Rico – Castillo de San Cristobal
As we walked along the Avenida Luis Muñoz Rivera, we passed a plaza called Plaza San Juan Bautista,
Old San Juan Puerto Rico trolley
After the Castle of San Cristobal (Castillo San Cristobal), we got on one of the Old San Juan Puerto Rico trolleys. I sat next to an old Puerto Rican who was drunk. And by “drunk” I mean that when I asked him (in Spanish) how he was doing, he said “Estoy borracho” (I’m drunk). Further contributing to my expert analysis was the fact that he was actively drinking out of a bottle in a paper sack :-). He proceeded to talk my ear off in Spanish the whole way to the other fort (El Morro)
The forts of Old San Juan Puerto Rico – El Morro
After touring the forts of Old San Juan Puerto Rico, we hopped on the free Old San Juan trolley. And of course, by ” hopped on”, I mean we waited and waited and finally got on the trolley that we didn’t really want to get on (because it would drop us off further away from where we wanted to go). But by then we figured it would be close enough, so naturally, as soon as we did, we saw the green trolley (the one we wanted), just far enough away that we couldn’t get to it…
Casa Cortes Choco Bar
We got off the white Old San Juan trolley at Stop 16, at the corner of Recinto Sur and Fortaleza. On the recommendation of the front desk at the Hyatt House San Juan, we were headed to the Casa Cortes Choco Bar, a restaurant that serves every dish with some sort of chocolate. This was Carolyn’s kind of place for sure!!!
After our stop at Casa Cortes, we walked down Calle San Justo towards the pier and found a taxi. The taxis are a flat rate from Old San Juan back to our hotel – $15, which seemed pretty steep given that it took like 5-10 minutes. We consoled ourselves in the fact that we found 37 cents on the backseat floor 😛
Ever been to Old San Juan Puerto Rico? Is there something else you’d recommend that we missed?