Living the Old San Juan Lifestyle
June 30, 2017
After a month in Martinique. San Juan is where I switch from saying “je ne parle pas français” to “yo no hablo español.” I am still working on grasping languages. Even English is hard some days.
Old San Juan is a beautiful, colourful, and an interesting place to explore and live in. There are tonnes of restaurants and bars to check out as well as cool historical sites.
We stayed in old San Juan for two and a half weeks.
We stayed in the centre of Old San Juan, which I would highly recommend. Yes, San Juan is touristy, but there is also a really interesting and vibrant community of locals who are passionate about San Juan. I loved being steps away from markets, coffee shops, and excellent bars.
Old San Juan is full of insanely beautiful buildings that are saturated with bold colours. To me, Old San Juan felt and looked like a town in the South of Spain. The city is full of narrow cobbled streets and every building has personality.
The Catedral de San Juan Bautista was near our apartment. It was built in the 1500’s!
(click here for the panorama if the embedded one doesn’t work, or to see it full screen)
There aren’t many relaxing fun beaches around Old San Juan because the ocean is very turbulent in this area, but we did find one. We found Playa Peña Beach which was near the Capital building and was decent on a calm day. The beach has some rock formations around it so the big waves would break before reaching the people. This beach also has an amazing collection of sea glass! It’s right around the corner from one of the forts. After many years of soldiers throwing glass bottles into the ocean they’ve decorated the beach.
Other than having access to incredible fresh produce we also indulged in many of the local cuisines.
We particularly liked Mofongo, deep-fried green plantains mashed together with sautéed onion, garlic, and pork, chicken or seafood.
The blue cobblestone pavers are said to come from the ballast of the ships that arrived to transport goods to Spain. They are totally beautiful and brighten up the already stunning streets of Old San Juan.
I adore San Juan; the food, the people, the weather, the atmosphere. I thought I would hate its connection with the US. I thought it would be too “Americanized.” To be fair, the American influence is definitely felt within the country, I feel that much of San Juan’s unique identity is still intact and I truly hope it stays that way.
Next: we explore the fortresses of San Juan!