San Juan Resort Area:
Condado and Isla Verde
Resorts and hotels are everywhere in San Juan, but they are more concentrated in the famous San Juan resort area of Condado and Isla Verde. This travel guide focuses primarily on those two neighborhoods for the purpose of accommodations, nightlife and restaurants. Other San Juan neighborhoods are mentioned as well for specific attractions that are there.
Below is a brief overview of both Condado and Isla Verde neighborhoods, respectively.
Condado is one of the upscale neighborhoods of San Juan, and thus of Puerto Rico. It is a major tourist destination for various reasons:
Condado is known by many as the South Beach of the Caribbean.
What to do in Condado
Condado is definitively the place to go for exquisite dining experiences and for strolling along the streets and the beach. You could do a lot of people-watching because all kinds of people either live in Condado or just come to visit. If you enjoy shopping, you would enjoy stopping by the fine boutiques in the area. Some of the boutiques found in Condado are Gucci, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Dior and Salvatore Ferragamo.
One thing that people – or should I say gamblers? – enjoy doing in Condado is going to casinos. Casinos are inside hotels and resorts; several hotels in Condado have one.
A day at the beach is a great alternative for things to do in Condado. The same applies to park visits. A great recent addition to Condado’s parks and beachfront infrastructure is La Ventana al Mar (Window to the Sea). This is a new park with a walkway that extends to the shore of the sea. The park also has fountains and benches and people enjoy watching the sunsets from there. It has become a popular venue for Condado visitors.
Isla Verde is another touristic neighborhood in the San Juan metropolitan area. Home to upscale beachfront hotels, Isla Verde is a favorite for many for its proximity to the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport and for its famous Isla Verde Beach, where many water activities take place. It is also a popular nightlife and dining destination. And just like in Condado, many of the hotels in the area feature casinos and fine restaurants.
Although Isla Verde is not part of the municipality of San Juan, it is really close to everything and is a great choice for visitors that want to enjoy the beach and explore the neighboring Piñones Natural Reserve.
What to do in Isla Verde
The main thing to do in Isla Verde is to spend the day at the beach and enjoy the water sports and activities. And when you are tired of the beach you can always explore the surrounding areas and do some shopping. At night, there are plenty of entertainment activities at the local clubs and casinos.
Something else you could do, if you are adventurous enough, is to continue driving east along the beach – not very far – until you get to Piñones. This is an area that many locals love because the beach here is more in tune with nature as it has mangroves and a lot of vegetation. There aren’t hotels along the shore but a few houses, food establishments and trees. If you want to try the typical finger fry food from Puerto Rico it is a must to go to Piñones. Also, there is a really nice boardwalk/path where you can ride bikes – which you can rent – or just walk with the view of the beach in the background in some areas and immersed in the forest in other areas. The only thing is that you better be back at Isla Verde before it gets dark because it could be unsafe at night.
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