San Juan Shopping
Take something from your San Juan vacation back home!
San Juan offers one of the best shopping experiences in the Caribbean for the leisure traveler. You can find name brand products as well as local products, all in the same area. The currency is the American dollar and major credit cards are accepted. You won’t have to worry about money inconveniences if you are coming from United States. Prices are affordable to moderate to pricey, depending on what you are buying. But if you don’t want to spend much or don’t have enough room to carry your items, you can still do some window shopping and enjoy the experience.
Other travel websites indicate that there is no sales tax in Puerto Rico. Unfortunately, that is no longer the case. That was back in the good old days. A 7% sales tax was implemented in 2006 and has been in effect ever since.
The best areas for shopping in San Juan are Old San Juan and Condado.
Old San Juan Shopping
San Francisco Street
The main streets to shop in Old San Juan
are Fortaleza Street, Cristo Street and San Francisco Street. They are home to numerous shops where you can buy nice San Juan and Puerto Rico memorabilia, crafts from local artisans, and even designer clothing, bags or shoes. Also, let’s not forget about Puerto Rican coffee or rum!
For men, guayaberas are the order. Guayaberas are a type of loose shirt made with a light fabric like linen that is perfect for the warm weather in the tropics. They are a typical attire in the Caribbean and are part of the national costume of Puerto Rico. They are also a common souvenir from Puerto Rico.
Something traditional from Puerto Rico that visitors typically buy is a santo wooden sculpture. The word santo translates to saint. They are called that way because the sculptures generally depict a saint, angel or any other religious image. I personally am not fond of this type of sculptures, but many people seem to like them and they have become a classical thing to buy for tourists.
Another thing to buy is a vejigante mask. These are masks that are worn by entertainment characters called vejigantes at festivals and carnivals celebrated in Puerto Rico, specifically in the municipalities of Loíza and Ponce. These masks are very colorful and can brighten up a scene or a room in no time. While these masks are a traditional icon of Puerto Rico, I have to admit that they are a bit scary when you first look at them because of the many horns they have. – Yes, they have horns. – Nevertheless, they are a fun thing to buy if you can fit them in your luggage.
And don’t forget your bling-bling. That’s also covered in Old San Juan with a jewelry store on almost every corner.
Some of the name brand stores you can find in Old San Juan include Coach Outlet, Ralph Lauren Factory Store, Dooney & Bourke Factory Store, Guess and Speedo. These stores are located at Cristo Street.
Shopping is one of the main activities that takes place in Condado. Why is this? Because Condado is home to famous name brand boutiques like Gucci, Cartier, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Mont Blanc and Salvatore Ferragamo. Local high end boutiques from Puerto Rican designers can also be found. So, if you are a serious shopper and like buying the latest fashions, Condado is the place to go. Just make sure you don’t break your wallet.
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