San Juan Puerto Rico & Its Environs
by Kurt Pitzer
San Juan is the oldest city in US territory, and the second-oldest in the Americas, and stakes its claim as the cultural and economic hub of the Caribbean. With high-end designer and jewelry shops, more than 30 limousine services in the phone book and more banks than you would want to count, it displays all the trappings of the wealthiest large city of the Antilles. It is also probably the world's greatest example of combined 20th-century North American and Spanish colonial influences from the paella served at the Marriott and other high-rise hotels in Condado and Isla Verde, to the historic neighborhood of Old San Juan, where Chryslers and Buicks squeeze cautiously through cobblestone streets built just wide enough for the axle of a Spanish carriage. Despite outside influences, the allure of San Juan today is pure Puerto Rican. The city breathes practically pants with the energy of a cosmopolitan center flourishing in the gentle climate of the Caribbean. A new style called nuevo Latino is reinvented daily by those who create music, art and cuisine here, making San Juan one of the most happening cities in the Americas. From the colonial tourist center of Old San Juan to the beach neighborhoods of Condado, Ocean Park, Isla Verde and beyond, the city has treasures, both obvious and hidden, to delight any traveler. Many visitors think of San Juan as one big beach with an appendage of charming old buildings. And while it's true that a visitor can spend a weeklong vacation doing nothing but lying in a chaise longue, soaking up sun and rum punches until the casinos reopen, there is much more to do. Take the time to explore the fascinating culture of San Juan, and use it as a staging area for explorations of the island at large. This guide tells you all about the history and culture of Puerto Rico, how to get there and how to get around, the general information you need. Then it zeros in on San Juan and its places to stay and eat, the things to see and do, the fiestas, historic sites, museums, markets - everything you need to know. Filled with maps and photos.
- Hunter Publishing, January 2011
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