Best Places To Stay In San Juan Puerto Rico – If you’re visiting Puerto Rico for the first time, I’m here to help! Here’s a mini guide of places to stay in Puerto Rico along with some of my favorite hotels and hot spots.
Not sure which location makes the most sense for your Puerto Rico vacation? Below is an overview of each environment and what to expect.
Best Places To Stay In San Juan Puerto Rico
Also, click on each hotel name to read a full review of each hotel, with more info on why we recommend it! Below is more information about each neighborhood and why we love each of these hotels!
Where To Stay In San Juan, La Union
The whole island is pretty compact, about the size of Rhode Island and can be driven in ~4 hours from end to end. Despite its small size, Puerto Rico has an incredibly diverse landscape (think lakes, valleys, lagoons, mountains and even rainforests)!
San Juan’s main tourist areas all line the Atlantic Ocean. From west to east, the neighborhoods are Old San Juan (called Viejo San Juan by the locals), Condado in the center and Isla Verde in the East.
It’s about a 15 minute drive from Old San Juan to Condado and about another 15 minutes to Isla Verde, assuming no traffic. We took taxis instead of renting a car and found them cheap and reliable.
There are hotels for all budgets in San Juan but few are all-inclusive – it’s not an all-inclusive place like say, Cancunor Cabo. Instead, you’ll find trendy boutique hotels, family-friendly properties, and luxury oceanfront hotels.
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El Convento is located in a beautiful square in Old San Juan in a building that was once a convent (hence the name). With a gorgeous interior courtyard restaurant, rooftop lounge and pretty arches, this is a one of a kind hotel in Old San Juan with authentic charm.
El Convento makes a perfect base if you plan to spend most of your time in the Old Town, walking the cobbled streets and restaurants nearby. This hotel also has links to the Courtyard Marriott on Isla Verde so if you’re craving some beach time you can jump in for the pool and sun loungers.
With spacious, clean rooms and beautiful bay views, the Sheraton is a luxury resort in Old San Juan. Choose this hotel if you want to extend your Caribbean cruise due to its strategic location right near the Carnival Cruise pier.
Hotel La Concha was a Puerto Rican institution that was popular back in the day for its nightclubs and lively atmosphere. Today, the hotel is a beautiful indoor outdoor space with comfortable rooms, beach access, and many on-site restaurants.
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Perhaps the best part is the inviting lobby, which is always bustling with locals and visitors alike. If you’re looking for a great location and lots of entertainment, La Concha is one of the best places to stay in Puerto Rico.
A beautiful stately hotel in Condado, Vanderbilt features a swimming pool, beach access, a buffet restaurant and an on-site fitness center. With ocean views and a gorgeous marble lobby, this is one of the few 5-star hotels in Condado open for business.
The warm and friendly staff make the Intercontinental a must-visit. Located near some of Isla Verde’s best beaches, the hotel area has a hot tub, many restaurants, pools and bars. Big room with king size bed and fantastic sea view!
This is a great family friendly hotel located on the best part of San Juan’s coastal strip. Soft white sand, calming waves and no sharp rocks! The Courtyard Marriott has a great hard-working staff and a great breakfast bar.
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If you prefer a boutique hotel, the Water & Beach Club is the perfect choice. A stylish white lobby, rooftop pool with views of the sunny city during the day, and a trendy terrace restaurant are all part of the Water & Beach Club’s recent renovation. This hotel is also right on the beach!
This funky chic hotel is close to the airport and near the beach. A great budget hotel in Puerto Rico, TRYP by Wyndham has small but clean rooms with an on-site pool and lots of recommendations nearby, including grocery stores, casinos, shopping, and restaurants.
Many U.S. airlines offers daily direct flights from select US cities. We flew Jet Blue from New York City’s JFK airport. Puerto Rico offers cheap flights to encourage visitors to the island – you can set a flight offer alert here.
Traveling to Puerto Rico as an American citizen is very convenient. All you need is your license, no passport required, because the island is US territory. Similarly, there’s no need to carry a travel adapter, exchange currency, or buy a SIM card. American phones, dollars and plugs work fine all over the island.
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As a result of Hurricane Maria, life in Puerto Rico changed. We visited in mid-January 2018 and found that the electricity was up and running throughout the capital city of San Juan. Select hotels and restaurants are open; we have listed the hotels we visited and used here. Check here for great deals on accommodation.
Finally, make sure to visit Puerto Rico with travel insurance. Whether you’re injured and need to be hospitalized, your cell phone is stolen, or a flight delay leaves you with nothing but clothes, travel insurance will help when you need it most. Get a quote for your trip here. Visiting Puerto Rico for the first time was a dream come true and I couldn’t have asked for a better trip to start the year! We spent four days at Fairmont’s El San Juan, and felt very safe and cared for throughout our stay.
The Fairmont El San Juan Hotel is located in the municipality of Carolina which is located in San Juan on the north side of the island. This hotel is located right on Isla Verde Beach and you will witness the most beautiful sunsets every night! Also 2 minutes drive from SJU Airport and 10 minutes drive to Old San Juan.
If you’re looking for a place to stay in San Juan, look no further! The Fairmont El Hotel San Juan.
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These Covid rules and regulations are based on our travels in January 2021– please double check that the information is still relevant during your visit via the CDC and Puerto Rico Tourism websites.
Before entering Puerto Rico, you must take a Covid PCR Test and provide a negative result via the Travel Declaration form within 72 hours of entry. Once your results are received, you will receive a QR code to exit the airport. Without testing or providing results, the government will ask you to quarantine for 2 weeks or until you can provide results. From my understanding, getting tested in PR can be challenging if you are not experiencing symptoms so better take care of this beforehand.
Once we were in Puerto Rico we got text messages every day asking how we were feeling and if we were having any symptoms. Every restaurant, grocery store, cafe and hotel will carry out temperature checks, require a face mask and ask you to sanitize your hands upon entry. Overall, we felt very safe throughout our journey (sometimes even safer in PR than California).
From the poolside and oceanfront villa rooms, to the guest rooms immersed in the lush landscape throughout the hotel, every step around the hotel is reminiscent of Puerto Rico’s beautiful island culture.
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The highlight of this hotel really belongs to the outdoor property — with two beautiful pools and a swim-up bar, right down to the wooden doors that lead out to the award-winning Isla Verde Beach. You could spend days sunbathing here and never want to leave.
Seaside Cabanas are also available to rent for the whole day as well as Grand and Lux Cabanas which are perfect for larger parties! The Seaside one is my personal favorite, because it faces the ocean. You can rent jet skis and paddleboards right on the water and buy fresh fruit from local vendors. All cabanas and poolside chairs serve food from Bar Americana. Our favorites are the tamarindo lindo margarita and pina coladas, as well as the Yucca Fries and mahi fish and chips!
The restaurant at El San Juan Hotel, Caña by Juliana Gonzalez, serves authentic Puerto Rican food. Each dish is unique and celebrates the traditions of San Juan. Our favorite is the six course Taste of Cana, which includes small portions of six individual Cana dishes to try! Let your server know if you have any dietary restrictions, and whatever you do, make sure you try Pulpo! Among the best dishes I ever had!
Fairmont El San Juan Hotel is a quick ten-minute drive from the iconic Old San Juan, which is a National Historic Site that dates back to the 16th century. Here, you’ll find brightly colored houses lined with cobbled streets, with lots of great Caribbean restaurants and bars. If you’re here, make sure you eat at Raíces Restaurant for Mofongo, which is crushed plantains. We ordered the garlic shrijmp Mofongo and the avocado pulpo stuffed and it was what it was
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