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Top Five Reasons NOT to Stay in San Juan When You Visit Puerto Rico

We often hear from couples who have never been to Puerto Rico and automatically make plans to stay in San Juan, the big city on our island. And we understand. If one refers to the official government and tourism websites, or Google in general, it’s easy to gravitate to the place with all the big hotels and high-rises. But we always say that to stay in San Juan instead of other places on the island is a bit like staying in Miami instead of the Keys, or Virginia Beach instead of the Outer Banks, or Manhattan instead of the Hamptons. For those who love city life, sure, book a hotel or an AirBnb in a condo building in San Juan and enjoy easy access to restaurants and nightlife. But for others, here are a few reasons to enjoy other parts of the island and not stay in San Juan.


# 5 Fall asleep to the sound of the waves, instead of traffic

We love to visit, but it’s important to know that San Juan is a city, with city noises, traffic, and pollution. Because of that, we recommend not to stay in San Juan for your entire vacation; instead, stay elsewhere and head to Old San Juan for a day trip, or a night or two.


Betsy & Mike eloped in Old San Juan. Beautiful for a day, but there is so much more to see!


#4 Your money goes so much farther 

San Juan is a city, with city prices. For the same price (or cheaper!) of a gardenview room in a San Juan highrise hotel, you can enjoy an oceanfront condo or casita or AirBnb on a stunning beach.


Photo from the vow renewal of Irene & Jose in Aguadilla


# 3 It’s easy to drive and get around

Yes, San Juan has Ubers. But it’s easy and cheap to rent cars here, and GPS works well. Explore and enjoy!


Angela & Brian enjoyed driving around the island in their rental car.


#2 Enjoy the “real Puerto Rico” 

Ask visitors about their favorite magic moments in Puerto Rico, and they’ll rarely mention a hotel or restaurant in the big city. Instead, it’s the roadside food truck with the delicious food in the mountains. Or the super-friendly local at the gas station who describes and insists you visit a beautiful secret spot in their town. Or the family that invites you into their home that turns into salsa night with them and their neighbors. Anything is possible when you open your mind and heart to the adventure!


Kristina stopped for a delicious ‘coco frio’ on her wedding day.


#1 Travel like the locals do

Every Friday afternoon, the highways leading out of San Juan are packed with residents fleeing the city and heading west to enjoy the beauty and tranquility of the towns of Isabela, Aguadilla, Aguada, Rincon, and more. Indeed, ask any Puerto Rican about “the west”, and you’re likely to see their eyes light up.

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