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December Holiday Destinations – San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan

San Juan

In our continuous look at travel destinations for this year’s winter holiday, today we’ll be looking at the Caribbean island of Puerto Rico, and especially its largest city and capital: San Juan.

San Juan’s population is close to four hundred thousand people and is not only the largest city on the island but it is also one of the best harbors in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico is a self-governing commonwealth of the United States of America and that influence can be seen in metropolitan San Juan with its constant flow of cars and buildings that reach to the sky. However there is another face of San Juan, which shows itself when the sun dips beneath the horizon.

This is when the wonderful sounds of the island’s music start to fill the streets and the tapping of salsa dancers can be heard coming from both indoor and outdoor venues, alongside them the casinos come to life as well and the clink of slot machines can almost be heard when you walk around the metropolitan part of the city.

San Juan can be very easily separated into its modern part, where there are many high-rise buildings made of glass and cement, and the Old City where you’ll find the remains of colonial fortifications and other structures from its colonial past.

The Old part of San Juan can be found in the center of the city, it still features its old city wall and its legacy of the colonial past has attracted tourists and history enthusiasts for many decades. The San Felipe del Morro structure was initially built to protect San Juan from sea invasions but it was later enlarged so that Fort San Cristobal could be built in order to defend the city from land invasions.

La Fortaleza dates back to the 16th century and it is thought to be the oldest executive residence in the western hemisphere, and it as well was built in order to deal with Carib attacks. As you can already see, the place has seen a lot of rather violent history throughout the centuries, all of which have left their marks on the island and its varied mix of peoples.

Another interesting 16th century structure that you should visit is the San Jose Church, this is believed to be the second oldest church in the Western hemisphere, it is worth visiting for its history.

Now keep in mind that these are just a couple of the highlights of what San Jose can offer its visitors, we haven’t even gotten into the various activities or other attractions that you could see there, we’ll talk about those in a future article.

 

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