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Get to know Old San Juan

With its cobblestone streets and a pastel rainbow of Spanish Colonial houses, all frosted with ornate trim, Old San Juan is picture perfect. For the tourists breezing in from their cruise ship, Old San Juan might be their only glimpse of Puerto Rico. But this historic district isn’t a tourist artifact—it’s a vibrant, living neighborhood. Residents love the ability to walk to their favorite restaurants and shops, and delight in the barrio’s unique geography as a walled city on an islet jutting out into the sea. Old San Juan is more than 500 years old and one of the oldest settlements in the Americas. Thanks to a historic preservation campaign in the 1940s, the district’s buildings have been maintained and restored with sensitivity and charm. This is the rare neighborhood where most residents live in centuries-old houses, dating back to 100, 200, or even 300 years ago.

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Living in San Juan

The vibrant capital of Puerto Rico, San Juan, is the island’s biggest and most populous city. It’s a place where the past, the present, and the future sit side by side, and where 500-year-old forts are just blocks away from a brand-new, high-tech plaza. This is a city that loves joy—San Juan residents are known for their welcoming spirit and readiness to celebrate life. Whether San Juan is hosting an impromptu dance party or one of the city’s famous festivals, there’s always a sense of fun in the air. Thanks to its location on the coast, San Juan has a laid-back, beach town vibe that manages to co-exist with the city’s status as an urban capital. In some ways, San Juan resembles other major American metropolises, with a downtown financial district, trendy hipster neighborhoods, comfortable suburbs, and tourist hotspots. But it’s San Juan’s mix of beaches, multiple cultures, and Boricua pride that make the city unique.