View of the flag of Puerto Rico in the middle of colorful houses

Where to Stay in San Juan, By an Area Local (2021)

Once you’ve booked your ticket to Puerto Rico, you’re probably wondering about the best place to stay in San Juan, the capital city where most visitors start their visit to the island.

Well, the truth is there are so many areas and neighborhoods it can be overwhelming trying to figure out where to stay in San Juan. But don’t panic yet!  You can find the best San Juan accommodation with a local’s advice and guess what? I’m all in for it!

Whether you’re looking for the best sea views or to learn all about the city of San Juan history, you’ll find everything in this beginner-friendly guide of where to stay in San Juan!

Oh, and be sure to see my full guide to where to stay in Puerto Rico for more tips on choosing the best cities and areas to stay in other parts of Puerto Rico too.

Disclosure: Travel Lemming is an independent reader-supported blog. You can support my work by purchasing through the affiliate links on this page, which may earn a commission for this site. Thank you!

Best Places to Stay in San Juan

Just looking for a quick answer on the best places to stay in San Juan? Here are my top picks: 

Ok, let’s do a deep dive into the best areas and neighborhoods in San Juan: 

5 Best Neighborhoods and Areas to Stay in San Juan

The historic city of San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico and it sports 18 different official neighborhoods, which you can visualize on this map. But, as a Puerto Rican, I can say San Juan is basically divided into the old town, Old San Juan, and the new town. 

Whether you’re looking for a beachfront hotel in front of the sandy beach with a wellness center, or a boutique hotel with an outdoor pool, you’ll find it one of these 5 neighborhoods in San Juan.

Old San Juan

View of Castillo San Felipe del Morro
You can see El Morro in Old San Juan

👉 Best Area for Sightseeing or Solo Traveling | ✨ Best Old San Juan Hotels: El ConventoSheraton Old San Juan HotelVilla Herencia Hotel

The historic Old San Juan or Viejo San Juan is the prime location to stay. It’s one of the top spots to visit in Puerto Rico, and you will have San Juan’s top attractions within a walking distance. You’ll find some of the top San Juan accommodations here, as well as some luxury hotels like El Convento

By staying in Old San Juan, you’ll have easy access to attractions like the San Juan Bautista Cathedral, Puerta de San Juan, la Fortaleza, Castillo de San Cristobal, Paseo de La Princesa, and El Morro. Old San Juan also sports a beach, fine dining restaurants, and bars.

👉 Did you Know Old San Juan celebrates 500 years of history in 2021? If you stay in Old San Juan, you can catch free local festivals, historic recreations, concerts, and exhibitions as part of the celebration that will take place until June 2022. You can follow the event calendar using the hashtag #500AñosSJ and @SJCiudadCapital. Check out my complete guide to the 49 best activities to do in Puerto Rico to see what else you can do during your trip!

Pros of Staying in Old San Juan:

  • Home to many of the top attractions in San Juan
  • Historical landmarks at walking distance
  • Lots of restaurants, food kiosks, and bars
  • Great nightlife

Con of Staying in Old San Juan:

  • Things can be pricey
  • It can be noisy at night

📚 Old San Juan Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Sightseeing or Solo Traveling
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsEl ConventoSheraton Old San Juan Hotel  • Villa Herencia Hotel
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Princesa Cocina Cultura ($$), Deaverdura ($$), Café Manolín ($)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – La Taberna Lúpulo, The Mezzanine
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Fort San Felipe del Morro, Paseo La Princesa

Condado

View of the author kayaking at the Candado Lagoon
Kayaking in Condado Lagoon

👉 Best Area For Families | ✨ Best Condado Hotels: Condado VanderbiltLa Concha Renaissance ResortCondado Ocean Club

If you’re looking for a place to stay with your family in San Juan, then Condado is your go-to destination. Condado offers visitors accommodation options and it sports some of the best hotels in San Juan. 

Most hotels in this area offer an ocean view, swimming pool, spa, hot tub, and rooftop terrace. You can also find small luxury hotels like Condado Vanderbilt or the Olive Boutique Hotel. You can easily walk to the beach or stroll through Ventana al Mar. The area offers fun watersports, cycling, and scooters perfect for a fun family vacation.

Pros of Staying in Condado:

  • Walking distance to some of the top beaches in Puerto Rico
  • Lots of restaurants and bars
  • Fun activities like kayaking, paddle boarding, bicycle riding

Con of Staying in Condado:

  • Crowded on nights and weekends
  • Need a ride to get to Old San Juan’s landmarks

📚 Condado Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Families
Google Map

Miramar

View of the buildings in Miramar from the Condado Lagoon
Miramar Skyline from Condado Lagoon

👉 Best Area For Business Travelers | ✨ Best Miramar Hotels: Aloft San JuanHyatt Place San JuanSheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino

Miramar is a neighborhood in San Juan close to the city’s top attractions without the chaos of the tourist sites. If you’re traveling for business purposes and are researching where to stay in San Juan, the Miramar sports some of the best resorts for you in the city center. 

The hotels in the Miramar area sport convention halls, meeting rooms, and facilities like desks, wifi, and audiovisual equipment that will make your business trip run smoothly. In your free time, you can enjoy the hotel’s facilities such as a plunge pool or an infinity pool, or take a 5-minute ride to the Spanish forts in Old San Juan.

Pros of Staying in Miramar:

  • Avoid the crowd of San Juan’s main spots
  • Close the Convention Center of San Juan and T-Mobile District
  • Close to lots of restaurants and bars

Con of Staying in Miramar:

  • There aren’t many attractions within walking distance
  • You need to ride a car to get to the beach

📚 Miramar / Isla Grande Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Business Travelers
Google Map

Ocean Park

View of the author walking by the beach of Ocean Park

👉 Best Area For College Students and Young Professionals | ✨ Best Ocean Park Hotels: Trópica Beach HotelDoubleTree by HiltonNumero Uno Beach House

Ocean Park is a great option for youngsters looking to enjoy both beachfront hotels and Puerto Rico’s nightlife. Ocean Park sports one of the most popular urban beaches in San Juan offering water sports like kitesurfing and beach volleyball. 

What really makes Ocean Park ideal for young people is the lively Calle Loíza, which offers visitors a variety of bars, restaurants, and nightclubs. From this central area, you can easily reach Condado, Old San Juan, and Isla Verde.

Pros of Staying in Ocean Park:

  • Beach within walking distance
  • Close to Condado and Isla Verde’s main attractions
  • Close to lots of restaurants and bars

Con of Staying in Ocean Park:

  • Limited parking
  • Need a ride to get to Old San Juan’s landmarks

📚 Ocean Park Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for College Students and Young Professionals
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsTrópica Beach Hotel Dream Inn PRNumero Uno Beach House
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – La Coffeetera ($$), Kasalta ($$), Berlingeri ($$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Piso Viejo Bar & Restaurant, Pa’l West
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Ocean Park beach, Calle Loiza

Isla Verde

View of the author sitting on the sand by the beach in Isla Verde

👉 Best Area For Honeymooners | ✨ Best Isla Verde Hotels: Hampton Inn & SuitesEmbassy Suites by HiltonTRYP by Windham

The line between San Juan and Carolina is quite blurry and that’s why it’s hard to define which city Isla Verde belongs to. But, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s a great location if you’re looking where to stay in San Juan. Isla Verde sports some of the best hotels in San Juan along with beautiful beaches to enjoy the heat of a Caribbean island. 

Couples and honeymooners can enjoy their stay in a romantic hotel, stroll down Isla Verde Beach, eat in a fine dining restaurant or dance the night away in one of the neighborhood’s multiple nightclubs.

👉Are you a beach lover? Check out my guide to the 19 Best Beaches in Puerto Rico! Isla Verde Beach is one of the excellent finds on that list!

Pros of Staying in Isla Verde:

  • Great for enjoying Puerto Rico’s nightlife
  • Close to the beach and airport
  • Lots of restaurants and attractions

Con of Staying in Isla Verde:

  • Gets crowded
  • Hotels can be pricey

📚 Isla Verde Mini Guide 📚
Best Area to Stay for Honeymooners
Google Map

  • ✨ Best HotelsHampton Inn & SuitesEmbassy Suites by HiltonTRYP by Windham
  • 🍽️ Where to Eat – Bistro Café ($$), Hotties Bar and Restaurant ($$S), Entrevinos ($$$)
  • 🍸 Where to Drink – Alambique Beach Lounge, EL Daiquiri Lounge
  • 🎟️ Top Attractions – Isla Verde Beach, Piñones

Tips for Staying in San Juan, Puerto Rico

View of an entrance to Hotel El Convento

Travel Off-Season

A visit to San Juan can easily stretch a thin travel budget, especially when it comes to hotels and restaurants. Many tourists tend to visit the island during winter or summer. Instead, if possible, you should try to travel between August and early November to find cheaper hotel prices.

Eat in Chinchorros

It’s probably tempting to go to restaurants or chain restaurants you already know. But, as a Puerto Rican, I recommend eating at small food kiosks called chinchorros. Even if they don’t always look like it, they actually offer the best local food in San Juan. Piñones right next to Isla Verde beach sports a lot of them.

Don’t Go Mindlessly into La Perla

After the music video Despacito, the community La Perla became famous and a lot of tourists visit it out of curiosity without knowing about the area. If you choose to visit, I would recommend asking for a local guide to go with you and visit only during the day. Be respectful of locals and don’t go around recording people please!

Rent a Car

Public transportation isn’t practical in Puerto Rico and taking taxis can quickly consume your budget. That’s why travelers should consider renting a car to move comfortably within Old San Juan and to visit other cities of Puerto Rico. You can use Discover Cars to rent a car for the best price.  

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions About San Juan

What is the best area to stay in San Juan?

The best areas to stay in San Juan, Puerto Rico include Old San Juan for sightseeing; Condado, Ocean Park, and Isla Verde are the best areas to stay for beach bumming and familiar fun while Miramar sports the best hotels for business travelers.

Where should you not stay in Puerto Rico?

Puerto Rico visitors should avoid staying at any caserio, which is free public housing for locals in Puerto Rico. These are NOT tourist-friendly areas even if you find them listed on a vacation rental site. Beach lovers should also avoid the central area of Puerto Rico as it’s far from the beaches.

What area should I stay in Puerto Rico?

Good areas to stay in Puerto Rico include Old San Juan, Condado, Miramar, and Ponce for sightseeing. Travelers looking for the best beaches and outdoor activities can stay in Río Grande, Fajardo, Humacao, Cabo Rojo, Rincón and Aguadilla.

***

That’s it for the complete guide on where to stay in San Juan. I hope this helps pick the perfect place for you!

If you still have any questions feel free to drop them in the comment section.

Just know that if you stay in San Juan, you don’t have to miss the beautiful destinations on the rest of the island! Make sure to check out my guide on the 15 Best Day Trips from San Juan, so you don’t miss a single experience in Puerto Rico!

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