It’s the way to roll in Puerto Rico, a popular destination for New Yorkers since it’s a quick, easy and cheap getaway.
During my recent three days in Old San Juan, time was deliberately divided between getting lazy (hammock, pool, sangria) and getting busy exploring (forts; La Muralla), the famed city wall; and iconic blue cobblestone (adoquines) streets.
Here are five more fun discoveries from a first-time visitor.
It’s wheel-y bike-friendly
This area is laced with bicycle paths. Paseo Puerta de Tierra, completed in October, is a new one. It made the mile-long trek from my hotel into the city center go by in a flash — with fab views of the green-blue Atlantic, Woman’s Tongue Trees (seriously) and majestic monuments. Prefer to walk? A promenade runs alongside the bike lane, which stretches from Old San Juan to Condado, east of the historic district. Either way, slather sunscreen.
These walls can talk
An arresting 450-feet-long mosaic mural honors Felisa Rincon de Gautier, mayor of San Juan from 1946 to 1969. A believer in the “politics of love,” she died at age 97 in 1994.
History lives, even in a tomb
Juan Ponce de Leon, Spanish explorer and Puerto Rico’s first governor, supposedly searched for the Fountain of Youth. That’s a myth. But you’ll find his tomb in the 477-year-old Cathedral of San Juan Bautista.
Every plaza tells a story
Plaza Colon, a main square at the entrance of Old San Juan, buzzes nonstop with tourists and energy. A statue of Christopher Columbus here rises high and keeps a constant lookout. Plaza de Armas, near San Juan City Hall, has a colorful history. In 1988, citizens fumed when trees here were all cut down. Three decades later, trees are back and the square is a low-key, shady spot for cafe con leche and a powder-dusted pastry.