Looking out over the stone fortress walls that once protected Old San Juan from ancient enemies, it's easy to imagine the silhouette of creaking ships under full sail at the horizon's edge. Cobbled streets and an age-old ambiance grace the historic part of this very urban city. Easily accessible from the chic shops are wide sandy stretches for the day and sophisticated clubs and restaurants for evening use.
Explore the big guns of Fuerte San Felipe Del Morro that once protected this headland from the British and Dutch. Today, it commands views only, though a tour of the grounds is a good introduction to Old San Juan. Visit the historic Iglesia de San Jos‚ and Catedral de San Juan, get an art fix at the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico and some history at Museo de Oller before retreating to the shops. Just wandering through the streets lined with Spanish colonial style architecture will give you a feel for the extent of European influence during the 15th and 16th centuries.
Just beside Old San Juan is the notoriously dangerous district known as La Perla, where the saying is, "if you go in, you don't come out". Steer clear and instead head for Playa Condado for a swim or rent kayaks and explore the smooth waters around San Juan. Waters here are not ideal for diving and snorkeling, so if your holiday escape is equated with time under the sea, head out with a local operator to better spots ? and there are many.
Old San Juan is a wonderful introduction to Puerto Rico, though with time to spare, leave the city and explore the rain forest, sun yourself on stunning beaches and learn to climb a coconut tree before heading home.
San Juan is located on Puerto Rico's northeast coast, about 45 minutes from Fajardo.