Looking to explore a vibrant and sunny destination that has a fascinating cultural heart this winter?
Then San Juan could be the perfect spot for you.
The capital and largest city of Puerto Rico is a melting pot of cultures and has just been chosen as the Ibero-American Capital of Culture 2024.
This award is given to a different Latin American city every year. San Juan was chosen for its music, artisans, gastronomy, beaches, and its people.
Here’s why winter is the perfect time to visit San Juan, the Latin American capital of culture:
Music and Art
San Juan is a city that is known for its street art.
This ranges from huge murals to sculptures, and each celebrates the artistic traditions of the island. If you’re looking for something a little more highbrow, then Puerto Rico’s museums are world-renowned.
The Museum of Art of Puerto Rico is considered the best of these and boasts a whopping 18 exhibition halls, while the Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art is one of the most important cultural destinations in the city.
On February 24-25 the annual Bobapalooza Music and Arts festival takes place in the city. This is a renowned event that is considered the ultimate celebration of music, art and culture in San Juan.
If you want to really immerse yourself in the music and art of San Juan then this makes winter a great time to visit.
San Juan boasts an abundance of beautiful white and golden sand beaches with clear turquoise waters that are perfect for swimming in.
Everyone has their own opinion about which is the best beach in the Greater San Juan area, but two that frequently top the best beach lists are Ocean Park Beach, which has an incredible mile-long stretch of fine golden sand, and Balneario El Escambron, which is known for its excellent snorkeling and swimming.
What’s more, the temperatures in winter are perfect for exploring them. Daily temperature highs in January and February are 27°C (80 F) and the weather is warm and sunny.
This means that San Juan is an ideal place to combine the culture of a city break with the relaxation of a beach vacation.
Eating in San Juan is a gastronomic delight. The vibrancy of the Puerto Rican people and their culture is reflected in the food they serve.
Some of the most famous dishes in the country include mofongo, tostones, tembleque, and coquito.
If you only try one traditional Puerto Rican dish then make it mofongo which is said to be the best and most famous recipe to come out of the country.
As an added bonus food is incredibly affordable in San Juan too. You should expect to pay between $5-$10 for street food or a dish in a casual restaurant. If you prefer fine dining, then you will only pay around $40 per person for a dish in a 4 or 5-star restaurant.
If you’re on a really tight budget then the fresh fruits, breads, and street foods from the farmers markets in San Juan are locally sourced and delicious.
San Juan is the oldest European-founded city in the Americas, so you’ll find fascinating architecture and a rich historical backdrop at every turn.
One of the best ways to appreciate this is to explore historic Old Town San Juan on foot. The cobbled streets and colorful buildings are fascinating. You can also explore the old city walls and fortresses.
From here head down to the San Juan National Historical Site. This is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is a dominating fortress that was constructed to defend the San Juan coastline during the 17th and 18th centuries.
You’ll also find a host of fascinating local museums in San Juan. The Museo de las Americas is best known for its cultural and historical exhibitions with the temporary exhibits changing regularly.
Smaller but equally as interesting is the Museo del Cafe de Puerto Rico museum which is dedicated to the island’s rich coffee history.
Warm and Welcoming People
The people of San Juan were listed as one of the reasons the city was chosen as the Latin American Capital of Culture this year and it’s easy to see why.
Puerto Rican people are warm and welcoming and no doubt helped by the huge numbers of tourists that pass through it each year San Juan is especially tourist-friendly.
You’ll find that in general the locals are helpful and joyful. Puerto Rican people talk expressively, using their hands and you’re likely to be greeted as you pass through the streets whether you know people or not.
A good percentage of Puerto Ricans in San Juan speak English too which is good news if you prefer to communicate in your native tongue.
San Juan is considered the most popular tourist destination in Puerto Rico and you will be just as safe here as in any city on the United States mainland.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com
Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.