San Juan is the capital of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It is the largest city on the island, with a population of 415,000 according to the 1990 census. The patron saint of the city of San Juan is San Juan Bautista, St John the Baptist The patron saint for San Juan is "San Juan Bautista", celebrated on June 24 each year.
San Juan's recent history dates back 500 years. It was founded in 1521 by Spanish settlers, to become one of the oldest cities in the New World. The city limits have been redefined several times throughout its history. Currently, San Juan consists of several sections which include Old San Juan, Santurce and Rio Piedras.
At the heart of the San Juan Metropolitan Area's highway system is State Road 22 which begins in the intersection with State Road 26, Baldorioty de Castro Avenue in Santurce, and runs westward towards Mayaguez in the western end of the island. State Road 18, which later becomes State Road 52, begins at the intersection with State Road 22, at Plaza Las Americas Shopping Center, and continues southward towards Ponce. Points east of San Juan are reached by following State Road 26 from Old San Juan into State Road 3 outside the city of Carolina and from there, on State Road 3, into Humacao at the eastern end of the island.
Old San Juan borders the San Juan Bay, said to be the busiest ocean port terminal in the Caribbean. Cruise ships bring thousands of visitors weekly to its shores while cargo ships load and unload their wares in nearby Puerto Nuevo. Old San Juan's narrow, brick-lined streets lead to some of the oldest structures in the New World: La Princesa, a jail in Spanish times, now headquarters of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company; La Fortaleza, which dates back to 1540, is the oldest governor's mansion in the New World; Fuerte San Felipe del Morro, commonly known simply as El Morro, is a majestic Spanish fort with numerous secret tunnels and dungeons. Numerous sixteenth and seventeenth century buildings house important museums and churches.
Old San Juan. is no longer the center of the wholesale and retail trade in the Metropolitan Area. Much of the commercial activity has moved to locations with better traffic access. Even so, there is considerable retail activity along the main streets in Old San Juan: Fortaleza and San Francisco streets. Artisan shops and jewelry stores line these streets, mostly for the benefit of the intense tourist traffic.
Santurce, the second major San Juan section, is itself divided into several important subsections. Isla Verde begins in San Juan and ends in the nearby city of Carolina, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. On its shores are located many of the tourist hotels in the Area. The San Juan side of Isla Verde ends at Ashford Avenue, the main artery of the Condado section, where most other tourist hotels are located. The Condado-Isla Verde area features many of the favorite casinos, restaurants and night clubs in the area.
the third major section of San Juan, houses the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico (image at left). Rio Piedras is divided into numerous housing developments, urbanizaciones, going from modest to public housing to some of the most expensive projects on the island. the third major section, houses the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico. Rio Piedras is divided into numerous housing developments, urbanizaciones, going from modest to public housing to some of the most expensive projects on the island.
Hato Rey, a subsection of Rio Piedras, is at the center of the Metropolitan Area. It is known for La Milla de Oro or Golden Mile, hub of the island's financial activity (image at right). Plaza Las Americas Shopping Center, minutes away from the Golden Mile, boasts the largest shopping center in the Caribbean.
Nightlife The Greater San Juan Metropolitan Area features many interesting
activities for the night crowd. Night life includes restaurants,
pubs, theaters, dance halls.
Popular local hotspots include Coaches, Hooligan's, 80's Cafe, Shannon's Pub.
Most of the larger hotels and resorts feature pubs, artistic shows and other night
entertainment. The free tourist guides available at most tourist
stops are usually a good source of to-the-minute information on