San Juan is the capital of Puerto Rico and its epicenter for culture and entertainment.
As the most densely populated municipality and city, San Juan caters to all styles and budgets.
San Juan is known for its history, entertainment, and top-notch resorts. Having lived in Puerto Rico for 22 years, I’ve learned all of the best places to stay in San Juan.
In this article, I will cover the 10 best areas and places to stay in San Juan:
Old San Juan offers one thing not many places can; 500 years of history at your doorstep!
Old San Juan is unforgettable, from cobbled-stone streets, forts, and 16th-century landmarks to upscale restaurants, speakeasies, beaches, museums, and almost anything in between.
Lush greenery and colorful apartments are just a small part of Old San Juan’s charm. Eat, drink, see, and experience it all by staying in this historic center.
Here’s a short video of Old San Juan:
If you want to go all out on your trip, Hotel El Convento, the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel, and the boutique hotel La Terraza de San Juan are excellent options. If you’re on a budget, look at the area’s top-notch Airbnb listings.
Read more about the area in our guide to Old San Juan – All You Need To Know.
Condado is a modern, stylish neighborhood known for its luxurious resorts, restaurants, and shops. Elegance and fun mingle in this beautiful beach barrio of San Juan.
In Condado, you won’t have to walk far to find a body of water to jump into or a restaurant to explore.
Playita del Condado Beach and the Condado Lagoon are popular kayaking, paddle boarding, and sunbathing spots.
Here’s a short video of Condado:
La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort is the most emblematic place you can stay in Condado, followed by Caribe Hilton Hotel and Condado Vanderbilt Hotel. If you’re looking for something more low-key, The Wave Hotel, The Tryst Beachfront Hotel, and The Ivy Hotel are lively boutique hotels that’ll keep you close to all the fun- without breaking the bank.
Learn more about the area in our article Condado – All You Need To Know.
Santurce is the fine arts district of San Juan.
It is home to three popular museums: the fine arts theater, Centro de Bellas Artes, the national art museum, Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico, and the contemporary art museum, Museo de Arte Contemporáneo.
The urban streets of Santurce encapsulate the history of the neighborhood, where tradition meets youthful reinvention. When walking in Santurce, keep an eye out for the murals and statues around you.
Below is a video of tourists exploring Santurce:
Santurce is known for its hostels, making it a perfect nesting place for backpackers and those on a tight budget. If this is your style, Santurcia Hostel is a superb choice. Duna by DW is the way to go for something artsy and elegant.
Pro tip: for an incredible culinary experience, head down to Calle Loíza!
Read all about the area in our article Santurce – All You Need To Know.
As the name hints, Ocean Park is the ultimate (up-scale) beach zone.
Ocean Park is the perfect place to spend your trip wearing only bathing suits and sandals.
Ocean Park offers all you can want from a beach day: sandy beaches to sunbathe, waves and winds to surf, and beach volleyball and tennis courts to seize the day.
Below is a short video of Ocean Park:
Miramar is a small but culturally impactful subdistrict of Santurce.
Architecture, culture, culinary masterpieces, and creativity flow and fill every inch of this youthful zone.
Once here, explore Calle Cerra for the new culinary hotspots, and go to Museo de Arte y Diseño de Miramar (MADMi) to examine 20th-century Puerto Rican architecture.
Here’s a video showing you the best of Calle Cerra in Miramar:
Hotel Miramar, Ciqala Luxury Suites, and Courtyard by Marriott San Juan are elegant hotels ideally situated in the heart of Miramar. Aloft San Juan is located on the outskirts of Miramar, right in Distrito T-Mobile.
Isla Grande is another popular subdistrict of Santurce that features an elegant marina and fabulous hotels.
But, its top allure is Distrito T-Mobile, the island’s newest entertainment hub- and the place to go for an unforgettable time.
Isla Grande offers comfort and fun that’s close enough to all the entertainment with the appeal of a more leisurely feel.
Here’s a short video of Isla Grande:
Read more in our article T-Mobile District – All You Need To Know.
Hato Rey is the commercial center of San Juan.
The biggest shopping mall, cinema, sports parks, promenade parks, boutiques, restaurants, and bars mingle and thrive in Hato Rey.
Skyscrapers, greenery, and boutiques line Hato Rey’s streets.
Here’s a video showing Hato Rey’s Banking District (La Milla de Oro):
Since Hato Rey is mainly a financial district, there are no nearby hotels. Yet, there are some lovely Airbnb available.
Isla Verde houses the Luis Muñoz Marin International Airport, making it the first stop on your trip to the island. Isla Verde is a surfer, skater, and beach bum heaven.
Isla Verde features three of the most popular beaches on the island: Hobie Beach, Balneario de Carolina, and Pine Grove Surfing Beach.
Below is a short video of Isla Verde:
For a top-rate experience book the Fairmont El San Juan Hotel or The Royal Sonesta San Juan. TRYP by Wyndham Isla Verde and Courtyard by Marriott Isla Verde Beach Resort are more budget-friendly options.
Note: Although in Carolina, Isla Verde borders Santurce virtually blurring the lines between San Juan and Carolina.
Read more about this area in our guide Isla Verde – All You Need To Know.
Loíza is the island’s secret beachy gem.
Known for its deep African roots, Loíza is home to most Afro-Puerto Ricans on the island and, with that, a culinary and cultural fusion that’ll have you in awe and saying yum.
Loíza is famous for Piñones, a beachfront area with kiosks serving locally acclaimed fritters: alcapurria, bacalaíto, pionono, and more.
Here’s a short video of Loíza:
Aquatika is the best beach house apartment rental in Loíza. It is a great place for a big party to unwind.
Note: Loíza isn’t located in San Juan, but it’s an excellent option only 30 minutes away!
Check out our guide to Puerto Rico’s Best Street Foods to prepare for your trip to this area.
Cupey is a suburban residential zone in San Juan filled with wholesome fun, beauty, and charm.
Cupey has recently gone up the ranks as an entertainment center with its trendy new venue, Downtown Cupey. Cupey Bowling & Entertainment Center is also a great family-friendly spot to visit.
Below is a short video of Cupey:
Although there aren’t any hotels in Cupey, since most hotels are located in northern San Juan near the beach, you can find some good rental options on Airbnb.
Northern San Juan is the best place to stay when visiting the island. Old San Juan, Condado, Miramar in Santurce, and Isla Grande offer the most options with the best views and locations.
Old San Juan, Miramar, Isla Grande, and Condado are the safest places to stay at in San Juan. These areas are densely populated and heavily surveilled.
Due to its Spanish Influence, location, and history, Old San Juan is the most unique place to stay in San Juan. There's nothing like 500 years of history to generate a beautiful, complex, and diverse area- and a memorable experience.
San Juan has many places to stay for travelers.
If you want to experience the historical side of the city, then you should stay in Old San Juan.
If you want to stay somewhere more modern and on the beach, then I recommend that you stay in Condado.
You may also be interested in our article 40 Best Things To Do In San Juan.
Writer at PuertoRico.com. I was born and raised in Bayamón, Puerto Rico. I know all the ins and outs of the island. For 22 years, I’ve tasted, seen, experienced, and explored most of Puerto Rico’s gems. I still have many road trips planned for all of the things that I’ve yet to experience in Puerto Rico.