Metropolitan San Juan includes the walled Old San Juan at the end of a long peninsula, Puerta de Tierra, the narrow bridge of land between San Juan Bay and the Atlantic Ocean that connects the Old City with the rest of San Juan. You can take a bridge into Condado, a narrow strip of land between the ocean and a lagoon, or continue on to the beautiful residential Miramar neighborhood, where the once seedy waterfront section is being revamped into the world-class Convention Center District and related leisure development. The city also includes Santurce, its traditional downtown area, which has also been experiencing a revitalization in recent years, with large theaters and old apartment buildings being polished up so that the sector is starting to shine again like it did in its 1940s heyday. The Hato Rey financial district has taken on an almost futuristic look with its elevated Tren Urbano and distinctive Puerto Rico Coliseum, which has something exciting going on just about every week. Río Piedras is both the site of the University of Puerto Rico and one of the best street markets in the Caribbean.
The Condado strip of beachfront hotels, restaurants, casinos, and nightclubs is separated from Miramar by a lagoon. Isla Verde, another resort area, is near the airport, which is separated from the rest of San Juan by an isthmus. Ocean Park is a charming residential neighborhood between the two that has a great beach.
Finding an Address -- Finding an address in San Juan isn't always easy. You'll have to contend not only with missing street signs and numbers but also with street addresses that appear sometimes in English and at other times in Spanish. The most common Spanish terms for thoroughfares are calle (street) and avenida (avenue). When it is used, the street number follows the street name; for example, the El Convento hotel is located at Calle del Cristo 100, in Old San Juan. Locating a building in Old San Juan is relatively easy. The area is only 7 square blocks, so by walking around, it's possible to locate most addresses. Also, sanjuaneros, for reasons I've yet to determine, still use the stop numbers, or paradas, from a trolley that stopped running back in the 1950s as a reference point for directions. For example, parada 18 is at the heart of Santurce. In general, the higher the stop number, the farther its distance from Old San Juan.
Street Maps -- ¡Qué Pasa!, the monthly tourist magazine distributed free by the tourist office, contains accurate, easy-to-read maps of San Juan and the Condado that pinpoint the major attractions.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.