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Introducing San Juan

Established in 1521, San Juan is the second-oldest European-founded settlement in the Americas and the oldest under US jurisdiction. Shoehorned onto a tiny islet that guards the entrance to San Juan harbor, the atmospheric old town juxtaposes historical authenticity with pulsating modern energy in a seven-square-block grid of streets that was inaugurated almost a century before the Mayflower laid anchor in present-day Massachusetts.

Beyond its timeworn 15ft-thick walls, San Juan is far more than a dizzying collection of well-polished colonial artifacts – it’s also a mosaic of ever-evolving neighborhoods. There’s seen-it-all Condado, where Cuba’s 24-hour gambling party got washed up in the early 1960s; tranquil Ocean Park with its gated villas and strategically located B&Bs; gritty Santurce, relaunched with art galleries after a two-decades-long depression; and swanky Isla Verde, awash with luxurious resort hotels and kitsch casinos.