Dangers & Annoyances
Safety-wise, San Juan is comparable with any big city in mainland US. Though you’ll hear stories of muggings and thefts, the worst most visitors will face is tripping up over an uneven sidewalk. Take all the usual precautions and you’ll minimize any risk of trouble.
Never leave your belongings unguarded on the beach, don’t leave your car unlocked and don’t wander around after dark in deserted inner-city areas or on unpoliced beaches. Also hold off from wearing flashy jewelry or watches. Areas to avoid at night include Puerta de Tierra, parts of Santurce (especially around Calle Loíza) and the Plaza del Mercado in Río Piedras.
Old San Juan is relatively safe and well policed. However, the enclave of La Perla just outside the north wall is known for its drug-related crimes and can be unsafe at any time.
Emergency & Important Numbers
In any kind of emergency, call 911.
Almost all lodgings have wi-fi, though many in common areas only. A number of plazas in Old San Juan have free hot spots.
ATMs are found everywhere, most associated with full-service banks.
Banco Popular is the most, well, popular bank in town. Full-service locations and ATMs are found in most neighborhoods, including Condado, Santurce, Ocean Park and Isla Verde.
National Park Service Oversees the San Juan National Historic Site, which includes the stunning El Morro and San Cristóbal forts.
Programa de Parques Nacionales de Puerto Rico Provides information about the island's national parks, including overnight stays in cabins and at campgrounds.
Travel with Children
Puerto Rico is a family-friendly destination and children are very much a part of daily life across San Juan. You'll see children at all manner of restaurants and events and no doubt running around plazas late into the evening. Sidewalks are typically in decent condition and wide enough for strollers (though baby-changing facilities are few and far between).
Most resorts have children's clubs or programs; only a few boutique properties have age restrictions. Large swaths of the beaches are reef-protected so waves are gentle. Playa Ocean Park and Playa Isla Verde are particular favorites for local families.
In and around San Juan there are several attractions that children really enjoy. The Museo del Niño de Carolina is always a big hit, as is Parque de las Ciencias in Bayamón. If your kiddos like bugs (which ones don't?), hit up the Museo de Entomología y Biodiversidad Tropical to check out some doozies. Afterwards, let them run wild – the kids, not the bugs – in the University Botanic Gardens outside.
Two must-visit sights are El Morro and San Cristóbal in Old San Juan. What could be better than huge fortresses complete with tales of gold, plunder and pirates? Kids can explore the walls and tunnels for hours.
In season, a winter league baseball game at Hiram Bithorn Stadium is classic family fun.
In San Juan, opening hours remain generally the same throughout the year. During the low season, however, hours in Old San Juan's restaurants and shops are often shorter.
Banks 8am–4pm Monday to Friday
Restaurants 8am–3pm and 5-10pm
Coffee shops 7am–6pm
Clubs 9pm–4am Wednesday to Sunday