A Visit to the Charming, Colonial City of San Juan

Puerto Rico is an island of rich culture and there is no better place to start exploring this patchwork of Caribbean Colonial history than the old town of the capital city, San Juan.

(source: Flickr)

San Juan’s old town has cobblestoned streets that are seeped with beautiful and colourful colonial architecture; the best way to explore is on foot. This part of the city was first established in the 16th century - it was a walled city and much of the original wall remains.

(source: Wikimedia Commons)

You can pay a visit to the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, a 16th century Citadel that is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was originally built to guard the entrance to San Juan Bay. It is a great example of military history and you can explore various parts including the dungeons, the storerooms and the barracks. It can be a bit of a walk to get there with plenty of steps and steep slopes to negotiate but it is well worth the effort. It is perched on the side of the cliff facing out to sea, so bring a picnic, sit back and admire the breathtaking views. Entry is £4 ($5 USD).

(source: Flickr)

You can also wander around the Catedral de San Juan Bautista, a Roman Catholic cathedral and the second oldest cathedral in the Americas. Built in the 16th century, it is a striking example of neoclassical design.

(source: Wikimedia Commons)

La Fortaleza, the residence of the governor of Puerto Rico, is a bright, colourful mansion house surrounded by palm trees that sits on the side of the cliff overlooking the sea and is a dominant structure, with the rest of the old town and historical buildings gathered in the background.

(source: Wikimedia Commons)

Even if history and architecture are not of great interest, the old town of San Juan has plenty of entertainment to offer. The narrow and winding streets are lined with multicoloured buildings that house a plethora of interesting shops selling souvenirs, gifts, trinkets and clothes. There are plenty of bars and open air restaurants with tables spilling out onto the streets, providing the perfect place to kick back with an ice cold beer and rest weary legs after a hard day exploring in the warm Caribbean sunshine.

Health in Puerto Rico

All travellers to Puerto Rico should ensure that their Hepatitis A vaccination is up to date. This disease can be contracted via contaminated food and water. It is best to receive the vaccination at least 10 days before travel to ensure full effectiveness.  Take added precautions by avoiding cold and uncooked foods that could potentially harvest bacteria. Avoid ice in drinks unless you can guarantee that the water is fully sterilised and make sure you only drink bottled or sterilised water at all times.  

For anyone visiting for long stays or doing adventurous activities, it might be worth considering extra vaccinations including Tetanus, Diphtheria and courses of Hepatitis B and Rabies. These courses can take a full month to complete so be sure to plan your trip early so you can ensure that you are fully protected.

Puerto Rico has a low/no risk of Malaria, so malaria tablets are not recommended. However, they are prone to outbreaks of other mosquito-borne diseases such as Dengue Fever and Zika Virus. As there are no vaccinations available to prevent these diseases, it is essential to use a DEET-based mosquito repellent at all times.  Wearing long loose clothing can also prevent mosquito bites.

Contact us now to book in for your vaccinations with one of our specialist nurses.  We also sell mosquito repellent and nets in all of our branches, so check out our opening hours and drop by to pick up what you need!

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