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San Juan Overview

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Founded In 1510, San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, spreads out along the northern coast and also inland. Its nucleus is Old San Juan, a seven square block walled area, sitting on a point of land between the Atlantic Ocean and San Juan Bay. Old San Juan is filled with history and culture, and is a living museum. It is preserved in all its natural grace and beauty, and at 500 years of age is far from being decrepit. Some of its narrow streets are paved with small blue-gray cobblestones which came to the port hundreds of years ago as ships' ballast.

San Juan is a place to park the car and walk. The terrain is hilly and the sidewalks steep, but walking is safer than driving under these conditions, and there is so much to see! There are many charming cafés at which to stop, rest and enjoy a cup of fine Puerto Rican coffee or a meal along the way.

The newer part of San Juan is a thoroughly modern, bustling city of a million people. A series of bridges link the inlet with the resort areas of Condado and Isla Verde as well as the residential communities of Santurce and the suburbs of Hato Rey and Rio Piedras.

Puerto Rico is a perfect family destination. The smallest children love the sandy beaches, the warm shallow seawater and the swimming pools constructed especially for them. Kite flying on the breezy days is a favorite pastime. There's no end to the activities available for older children, including boat rides, shell collecting, horseback riding, hiking, wind surfing, and snorkeling. The adults in the family will also enjoy exploring the underwater wonders of Puerto Rico. On land, they will have the opportunity to play on what are considered the best golf courses ion the Carribean. the best golf Most resort hotels offer programs of activities, and many have play directors and supervised daily fun for various age groups.

Music is a special source of Puerto Rican pride, and the bold Latin beat is best characterized by the music and dance form known as salsa, which shares not only its name with the Spanish word for "hot sauce" but also a zesty, hot flavor. This fusion of west African percussion, jazz (especially swing) and big band and other Latin beats produces mambo, merengue, flamenco, cha-cha, and rumba.

San Juan is home to ballet, fine drama, symphony orchestra performances. It is also the scene of many lively and colorful festivals, which can take place at any time due to the warm, sunny weather that is present year round. Government regulated casinos operate in the larger hotels, and provide enjoyment to many visitors. Most are open 20- 24 hours a day. Horse racing is another favorite sport on which to wager.

Puerto Ricans welcome visitors and are eager to show off their city. They are justifiably proud of its timeless beauty, its warmth and its zest for life.