In Part 1 of this series, I talked about our favorite places to stay and eat in Old San Juan. But there’s so much more to Old San Juan than restaurants and tourists. There’s plenty of fun to be had. And, if you add a little imagination (hey there, kids), it’s magic.
Here are our top recommendations:
1. Buy Yourself a Hat at Ole
Ole is the real deal: hats are made locally, not shipped in from China. The range of sizes is amazing, and they work with you, tinkering with the hat to ensure you get a perfect fit. Best of all? The hats were so comfortable, and blocked the sun so well that both of my boys rarely took them off the rest of the trip.
Besides, the people who work here are lovely. And so kind and patient with Pax, who insisted on picking out everything himself.
Pax’s hat being made
2. Wander Around Aimlessly (Day or Night)
Old San Juan is breathtakingly beautiful, so spend a day wandering around, get some ice cream, have a leisurely lunch (we sat outside to people watch – it was entertaining enough for two hot and tired boys to sit and relax a little) or – Raines’ favorite – do a little cat spotting. They’re everywhere.
3. Fly A Kite at El Morro
Idyllic doesn’t even begin to describe the seaside hills outside of Fort El Morro. You can bring your own kites, but there are kite vendors if you forget.
Warning: you’re basically stuck in a field with no shade, and it gets HOT. One would think the cool ocean breeze would help moderate temps, but, uh, she’d be wrong. (live and learn) Bring water.
4. Explore Fort San Cristobal
There are two forts in Old San Juan – El Morro (where we flew kites) and San Cristobal. Both are amazing. But if you only have time for one, this is our top choice. San Cristobal is younger than El Morro, yet larger. It was built to protect against land attacks and is seriously impressive (El Morro was built to defend against sea-based attacks).
We’re talking narrow passageways, stunning views, tunnels (or what feel like tunnels) and a few cannon. It’s basically a massive stage for an epic game of pretend.