Monday, March 07, 2011

Sunny San Juan















My friends and I are planning a trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico later in the year. I would greatly appreciate feedback from readers living in San Juan, or those who have frequented the island. All suggestions (or warnings, LOL) will be considered.

Here is what I've found out so far...

The island of Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States. Therefore, the currency is the US dollar and passports are not necessary for US citizens. The island continues to hold to its spanish heritage, but the english language is widely spoken, particularly in urban areas.

Attitudes toward gays are becoming more tolerant, but discretion is appreciated and expected.

Ocean Park has a gay-friendly beach, Condado Beach is THE beach and also has a visible gay scene with clubs, cafes and beach hideaways. The Santurce area is a nice district for gay activity as well.

It is recommended that one use metered cabs only and make sure the meter is turned on!

Ambiente.us is the LGBT publication for San Juan. They provided information on gay social life. Circo Bar has themed nites and is open Tuesday-Sunday. Club Lazer is open weekends, has 3 levels and is located in Old San Juan. Club Eros/Krash Club is open Wednesday-Sunday and located in Santurce. The common theme is strippers on Saturdays. There is also a sauna (bathhouse) called Steamworks in Old San Juan that is popular with locals and tourists.

Accomodations at Wind Chimes Inn are gay-friendly and many people like the San Juan Beach Hotel.
Any recommendations on affordable hotels close to gay activity or any tourist activities that are a must-do?

10 comments:

Eddie said...

I strongly recommend Luquillo Beach, Dorado Beach or Isla Verde over Condado Beach if you plan to rent a car. Condado however is the closest if you plan on staying at any of the hotels along Ashford Avenue in Condado. Beach side hotels are more expensive, of course. Do a Google Maps search of the beaches once you know where you're staying. If you do rent a car, I don't recommend staying in Condado as it is over priced and you can find better lodging for the same price. (consider looking at VRBO.com for rental homes...it's cheaper) If you want a jaw-dropping experience, El Yunque (the rainforest) will do it. Old San Juan is like a trip back in time.

Food: The fried foods (usually found @ roadside kiosks) are delicious but don't over do it. There's a lot of good fish and fresh fruit that should help you stay balanced. Old San Juan has lots of great places to eat.

Sorry we don't know each other or I'd have more time to make suggestions. I hope your experience on my island will leave you wanting more or at least reminiscing for years to come.

Have a wonderful time.

Anonymous said...

FYI: If you and your friends are looking to pick up guys in San Juan like in Santo Domingo, forget it. 99.9% of the guys looking to pick up gays are drug-ridden vermin and should be avoided like the plague. If you are looking for gay-on-gay action, you can find that easily enough in any of the clubs that you have researched and more. I should know, I live here!

T-D Moderator said...

Isn't the Bacardi Factory in San Juan? What other tourist activity is recommended?

Puerto Rico Tourism.COM said...

Hello From David Lee, one of my projects, even before the Sports Bar in Santo Domingo, was a tour company and tourism website for Puerto Rico, known as Puerto Rico Tourism.COM, we are a concierge information website, making recommendations on vacationing in Puerto Rico. Please feel free to visit my site at:
www.puerto-rico-tourism.com

There is a lot of info there, including hotels, places to eat, tours, etc. My former business partner, Margaret Brady also has a page on my website, Puerto Rico Tropical Tours and it is possible to arrange for groups on tours, including El Yunque Rainforest, Luquillo Beach, Bio Bay night kayak tour, Old San Juan & Barcardi Rum Facotry tour, the Camuy Cave and Arecibo Observatory tour and the souther city of Ponce full day tour. Also as mentioned the At Windchimes Inn is a very nice gay friendly inn in the Ocean Park/Condado area. I'm also planning a trip to Puerto Rico this summer, I'd love to assist anyone interested in visiting there. I can be contacted at puertoricotourism@live.com

Puerto Rico Tourism.COM
We are "MAKING CONNECTIONS IN PARADISE"

Have a blessed day,
David Lee

Anonymous said...

No, the Bacardi factory is not in San Juan. It is located in a town called Catano which is actually across San Juan Bay. There is a free monthly booklet published by the Board of Tourism called QUE PASA which you can find at any hotel front desk. It describes trips from San Juan to all parts of the island. Old San Juan is comparable to the Zona Colonial in Santo Domingo with its many churches, museums, clubs, and other places of interest as are the forts of El Morro and San Felipe. El Yunque rainforest, as a previous poster mentioned, is also a must to visit. Ponce is the 2nd largest city in PR and boasts a first class art museum as well as a colorful boardwalk called La Guancha and a mountaintop colonial palace called Castillo Serralles built by the original owners of Don Q rum among other things. The world's largest radar/telescope is in the town of Arecibo and is free to visit. Its main purpose is to contact intelligent life on other planets. I strongly suggest you get a recent copy of QUE PASA which also lists local festivals and other interesting activities for your enjoyment during your stay in Puerto Rico.

Anonymous said...

It has been a few years since I visited San Juan, but I used to go there often, and I always stayed at one of the several gay-friendly guest houses in the Ocean Park neighborhood. Numero Uno comes to mind, but there are others that you can find by Googling. Ocean Park is a quiet neighborhood within easy walking to the Condado, either along the streets or via the beach. And it's an easy cab ride or buss ride into the Old City. Calle Loiza is a main street with plenty of shops and restaurants, just two or three blocks back from the beach. The Ocean Park guest houses are very reasonably priced, comfortable, and gay-friendly.

The beach itself is much less hectic than Condado, but that doesn't mean it lacks for gorgeous creatures. And one of the best late-night/early morning cruising spots was at the beginning of the beach as you walk back from the Condado. At the end of Taft Street, you cross through a little park to get onto the beach and there, among the bushes, you'd encounter all sorts of things going on.

As I said, it has been several years since I have been in PR, and things tend to change, but I'd definitely explore guest house opportunities at Ocean Park over the Condado or the Old City.

I also agree with the other posters that you should hire a car for at least one day (or, as my late lover and I did many years ago, meet a nice college student who showed us "his" Puerto Rico) and go to El Yunque and Loquillo beach.

If you like to lay back with friends on occasion, there are (or at least, used to be) many very good restaurants along McCleary, Taft, and the other streets that stretch between Ocean Park and the Condado. And, of course, there is great food in the Old City. El Patio de Sam used to be one of my favorite hangouts (but it's not particularly a gay restaurant).

In the Old City, you will want to spend a day wondering amongst the shops, bars, and museums, as well as the forts. The historic buildings here are much more developed than in Santo Domingo. If you are a music fan - especially classical - the Pablo Casals museum is right across the square from El Patio de Sam. And there's also a beautiful butterfly museum in the Old City, but I forget exactly where.

Gay night life used to be fun at the Atlantic Beach Hotel area in the Condado. The hotel has a main-floor bar off the beach that is fun(and cruisy)during the afternoons, and there is (was?) a disco on the top floor. There is another bar across the dead-end street from the hotel, and a couple of others no more than a few blocks away.

Other posters are better equipped to talk about the night life in Santurce and other "barrios."

I hope this info is reasonably current and helpful, but as I mentioned, it may be out-dated by now. If so, please forgive, and other posters, plese feel free to correct or update any of the above.

Whatever, I feel confident that you will really enjoy your visit!

George A. said...

Further to my above posting about Ocean Park, here is a link that has within it some other links to guest houses.

http://gopuertorico.about.com/od/sanjuan/p/OceanPark_Guide.htm

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Anonymous said...

overpriced, drug infested and dangerous...forget about San Juan..........

Anonymous said...

Well, in that case, the whole world is following in those same footsteps....