Puerto Rico is a sprawling palette of color, culture, and history that is displayed in the island’s rich and diverse artwork. From urban and contemporary to classical and folk art, there’s no end to the inspiration. So where does one begin when embarking on the art walk of the century? At Serafina Beach Hotel – your luxurious gateway to unforgettable experiences.
Creating your own self-guided tour is like being the curator of experiences beyond your wildest imagination. To start your journey off right, we’ve put together the ultimate island art tour. A handy bucket list is key when it comes to making the most of your time so you don’t miss a moment — or a mural!
Sip and Swim at Serafina
Before you hit the streets, enjoy the ambiance of the ocean from the comfort of our lounge, PiñaCo. The crisp, modern art deco style gives a nod to the laid back beach lifestyle with a glamorous twist. PiñaCo is a great place to relax if you’ve just arrived or simply need a moment to soak in the rich sensory feast.
Hand-crafted cocktails made by master-mixologists, including the Signature Piña Colada, offer a taste of the island spirit. Take in the view of the pool deck and the surrounding details while you plan your next move.
Street Art in Santurce
Santurce is the perfect starting point for a journey through Puerto Rican artwork. Around every corner, a pop of color and a stunning urban gallery of Caribbean art awaits. The sheer grandeur of Santurce’s street art is the reason why this must-visit San Juan neighborhood is at the top of our list.
Museo De Arte De Puerto Rico (Puerto Rico Art Museum) is one of the first installations for visitors to check out. The museum features rotating exhibits from famous Puerto Rican painters as well as a permanent collection of 16th Century artwork.
The district is best known for its evocative graffiti and murals, many of which capture the heart of Puerto Rican culture. Our favorites include the work of Moriviví, an all-female collective of street artists, who use bursts of bold, powerful color to depict feminine identity, Afro-Latina heritage, and pride.
Puerto Rican history and activism are seen throughout the wall art. One-piece features a jarring image of a beautiful landscape atop a skull. Below the image, a quote from 20th-century Puerto Rican poet Julia de Burgos cautions, “to allow yourself to be defeated by life is worse than to allow yourself to be defeated by death.”
If you’re lucky enough to be traveling during Santurce Es Ley or Los Muros Hablan, be sure to take in the festival atmosphere for a taste of local art, culture, and celebration.
Calle Cerra is one of three places to visit before leaving Santurce. In addition to sprawling street art, local galleries open their doors to a wealth of paintings, sculptures, and ceramics. The first Thursday of every month is typically held as “opening night” in Calle Cerra. Local restaurants, food trucks, and live music come together for an all-night party, no RVSP necessary!
Grab your selfie stick and head to the second place on our Santurce shortlist. Calle Loiza is the hip, trendy place to be in San Juan. This colorful area is an Instagrammer’s dream! Take a picture almost anywhere and you’re guaranteed the perfect backdrop of wall art alight with vibrant tones.
El Cuadrado Gris
This quirky destination is a little-known gem amid Puerto Rico’s bustling cityscape. Run by a local couple, El Cuadrado Gris is a historic home with a basement that has been converted into an art gallery. Edgy pieces and contemporary exhibits await at this popular nightlife stop. El Cuadrado Gris is always changing, so it’s worth a second visit even if you’ve dropped in before.
Old San Juan
Old San Juan is the perfect next stop on any essential art tour. The historic district takes visitors back in time with Puerto Rican folk art, tracing roots of Santurce’s national pride and artistry to many famous Caribbean painters. The district also has a wealth of contemporary pieces and impressive architecture on display.
The smaller galleries are often the most delightful! The off-the-beaten-path installation features rotating artwork with a strong folk inspiration, as well as live music, open mic nights, and traditional and contemporary dance.
Casa Cortes Chocobar
Chocolate and art lovers can rejoice at Casa Cortes Chocobar! This chocolate-inspired cafe and gallery host a variety of exhibits from the Cortes family’s private collection with a focus on Caribbean contemporary art. Currently, the gallery features the work of several noteworthy Haitian artists. Best of all, you can enjoy a cocktail and sample their artisan chocolate selection — foodie-approved!
Walter Otero Contemporary Art
As one of Puerto Rico’s most well-known art galleries, Walter Otero features the works of painters Angel Otero and Livia Ortiz Ríos, as well as photographer Andres Serrano. The modernist tour of San Juan art is a great way to end this leg of your journey. The gallery is by appointment only, so be sure to book your visit in advance.
The perfect end to a tour of the island’s art begins in Miramar.
Galería Petrus, or Petrus Gallery, is the main art museum in Puerto Rico. The impressive size of the gallery makes it a day trip in of itself – especially for those who want to spend some time exploring the different pieces. Petrus hosts everything from painting to sculptures to photography, much like San Juan’s version of the MET or the Louvre. The works of Antonio Martorell and Julio Suárez grace the corridors of this enchanting space. Petrus is truly the crown jewel of Puerto Rican artwork.
When you’re ready to begin your next adventure, check in with our friendly staff or visit our page for more things to do in San Juan!