From North America’s only rain forest to the enchanting wonders of a bioluminescent bay, there’s no lack of adventure in Puerto Rico. What’s the perfect followup to a thrilling island excursion? An experience of a different kind: visiting the luxury district of Condado. A day trip to this exclusive community within San Juan is sure to be an unforgettable addition to any visit to the island!
To help you plan your visit, we created a pocket travel guide on all things Condado. With Serafina Beach Hotel’s deep dive into the district, you’ll have all the info you need to plan the perfect mini-tour. Everything from Condado’s beaches and surfing, to where to eat and drink, awaits intrepid travelers!
Be a Sun Worshipper
Imagine gorgeous sunsets over the ocean and hotels on the beach. Condado, PR has all the views you’ve seen on the postcards – and more! Along with unreal sunsets, Condado Beach also has a hip, lively Miami vibe and some of the best beach bars in San Juan. Eclectic, shore shack diners line the coast while high rise city life frames the sunny shores.
Condado Beach is one also of the most tourist-friendly beaches in Puerto Rico and highly LGBTQ+ friendly as well. The beach is a favorite among young couples and solo travelers – perfect those who love a little relaxation alongside killer nightlife.
There’s also a thriving water sports culture, from kayaking to stand-up paddleboarding to surfing. If your style is more mindful over adventurous, beachside yoga is a great way to restore your spirit and rejuvenate your soul.
Best of all, Condado Beach is free and open to visitors from dawn to dusk. Sun worshipping essentials are available for rent, including loungers and umbrellas.
Shop Till You Drop
In Condado, European icons find their home in the Caribbean fashion scene. Neighborhood storefronts boast the likes of Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and Ferragamo. We weren’t kidding when we said the district was a luxury experience unparalleled on the island!
The shopping tour begins at Avenida Ashford: the ritzy central strip of Condado which runs from Puerta de Tierra to Ocean Park, just behind the beach. The street is known as the “Puerto Rican Fifth Avenue” and has everything from outlet stores for designer brands to small, local boutiques that embody the island’s spirit of laid back style.
Highlights of Avenida Ashford include Hecho a Mano, a local designer that sells handmade clothes and accessories using organic, eco-conscious materials. For high-end fashion, check out David Antonio’s collection as well as Mademoiselle. Fashionistas beware – it’s hard not to blow your souvenir budget with so many great styles!
Once you do hit your shopping quota, unwind with a relaxing stroll along Avenida. The street is the perfect locale for amateur street photography and observing the runway ready culture of San Juan’s ritziest neighborhood. Stay until dark to enjoy live music and bustling nightlife. Sophisticated bistros abound offering fresh Puerto Rican cuisine and amazing cocktails.
EEscape to Condado Lagoon
Nestled between Condado Beach and San Juan, is the scenic Condado Lagoon. This picturesque strip of crystal clear Atlantic Ocean waters offers the perfect escape from the excitement of the city.
Kayaking is a popular past time along the calm waters of the lagoon. If you’re feeling adventurous and romantic, a nighttime kayak tour is the best way to view the waters. Other activities include bird watching, hiking and jogging along the coast, paddleboarding, cycling, and plenty of sunbathing. For those craving an adrenaline rush, there are even a few prime cliff diving locations.
Condado Lagoon is also home to a variety of wildlife including exotic sea urchins, corals, turtles, and birds. Especially lucky guests may even find themselves in a close encounter with a manatee!
Where to Dine in Condado
If all of that shopping and sunbathing has left you in need of sustenance, look no farther than Condado’s booming dining scene. For those who want a little mealtime entertainment, Condado boasts some of the best casinos in the Greater San Juan area. Many of these establishments are open late for all the night owls who enjoy partying until sunrise. The best nightlife spots in Condado include Eternal, a VIP hang out at the lounge of the Conrad Condado Plaza, and Kali, an exotic themed lounge that starts the party at 2 a.m.
Of course, there are plenty of chic restaurants during the daytime as well. Santaella is one of the most exquisite, 5-star establishments you’ll find on the island. The restaurant’s atmosphere gives off the air of a well-kept secret while remaining just as inviting as it is exclusive. For visitors on a foodie tour of the Caribbean, Santaella is a must-eat location. The contemporary Puerto Rican cuisine adds a creative twist to old favorites and boasts an impressive tapas menu.
Other mouth-watering dining options include Pikayo at the Plaza Hotel and brunch at Blonda. For dessert, don’t forget to try the iconic Señor Paleta. Found throughout San Juan, the island staple has an impressive array of fruit pops made from fresh, local produce. These delicious, dairy-free treats are a refreshing pick me up during hot days at the beach. Popular pops include the “Elvis,” a rich peanut butter banana indulgence, and the “Fruty,” a sweet blend of strawberry, banana, and honey.
The Spa Life
Don’t leave Condado without treating yourself to a spa day. The Spa at Condado Vanderbilt is a must for a day of pampering. Get ready to relax those sore muscles and treat those travel-weary eyes with world-class facials and massages.
Looking for more amazing experiences? Check out all that San Juan has to offer courtesy of your personal travel guides at Serafina!