A local’s guide to San Juan, Puerto Rico
- By Jhoni Jackson
- Photos by Dennis Rivera Pichardo
Picture-perfect beaches are a major draw, and rightfully so. But Puerto Rico is rich in tradition, too — molded by Spanish, African and indigenous Taíno cultures over hundreds of years. In the capital city of San Juan, alongside the heritage, from bomba and plena rhythms and comida criolla — typical Puerto Rican food — you’ll also find innovation. It’s a delicate effort, balancing or blending the new with the storied, and supporting local businesses, whether just-opened or established.
In the wake of Hurricane Maria, the people of Puerto Rico are bonded more than ever, and their pride shows. You’ll get the most from your trip not just by visiting shops and restaurants, but also by listening to anyone who’s willing to share their stories. San Juan’s future and its history are inseparable, because the people make it so.
Meet Jhoni Jackson
Jhoni, an Atlanta native of Cuban descent, relocated to Puerto Rico in 2012. She first experienced Puerto Rico with her abuelos during her preteen years. Through the friends and community she’s found, San Juan has become an unexpected but fulfilling home.
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Explore more of San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Don’t bring up statehood — at least, not with your opinion at the forefront. If you want to learn what Puerto Ricans think about the island’s status, ask them and listen.
- Puerto Rican culture is varied, and it is not defined by San Juan. Talk to locals, particularly those who hail from elsewhere on the island, for diverse perspectives.
- Not everyone speaks English. Yes, many Puerto Ricans do, but if you encounter someone who doesn’t, don’t get frustrated. Look for a generous bystander for help in interpreting or, even better, prepare by learning common Spanish phrases.