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Tuesday, March 1, 2016

Visiting Condado, Puerto Rico

Because the main reason of our visit was to celebrate the Hill's wedding in Old San Juan, we took their advice in looking for lodging in the beautiful area of Condado Area.  Everyone seemed to be staying in this trendy section of San Juan.  This post is all about places to stay, where to eat, and what to do in the Condado section of Puerto Rico, with the help of Jillian Hill with her exquisite taste, and our shared love of good food.  She has visited the island many times, and put a lot of work in organizing  all of the restaurants and hotels in this post. 

Quick facts:
Eastern part of Old San Juan
Can be expensive
Very safe
Beautiful span of beaches
Adjacent to the lagoon
Right next to Old San Juan
Close to the airport (15 minutes, 9km, $19 cab ride)

What makes Condado so great is its proximity to everything.  A quick cab right to the airport, bike ride to Old San Juan, a few steps to the ocean or lagoon, and many restaurants, bars and shops right in the center.   

The condo we rented overlooked the lagoon and was right off the main strip of hotels and restaurants in Condado.  While it is all very beautiful, from the restaurants to the stores, everything is very overpriced.  But with that being said, Condado had lodging for every lifestyle and budget.  

- - - Lodging - - -
Renting a condo/apartment ($) 
Let me start by saying, if you are going to visit Puerto Rico and want to keep the costs down, an AirBnB/HomeAway/any form of condo or apartment rental in the Condado area is the way to go.  First, having an apartment means you have a kitchen, and do not have to rely on eating every meal out.  In fact, we ate breakfast and lunch in the condo every single day.  Full size fridge and freezer to store groceries, a stove sink and microwave and we were good to go.  Other benefits were:
  • The condo found came with 2 bikes and a paddle board; both activities that can cost 20$+ per hour that were free.
  • The owner gave us a list of his favorite places in the area - many of them were the same recommendations we got elsewhere. We also asked him advice here and there.
View of the lagoon from the condo
Condo living room with bikes
Kitchen of the condo
Jill's Hotel Recommendations 
As far as hotels go, thankfully Jill did all the research for me (and all her guests).  She did an amazing job of organizing Condado's lodging by price, address, and a few facts about each one.  

1077 Ashford Avenue, San Juan, 00907, Puerto Rico
Gorgeous grounds with several pools.  


1309 Ashford Avenue, San Juan, PR 00907, Puerto Rico
In Condado area on the beach. Nicest beach, and a great resort if you are looking for restaurants, bars, casino, etc.

1055 Ashford Avenue, San Juan, PR 00907, United States
In Condado, near other hotels. Shares a beach with La Concha   

1 San Geronimo Street, San Juan, PR 00901, United States
Located in Condado on the lagoon. Very large resort with several restaurants, pools, etc. 

55 Condado Avenue, San Juan 00908, Puerto Rico
In Condado, a block from the beach and close to other hotels

1317 Ave Dr Ashford, San Juan, San Juan 00907, Puerto Rico
Small and pleasant economy hotel in Condado. Gracious staff and sunny outdoor breakfast patio.

57 Caribe Street San Juan 00907, San Juan, 00962, Puerto Rico
Quaint bed and breakfast in Condado, a block from the beach  

1750 Calle McLeary, San Juan 00911, Puerto Rico
Small hotel in Condado with bar and lounge, a block away from the beach ($)

- - - Activities - - - 

Paddle Boarding / Lagoon

Condado is the strip of land right between the lagoon and the beach.  While the beach is the perfect place to read a book and play in the surf, the lagoon is great for anyone seeking calm and sheltered waters.  The lagoon is especially perfect for paddle boarding and kayaking, and you can always find a few of each paddling around the lagoon.  The water is calm, but the wind can be strong.  Make sure you paddle against the wind to start, and then let the wind take you back to your starting point.  There are various spots throughout Condado to rent one.  

Paddleboarding in the lagoon (2 person)
Paddleboarding in the Lagoon, from condo backyard
Condado is hope to a beautiful stretch of beach.  One of the best things about Puerto Rico is that there is no such thing private beaches (much unlike the States).  Connecticut was home to private beach clubs, with expensive memberships and overcrowded run down public beaches.  But on Puerto Rico, anyone can go on any beach.  Even if its the stretch in front of the Hilton.  The condo came with beach chairs, a cooler, a beach buggy, and plenty of towels.  A few days were spent on the beautiful sandy beaches.  The water was warm, at about 78 degrees.  Crystal clear, with no seaweed or rocks, at times a little windy - overall just a nearly perfect beach.  We would often walk a little farther past the hotels, and could easily find a secluded piece of beach to set up "camp".

Beach camp
Condado Beach (La Concha to the right)
Condado beach
Condado Beach
- - - Food - - - 
(again, I am going to let Jill do the talking).  
Jill's Condado Recommendations





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