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Shopping Guide for San Juan

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Shopping in San Juan is akin to a treasure hunt. Sure, you can find typical items like T-shirts, shot glasses, and other touristy trinkets found, but quality items are also at your fingertips. This shopping guide will help you find those special take-home treats.

Good for
  • Shopping Fanatic
  • LGBT
  • Luxury Traveller
  • Thrifty Traveller
  • Trendsetter

10 Places

8 City Tips

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Map

10 Places

Old San Juan

Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas, Neighbourhoods

Fortaleza Street

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Casa BACARDI Puerto Rico

Distilleries

Calle del Cristo

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Ashford Avenue

Points of Interest & Landmarks

Museum of Contemporary Art

Art Museums

Native & Mystical Corner

Art Galleries

The Cigar House

Gift & Speciality Shops

Puerto Rican Art & Crafts

Gift & Speciality Shops

Plaza las Americas

Shopping Malls

Chanize's City Tips

  • Ceramic replicas of the 'coqui' (co-kee), a tiny tree frog whose nightly mating call is something of a Puerto Rican anthem, make for unique souvenirs that you won't find in many other places.
  • Don Q rum is just as popular as, if not more popular than, Puerto Rico's famous Bacardi. You're allowed four bottles per person at the airport's duty-free shops, so pick up some Don Q and some locally made Palo Viejo, then compare the difference.
  • Café Yauco is a popular coffee brand, but I suggest trying the ultra-rich Alto Grande, whose beans have been cultivated in Puerto Rico’s Lares mountains since 1839.
  • If you’re religious, you’ll find no shortage of saint figurines (called 'santos' locally) in this devout Catholic country.
  • While Puerto Rico's duty-free stores are great, prices are not always low, so it can be a challenge to score bargains at brick-and-mortar stores. You can often haggle with independent vendors and at markets.
  • The U.S. dollar is Puerto Rico's official currency. However, aside from the familiar Citibank and Banco Popular San Juan's banks are mostly local businesses that might charge fees if you withdraw cash from their ATMs. Plan accordingly.
  • There are a few 24-hour grocery stores and pharmacies in the city.
  • The sales tax on goods and services is 7%.
  • Old San Juan
    Historic Sites, Historic Walking Areas, Neighbourhoods
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    A compact and colorful neighborhood, Old San Juan is a maze of cobblestoned streets lined with 16th-century Spanish Colonial buildings. Here, little local shops stand side-by-side with brand-name outposts like Burberry and Guess.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • History Buff
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Wear comfortable shoes if you plan on shopping for a few hours. The cobblestone streets are not made for heels.
    • Large retail stores are usually open 10am-8pm on weekdays, while smaller boutiques may close at 6pm. On Sundays, hours vary, and later hours are held during San Juan's winter cruise season.
    • Bring small bills when shopping at markets like the Natural Agricultural Market, which takes place on Saturdays at the San Juan Museum. Especially in the early mornings, vendors may not have a lot of change.
    • The majority of stores are on Cristo and Fortaleza streets, but don't forget to explore narrow side passages — you never know what you'll find!
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 143 things to do in San Juan
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • San juan 18/10/2018
    • Walk around the streets 17/10/2018
    • Old San Juan
    Other:
  • Fortaleza Street
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    Calle Fortaleza is one of Old San Juan's main shopping streets. It's got a mix of tchotchke-toting stores (including one called 'Tourist Trap') and high-end boutiques here, but I like to raid the shelves of arts and crafts shops for dainty lace fans or carved wooden bowls. There are also great picks to be had at the small stalls and street vendors.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Like a Local
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Nightlife Seeker
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • Skip the gaudy offerings at generic gift stores, and make your way to Olé, for fashionable, and custom-fitted Panama hats. There's a range of colors and designs to choose from, including those with ribbons and jaunty feathers.
    • Puerto Rico's handmade lace, or "mundillo," is sewn on many items, from tablecloths o baby clothes. The popular Linen House, on 250 Fortaleza Street, has a vast selection.
    • Cariloha, a new shop whose name is a combination of "Caribbean" and "aloha," sells island-inspired clothing made out of bamboo, which is a great moisture-wicking material to keep you cool in the heat.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #24 of 143 things to do in San Juan
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Great action at night 14/10/2018
    • Walking in Old San Juan 30/09/2018
    • Fortaleza Street
    Address:
    Fortaleza St
    San Juan
    Puerto Rico
  • Casa BACARDI Puerto Rico
    Distilleries
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    Rum aficionados will want to take a field trip to the house of Puerto Rico's famous firewater, which has been distilled here since 1862. On the 45-minute tour of the factory, you'll learn about the history of Bacardi, which originated in Cuba, as well as intricate details on the rum's aging process. Plus, you get a free welcome rum and Coke, served in a special glass!

    Good for
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Trendsetter
    Tips
    • Casa Bacardi is in Cantaño, just five miles from Old San Juan. Hop on the ferry from the pier, then take a publico (shared van) to the factory.
    • Check out the gift shop, where you'll find some of Bacardi's premium rums that are not easily found elsewhere (such as the Reserva Limitada).
    • Tours are available Monday to Saturday, 9am to 6pm (last tour is at 4:15pm) and Sunday from 10am to 5pm (last tour is 3:45pm).
    • Fancy yourself a bartender? Sign up for the mixology class (at an extra charge) and learn how to make mojitos, daiquiris, and the original Cuba Libre (a rum and Coke with lime).
    • If you're on a cruise, you may find that the ship offers this tour at a significantly higher price. Purchase the tickets on your own to save money.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #1 of 2 things to do in Catano
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Definitely worth the $15 tour 15/10/2018
    • Mixology Bacardi 12/10/2018
    • Casa BACARDI Puerto Rico
    Address:
    Carretera 165
    Bay View Industrial Park
    Catano 00949
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-788-8400
    Price range:
    US$15 - US$15
    Hours:
    Tue - Fri
    9:00 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Sat - Sun
    12:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m.
    Other:
  • Calle del Cristo
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    This sloping street adjacent to La Fortaleza (the governor of Puerto Rico's residence), is lined with rainbow-hued Spanish Colonial buildings that house art galleries, coffee shops, and bars. These lovely spots provide a much needed respite after hours of retail therapy at the nearby souvenir emporiums and brand-name shops.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • Take a few minutes to listen (and dance!) to the street performers. They're serenading shoppers with songs of love, happiness, and sometimes heartbreak. Tip them a dollar for this enjoyable entertainment.
    • This street is a steep uphill walk if you start at the bottom. For those with mobility concerns, I suggest taking the free trolley from El Morro. Then get off midway and walk down the street instead.
    • Cooks might consider buying a pilón from Caribbean Trading. This wooden pestle and mortar, created by the region's Taíno Indians, is used to grind garlic, herbs, and spices.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #9 of 143 things to do in San Juan
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • It was open!!! My luck Day!!! 05/10/2018
    • A street full of history 20/08/2018
    • Calle del Cristo
  • Ashford Avenue
    Points of Interest & Landmarks
    Chanize Says:

    This Condado-area street is located within walking distance of the neighborhood's oceanfront hotels, a mini-mall, and trendy, high-end stores like Gucci, Louis Vuitton, and Cartier. Yes, you can find many of these labels back home, but there are bargains to be had here if you know what to look for.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • LGBT
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Nightlife Seeker
    Tips
    • Environmentally mined shoppers should stop at Hecho a Mano (translation: "handmade"), which sells artisan items made from organic materials.
    • Make a day of it here. Start at one of Condado's beach clubs to catch some sun before hitting the shops.
    • If you have a taste for non-typical, stylish local designs, head to Nono Maldonado to scoop up a linen 'guayabera' (a shirt donned by many of Puerto Rico's dapper gentlemen).
    • While bartering is not the norm for well-known chain stores, you may be successful trying it in smaller, locally owned shops.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #33 of 143 things to do in San Juan
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Food, Casinos, Beach....all you need! 31/08/2018
    • Ashford Avenue 28/08/2018
    • Ashford Avenue
    Address:
    Ashford Avenue
    San Juan
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-721-5700
  • Museum of Contemporary Art
    Art Museums
    Chanize Says:

    This two-floor museum in the Santurce neighborhood was once a former public school. It's now home to over 900 works of art, many from emerging local talent. There's plenty of modern art on display, and although quite a few signs and descriptions are solely in Spanish, the pieces often speak for themselves. The small gift shop is a great place to buy a unique souvenir, especially for children who like clay sculptures (or, my favorite, an oversize gorilla-shaped eraser!).

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Hidden Gems
    • History Buff
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    • Peace and Quiet Seeker
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Family
    Tips
    • The MAC offers free admission, but happily accepts donations.
    • Opening hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10am to 4pm, and Sunday from noon to 4pm. Closed Mondays.
    Plan to stay:
    2-3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #88 of 143 things to do in San Juan
    • Beautiful Little Museum Worthy of A Visit. 25/03/2018
    • Great rainy day activity! 18/04/2016
    • Museum of Contemporary Art
    Address:
    Sacred Heart University
    Eduardo Conde Avenue
    San Juan
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-727-5617
  • Native & Mystical Corner
    Art Galleries
    Chanize Says:

    I'm fond of this tiny-yet-jam-packed art gallery and souvenir shop in Old San Juan, a block from the popular Calle Fortaleza. Stock up on whimsical cards that you won't find on Hallmark racks. Many items, like carnival masks, have been created by owner Sandra Jusino, who's also passionate about promoting other Puerto Rican artists. You never know what you'll find here — and that's a big part of the fun.

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Trendsetter
    • Hidden Gems
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • 'Vejigantes,' also called 'caretas,' are half-demon/half-animal papier-mâché masks, worn during the island's Carnival celebrations. Buy one and you'll have the start of a unique Halloween costume!
    • Hours are Monday through Friday from 7am to 5pm.
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #125 of 143 things to do in San Juan
    • Couldn't find it! 16/10/2015
    • Unique 25/06/2015
    • Native & Mystical Corner
    Address:
    250 Calle de San Jose
    San Juan 00901-1514
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-723-7557
    Hours:
    Mon - Fri
    7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Sat - Sun
    9:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
    Other:
  • The Cigar House
    Gift & Speciality Shops
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    Puerto Rico's hand-rolled cigars are legendary to stogie smokers. In Old San Juan, it's common to see men (and occasionally women) sitting at makeshift work stations, creating them with ease. This wood-paneled parlor and shop has the largest selection (over 300 varieties) of cigars in the Caribbean, including those made from rum-soaked and aged leaves. If you want to buy gifts for someone back home, the huge humidor contains a plethora of choices. Indeed it can be overwhelming to the novice, but the super-knowledgeable salespeople will walk you through any question you may have.

    Good for
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    Tips
    • Don't expect to find Cuban cigars here. This is a place of San Juanero pride.
    • An ornate and well-ventilated smoking lounge, complete with rich, leather chairs is available for those who choose to enjoy a cigar on-site. A bar selling cognacs, rums, and whiskey add to the experience.
    • Opening hours are surprisingly late — until 9pm Sunday to Thursday and until 11pm on Friday and Saturday — making this a great place to spend the evening after other shops and restaurants have closed for the day.
    • If you're not into cigars the shop also sells pipes, pens, and even watches.
    Plan to stay:
    1-2 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #8 of 75 Shopping in San Juan
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Terrible 20/09/2018
    • Just Terrible... 16/06/2018
    • The Cigar House
    Address:
    257 Fortaleza St
    San Juan 00901
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-723-5223
    Other:
  • Puerto Rican Art & Crafts
    Gift & Speciality Shops
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    Original artwork, paintings, and handmade jewelry fill this two-level shop on Old San Juan's Calle Fortaleza. Puerto Rican Arts & Crafts is one of the best places to buy santos. These beloved religious figurines represent Catholic saints, carved out of clay, stone, wood, and even gold. (I'm famous for misplacing things, so I picked up a St. Anthony, patron of lost things. Unfortunately, it got lost when I moved!)

    Good for
    • Must See
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    • Art and Architecture Lover
    Tips
    • Shop hours are Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm, and Sunday from noon to 5pm.
    • In addition to art, there's a good selection of Puerto Rico's well-known snacks here, such as savory plantain chips, fiery hot sauce, and sweet guava candies.
    • The shop offers shipping services, which is especially helpful for framed pieces.
    • This is one of the few places where every item is made in Puerto Rico. You won't find a "made in China" sticker on the souvenirs!
    Plan to stay:
    Less than 1 hour
    From the community
    Ranked #5 of 75 Shopping in San Juan
    • Best place for souvenirs 10/10/2018
    • Great place for local goods/crafts 03/06/2018
    • Puerto Rican Art & Crafts
    Address:
    204 Calle de La Fortaleza
    San Juan 00901-1612
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-725-5596
    Other:
  • Plaza las Americas
    Shopping Malls
    See more photos
    Chanize Says:

    Plaza las Americas is the largest mall in the Caribbean, with over 300 shops and 40 restaurants scattered around its 1.8-million square-foot expanse. In addition to being home to the world's largest Sears and JC Penny's, the Plaza also offers a number of smaller stores and kiosks hawking island-made wares.

    Good for
    • Foodie
    • Luxury Traveller
    • Thrifty Traveller
    • Trendsetter
    • Like a Local
    • Solo
    • Friends
    • Couples
    • Senior
    • Shopping Fanatic
    • Family
    Tips
    • The plaza offers a bowling alley and 13-screen movie theater for indoor fun.
    • Gents will find an amazing selection of Hublot and Seven Friday watches at Relojes y Relojes, or fun ties at Las Corbatas.
    • The mall is open Monday through Saturday 9am to 9pm, and Sunday, 11am to 7pm.
    • Every Thursday to Sunday, the mall hosts a farmer's market, where visitors can sample over 100 varieties of island produce on the third floor.
    • To get here, make your way to Hato Rey, about a 15-minute ride from San Juan's port and most hotels.
    • Deaf persons are given assistance with an ASL interpreter and use of an iPad to communicate with hearing salespersons and customer service representatives.
    • Mothers with babies have use of a comfortable nursing room here.
    Plan to stay:
    More than 3 hours
    From the community
    Ranked #26 of 143 things to do in San Juan
    Certificate of Excellence 2014
    • Dinner at Olive Garden plaza las Americas 04/09/2018
    • Dirty restrooms 03/09/2018
    • Plaza las Americas
    Address:
    525 F.D. Roosevelt Ave
    San Juan 00918
    Puerto Rico
    Phone:
    +1 787-767-5202
    Hours:
    Sun
    11:00 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
    Mon - Sat
    10:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m.
    Other:
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