The colonial part of the city is known as a historic and cultural center, in which the military architecture built from the 16th to the 18th century is its outstanding feature. The old port is also an important port of call for ships that sail the Caribbean. The port has the capacity for a dozen cruise ships at a time, a total of 900 cruises and one million travelers a year.
There are various points of interest beyond the islet where Old San Juan is located. To the east, there is El Condado, a very important hotel and tourist area. Ocean Park is very popular because of its beaches where various aquatic sports are practiced. The Puerto Rico Convention Center as well as some additional docks for the San Juan harbor are located in Miramar. The Puerto Rico Art Museum and the Santurce marketplace are located further down the road in Santurce. Hato Rey is considered the island's financial district, specifically an area called "the Golden Mile" (0.47 miles long), where major banks and financial firms are located. The traditional market Rafael Hernández and the University of Puerto Rico, which was founded in 1903, are located in Río Piedras.
A few of the most important historic and architectural landmarks include the San Juan Cathedral; Casa Blanca, the residence of Juan Ponce de León; the San Antonio and Dos Hermanos bridges; the Santa Catalina Palace (La Fortaleza), which is the governorgovernor: in the Spanish colonies, the governor was the figure immediately beneath the viceroy in political and legal affairs. Like the alcaldes mayores, the governors could not be vecinos, encomenderos or owners of land or mines in the jurisdiction. When the title was added to that of Captain General, the position also implied the highest military authority. Governorships were applied to sparsely populated colonies or frontier zones. Puerto Rico was a frontier zone.'s mansion; El Morro and San Cristóbal fortresses; the San José church; the San Juan wall system, part of which still stands along with one of the six original entrances to the city; the Ballajá military barracks; City Hall; and its main squares. Old San Juan's defense system was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO).
San Juan is located on the north coast of the Island and is bordered by the Atlantic Ocean to the north, the Caguas and Aguas Buenas municipalities to the south, Carolina and Trujillo Alto to the east, and Guaynabo to the west. The greater city is located on the west side of a rocky islet at the entrance to the harbor. San Juan is located in the karst topography zone of the northern coastal plains and is largely flat. Its highest elevations are located to the south, mainly in the Caimito and Cupey wards.
The highest peaks include San Patricio at 262 feet, Hatillo at approximately 443 feet, and Magueyes at 591 feet above sea level. The San Juan hydrographic system is comprised of the Puerto Nuevo and Piedras rivers. The Puerto Nuevo river flows into the San Juan harbor and receives waters from the Piedras River, Muertos Stream, and Margarita channel. The Piedras River rises in Caimito ward and travels from south to north, finally emptying into the Puerto Nuevo River. Its tributaries include the Buena Vista, Las Curias, Doña Ana, Los Guanos, and Guaracanal brooks. Other streams include Carraizo, Frailes, Juan, and San Antón. Las Curias Dam is located in Cupey ward.
San Juan's hydrographic system also comprises the San Juan Bay Estuary, which extends from the San Juan Harbor to the west and Piñones lagoon on the east. The only part of the estuary, however, that actually is a part of San Juan is the Harbor itself, the Condado, San José, and Los Corozos lagoons, as well as the San Antonio Suárez and Martín Peña channels.
The San Juan coast includes, from east to west, Las Marías, Piedrita, Escambrón, del Morro, and la Puntilla promontories. The Piedras islet is located near Las Marías promontory and the San Jorge promontory is located near the Escambrón promontory. Guachinga islet is located on the San José lagoon. The most frequented beaches are Escambrón, Condado, and Ocean Park.
Version: 07122101 Rev. 1