November through April is the best time of year to visit the city, although it is also the busiest and most expensive. This is a great season to enjoy the sandy beaches with beautiful weather. The city is also at its liveliest over the festive holiday season. From mid-December to early January, Christmas spirit fills the streets with drinking, dancing and merriment. Flights to San Juan and room rates are considerably higher during this time in the city and throughout the rest of the island.
The months of July through September are characterised by hot, humid and rainy days. This period is hurricane season and best to be avoided. Understandably this results in fewer crowds and off-peak prices. It’s not a great time to visit the city but if you’re looking for a travel bargain then this is the ideal time to find cheap flights to San Juan and discounted hotel rates.
May and June are transitional months after the peak season and experience a slower pace of life as well as fewer crowds. Although it’s not quite hurricane season there is still the possibility of storms. October is another transitional month when you may be able to find a better travel deal than during the most popular period. Book your accommodation and a flight to San Juan during these times, if you’re looking for more reasonable prices.
After stepping off a flight to San Juan most travellers are left bewildered by the abundance of activities the capital of Puerto Rico has to offer. During the day outdoor enthusiasts can hike the rain forest and surf the waves, while at the night the city is transformed into one of the nightlife capitals of the Caribbean.
As a side trip, travellers should plan to spend a few extra days exploring the coastal town of Guánica and the Caribbean National Forest, El Yunque, then on the way back to San Juan stop for a picnic or a quick dip in the country’s best-known beach, Luquillo.
For sightseeing, Old San Juan, the original city founded in 1521, has a wealth of well-cared-for 16th and 17th-century architecture, built by the Spanish colonists. Still partially surrounded by the wall built in 1633 and paved with the stones used as ballast on Spanish ships, the old city features tree-shaded squares, monuments, open-air cafes, and shops, as well as private homes with their wrought-iron railings on balconies filled with pots of tropical plants.
The climate is tropical with summer temperatures in the 18-35 degree range. Thunderstorms are likely between April and November and hurricane season runs June to November. Further inland, temperatures drop a couple of degrees.
Buses run in some, but not all areas of the city. There are taxis, but you’ll have to negotiate a price with the driver based on your destination. Rental cars are available as well, but make sure you have your ID handy. Some streets are not as well marked as others.
Luis Munoz Marin International Airport (SJU) is located 9 miles (14 km) east of San Juan.