Calle del Cristo picture
Erin Shields for USN & WR

Key Info

Calle del Cristo

Details

Shopping, Neighborhood/Area Type
2 hours to Half Day Time to Spend
4.0scorecard
  • 5.0Value
  • 4.0Food Scene
  • 4.5Atmosphere

Outlet shoppers should come to Old San Juan prepared to let go of a few dollars. The city's Calle del Cristo is a haven of restaurants, art galleries and boutiques. In addition to popular stores, those walking the cobblestone street can discover local crafts and artisan shops. But if you're only in San Juan for a port of call, some suggest you save your money for the stops in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands or St. Martin/St. Maarten (Calle del Cristo isn't a duty-free shopping district).

If you're looking to skip shopping altogether, Calle del Cristo is still a worthwhile spot to get a feel for the beauty of Old San Juan. "Trees, cobblestones, shops, restaurants, small squares, people, traffic, birds, locals playing guitar and serenading in Spanish all adds to the vibe of this gorgeous street," one TripAdvisor reviewer wrote. 

Calle del Cristo is also a great photo-taking opportunity. Snap a few of the street's two famous chapels: the San José Church (closed to visitors while it undergoes renovations) and the Capilla de Cristo (only open to visitors on Tuesdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.). Or swing by Pigeon Park to see the scores of birds waiting to be fed. The street itself is free to visit and is accessible at any time, but store and restaurant hours vary, so be sure to check with a particular shop for any addtional information. You'll find El Morro fort near the north end of the street. 

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#1 Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay (Vieques)

This south Vieques beach might not sound like much, but it's one of travelers' favorite experiences in Puerto Rico. During the day, Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay is your stereotypical Caribbean hideout  but at night, the sky and waters emit a blue glow from the half-plant, half-animal microorganisms that live there. More than 700,000 bioluminescent dinoflagellates live in each gallon of bay water, and recent travelers have been amazed by just how much visibility these tiny creatures provide.

But avoid visiting the bay during a full moon; the microorganisms aren't as visible then. Also aim for a quiet approach: "I would definitely go in a group with kayaks-not a motorized boat," one TripAdvisor reviewer said. "It is very peaceful and beautiful to be on the water at night but the sparkling water is a real treat."

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