SAN JUAN

Operational guide

TJSJ AIRPORT

  • 99% of departures/arrivals are on Runways 8 and 10.

  • Runways 8 and 10 are non-intersecting runways; use caution on final.

  • TJIG is approximately 10 miles west of TJSJ on final for Runways 8 and 10 and can be confused with SJU.

  • From domestic airports, passports and customs are not required (except for USVI). Airplane will need to be inspected by agriculture when leaving SJU for domestic airports.

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GENERAL SAFETY RULES

  • Normal city rules apply.

  • Be careful walking streets late at night, especially women.

  • Neighborhoods next to and immediately around hotels and casinos are plenty safe.

  • Normal US road rules apply. Be defensive while driving; locals like to merge with no signal.

  • Servers/staff work slower in general than in the States. Be patient when ordering.

WHERE TO STAY

WHERE TO EAT

  • Isla Verde

    • Alambique Beach Lounge- A staple of any flight crew that stays in Isla Verde. Right on the beach. Ahi Tuna Tacos are phenomenal, as well as the seafood mofongo, a local dish. Be weary of the "El Diablo" piña coladas.

    • Metropol- Neighbors the cock fight arena. A great sit-down restaurant that has both a mix of Caribbean/Latin food and a more traditional menu for the less adventurous.

    • Playa Papaya- Great spot for breakfast and smoothies for those that are a bit more health-oriented.

    • Yamiko Sushi- Traditional, run of the mill sushi place, in case you need to tickle that itch. San Juan has great sushi.

    • Los Chamos Arepas- A little bar/Arepas shack down the street from the hotels. Cash only, but it is amazing. Menu is in Spanish, but just use Google translate or talk to the servers. One of my favorite SJU discoveries. (FYI Arepas are effectively buttered english muffins loaded with meat / cheese / fish / shrimp etc)

    • Ceviche House- Excellent Ceviche

    • El Churry Food Truck- Wildly good sandwiches. BYOB.

    • El Nuevo Acuario- Amazing seafood spot. Absolutely massive red snapper, either steamed or fried, with a side of tostones (mashed fried plantains) for south of 25 bucks. Mini-bar and pincho (chicken skewer) spot co-located. Red snapper taking too long? Grab a $2 pincho and $1 beer! (NOTE: This place looks way sketchier than it really is.)

    • Panaderia Espana- Bakery/restaurant on the south side of Rt 26. Some of the best breakfast sandwiches ever.

  • Condado​
    • Cocina Abierta- One of the best restaurants in Condado. Pricey but worth it.
    • Pinkys Calle Loiza- Favorite breakfast spot in the world. The Drunken Pilot and either an acai or banana/peanut butter smoothie is to die for.
    •  Acapulco- Awesome Tacos.

WHAT TO DO

  • Beaches

    • Isla Verde Beach- Great spot to chill and have some drinks on the beach. You can rent chairs and get drinks from the bars as needed. Some of the hotels have beach areas. Great body surfing, if you're into that.

    • Pine Grove Beach- More secluded than Isla Verde Beach. My preferred beach when the winds are stronger because the sand does not blow as much. Various surf schools on this beach, so it's a great spot to learn.

    • Ocean Park Beach- Great beach fairly close to Condado hotels.

  • Various Beach Bars (Favorite is Alambique). Another is Pa Pical, a local spot. Very small.

  • Take a drive east, toward Loliza. Tons of small food joints and places to get cheap food and drinks.

  • La Placita- A section of the city that turns into open air bars/street parties and general night life. For those that are a bit more adventurous...but such a great spot and an easy Uber ride.

  • Old San Juan

    • Old Forts in San Juan- Del Morro and San Cristobal are cool spots to explore and are staples of a San Juan visit. Del Morro gets lit up at night as well.

    • Paseo del Morro is a walkway that goes all around the old fort walls on the beach. 

    • Just walk around Old San Juan at any time of day exploring the various bars and restaurants.

    • La Factoria- My most favorite bar of all time. During busy weekends, the place turns into 8 bars. Some lounge-y, others more for dancing.

Long Overnights

WHAT TO DO

  • Scuba Dive- Various places for first-time lessons or veteran divers, alike.

  • Hike El Yunque Rainforest- A classic stop.

  • Take a day trip to Luquillo Beach- A great beach, and there are a ton of mini bars/restaurants.

  • Take the ferry to Vieques to check out old ammunition bunkers from WWII or Culebra. Culebra is home to the world famous "Flamenco Beach," which has been said to be the greatest beach of all time.

  • Crash Boat Beach- One of my most favorite beaches. You can jump off a dock into 50-foot deep, crystal-clear water filled with fish. Of course, a bar and pincho truck are right on the island.

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Thanks! - The 21.Five - Professional Pilots Podcast team

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