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Safety and Culture: Old San Juan or Ocean Park?

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Akron, Ohio, United...
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Safety and Culture: Old San Juan or Ocean Park?

Hello all!

A friend and I will be in San Juan Feb 25-28th and we'd love some insight on where to stay. We're looking for rooms under or around $100/nt and we're happy to accept the lack of accommodations that go with that price. However, we do want to make sure that we get a good sense of the city in the absolutely SAFEST way possible. We're young, but we're not going there to party. We simply want to experience the charm and culture of San Juan.

Right now we're considering At Wind Chimes in Condado/Ocean Park, which we were originally interested in because of the proximity to a great beach. However we will be spending 3 days in Vieques later in the week, so beaches aren't as important as culture. Is it too far removed? We're also concerned about the area. I've heard that Calle Luiza is best avoided at night, and it's only a block away.

We were also looking at Da House in Old San Juan. I've read a lot about the noise, but that doesn't worry us. We love the idea of being in the most picturesque part of the city, surrounded by the local restaurants and historical and cultural sights. However, being so close to the most notorious neighborhood on the island is a concern. Exactly how safe is OSJ for the careful tourist? Does crime spill out from La Perla into the tourist areas? Are tourists targeted? Everything I've read says no, but I would love some insight from those of you who have been there and seen it.

Are there any other areas you'd suggest we look? We'd like to avoid the resort/casino scene.

Thanks so much for your help and suggestions!

usa
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1. Re: Safety and Culture: Old San Juan or Ocean Park?

This topic has been discussed at length on this forum. Here is a recent thread and you can also type in "safety" and "crime" in the search box above and read to your heart's content.

tripadvisor.com/…45458916

Cleveland, Ohio
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for Puerto Rico, Carolina
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2. Re: Safety and Culture: Old San Juan or Ocean Park?

Lots more culture in Old San Juan. Calle Luiza is a Street. Comments on safety refer to the city of Luiza, which you would need to drive too. You will be fine..

Akron, Ohio, United...
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3. Re: Safety and Culture: Old San Juan or Ocean Park?

Thanks for taking the time to respond.

I've done all the searches for general safety/crime info, and I know that San Juan is like any other major metro area. You're as safe as you are careful. But I've also heard that one block can vary significantly from the next, and I was hoping for some insight on that. Perhaps my questions on OSJ were a bit too generic, but I was hoping for more personal experiences with these particular hotels/neighborhoods. I've read the reviews for both hotels, but they can be very contradictory.

Thanks for the clarification on Loiza! I went as far as to google streetview calle Loiza and I couldn't understand the concern. That explains it, haha.

usa
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4. Re: Safety and Culture: Old San Juan or Ocean Park?

Old San Juan is safe, as it is the location of the Governor's mansion within the 7 square block old quarter and the single most important tourist attraction in PR. There is a constant police presence. The only area you need to avoid in OSJ is La Perla (The Pearl) a slum on the north side of OSJ that is actually between the old city walls and the Atlantic Ocean just east of El Morro Castle and bordering the old cemetery. For many decades the government has turned a blind eye and had allowed squatters to take up residence there and it is a well-known drug and crime-infested slum. Just stay away from it.

Edited: 11 January 2013, 22:02
usa
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5. Re: Safety and Culture: Old San Juan or Ocean Park?

...and I forgot to add that OSJ is the most picturesque part of the city.

San Juan, Puerto...
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6. Re: Safety and Culture: Old San Juan or Ocean Park?

OSJ is completely safe. The area around Wind Chimes inn is great as well. But from the choices listed, I would stay at Da House as it is in OSJ. Haapy travels.

Btw, contrary to other destinations, tourists in PR are not directly targeted. That does not mean a visitor could not be a victim of a crime, just that they are not the primary targets.

Edited: 12 January 2013, 01:30
virginia beach, va
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7. Re: Safety and Culture: Old San Juan or Ocean Park?

My friend and I stayed at Caleta 64 in Old San Juan. There are 4 apartments and it is in the heart of the Old City. It is across from El Convento (the most expensive hotel in the old city) and half a block form the Catedral de San Juan and half a block from the last old city gate. It was fantastic!!! We shopped for snacks and sodas and sandwich goods but mostly ate out at the fantastic restaurants. The apartments all have a queen bed and a sleeper sofa. Look at the site at www.caleta64.com. We fell in love with the apartments and felt like we were locals. The central location means that history, food, fun is all at your fingertips. The free trolley stop is 3 blocks away, as is the grocery, a Wendy's, a Subway, a Walgreen's -- the courthouse, plaza de armas square. Close at hand is Barrachinas and El Jibaritoes for delicious local fare. A bonus to staying in an apartment, too, is that you don't pay the hotel tax which is a little pricey in San Juan. Anyway, check it out. It's a great place. You can read about it and see pictures here on Trip Advisor, too, This is where I found it to begin with!!

Denison, Texas
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8. Re: Safety and Culture: Old San Juan or Ocean Park?

We are not going to party either and are also not a fan of the casino/tourist scene. Outside of the bar/club scene, does OSJ shut down at night?

Thanks for the link to the other thread prexplorer;)

Bayamón, Puerto Rico
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9. Re: Safety and Culture: Old San Juan or Ocean Park?

This is a no-brainer. Ocean Park is a residential area. You will find not much culture there, except for beach bummers.

Questions? Ask!

Juan Carlos Ortega

Puerto Rico

usa
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10. Re: Safety and Culture: Old San Juan or Ocean Park?

There are plenty of restaurants that stay open at night in OSJ as well as other venues like the Nuyorican Cafe where live bands perform various types of music including Salsa. What in particular are you interested in doing at night?

Edited: 12 January 2013, 04:19