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 Travel Article Travel Article Archive  
April 2009 Email this to a friend

San Juan
Come, enjoy the warmth!

By Staff reports

L'Habitation Beach Guesthouse, San Juan
Vincent and barman Harold at L'Habitation Beach Guesthouse

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NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded San Juan article click DailyXtraTravel

The Caribbean is warm all the time, day and night, and life's pace is refreshingly slow. Gay travelers seeking these luxuries will find interesting possibilities in San Juan, Puerto Rico, a surprisingly easy destination for North American and European holiday makers.

The weather in sultry San Juan is fabulous. There's lots of gay life, too, from the relative quiet of Ocean Park, San Juan's upscale beach community, to the bustling Condado, famous for its casinos and night-life, to Old San Juan, where the ancient forts and cobblestone streets hark back to an earlier time. Main attractions here include several fine restaurants, a busy harbor catering to the cruise ship trade, and of course the reminders of old Spain in the New World.

Pamela's Restaurant in the Numero Uno Guest House (1, Calle Santa Ana; 787-726-5010) is situated on the beach in the middle of San Juan. They actually set some tables in the sand, for beach-side noshing, during the day.

Hosteria Del Mar (1 Calle Tapia; 787-727-3302) is a long-time favorite of women and families; there's a restaurant on the premises here, too.

At Wind Chimes Inn (1750 McLeary; 800-946-3244) just a block from Condado Beach in restored Spanish villa, with bar and cafe.

In Condado there's plenty of action at the exciting Atlantic Beach Hotel (1 Calle Vendig; 787-721-6900). It's five stories overlooking the beach, with an active terrace bar (with direct access to the beach), the Sea View Restaurant, and even a sun deck on the roof, complete with hot tub.

Normandie Hotel (499 Munoz Rivera Ave; 787-333-3333) grand Art Deco style boutique hotel between Condado and Old San Juan with patio and pool.

Also in the immediate area is the Embassy Guest House (1126, Calle Seaview; 787-725-8284), where guests have access to a gleaming pool and sun deck (across the street) overlooking the beach.

The San Juan Water & Beach Club Hotel (2 Tartak Street;787.728.3666), a boutique hotel in Isla Verde, is on a palm lined beach only fifteen minutes from Old San Juan, convenient to the airport, and popular for both business and pleasure.

For other cafe and restaurant possibilities plan an outing in Old San Juan.

At Cafe Berlin (407 Calle San Francisco/Plaza Colon) the food is delicious and the ambiance is perfect: host Ernst invites guests to relax and linger, and the air-conditioning is set just right (not too cold!) There's an extensive menu with an emphasis on the healthy and creative vegetarian, and a mouth-watering selection of made-fresh breads and pastries. There's also an outdoor terrace in front of the cafe.

At Amanda's Cafe (424 Norzagary) the emphasis is on simple and fresh. Amanda's Mexican dishes, a lifetime in the making, are fabulous, and her sauces are available through amanda@amandassalsas.com. Folks do cocktails on the front porch, or dine inside, high above the Atlantic and just across from the walls of Christopher Columbus Fort. Amanda's Margaritas, a signature drink, are made with the juice of fresh limes, of course!

Other references in Old San Juan include the stylish Cafe Bohemio (100 Cristo Street, in the Hotel El Convento complex), where they do a gay night on Tuesdays.

The city's gay night-life is situated on Ponce de Leon Avenue, near Condado. Krash (1257 Ponce de Leon) has been San Juan's premier gay dance club for years, previously known as Eros. The crowd's mixed, though decidedly gay, and definitely good-looking! With its mezzanine surrounding the dance floor, it's a perfect spot to cruise your new Puerto Rican friend.

At Male Depot Private Club (1527 Ponce de Leon Ave) men's cruise bar they have macho go-go strippers, backroom action, and hardcore ambience.

For more local flavor, there's Tia Maria Jose de Diego (326 Av. Jose de Diego a package store where you can also buy cocktails, meet locals and play pool; and the eternal Junior's Bar (602 Calle Condado)a mostly men's bar for dancing, strippers, and drag shows. Junior's VIP (613 Calle Condado) is a second location nearby to handle the overflow. The stipper shows here begin at 1am.

Condado Inn Downstairs Bar (6 Calle Condado) draws over 50 "Wrinkle Room" regulars, along with their youthful Puerto Rican admirers. Long-time favorite bar for locals and returning visitors with relaxed and friendly ambience.

Club Le Cirque (357 San Francisco St) mixed and stylish but mostly gay 18+ lounge, dance club and wine bar. Lunch and dinner are served, and as a private club they party here until dawn.

So different, yet so near! Find out for yourself about the warm sunshine and the bright people of Puerto Rico!

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