A mix of history and modernity in easy reach of San Juan
Located within the San Juan metro area, Guaynabo sits on the island’s north coast and offers a mix of historical significance, modern appeal, and a cosmopolitan vibe. The 27-square-mile (70-square-kilometer) municipality is sandwiched between Aguas Buenas to the south, Bayamón to the west, Cataño and the Bay of San Juan to the north, and San Juan to the east, making it an easy day trip if you’re staying in the territory’s capital city.
History and Education
In the sixteenth century, Ponce de Leon and the first Spanish settlers lived in what is now Guaynabo. Today, this area is designated as the Caparra Ruins, a National Historic Landmark that is open to the public. Most of the original buildings were made of wood and thus no longer exist, but the foundation of de Leon’s stone house remains. A small museum on site displays artifacts discovered here and in other archeological excavations throughout the island.
If you’re traveling with kids, plan an excursion to Villa Campestre, a farm and educational center that features fun activities like pony rides, bumper cars, bounce houses, a climbing wall, and more. The family-friendly attraction is open on Saturdays and Sundays.
A Destination for Shopping and Dining
You might have to make some room in your suitcase – or buy an extra one! – after a visit to San Patricio Plaza, a three-story mall with more than 120 stores, 30 restaurants, and a movie theater. Roadside shopping centers like Plaza Guaynabo and Plaza Real also feature a handful of retail outposts.
The dining scene in Guaynabo spans the spectrum from casual bites to upscale cuisine. For a taste of authentic Puerto Rican street food and lively nightlife, head to Paseo Tablado, a strip of kiosks and casual eateries and bars with a festive party atmosphere.
Offering a more sophisticated experience, Bottles is known for its flavorful dishes, generous portions, and massive wine selection. And if you like Mexican fare, don’t leave Guaynabo without stopping for a bite and enjoying the friendly atmosphere at La Frontera Tacos.