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San Juan Neighborhoods: Guide to Ocean Park

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San Juan Neighborhoods: Guide to Ocean Park

The Beach at Ocean Park is a mellow, relaxed scene where indolent sunbathers stretch out on the sand and kiteboarders and wind-surfers test the waves.

Photo © Zain Deane

Introduction:

Ocean Park, along with its tiny neighbor to the west, Punta Las Marías, is one of my favorite spots in San Juan. Wedged between Condado in the east and Isla Verde in the west, this little residential pocket is home to a charming collection of guesthouses and inns, a great beach, and fun, casual places to eat and hang out. It's a little bit of the laid back California vibe in Puerto Rico. It's also a very popular destination for gay travelers to the island.

Where to Stay:

Forget posh hotels: in Ocean Park, you have a choice of welcoming boutique inns and excellent private rentals.

  • Numero Uno Guest House is the quintessential Ocean Park hotel; intimate, cozy, and right on the beach. It also has a fantastic restaurant.
  • Hostería del Mar is another popular beachfront choice with a great restaurant.
  • Tres Palmas Inn is a basic, budget option that's recently been renovated.
  • El Prado Rentals offers something different - private rentals ranging from furnished one-bedroom apartments to beautiful villas. It's one of San Juan's lodging bargains.

Where to Eat:

  • Pamela's at the Numero Uno Guest House is a beachfront bistro serving inventive local cuisine along with an excellent wine list.
  • Uvva's Mediterranean and Puerto Rican fusion cuisine is a big reason to check out the Hostería del Mar.
  • If you want to get your steak on, head to Che's, Puerto Rico's most popular Argentinian restaurant.
  • Order dishes to go or dine in at Kasalta, a favorite local panadería.
  • Come to Pinky's for out-of-this world smoothies and hearty, healthy breakfasts (787-727-3347).

What to See and Do:

Ocean Park differs from the rest of San Juan in that it has no monuments, casinos or museums. Everything centers on being outside and enjoying the neighborhood's best natural resources.
  • Resource #1 is, of course, the beach. Ocean Park Beach and Punta Las Marías are very popular with locals and discerning tourists who don't care for the spectacle of Isla Verde and Condado. The latter is San Juan's most popular surf spot, and on the weekends you'll find it mobbed with surfers, windsurfers, and kiteboarders.
  • Resource #2 is the park that gives Ocean Park its name but, to be honest, it's not worth going out of your way.

Where to Shop:

Similar to its cultural offerings, Ocean Park is a bit meager on the shopping front. Still, there are a few places worth mentioning: [ul
  • Crysta has an elegant women's beachware collection and a great line of skincare products.
  • Velauno is your one-stop-shop for all things surf-related. You can even learn surfing, windsurfing, and kiteboarding here, at one of the Caribbean's best outfits.
  • Sassy Girl on Santa Cecilia Avenue is true to its name, stocking handbags, accessories, lingerie, and bathing suits designed for a more youthful crowd (787-268-6416).
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