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Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico

Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico.

WHY NOW: A robust visual art scene and lively culinary culture make San Juan a must-visit this season.


Stop at Pikayo for delectable dishes.        
Book a room at Dorado Beach.        

Puerto Rico’s capital has long been a quick fix for the tropically inclined. After all, it’s easy to reach, it (allegedly) invented the piña colada and its beaches are as white as native son Ricky Martin’s incisors.

But the San Juan of 2012 offers more than ocean views and rum drinks. Start by exploring Santurce, the city’s burgeoning gallery district, where edgy spaces such as La Respuesta and C787 mingle with art institutions such as the Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico. Santurce also boasts down-home eateries—Bebo’s Café, Jose Enrique and others—serving Puerto Rican soul food such as chicken and rice and coconut pudding.

If you packed your fancy pants (and a few large bills), head to Pikayo, an elegant, oceanfront restaurant in Santurce’s Condado area. Owned by beloved local chef Wilo Benet and tucked into the Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza hotel, Pikayo elevates “fusion” from dirty word to poetry with dishes ranging from foie gras with ripe plantains to tuna tartare with jalapeño and cold yuzu miso broth.

As for lodging, the Conrad is lovely, but we recommend the more soulful Hotel El Convento, a boutique hotel located in a centuries-old former convent in the heart of historic Old San Juan. A more secluded option is Dorado Beach, A Ritz-Carlton Reserve—a luxury resort opening next month in the small town of Dorado, 15 miles west of San Juan. The resort is a seashell’s toss from the Atlantic, a nature trail and a world-class golf course. And not to worry—we’ve been told that Dorado Beach will offer many cold rum drinks.

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