Welcome to our guesthouse/museum/gallery in San Juan's Arts & Culture District.
If you appreciate art, culture, music & history in a still 'rough around the edges' arts district, this may perfect for your trip to San Juan!
The house was originally built in 1915. Second floor including typical 'Santurce Mosaics' was added in the 1920's.
One flight (18 steps) up the art deco staircase is the second floor suite. There is a locked door to your suite with bedroom, TV Room, sun deck, bathroom (shower - no tub), full kitchen and traditional balcony facing the street. You also have use of the dining room just outside of your suite.
Bedroom: King bed, cable TV, wifi, ceiling fan, air conditioner, closet, dresser and french doors that open out to the sun (website hidden) Room: Long sofa, computer desk, sitting area, large TV, wifi, closet, ceiling fan, air conditioning and French doors to the sun deck.
Sun Deck: At the back of the house with access from both the bedroom and TV room. Sitting areas and hammock make this a great place for morning coffee, working on your tan or evening glass of wine in the moonlight.
Kitchen: Full kitchen with arch overlooking the dining room and pass-through to the front balcony seating areas. Fully equipped with everything you need!
Balcony: Access through the kitchen to the traditional street-front balcony with dining table/chairs and pass-through to the kitchen. There is also a seating area with teak bench and chairs. You're welcome to use any of the herbs for cooking or treat sunburn with fresh aloe from the balcony container garden.
Note: the kitchen does have an archway - you can see penthouse guests as they pass through the dining room to the stairway - but they do not have access to your locked portion of the 2nd floor.
There is now a Sangean Digital Radio in the unit. There is also a portable bluetooth speaker available on request if you want to play your own music.
Minimum stay in 3 nights and special rates are available for extended stays. This unit is often booked in advance for monthly stays.
7% room tax is now included in all rates. We are registered with the Puerto Rico Tourism Company - Hotelier ID available on request.
Feel free to contact with any questions prior to booking. We keep the availability calendar up to date - so if you see that the dates are listed as available and don't have any questions, you can go ahead and make your booking right away.
Airport Transportation: There are no public busses from the airport - so a taxi is the best choice. Rates are fixed so you don't have to worry about the price. Fixed price is currently $18 plus $1 for each piece of luggage (tip not included). Late night arrivals may have a $2 surcharge.
After you complete your reservation, I'll send complete arrival map and instructions.
Location: The house is located in Santurce, which is about a 10 minute walk 'across the highway' from the Condado and Ocean Park tourist areas. We're just a few steps from Ponce de Leon Avenue, which has frequent bus service to Old San Juan. This has become the center of San Juan’s new ‘Arts & Culture’ redevelopment area.
The house is across from a condo, next to a small residential hotel. A LDS (Mormon) church is on one end of the block and a Pentecostal church on the other. Abracadabra arts-café is right on the corner with Ponce de Leon.
New PUEBLO supermarket is just 3 blocks away in the Ciudadela Complex. Open 24 hours so even if you arrive late, you can head to the supermarket.
Planet Fitness is just across from PUEBLO and is open 24 hours during the week. If you have a membership for Planet Fitness at home, you should be able to use this branch.
Easy access to theaters and museums and the bus to Old San Juan are the main attractions. Beach is about a 15 minute walk or 4 min. drive.
- Abracadabra - a 'counter-café is located just a few feet away at the corner of Ponce de Leon and Calle Saldaña. Great food, local gourmet coffee, local craft beers and one of the best weekend brunches in San Juan. Frequent performance nights ranging from jazz to theater, circus arts, film festivals, comedy, magic and more...
- Two blocks to the left on Ponce de Leon has the San Jorge Hotel and Restaurant (local breakfast and lunch on weekdays), Zal Si Puedes (Escape if you Can in local slang) gay bar with drag queens on weekend nights and a cellphone store. Our guests are welcome to use the coin-laundry in the Hotel San Jorge or use the front desk to book tours and rental cars.
- Two blocks to the right on Ponce de Leon is Calle del Parque. On the way you'll pass La Nueva Escalera for great drinks and loud Dominican music, you'll see the alley where Johnny Depp filmed some of the last scenes in The Rum Diary, Godfather II Restaurant and the bus stop to Old San Juan. Look for Subway and the recently renovated Francisco Arriví Theater.
Turn left on Calle Del Parque and there is also the intimate El Josco cabaret theater and Victoria Espinosa experimental theater. You'll also find El Taco and Cafe del Parque restaurants. Further down the street is La Respuesta Arts Space which features arts performances, exhibitions or becomes a nightclub featuring different bands or themes each night.
- Back on Ponce de Leon,you'll see Mas Café, Santurce Discount and Libros AC Bookstore and Bistro. Across the street is the plaza for Ciudadela with Pueblo supermarket, pharmacy and food court plus Planet Fitness and Yolo Restaurant.
- Just past Cuidadela is DondeSea food truck, Arturos Restaurant, Naturalismo Vegetarian Cafeteria, another Subway and the entrance to La Girafa Verde - our 'open minded' disco.
A few steps more is the corner of Ponce de Leon and De Diego Avenue and Farmacia Luis. This is the traditional center of Santurce's Arts District. In the 1960's this was called the 'Times Square' of San Juan. Today, it is re-emerging as the center of the Arts District and there are new restaurants, shops, clubs and nightlife opening all the time.
- If you take a right turn on De Diego Avenue, its a 5 minute walk to the Puerto Rico Museum of Art (MAPR) with its intimate Raul Julia Theater and Laurel Kitchen|Art Space Restaurant by celebrity chef Mario Pagan (The Next Iron Chef). Along the way, you'll see Tia Maria (neighborhood gay bar), Mumbai Indian Restaurant, Basico Healthy Kitchen, Hacienda San Pedro (local coffee plantation's coffee-house), BarriO restaurant, Gia Pizzaria, Café de Paris for some of San Juan's best French food and El Meson for typical Puerto Rican pressed sandwiches and great coffee.
- If you continue down Ponce de Leon, it is only a 3 minute walk to San Juan’s Fine Arts Center (Centro de Bellas Artes) with 4 theaters ranging from cabaret & experimental spaces to large theaters suitable for Broadway musicals, opera or concerts. The new Symphony Hall is just across the large plaza and home to the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra.
- Five more minutes walk brings you past Levels Disco, 3XMan Boutique, La Hoya Eco-bar, Central High School and the Big Blue Church. The street across from the Big Blue Church as Ruben's 24 hour restaurant and the street to Plaza Del Mercado.
- Plaza del Mercado (15 min walk or short bus ride): Santurce's historic market has many popular restaurants that surround the traditional Puerto Rican vegetable/fruit/spice vendors. On Thursday and Friday nights there is a very popular 'happening' here where young hip executive types hang out, listen to music, drink and eat inexpensive Puerto Rican 'street-food' (you can also dine at the more traditional restaurants.
- A little further on Ponce de Leon takes you to the Metro Theater and Museum of Contemporary Art.
The MetroBus M3 runs along Ponce de Leon Avenue from Old San Juan to the Tren Urban stop at Sagrado Corazon. Bus costs 50 cents - exact change required.
Busses start about 5:30 am and run until about 11:30pm. During weekdays, service is about every 10-15 minutes - slower on weekends and holidays.
Old San Juan takes about 15 minutes on the M3. Get the bus one block away opposite Godfather Restaurant.
Tren Urbano is only two stops in the other direction. Get the bus just at the end of our block. At the Urban Train you can change for the elevated train for the Coliseum, Rio Piedras Shopping, University of Puerto Rico, Centro Medico, Bayamón’s Sports Center or Bayamon Pueblo (town center).
Plaza Las Americas can be reached with the Metrobus 2. This bus runs about every 45 minutes and runs through the Hato Rey Business District before turning and running along Roosevelt Avenue to Plaza Las Americas – the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean. This bus is .75 exact change and stops at the corner of our block.
A taxi from the airport is approximately $20 -$22 one way depending on luggage and how much you tip.
PARKING: There is street parking outside the house. If no space is available - just move the orange cone in front of my garage and park there.
Note: like any big city - there can be 'smash and grab' situations - especially if people have GPS or leave items in the car. This happens all over San Juan, so its nothing special in this area, but it can ruin a day of vacation if you have to deal with reports/insurance, etc.
Ocean Park Beach: The best beach in San Juan is a 15 minute walk to “Parque del Indio” that divides Condado from Ocean Park. You can rent beach chairs/umbrellas - but there are no public changing facilities or bathrooms on this beach.
Escambrón Beach: You can also take the Metrobus #3 and get off near the Caribé Hilton at Parque Munoz Marin for Escambrón Beach which has rest rooms, changing facilities, food vendors and is very popular with families. It is also has San Juan’s best surfing at ‘El Ocho’ when the surf’s up! The bus ride takes about 15 minutes and then there is about a 7 minute walk through the park to the beach.
Isla Verde Beaches: You can also take the T5 bus by the Museum of Art to Isla Verde Beaches.
We provide beach towels and usually have some sun screen that other guests have left.
Banks: ATM (ATH in Puerto Rico) - There are two bank machines on Calle del Parque - just 2 blocks from the casita. Both accept major networks, but if you want to check on any fees, they are First Bank of Puerto Rico and BBVA (Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentina). There is also a Banco Popular branch with ATM at the corner of Ponce de Leon and De Diego Avenue.
Nightlife: The nightclub scene is constantly changing and like most major cities - what is hot today is 'not' tomorrow. However, here are some of the current favorites:
- La Respuesta is an arts space/disco/club featured in the NYTimes last year and still very popular with the young, hip, crowd. (2 blocks away).
- The Plan B is a pizzaria in the evening and turns into San Juan's favorite dance club at night. This area on Loiza Street in 'downtown condado' is emerging with lots of small pop-up clubs that can be interesting. (5 blocks away).
- Tia Maria is Santurce's neighborhood gay bar (4 bocks away).
- Zal Si Puedes is an intimate gay bar in the Hotel San Jorge with drag queens on weekends.
- La Girafa Verde (green giraffe) is our new 'open minded' disco. Rooftop lounge and terrace and second floor disco.
- Levels Disco - across from Fine Arts - open for special parties.
- El Local is a small but very popular club near the Fine Arts Center. Follow the street by the giant Lizard mural down the hill to the stop light. Turn right and look for the storefront.
-Plaza del Mercado bars/street party on Thurs & Friday but also good on Sat and Sunday. (10 blocks away).
- Abracadabra - on the corner has Jazz every Friday night and often has theater or other performances on Wed or Thurs nights.
NATURE ALERT: The house has a very open design that encourages open doors and windows. There may be small lizards in the courtyard (we like them - they're cute and they eat mosquitoes). Small birds and hummingbirds are common. If you're lucky, you'll see a 'coqui' tree frog. Mosquitoes blow in when the wind comes from the lagoons during rainy weather (we provide spay and have screens on the bedroom door/windows).
You have your own private suite on the second floor with private use of front balcony and back deck. There is a dining room on the second floor landing which you have full use of... Guests for the penthouse suite pass through this area on the way upstairs but don't use the dining room area - they have the full top floor to themselves.
Interaction with Guests
My office for hotel/tourism consulting is located in the museum on the ground floor of the building - so I'm available if you need anything from about 9am - 9pm most days. Other times I'm just a phone call or text away.
NOTE FOR JULY BOOKINGS: We are only accepting monthly rentals in July 2015, If you can stay for the entire month (plus up til Aug 4th at no extra cost) then you can get a great rate while our manager and housekeeper are on vacation. You will have to arrive prior to July 4th so that we can provide orientation on the house and neighborhood.
We are located in San Juan's Art & Culture of Santurce - just across the highway from the Condado and Ocean Park tourist.beach area.
Bus to Old San Juan stops on the corner. 50 cents exact change each way (although they may increase to 75 cents soon). Bus runs about every 15 minutes form 5:30am to 11:30pm and takes about 15-20 minutes into the Old City depending on traffic and stops.
Other Things to Note
Puerto Rico Tourism Company Hotelier ID: (phone number hidden). We not have included 7% Tourism Tax in all rates.
JULY SPECIAL - I'll be traveling in July 2014 so the house will not be available for regular bookings. However, if you are an experienced AirBnb guest or host and would like to stay for the month - you can get a fantastic 'house-sitter' rate in exchange for watering plants and reporting any problems to our handyman.
Minimum Booking 3 nights.
Photo Identification required on check-in (I'll make a photocopy).
CRITICAL HOUSE RULE: Airconditioning can not be used with windows and/or doors open.
This seems like common sense, but guests who are used to central air conditioning have gone off for the day leaving airco at full blast with bedroom doors open.
This not only costs a lot of money, it can easily overheat and break the airco units.
No wild parties without prior approval.
Our stay was amazing! The place was awesome- lots of character and a homestyle feel. Richard did a great job of making us feel at home and made our stay with a tour of the area and great suggestions for places to go and things to do. The location is great- accessible to public transportation and also has street parking if you have a car. The neighborhood has a local feel- The sunday evening salsa block party at the Plaza del Mercado was fun! (Monday happened to be a holiday.) Another place nearby had salsa lessons for the locals on Tuesday.
I've used AirBnb quite a lot now, and Richard was quite simply the best host I've ever had by a long way! This apartment is lovely, in a fantastic location with easy parking, but the outstanding feature of this listing is Richard himself. Richard gave such clear communication and even took us on a walking tour around the neighbourhood, pointing out the best places to eat and drink, giving funny stories about some parts and interesting history about others. He was relaxed, and I feel he matched our desired pace rather than forced anything on us. He has also thought of all the details: with sunscreen, after sun, bug spray, bite cream, nice teas and coffee, beach towels and all sorts of other conveniences freely available for your use. I was also unsure about the benefit of staying in this part of town, but it is simply the best area, and where you'll be able to mix with the locals away from the majority of tourists. Amazing, and simply the best!
Would buy again!!!
The place is amazing. No complaints; the unit was clean, spacious and private. The kitchen was plentiful, If I needed it, it was there, did I mention the French Press?!
Richard is the host with the most. I don't think there is any problem you could ever have that Richard hasn't already solved for you ahead of time. He's a wealth of knowledge and we took full advantage of all it. Thanks for adding to our trip, you (& your palace) truly made it better.
Richard was a very welcoming host! He also was responsive and saved us when my boyfriend and I decided very last minute to take a short trip to Puerto Rico, we booked the same morning as check-in! He let us come by and leave our luggage in the lobby before check in time so that we could start exploring San Juan and also helped us out by doing the same on our last day!
The accommodations themselves were beautiful, spacious and very clean. The 2nd floor unit had a full kitchen and two huge private decks. The open-air layout was perfect to enjoy the year-round great weather of PR.
Richard gave us a tour of the neighborhood and also gave us some printed directions to the beach and some shopping nearby. He has a whole collection of beach essentials that he allows his guests to use, which was super helpful for less prepared guests like us.
I personally loved San Juan and next time I visit, I will be sure to book a nice long stay with Richard as 2 days just wasn't enough!
Richard was an amazing host. I honestly cannot say enough good things about our experience. We feel that we got so much more than just a clean, comfortable and safe place to lay our heads. First off, Richard is very knowledgeable about the area. He gave us a walking tour after getting settled. Because of that, we felt confident during our travels throughout the neighborhood and didn't have to worry about getting lost or how to find the nearest grocery store. He was always easy to reach if we needed anything, even if it was just a suggestion on where the best place to party was that night. We had complete privacy and felt very much like the place was ours even though there were guests on the other two levels. Aside from the band next door playing their music occasionally (which we kind of liked), it was completely quiet and peaceful. The AC in the bedroom and living room were wonderful to have and worked perfectly. The linens were crispy clean, I felt like I was laying in sheets I had laundered myself. The kitchen was fully equipped. The balconies on ALL sides of the unit were outstanding. The coffee service provided downstairs was fully stocked and kept so neat and tidy. The towels and bags and other beach supplies were perfect. There isn't anything he hasn't thought of. And he has a friendly and easy going way about him that is very welcoming. The neighborhood is indeed "rough around the edges" and we loved it. After spending a day in Old San Juan near the cruise ship ports we couldn't wait to get back to "our" neighborhood. If you really want to immerse yourself in Puerto Rican culture I'd say this is THE place to go.
We spent three nights in Richard's 2nd-floor suite and had a wonderful time. He was very easy to communicate with him prior to the trip and provided us with detailed information to give us a sense of the area and things we might like to do while in town. Once we arrived, he graciously took us on a walking tour and pointed out places we could eat as well as things to do. Everything he recommended that we tried was wonderful. We enjoyed going to the Plaza Del Marcado, Jose Enrique's restaurant, Hacienda San Pedro coffee house, Abracadabra's for brunch, and Old San Juan. His home is spectacular and visiting his Santos museum was an added bonus. If you are looking to experience San Juan from more of a local's perspective then a tourist's, this is the place to be. It was quite hot and muggy while we were there, but the room air conditioner kept us comfortable at night. The bed is so comfortable that we slept in longer than we had intended to each morning. We hope to return to San Juan and stay in Richard's home again.
Richard was an amazing host and was extremely helpful and accommodating to myself and my daughter. We were traveling for our respective birthdays and had been planning this trip for a very long time. I wanted it to be something special and it most certainly was. Richard took us on day one on a tour of our near neighborhood and gave us recommendations on where to go and what to see. If we planned a longer day trip outside of Santurce, he would make sure we had directions and maps. The suite we stayed in...wow, I can't say enough. Beautiful, amazing, comfortable. Much more beautiful than in the pictures. No words. I loved it here, I will definitely be staying again.
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Living in San Juan for 15 years.
Originally from Connecticut, but lived in New York City for many years working in the travel industry and helping develop early online travel applications including Travelocity.
After the 'internet bubble' I moved to the small Caribbean island of Saba and ran a boutique hotel with my Saban cousins on one of the most amazing islands in the world.
My years on Saba were the most amazing experiences and a true 'Don't Stop the Carnival' lifestyle. When Hurricane "Geroges" destroyed the hotel I decided to combine online marketing and hotel operations experience and move to Puerto Rico to work as a tourism consultant. Clients included the Caribbean Hotel Association, Caribbean Tourism Organization plus hotels and resorts throughout the Caribbean, Mexico, South America, Asia and Europe.
Travel extensively in the Caribbean for work, all over the globe for fun - but always glad to come home to San Juan!