Where to stay in Puerto Rico without a car: 5 Best areas

I love to explore places without a car, and on my website, I cover many topics for car-free travelers. In this article, I will help you find the best places to stay in Puerto Rico without a car

I will share my recommendations for the top areas to stay in Puerto Rico (San Juan) without a car, along with a helpful map. I’ll also tell you where I stayed in Puerto Rico and suggest the best hotels in Puerto Rico for all budgets.

Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeastern Caribbean. It consists of the main island of Puerto Rico and several smaller islands.

San Juan is the capital and largest city of Puerto Rico. The official languages of Puerto Rico are Spanish and English. Puerto Rican culture is a blend of Taino, African, and Spanish influences. Salsa and reggaeton are popular music genres that originated in Puerto Rico.

Can I get around Puerto Rico without a car?

The best way to get around Puerto Rico is by car but it is possible to get around Puerto Rico without a car, especially if you stay in San Juan, the capital city. You can get around by walking, taxi, Uber, and the public bus Autoridad Metropolitana de Autobuses called AMA.

Ferries operate between the mainland and some smaller islands, such as Vieques and Culebra. This is a scenic and sometimes more relaxed way to travel between destinations.

Puerto Rico has several airports, with the main international airport being Luis Muñoz Marín in San Juan. Smaller airports are Mercedita International Airport and Rafael Hernández Airport. You can take domestic flights for traveling between different parts of the island. 

If you don’t want to rent a car for your entire stay, you can rent a car for specific day trips. Major car rental companies operate at the airports and in major cities.

Some hotels and resorts offer shuttle services or car services for their guests. You can check with your accommodation to see if they provide transportation options.

Where to stay in Puerto Rico without a car?

The best areas to stay in Puerto Rico without a car are Old San Juan, Condado, Santurce, Ocean Park, and Isla Verde. These are also the best places to stay in San Juan that offer easy access to attractions and amenities by taxi, Uber, and on foot.

If you prefer historic charm, Old San Juan is the best base. If you’re looking for a mix of modern amenities and beautiful beaches, Condado and Isla Verde are solid options. Santurce is a great choice for a more local and artsy experience. For a relaxed beach vibe, Ocean Park is a good fit.

During my trip to San Juan, I stayed for 5 nights at the AC Hotel by Marriott San Juan Condado. It was a great hotel within easy distance from the restaurants, shops, and the beaches. I had a clean room with comfortable beds. The pool was nice with many lounge chairs and tables around.

Below is a map of the popular areas in Puerto Rico for car-free travelers. You can scroll down to view the live map.

Map of the best areas to stay in Puerto Rico without a car
Map of the best areas to stay in Puerto Rico without a car

Let’s get into the details of the recommended areas to stay in Puerto Rico, especially for travelers without a car. I’ll provide you with some suggestions for the best places to stay in each area, catering to every budget. 

All hotels in Puerto Rico have been carefully selected by me, with guest review scores of at least 8.0 or higher at the time I chose them. If you don’t like my suggestions (perhaps they don’t suit your budget or preferences), you can click the “MORE HOTEL DEALS” button where you can choose your own hotel.

5 Best areas to stay in Puerto Rico without a car:

1. Old San Juan

Old San Juan is one of the best areas to stay in Puerto Rico without a car. It is the historic heart of the capital city of Puerto Rico, and it’s known for its charming cobblestone streets, colorful colonial buildings, and rich history. 

Old San Juan is a walkable area, and you can explore most of its attractions on foot. Public transportation and taxis are also available for getting around the city.

This area is filled with well-preserved Spanish colonial architecture. The historic forts, Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal, are UNESCO World Heritage Sites and offer stunning views of the ocean.

You can explore many cultural attractions, including museums, art galleries, and historic sites. Popular sights are the San Juan Cathedral, the Museo de las Américas, and the Paseo de la Princesa.

The narrow, winding streets of Old San Juan are paved with blue cobblestones and are lined with shops, cafes, and restaurants. It’s a great place to stroll around and soak in the atmosphere.

Old San Juan comes alive at night with a vibrant nightlife. You can find a variety of bars, clubs, and live music venues, especially along San Sebastian Street.

The area offers unique shopping opportunities, with boutique stores selling local crafts, art, and souvenirs. Calle Fortaleza and Calle Cristo are popular shopping streets.

While Old San Juan has a beautiful waterfront, it’s not known for its beaches. If easy beach access is a priority, you may need to travel to other nearby areas like Condado or Isla Verde for a day at the beach.

Old San Juan has a diverse culinary scene with a mix of traditional Puerto Rican cuisine and international influences. You’ll find restaurants ranging from casual eateries to fine dining establishments.

Best places to stay in PR in Old San Juan without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): Fortaleza Suites Old San Juan, great 4-star hotel centrally located on Fortaleza Street in the heart of Old San Juan. It is close to numerous restaurants, shops, The Pier 4, Marina Old San Juan, and Bautista Cathedral.  
  • Mid-range ($$): Hotel El Convento, popular 4-star accommodation located on Cristo Street, Old San Juan, 15 mins taxi/uber ride from Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport. It is also close to  many cruise ship piers, as well as museums and historic landmarks of San Juan.
  • Budget ($): CasaBlanca Hotel, 3-star hotel, located in the heart of San Juan, within walking distance from San Cristóbal Castle. You can easily find several restaurants nearby including Parrot Club, Aquaviva and Marmalade restaurants. It has a 24-hour front desk, family rooms, and a rooftop sundeck.

2. Condado

Condado is a popular area in Puerto Rico for car-free travelers. It is a vibrant neighborhood in San Juan known for its beautiful beaches, upscale hotels, lively atmosphere, and a mix of entertainment options. 

The soft, sandy shores are perfect for sunbathing, swimming, and water sports. The beaches are easily accessible from most hotels in the area.

This area boasts a range of upscale hotels and resorts, providing visitors with luxurious accommodations, ocean views, and various amenities.

You’ll find numerous restaurants serving both local and international dining options. Condado also has a vibrant nightlife with bars, lounges, and clubs where you can enjoy live music and entertainment.

Condado is home to high-end shops, boutiques, and designer stores. If you enjoy shopping, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to explore fashion, jewelry, and local crafts.

While Condado has a beachy feel, it also has an urban vibe with modern architecture and a cosmopolitan atmosphere. The streets are lined with palm trees, and the area is well-maintained and pedestrian-friendly.

Condado is located just a short drive from Old San Juan, making it easy to explore the historic sites, museums, and cultural attractions of the older part of the city.

Ashford Avenue, the main thoroughfare in Condado, features a waterfront promenade. It’s a popular spot for walking, jogging, or simply enjoying views of the ocean.

Condado is easily accessible from the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, and it’s well-connected to other parts of San Juan. Taxis and rideshare services are readily available.

Best places to stay in Puerto Rico in Condado without a car:

  • Luxury ($$$): Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, great 5-star beachfront hotel located in San Juan, within a short distance from Condado Lagoon. You can walk to the beach. Reasonable cost of taxis to Old San Juan.
  • Mid-range ($$): AC Hotel by Marriott San Juan Condado, popular 4-star hotel located on Ashford Avenue, close to everything, the beach, restaurants, bars, stores. It has an Outdoor swimming pool and onsite parking for those who drive. 
  • Budget ($): Avila Guesthouse, great 3-star guest house located in a quiet area within 10 mins walk from Museum of Art of Puerto Rico. It has free private parking, and air conditioning rooms with a well-equipped kitchen. 

3. Santurce

Santurce is a great base for those who appreciate art, culture, and a more local experience. It is a hub for the arts, with numerous galleries, street art installations, and cultural spaces. 

Santurce is easily accessible from other parts of San Juan, and transportation options such as buses and taxis are available. It’s also not far from popular attractions like Old San Juan.

You can explore the neighborhood and discover murals and graffiti that contribute to the area’s unique character. Santurce es Ley is an annual street art festival that has left a lasting impact on the area.

One of the popular spots in Santurce is La Placita de Santurce, a lively marketplace during the day that transforms into a vibrant nightlife hotspot in the evenings. It’s a great place to experience local culture, try traditional food, and enjoy live music.

Santurce has a diverse music scene, offering everything from live jazz to reggae. The neighborhood hosts various events and concerts, contributing to its dynamic and energetic ambiance.

You’ll find a mix of traditional Puerto Rican eateries, trendy cafes, and innovative restaurants in Santurce. The culinary scene is diverse, offering a range of dining experiences.

Best places to stay in Puerto Rico in Santurce without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): DoubleTree by Hilton San Juan, great 4-star hotel located short distance from attractions, casinos and beaches. Also close to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico Museum of Arts, and Plaza Las Americas Shopping Center. It offers a shuttle to the beach area, which is a bonus for travelers without a car.
  • Mid-range ($$): Posada Colonial Apartments, 2 star accommodation located within a 5 mins walk from Ocean Park Beach, offering paid airport shuttle services. 10 mins walk to a range of local and international restaurants.
  • Budget ($): Santurcia Hostel, great backpacker hostel located in San Juan within walking distance from Ocean Park Beach. Convenient location close to a 24 hour supermarket.

4. Ocean Park

Ocean Park is a laid-back residential neighborhood in San Juan, known for its beautiful beach, relaxed atmosphere, and a mix of local and expatriate communities. 

Ocean Park is home to a stretch of sandy beach along the Atlantic Ocean. The beach is a popular spot for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. It is known for its surfing spots, attracting both beginners and experienced surfers.

The neighborhood is pedestrian-friendly, and you can enjoy leisurely walks along the tree-lined streets. Many residents and visitors also use bikes to explore the area.

Ocean Park is conveniently located near popular areas like Condado and Isla Verde, making it easy to explore a variety of attractions, restaurants, and entertainment options.

Best places to stay in Puerto Rico in Ocean Park without a car:


5. Isla Verde

Isla Verde is a popular beachfront district in Carolina, just east of San Juan. Known for its beautiful beaches, upscale resorts, and lively atmosphere, Isla Verde is a sought-after destination for both tourists.

Isla Verde is famous for its pristine, wide sandy beaches with turquoise waters. It’s a fantastic destination for beach lovers, offering opportunities for sunbathing, swimming, water sports, and more.

The area is home to a range of upscale hotels and resorts, many of which offer beachfront locations. You can enjoy luxurious amenities, ocean views, and easy access to the beach.

Isla Verde has a vibrant nightlife scene with casinos, bars, and nightclubs. The area comes alive in the evenings, offering entertainment options for those looking to enjoy the nightlife.

Isla Verde is conveniently located near the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, making it easy for travelers to access the area without a lengthy commute.

The district offers shopping opportunities, including boutiques, souvenir shops, and malls. Plaza Las Américas, one of the largest shopping malls in the Caribbean, is also a short drive away.

Isla Verde is not far from Old San Juan, and you can easily visit the historic sites, museums, and cultural attractions of the older part of the city.

Best places to stay in Puerto Rico in Isla Verde without a car:

  • Mid-range ($$): Embassy Suites by Hilton San Juan – Hotel & Casino, great 4-star accommodation located on Tartak Street, easy distance from Isla Verde Beach. Close to  Old San Juan, San Juan cruise port, Mall of San Juan, and Plaza las Americas Mall.
  • Mid-range ($$): The Royal Sonesta San Juan, 4-star hotel located on Isla Verde Avenue, within walking distance to the beach, 15 mins taxi ride from colonial-era houses of Old San Juan. 
  • Budget ($): TRYP by Wyndham Isla Verde, popular 3-star hotel, in a convenient location, close to restaurants, local stores, and the airport.

In conclusion, Old San Juan, Condado, Santurce, Ocean Park, and Isla Verde are the best places to stay in Puerto Rico without a car. When staying in these areas, you can easily get around by using the combination of taxi, Uber, hotel’s shuttle service, and walking.

There you have it, my recommendations for the popular areas that you can stay during your car-free trip to Puerto Rico. I hope you found my article helpful and enjoy your holiday!

If you have any questions or would like to share your thoughts, please don’t hesitate to leave a comment below. Your feedback is invaluable and helps me continue to create more quality content.

About Author: Ocean Cameron

I'm Ocean, founder and main editor of travelhotelexpert.com. I’m a passionate traveler who specializes in uncovering the best hotels and locations in every city, especially for first-timers, all without the need for a car.

Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. This means that, at absolutely no additional cost to you, I'll earn a small commission if you click through and purchase something I've recommended. I only recommend products that I use myself or firmly believe in. Thank you!

Leave a Comment