The Ocean Park district of San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital, has gone from has-been to happening hub, and is now home to new yoga studios, vintage shops and trendy restaurants and bars
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Old San Juan is a visual delight, with narrow hilly streets of blue cobblestones lined with brightly coloured 16th- and 17th-century buildings, mostly within the old city walls, behind the forts of San Felipe and San Cristóbal. Its churches and palaces are mostly interspersed with tacky gift shops aimed at the thousands of cruise-ship visitors who descend every year but, never fear, there’s lots of authentic Puerto Rican life close by.
The Atlantic-facing beaches east of the centre mostly feature high-rise hotels and condos, but pretty Ocean Park (take bus 52 from the station behind Plaza Colón) is an exception. And its grid of leafy streets and low-rise houses just happens to be home to San Juan’s most happening street: Calle Loíza. Once San Juan’s main shopping venue, it fell into decline in the 1950s with the arrival of US supermarket chains. But this summer things started looking up and it is now home to yoga studios, vintage shops and a huge choice of restaurants and bars. In a tropical downpour, I sheltered in the doorway of La Cueva del Mar at no 1857 and was invited in by a friendly waitress. I sat at the bar for a banging mojito and the best fish taco I’ve ever tasted.