Rain is a common occurrence on tropical islands, and usually blue skies return in a matter of minutes. But what do you do when your plans are dampened by the pouring rain?
Here are my favorite rainy day activities in the metro San Juan area of Puerto Rico. These indoor and covered activities are the perfect alternative when your San Juan Plans are rained out.
Walking Old San Juan
Buy an umbrella and explore the historic city of Viejo San Juan (aka, Old San Juan). There are plenty of things to see and explore, even on a rainy day. Designed for wet, rainy conditions, the old city is still a great rainy day option as long as you have sturdy shoes, an umbrella, and a spirit of adventure.
In light rain condition, the covered tram will still be running throughout the old city. This will usually provide enough coverage to help keep you dry on the various stops.
Castillo San Felipe del Morro Fort
The first stop on your tram ride should be the old Spanish forts, El Morro and San Crisobal. Castillo El Morro is the larger of the historic forts and contains a large indoor exhibit.
Once inside the main entrance of El Morro Fort, the exhibits are housed in the interior rooms, protected from the rain (and mid-day heat).
More information on exploring El Morro Fort.
Historic Churches of Old San Juan
Located within 200 meters along Calle del Cristo are San Juan Bautista Cathedral and San Jose Church.
Catedral Metropolitana Basílica de San Juan Bautista is the second oldest church in the Americas. Built in 1521 and rebuilt in 1540 after hurricane destruction, this historic church is still in use for tours, services, and even weddings! Featuring beautiful stain glass windows, impressive ceiling, and the tomb of city founder Ponce de Leon.
San Jose Church built in 1532 features one of the earliest examples of 16th century Spanish Gothic architecture that is still standing. The Ponce de Leon coat of arms is on display near the main alter and Ponce de Leon II (Grandson of Ponce de Leon) is buried in the crypt below the church sanctuary floor.
Museo del Las Americas
Located in old army barracks, learn about the history of early Tiano people and the cultural heritage of Puerto Rico.
Exhibit information is available in Spanish and English, with a variety of artifacts on display. The museum is a great activity for children, with kid-friendly dioramas and exhibits throughout the museum.
The Museo del las Americas is open six days a week (closed Mondays) with an adult admission price of $6 for the permanent collection and most of the temporary exhibits.
The majority of the museum is climate controlled indoors with a few larger pieces of the collection along the open air (covered) patios making this an ideal activity for a rainy (or brutally hot) day.
Anam Spa and Cocktail Lounge
Located next to the Parque Las Palomas (also referred to as the pigeon park), Anam Spa and Cocktail Lounge is a great spot for watching the cruise ships in port, as well as a covered escape from the rain.
Stop into Anam spa for a pedicure or massage while you wait out the rain. Complementary Sangria comes with spa services, or order one of the signature mojito cocktails from the bar. The ginger mojito is my favorite and will help you forget, or not care, about bad weather.
Museo de Arts Puerto Rico
The permanent collection at the Museum of Art features Puerto Rican art and artists work housed in 1920’s neoclassical building. The multi-level art gallery is well curated and specializes in a diverse collection of artist styles.
Located in the heart of San Juan, valet parking is available with more parking off-site. In a heavy rain downpour, have a taxi or Uber car drop you off at the front entrance to minimize the rain.
With large scale murals, paintings, sculpture, contemporary pop-art, modern art, impressionism, and the stained glass wall, there is something for every art lover in the gallery.
On a clear day, guests can also enjoy the outdoor garden complete with koi pond. Click here for more information about this beautiful museum and surrounding art pieces.
Did you know that gambling is legal in Puerto Rico? An nice escape from the rain (or extra hot days) is to visit one of the many casinos around the island.
Two of my favorite casinos are San Juan Marriott Resort & Stellaris Casino and Casino Del Mar both located in the neighborhood of Condado.
Casa Bacardi Tour
Casa Bacardi Rum distillery in Catano San Juan, Puerto Rico is a fun tour rain or shine.
Stay dry indoors while you learn about rum history and making rum in the Caribbean. Bacardi started in Cuba and relocated to the island of Puerto Rico in 1936, and moved to the current location across the Bahia de San Juan in 1958. Casa Bacardi can be seen from Old San Juan, but does require driving out of San Juan proper into the nearby suburb of Catano.
The tram is open air, so you may get a little wet under the covered roof of the tram. This may require waiting a few minutes between rain swells around the Bacardi property. The bat pavilion waiting area and the majority of the tour are covered, and this is a great tour even in light rain.
During the tour, you will learn the history of the Bacardi family and rum products, and finish with a stop at the gift shop before riding the tram back to the outdoor Bacardi Bat Bar Pavilion.
What are your favorite rainy day activities? Leave a comment below with your favorite, or any that I missed and should be added!