San Juan is a shopaholic's dream destination. With unique souvenirs, fine local fashion designers, high-quality jewelry, all your favorite brand names, and even some excellent art, this city has got plenty to offer you. And that's not even including the rum! But where to go to get it? Here's your guide to where to go.
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Old San Juan
Shopaholics, you're in luck. The best tourist area in Puerto Rico is also home to some of its best shopping. Old San Juan has some beautiful historic monuments, fountains, museums and restaurants. And once you're done with all that, Old San Juan has plenty of shops specializing in jewelry and souvenirs. You'll also find good-quality clothing boutiques like Custo Barcelona, local product Lisa Cappalli, and Clubman, where you can get those cool Guayabera shirts (Guayaberas are loose-fitting, extremely comfortable, usually patterned shirts for men; they're perfect for the tropics). Shops are mainly concentrated on Cristo and Fortaleza Streets, but feel free to walk around and see what you can discover.
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Plaza Las Americas is the Caribbean’s mega-mall, dominating one end of the Hato Rey district of San Juan. Among its 300-plus stores, you can find anything from candles to cars, along with a plethora of restaurants and activities, including a movie theater and bowling. You'll also find a mix of international brands (Coach, Nine West, Macy's, etc.) and local names (Bared for jewelry, Arts and Crafts PR, and more). Plus, the sculptures and open spaces in the mall are quite pleasant.
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The Rodeo Drive of Puerto Rico, Condado's Ashford Avenue is lined with boutiques that cater to the more discerning tastes and wallets. Here are a few names and places to look out for:
- Nono Maldonado: One of the island's premier designers, Nono Maldonado has both made-to-measure and ready-to-wear clothing for men and women. His men’s linen shirts are a signature item. 1112 Ashford Avenue, 2A, 787-721-0456.
- 1054 Ashford Avenue: An ultra-exclusive mini shopping center featuring the most luxurious brands in the world, including Cartier, Louis Vuitton, and Ferragamo.
- Mademoiselle: A pleasant boutique specializing in ready-to-wear European brands, Mademoiselle offers pretty good value for the money. 787-728-7440, 1504 Ashford Avenue.
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With over 400,000 square feet of retail space, this branch of the Belz Outlet chain has the typical collection of name brands for less: Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Nike, Guess, and Reebok are among the stores you'll find here. It's not quite in San Juan, but it's a short trip away, in Canovanas. To get here, take Route 3 out of San Juan. You'll be there in less than an hour.