Plazas and Parks
Metropolitan San Juan has several modern parks with all the jogging trails and children’s playgrounds modern man (or woman) could want.
Aside from its long stretch of beach, Condado is mostly concrete and asphalt, but there are several very nice, compact parks there. Ventanas al Mar, Plaza Ancla, and Parque del Indio are all on the ocean side of Avenida Ashford, and although they’re primarily concrete, they feature excellent pieces of contemporary public art, benches for resting, and access to the water. Plaza Ancla has the added bonus of a terrific open-air restaurant, Barlovento, which has a full bar and serves Mediterranean cuisine.
Another waterside park between Condado and Miramar is Parque Laguna del Condado (by Dos Hermanos bridge). Having recently undergone a $500,000 renovation, the park features hiking, biking, and jogging trails that run along Condado Lagoon and has kayak rentals available.
Condado’s best park, though, is Parque Luchetti (between Calle Magdalena and Calle Luchetti at Calle Cervantes), a lovely oasis of quiet and lush green flora just two blocks away from the hubbub of Avenida Ashford. Shaded benches, flowering shrubs, palm trees, and public art make this the perfect spot to relax or picnic. One of the highlights is a whimsical bronze sculpture called Juan Bobo and the Basket. Created in 1991 by New Zealand artist Lindsay Daen, who made the more famous La Rogativa statue in Old San Juan, it’s inspired by a local fable.
Puerta de Tierra is a spot of land between Condado and Old San Juan that is home to Parque Luis Muñoz Rivera (between Ave. Ponce de León and Ave. Muñoz Rivera), another lovely green space that provides a welcome reprieve from the city’s urban atmosphere. Shady gardens, fountains, walking trails, a children’s play area, and the Peace Pavilion can be found in this 27-acre park.
Ocean Park’s Parque Barbosa (end of Calle McLeary) isn’t the prettiest or best-maintained park in San Juan, but it does have hiking, jogging, and bike paths. Its proximity to a large public-housing project may deter some visitors, but it’s the perfect place to park when visiting Ocean Park beach, which is right across the street.
Parque Luis Muñoz Marín (off Hwy. 18 between Ave. Jesús Piñero and Ave. F. D. Roosevelt, Wed.–Sun. and holidays) in Hato Rey is a modern 140-acre park with walking and bike trails, a children’s play area, golf practice grounds, an amphitheater, pavilions, and more.
© Suzanne Van Atten from Moon Puerto Rico, 2nd Edition