Visit the Lively Santurce Marketplace

San Juan is generally known to tourists as one of the oldest cities in Puerto Rico, and for its breathtaking harbor. Tourists and visitors flock to this magnificent city for its vast number of noteworthy sites and attractions such as the El Morro Fort, the San Juan Cathedral, Casino of Puerto Rico, Tapia Theatre and San Juan Museum of Art and History. But there are several hidden attractions that few tourists know about. One of these Puerto Rican gems is the Santurce Marketplace.

The Santurce Marketplace is located near Condado in the Plaza del Mercado, and is a twenty-minute bus ride away from Old San Juan. It has been in existence for as long as anyone can remember, so no-one is really able to pin-point exactly when the marketplace first began bustling. For an unusual Puerto Rican history lesson, the Santurce Marketplace is the perfect location. Here visitors discover the history of traditions, celebrations and culture, through taste, sight and smell. The marketplace is not limited to a few street vendors. It is a feast of sounds and activity, and its trade has been passed down through the centuries.

Usually the market is filled with a sea of local women who prefer to purchase their fruits and vegetables here. It is known for its farmers who bring in fresh produce every day, which is the first choice of residents. Over and above the vast variety of fruits and vegetables on sale, the market place is packed with stalls and small shops that sell everything from lace, wooden carvings and festival masks, to music albums, soap, flowers and local dishes. Visitors can also get a taste for the local cuisine in any of the restaurants surrounding the marketplace, but there is no better way to experience the local lifestyle than grabbing something to eat while fighting the throngs of shoppers and vendors. Stop by the Giant Bronze Avocadoes, a monument in the plaza, symbolic of the urban renewal movement in Santurce.

Even at night there is action in the Santurce Marketplace, and it seems to be one location in Puerto Rico that never sleeps. Once the stalls have closed and the street vendors have gone home for the day, the marketplace comes alive with music, dance and laughter, and the market transforms into a street party. This festive affair takes place on Thursday evenings, as well as Fridays and Saturday. From morning until the late night hours, the Santurce Marketplace is a cultural adventure.