By Laura Nazario

Photos: Supplied

Puerto Rico is a shopping paradise—a claim confirmed by visiting tourists and residents of nearby Caribbean islands who travel solely to purchase many products here. Our reputation as an excellent shopping destination derives from the fact that in Puerto Rico you will find commercial venues for all tastes and budgets: department stores, exclusive and elegant boutiques, discount stores, specialty shops, and handicrafts stores, among many others.p-114-foto-suministrada

Old San Juan is one of our main shopping areas. Along its streets are many jewelry stores that sell beautiful watches and dazzling jewels that constitute an excellent investment. You will also find charming local handicrafts in many stores, as well as near and along Paseo La Princesa on weekednd and certain holidays. The old city is also home to numerous art galleries, shops selling Puerto Rico souvenirs, and businesses specializing in Caribbean-style clothing, accessories, and colorful decorative items.

Tourists who come to Old San Juan combine shopping with visits to historical monuments and museums as well as with leisurely strolls along the cobblestone streets and colonial squares—while also discovering the delicacies served at the many restaurants and cafes in the area and cooling down with a refreshing piragua (shaved ice covered with tropical fruit syrup). Puerto Rico has a considerable amount of shopping centers. The new and exclusive The Mall of San Juan (787-759-6310, www.themallofsanjuan.com/shopping) — conveniently located just minutes from the airport, across the Teodoro Moscoso Bridge—is ideal for visitors. This luxurious shopping center is characterized by its selection of top-name retailers and designer boutiques. The mall also has great eateries. Go to the Customer Services counter (located on the first floor) and request a Shopping Passport, a booklet with discount coupons available to people who live more than 50 miles away from the mall.

p-114-pr-tourism-coMany people who come to Puerto Rico don’t miss the chance to go to Plaza Las Américas (787-767-5202, www.plazalasamericas.com, the largest mall in the Caribbean. Located in Hato Rey and featuring more than 300 shops, this mall offers virtually unlimited shopping and entertainment opportunities as it has department stores, boutiques, specialty shops, a beauty salon, a pharmacy, a supermarket, banks, movie theaters, restaurants, and even a branch of the U.S. post office!

If you want to visit an outlet mall featuring brand discount stores there are two great alternatives: The Outlet at Route 66 (787-256-7040, www.theoutletmall66.com) in the town of Canóvanas on the northeastern part of the island, and Puerto Rico Premium Outlets (787-846-5344, www.premiumoutlets.com) in Barceloneta, located in the northern region. The latter will give you a free VIP Coupon Book when you sign up in their website’s VIP Club section.

For additional information on the many shopping opportunities through our island, go to: www.seepuertorico.com/en/experiences/lifestyle/shopping/. You can also check out the list in the Shopping section.