Culebra Artisans, TDA
- Old San Juan, Malls, Outlet Malls
- By: Bonnie Doyle
Whether you’re thinking of a few souvenirs or looking to drop some serious change, you’re in the right spot. From American-style mega malls and high-end boutiques, jewelry stores and galleries, to quaint plaza markets and roadside stands, just about anything you’re looking for, and then some, awaits you.
Start with some casual browsing along Old San Juan’s cobblestone streets to take in the intriguing array of exotic shops, factory outlet stores and galleries that display everything from fine jewelry, eye-catching tropical fashions and unique souvenirs, to fine leather goods, china, books, music and local handicrafts. For some high-end shopping, Condado and Isla Verde step forward with their exclusive boutiques and upscale specialty shops that line the avenues and major hotels. Featuring designer shoes and clothing, custom-made jewelry, sophisticated furnishings and top-of-the-line beachwear, these retailers cater to every whim imaginable.
Large-scale malls pepper the Island, with each featuring at least one major U.S. department store and a number of familiar stateside retail chains. Plaza Las Américas, only minutes from Old San Juan, Condado, and Isla Verde, takes the prize as the Caribbean’s largest shopping mall, featuring over 300 stores and a wide selection of eateries and cinemas. When your mood changes to something with a truly local flair, seek out the typical plaza markets and roadside kiosks in almost every town. Fresh tropical produce, juices, colorful hammocks, live birds and other exotic items are to be had at extremely reasonable prices. Those “perfect somethings” for family and friends include hand-carved religious figurines, carnival masks, handmade lace items, hand-rolled cigars and locally produced rum.
And if you’re looking for some great bargains on internationally known brands while away from home, Puerto Rico’s outlet malls vie as popular getaways for locals and tourists alike. Prime Retail Outlet and Belz Factory World, both offering a diverse mix of stores, eateries and theaters do not disappoint. You can shop for quality footwear at discount prices from Stride Rite, Bostonian, Clarks, Bass, Timberland, Reebok, and Nike, or load up on fashions for the whole family by famous makers such as Liz Claiborne, Bora Bora, DKNY, Guess, Geoffrey Beene, IZOD, Polo Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Brooks Brothers, Van Heusen, Gap, and Big Dog. Both outlet malls also feature many locally owned stores including toy, gift, jewelry and accessories shops, as well as health and beauty, electronics, music and bookstores.
Prime Retail Outlet lies just off Route 22 at Exit 55 in Barceloneta, and Belz Factory World can be found on Route 3 in Canóvanas, only a short drive from the Luis Munoz International Airport and San Juan’s major hotels.