Caribbean’s Ultimate Shopping Destination

By Yelitza Yvette Santiago
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No matter which direction you go for sightseeing in Puerto Rico, this 100 x 35 mile isle offers its visitors amazing shopping sprees. If you are travelling north, south, east, or west there will always be a shopping center or U.S. style strip mall to buy what you like, what you have always dreamt of owning, keepsakes, or souvenirs of your visit to the Island of Enchantment.


If visiting or staying in swanky San Juan, Puerto Rico’s capital city, and its picture-perfect beaches, rich culture and heat have taken their toll and it’s time for an escape, you must visit Plaza las Americas, the largest mall in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean that has more than 300 stores including a Macy’s, the largest JCPenney in the chain, a 327,000 square-foot Sears and Sears Brand Central and a 40,000 square-foot Forever 21, among other stores.

It is about 5 miles from Old San Juan’s cruise ship terminals, Luis Muñoz Marin (LMM) airport, and most of the major hotels in the city. Plaza, as it’s referred to by the locals, has the largest permanent taxi stand on the island outside from the one located at LMM airport. At Plaza las Americas, visitors can buy renowned brand names as well as Puerto Rican handicrafts to local agricultural products. Every visit here is unique, in a pleasant setting complemented by music and entertainment; since this mall boasts a large selection of merchandise perfect for the entire family that is well-suited to multiple lifestyles.  

Visitors can enjoy special savings by obtaining Plaza las Americas’ Discount Coupon Booklet at the Concierge Service Center. Just present your hotel room key and a valid ID to get savings at over 100 stores.

During your trek through Plaza las Americas you should visit Ricardo Alegria’s Cultural Hall where you can buy stylish local handicrafts. If you visit on the weekend you can take advantage of buying and tasting local produce at the Farmer’s Market at Plaza. In its more than 300 shops customers will find everything domestic brands as well as many well-known international brands like Carolina Herrera and Hugo Boss to Michael Kors to Fossil. There is also David Yurman, Zara, Victoria’s Secret, Sports Authority, Sephora, White House Black Market, among others. In some of the stores you can buy luxury brands such as Tiffany, Coach, and Rolex and enjoy the convenience of a 13-screen movie theater, more than 40 dining alternatives at La Terraza Food Court and other sit-down, full-service restaurants like PF Chang’s China Bistro, The Cheesecake Factory, Tierra del Fuego, Macaroni Grill, and Applebee’s to banks, healthcare offices and a post office.

Plaza las Americas receives over 25 million visitors annually and it’s always renewing itself to satisfy the discerning tastes and needs of its customers. It’s no wonder that international celebrities choose to make presentations there or simply do their shopping. There are a number of events held yearly and this remarkable mall has won plenty of awards and recognitions.

Plaza las Americas’ customers not only can enjoy an action-packed day of shopping, they can also enjoy themselves at nearby off-site venues. Just minutes away is the historic Old City and its blue cobblestone streets and colorful colonial houses, the Puerto Rico Convention Center; and sports and concert arenas Jose Miguel Agrelot Coliseum of Puerto Rico, Roberto Clemente Coliseum and Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

The newest and most arguably the ritziest shopping center is the Mall of San Juan, a place to discover the latest fashions, enjoy spectacular views from the roof-top terrace and indulge in little guilt-free retail-therapy.

It showcases the only Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue in Puerto Rico as well as upscale shops and restaurants, there is something for everyone to enjoy, from the extraordinary to the everyday, with a children’s Play Area to boot.

If you plan your sightseeing quest up north to visit attractions like the Camuy River Cave Park, the Arecibo Lighthouse, Cueva Ventana, the Arecibo Observatory or the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park in Utuado, you must stop at Puerto Rico Premium Outlets, located in the town of Barceloneta, approximately 45 minutes from San Juan on Expressway 22.

Its 90 designer and name brand outlet stores provides for a perfect day out to shop for huge deals and quality name brands while taking in the surrounding vistas at this impressive outdoor, village-style outlet mall designed with bright tropical colors, perfect grassy lawns making it a destination shopping center unlike any other in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean.

Its outlet stores include Ann Taylor Factory Store, Armani Exchange, BCBG Maxazria, Calvin Klein, Coach, Disney Store Outlet, Guess, Kenneth Cole, Kipling, Michael Kors, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Tommy Hilfiger.

Puerto Rico Premium Outlets also provides a VIP Shopper Club, where members enjoy multiple benefits year round like exclusive discount coupons as well as special offers at local off-site attractions too.

The outlet mall delivers shopping packages and group tours by visiting The group tour is an excellent way to get to know the shopping center; the tours are coordinated by filling out an online questionnaire and at the Information Center visitors receive a complementary VIP Coupon book along with extra discounts.

After a great shopping day, you can satisfy your palate at one of Puerto Rico Premium Outlets delightful dining options. You can enjoy a quick bite at our Food Court or visit one of our sit down locations such as Chili’s Grill & Bar, Ponderosa Steakhouse, Metropol, IHOP, Cold Stone Creamery, and Olive Garden.

Puerto Rico Premium Outlets also offers its customers services such as stroller rental, wheel chairs, and a children’s playground as well as valet parking from Friday to Sunday.

Planning to explore the southern coast of Puerto Rico to visit Ponce where the Caribbean sun is most potent and is the home to tourist attractions like La Guancha, the Ponce Museum of Art, Serralles Castle, and the most notable firehouse called Parque de Bombas among others; well you should also schedule in a visit to Plaza del Caribe.

Founded in 1992 it became the first shopping center with the most diversity of stores in the south. It is also home to the second Macy’s store on the island, after the one at Plaza las Americas. There are a lot of reasons that make Plaza del Caribe the ideal place to shop until you drop like its four casual dining restaurants and over a dozen fast food venues; all of which comprise its more than 130 stores, 10-screen movie theater, a spacious parking lot as well as an activities program that reflects the cultural richness of the region.

Plaza del Caribe provides outstanding shopping, culinary, and entertainment for the whole family. It also has an area to buy handicraft and local trinkets and a local Farmer’s Market that sells fruits, vegetables, coffee, flowers and artisan products, among others.

Besides boasting a variety of women’s, men’s and children’s retail stores, this southern shopping haven also has shoe, accessories, jewelry and home goods shops, as well as venues that sell unique and exclusive products. Monthly events are part of the entertainment at Plaza del Caribe such as Music Sunset, held every third Thursday of the month as well as other activities to provide customers with a comfortable and enjoyable shopping experience.

Its 23 year history and catchy slogan “You got it all” has helped Plaza del Caribe features over 140 stores with plenty more to come onboard like Alex and Ani and Vans. Kids’ projects integrating art and gastronomy are also in the works. Among new customers’ favorite stops is the Customer Service Center so they can get informed on what is happening at the shopping center and acquire a tourist card full of discounts and offers at participating stores as well as a cool welcome gift.

After the stopover at the Center, customers proceed to visit Macy’s, Starbucks, Zara, House of Hoops, Fly Zone, Forever 21, Victoria’s Secret, Bath and Body Works. To the list you can include: JCPenney, Sears, Express, Tous, Reinhold Jewelers, among others. Plaza del Caribe’s culinary offer is found at the Terraza Del Caribe.

Plaza del Caribe’s most recent expansion and renovations of its interior and main entrances helped it attain recognition; two famous Puerto Rican artists, Antonio Martorell and Wichie Torres, were appointed to design the new medallions that currently embellish the mall’s Central Atrium.

If travelling to the eastern coast of Puerto Rico on your way to El Yunque Rain Forest, Luquillo beach, the Fajardo marinas or the beautiful municipalities of Vieques and Culebra where its crystalline waters are true natural wonders, you will discover two remarkable shopping malls on your way, Plaza Carolina and The Outlet at route 66, which is located in the town of Canovanas and named after the road that takes you there.

With a new facade and a contemporary architectural style inspired by Isla Verde’s “beachy” atmosphere, visitors love the tropical Caribbean feel found at Plaza Carolina shopping mall.

It first opened its doors in 1978 in the town of Carolina, becoming the first regional commercial center in the northeast and the second largest mall on the island. Plaza Carolina is conveniently located near beautiful golf courses in the neighboring municipalities of Rio Grande and Fajardo. So it’s easy to fit in shopping and a round of golf all in one day.

Plaza Carolina has more 250 stores and restaurants. Only 15 minutes away from Luis Muñoz Marin Airport and from Isla Verde’s main hotels, Plaza Carolina is a perfect stop for visitors in search of a great shopping experience.

At The Outlet at route 66 you will discover stores like Nautica, Perry Ellis, Polo Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, Van Heusen, Kenneth Cole Outlet, BCBG Maxazria, Tommy Hilfiger, Guess, and many more. Its spacious and beautiful architectural design features glass ceilings at its food court that makes it an ideal spot to recharge your energy to continue your sightseer venture.

If visiting the west coast, there too are plenty of fascinating sites to visit. For example, in the town of Quebradillas there is the Guajataca Tunnel, an old railroad tunnel that connected the town of Isabela and Quebradillas in 1906; the Aguadilla Ice Skating Rink, Las Cascadas Water Park, Mayaguez Zoo, the Porta del Sol beaches of Rincon and Cabo Rojo, the bioluminescent bay at La Parguera in Lajas and you can’t forget to visit the Mayaguez Mall. 

The third largest shopping center in Puerto Rico, the Mayaguez Mall is home to stores like Sears, JC Penney, Wal-Mart, Marshalls as well as Clarks, Gordon’s, Sony Style, Totto, among plenty of others. Besides featuring a supermarket, it has Chili’s and Romano’s Macaroni Grill restaurants, just to mention a few. Mayaguez Mall is one of the most important shopping centers in the area since its opening in 1972 and it’s a place where visitors stop to assess what the west has to offer in a family environment.

But that’s not all the shopping Puerto Rico has to offer, there are plenty of smaller malls and strip malls as well as three additional must visit shopping districts: Old San Juan, Condado, and Isla Verde.

There are many U.S. style malls island-wide. In San Juan there also is the Montehiedra, El Señorial, San Patricio Plaza, Forest Hills Plaza, Los Paseos, Plaza Rio Hondo, Santa Rosa Mall and Plaza del Sol in Bayamon. And there’s Plaza del Norte in Hatillo, Centro Gran Caribe in Vega Alta, and Aguadilla Mall. Also, Puerto Rico is full of small strip malls found almost at every corner most with food court selections, movie theaters and mega stores like Walmart, Kmart, Bed Bath & Beyond and Sam’s Club anchoring them.

Old San Juan may be the perfect place to get to know the island’s historic and cultural district with notorious tourist attractions like San Cristobal Fort, San Felipe del Morro Castle, La Fortaleza, and Paseo de la Princesa.

However the Old City has a diverse blend of free-standing stores that offer artisan handicrafts, antiques, collectible art, designer clothing, souvenirs, custom jewelry, and leather goods. It is home to a number of factory outlet stores, such as Guess, Tommy Hilfiger, Burberry and Ralph Lauren.

On weekends, you will find artisans selling their pieces in and around the Old City’s beautiful and historic plazas. The area is chockfull of craft shops but some collections sold are more fine art than souvenir.

And best of all is that while you shop and walk along the cobblestone streets, you’ll find the best places to eat while sipping the best Piña Colada in town.

And don’t forget to visit one of the popular artisanal coffee shops where you can taste unique varieties of world famous Puerto Rican coffee.

Old San Juan is also one of the best places to buy jewelry, for variety, quality, reliability and price. Club Jibarito, whose flagship store, located on Cristo Street offers a wide array of elite brands and specialized services to its posh clientele.
In Condado, Ashford Avenue runs from casual to ultra-elegant, mixing everything from top trendy designer boutiques to jewelry boutiques to art galleries. So it’s worth taking a stroll down Puerto Rico’s ocean side drive to take a break from the sun. The shops are intertwined along the beachfront strip besides its restaurants, bars, cafes and public spaces.

The pinnacle of chic shopping here is across from the Windows on the Sea Park, with a row of striking modern boutiques by Gucci, Montblanc, Cartier, Salvatore Ferragamo, and others that feels like a piece of Fifth Avenue.

Periodic Farmer’s Market and Urban Bazaars are held at the park on weekend afternoons, and the rest of Ashford Avenue is a string of several surf shops, fashion boutiques, craft and souvenir emporiums, food shops and jewelry stores.

Isla Verde also has fine shops running along its ocean side drive, Isla Verde Avenue. Some of the best boutiques, however, are found in its hotels, particularly at El San Juan Resort & Casino. Puerto Rico may be known for its beautiful beaches, fun in the sun, quiet countryside, sizzling nightlife and awesome food but you are also guaranteed to have a world-class shopping experience!

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