Telephone: +1 787 721 0303
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Alternatively call 1 877-GO-HILTON toll-free from US/Canada
The Caribe Hilton, made up of 17 acres of lush tropical gardens, is a beach front resort located between historic Old San Juan and the exciting Condado area. The Hotel is situated on a private peninsula, just 15 minutes from the local International Airport and nearby Business and Financial Districts. The bustling shopping malls and an array of San Juan restaurants offering a splendid choice of cuisine from all over the world are a mere 10 minutes drive from the hotel.
The Caribe Hilton opened in 1949, originally owned by the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico and managed by Hilton International. Selected to manage the hotel, this made Hilton the first international hotel brand, and also marked the birth Hilton International.
The opening of the then 300 room Caribe Hilton in 1949 had a great impact on architecture across the island. Through a competition, the selected architect chose a design of modern architectural expression versus the Spanish Revival design of his competitors. This architecture ultimately led to the international-style modernism that exists throughout the island today.
In 1954, the hotel would once again establish itself as a pioneer by inventing the world-renowned Piña Colada. Ramón “Monchito” Marrero, a bartender at the Beachcomber Bar at the Caribe Hilton, set out to capture the sunny, tropical flavor of Puerto Rico in a glass. Monchito spent three months perfecting his new cocktail, mixing and tasting hundreds of combinations until he hit on just the right blend of rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice. On August 15, 1954, the Piña Colada was born.
Through the years, the jewel of Puerto Rico’s tourism industry continued to make headlines, frequented by the elite and Hollywood’s jetsetters, and the site of great entertainment featuring performances by legendary entertainers. Throughout this time, the resort also grew from 300 rooms to 646 total sleeping rooms and suites.
In 1998, the hotel hit another milestone, at which time it was purchased by Hilton International, the chain that had operated the hotel for 49 years.
The years prior to the acquisition, the property suffered deterioration due to lack of funding. In order to meet customers’ expectations, Hilton International would have to make a significant investment into the restoration of the resort. In 1999, the hotel ceased operations and began a complete makeover. The renovation lasted a period of nine months and included the complete refurbishment of the mechanical and electrical systems, a full renovation of the hotel’s then 646 rooms, guest corridors, pool area, meeting facilities (Hilton Meetings) and ballrooms, among other areas of the resort.
In 1999, the Caribe Hilton reopened its doors. However, the reopening of the “Gem of the Caribbean” was met with some challenges. During the months the hotel was closed, and as a result of the prior deterioration of its facilities, the hotel in local and national customers. Leisure and had been forced to seek other alternatives, and groups and banquet functions had to move to other properties. Additionally, the temporary dismissal of employees caused discontent among local customers who had been faithful to the Caribe Hilton for many years. The reopening would require the hotel to re-establish its previous standing.
In 2000, Mr. Jose Campo was named General Manager of the hotel. Jose Campo’s mission was to reposition the Caribe Hilton locally, nationally and internationally with the ultimate goal of reinstating the hotel’s clientele.
After a general reorganization, training, and community involvement, the Caribe Hilton once again became a leading hotel within the company and the community, and the preference of many travelers.
The next decade would be marked by further development of the hotel. In 2000, Morton’s The Steakhouse, recognized worldwide for its specialty in meats, seafood, fresh vegetables and delicious desserts, opened its doors.
In 2001, several expansions and improvements were carried out that helped reposition the hotel. That same year marked the opening of Olas Spa and Fitness Center, a spectacular 12,000 square foot facility. Later in the year, two additional restaurants opened: Madrid-San Juan (now Piña Colada Club) and Rotisserie Il Giardino, specializing in Northern Italian cuisine.
To complement the array of culinary choices, a Starbuck’s Coffee was introduced into the lobby of the resort in November 2004, and in May 2005 Lemongrass Pan Asian Latino opened, serving sushi and Pan-Asian Latino fusion cuisine, owned by renowned Chef Mario Pagan.
In 2005, the Paseo Caribe project began. This world-class project combines a residential concept, tourist site, shopping, and entertainment in an environment that integrates its historic surroundings. The development of this project began with the opening of the first phase of Condado Lagoon Villas, with 168 units operated under the concept of a condo-hotel and managed under a lease agreement with Hilton International of Puerto Rico, Inc. The second phase opened in December 2008 with 96 rooms. The Condado Lagoon Villas features a total 264 spacious, cotemporary accommodations including single rooms, studios, junior suites and one and two bedroom luxury accommodations. Distinguished by a separate lobby and check-in area, an exclusive pool and whirlpool, and many accommodations featuring kitchenettes or full kitchens, the Condado Lagoon Villas are the perfect complement to the resort’s accommodations. With this latest addition, the Caribe Hilton became the largest hotel in San Juan, with 910 rooms.
Today, the Caribe Hilton continues to be host to countless important conventions, leisure and business travelers alike, historic events, celebrities, and heads of state that enjoy its prime location, lush tropical grounds, privacy and commitment to excellence.
Things to do in San Juan
San Juan was founded in 1508 by Juan Ponce de Leon and is the oldest city under the U.S. flag. In the 20th century the city expanded beyond its walled confines, known as Old San Juan, to incorporate suburban Miramar, Santurce, Condado, Hato Rey and Río Piedras. For travelers looking for a cosmopolitan vacation, San Juan offers a myriad of attractions, including, exclusive shopping, fine museums, trendy restaurants and hip nightclubs. And the team of seasoned concierges at the Caribe Hilton Hotel will be more than pleased to help coordinate any of your desired activities.
Old San Juan
Old San Juan is the heart and soul of the island. A melting pot of Spanish, Afro-Caribbean, Taíno and Anglo influences converge in its history, architecture, galleries, music and gastronomy making it home to countless must-see sites. Designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations, this really is a cultural district not to be missed.
Check out some of our great Puerto Rico Vacation ideas - and make the most of your tropical retreat.
San Juan Area Information and Profile:
Tropical. Average annual temperature is 82 F (28 C) with constant mild easterly trade winds. The US Weather Bureau never recorded termperatures in San Juan below 64 F or higher than 97 F, 365 days a year, day or night.
Atlantic Standard Time (AST). One hour later than US. Easter Standard Time (EST) from October to April and the same as Eastern Daylight Savings Time from April to October. For exact time, call (787) 728-9595.
U.S. Dollar. Major Credit Cards accepted in most establishments. Tipping is customary at 15-20% throughout Puerto Rico.
Passports are not necessary for US citizens. Foreign nationals should have valid passports and required visas. For more information call the Puerto Rico State Department at (787) 722-2121.
Traditional dress for men on the island. Shaped rather like a jacket or an extended shirt, this is worn as the outer garment over an undershirt or T-shirt. Most are made of cotton and are worn during the day, but there is a more formal version for evening wear, made with pineapple fiber. The guayabera is usually embellished with patterned embroidery, running in stripes down the chest.
Played in just about every bar throughout the Caribbean. The pieces are usually laid on the playing board with a grand flourish and loud slap.
The major type of music coming out of Puerto Rico is salsa, the rhythm of the islands. Its name literally translated as the "sauce" that makes parties happen. Originally developed within the Puerto Rican community of New York, it draws heavily from the musical roots of the Cuban and the African-Caribbean experience. Highly danceable, its rhythms are hot, urba, rhythmically sophisticated, and compelling. Today, the center of salsa has probable shifted from New York back to Puerto Rico. Salsa is not an old form of music at all. Music critics claim that it originated in New York City night clubs in the years following World War II, an evolution of the era's Big Band tradition. The first great salsa musician was Tito Puente, who, after a stint with the U.S. Navy, studied percussion at New York's Juilliard School of Music. He went on to organize his own band, Puente's Latin Jazz Ensemble, which has been heard by audiences around the world. One critic said that the music is what results when the sounds of Big Band jazz meet African-Caribbean rhythms. Others critics say that salsa is a combination of fast Latin music that embraces the rumba, mambo, cha-cha, guanguanco, and meringue. Salsa has definitely made Puerto Rico famous in the world of international music. Salsa bands require access to a huge array of percussion instruments, including güiros, the gourds on which the Taíno people may have played music. Other instruments include maracas, bongos, timbales, conga drums, and claves -and, to add the jíbaro (hillbilly) touch, a clanging cow bell. Of course, it also takes a bass, a horn section, a chorus and, a lead vocalist to get the combination right.
Puerto Rican Folk Music
During Puerto Rico's colonial years, a series of musical traditions evolved based on the folk songs and romantic ballads of 18th- and 19th-century Spain. Eventually these became fused with music either imported or native to the Hispanic New World. Dealing with life, death, and every day events of an agrarian society far removed from the royal courts of Europe, this music has been studiously collected and re-orchestrated for modern audiences. One collector of this music was Don Felo, whose 19-century compositions are based on the melodic traditions of both Spain and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean. In the 20th century, Narciso Figueroa continuaed the tradition of collecting folk songs and re-orchestrating them for chamber orchestras; his recordings have been sponsored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture. Today, the most widely applauded -and, to many, most enjoyable- of the island's folk music are the hillbilly pieces created by the mountain-dwelling jíbaros. Using the full array of stringed and percussion instruments described above they give lyrical performances whose live or recorded version are popular at everything from island weddings to commencement exercises. Despite the appeal other island musical forms, such as salsa, it could be argued that the jíbaro tradition of cuatro with drums is the island's most notable -and the one most likely to evoke homesickness in the hearts of any expatriate Puerto Rican.
Bomba y Plena
Although usually grouped together, bomba y plena are actually two entirely different types of music that are coupled with dance. Bomba pure African, was brought over by black slaves who worked on the island's sugar plantations in the 17th century. It's a rhythmic music using barrel-shapped drums covered with tightly stretched animal skins and played by hand. This form of music is produced by one large drum plus a smaller drum called a subidor. The drums are accompanied by the rhythmical beating of sticks and maracas to create a swelling tide of drumbeats, in which "aficionados" can hear drummers bang out a series of responses one to another. Bomba is described as a dialogue between dancer and drummer. It's as if the drummer were challenging the dancer to a rhythmic duel. The dance can go on just a long as the dancer can continue. Although critics are uncertain about the exact origin of bomba, it is divided into different rhythmic backgrounds and variations, such as the Euba, Cocobale, and Sica. As the dance and the most purely African version of this music and dance, may come from the northeastern coast town of Loíza Aldea. Whereas bomba is purely African origin, plena blends elements from Puerto Ricans' wide cultural backgrounds, including music that the Taíno tribes may have used during their ceremonies. This type of music first appeared in Ponce about 100 years ago, when performing the plena became a hallmark of Spanish tradition and coquetry. Instruments used in plena include the güiro, a dried-out gourd whose surface is cuts with parallel grooves and, when rubbed with a stick, produces a raspy and rhythmical percussive noise. The Taínos may have invented this instrument. From the guitars brought to the New World by the Spanish "conquistadores" emerged the 10-stringed cuatro. To the güiro and cuatro added the tambourine, known as panderos, originally derived from Africa. Dancing plena became a kind of living newspaper. Singers recited the events of the day and often satirized local politicians or scandals. Sometimes plenas were filled with biting satire; at other times, they commented on major news events of the day, such as a devastating hurricane. Bomba y plena remain the most popular forms of folk music on the island, and many cultural events highlight this music for entertainment.
3 Kings Day
King Melchor, King Gaspar and King Balthazar) Puerto Rican Celebrates Three Kings Day, that is.... have the kids cut grass or greenery on January 5th and put it in a box under their bed. “Los Reyes” The Kings bring presents once they fall asleep – parents must not forget to throw out the grass. On January 6th the families gets together and have a special and festive “Día de Reyes” meal.
According to tradition, at the stroke of midnight on St. John's Day, the waters are blessed and possess special powers, including curing sickness, giving beauty, improving fortune, aiding in animal fertility, increasing agricultural production, and warding off evil. The rituals associated with water date back to ancient civilizations, including old Egypt and its unity with the Nile River.
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico created the controlling government document of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. It is composed of nine articles detailing the structure of the government as well as the function of several of its institutions. The document also contains an extensive and specific Bill of Rights. Since Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States, the Puerto Rico Constitution is bound to adhere to the postulates of the U.S. Constitution due to the Supremacy Clause, and of relevant Federal legislation due to the Territorial Clause.
Two official languages, Spanish and English. Spanish is the primary language of Puerto Ricans, and English is taught as a second language in public and private schools from elementary levels to high school. English is a compulsory second language in schools and is widely used in business, industry, research, and education.
Voltage is the same as the US mainland, 110-220 volts, 60Hz.
The legal drinking age is 18. Municipal ordinance forbids alcohol consumption on the streets of Old San Juan.
Brava, El San Juan Resort & Casino
Moon Bar, Conrad Condado Plaza
San Juan Museum of Art & History
Arts - Classical Music
Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra
The country's foremost musical ensemble, and one of the most eminent orchestras of the Americas. Sponsored by the government, its 76 regular musicians perform a 48-week season which includes symphonic concerts, operas, ballets, pops, educational and children's concerts. It also offers outdoor concerts throughout the island. In addition, the orchestra has educational outreach programs in public and private schools.
Coral Filarmónica de San Juan in Spanish, is one of Puerto Rico’s top choral groups. It performs regularly with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra (PRSO) and at the Casals Festival. This critically acclaimed semi-professional group was established in 1986 by Carmen Acevedo Lucío, for a PRSO performance of Händel’s Messiah conducted by Margaret Hillis. Since then, the San Juan Philharmonic Chorale has collaborated with world renowned conductors such as Krzysztof Penderecki, Helmuth Rilling, Gerard Schwarz, Lukas Foss, Julius Rudel, Yoav Talmi, Woldemar Nelsson, Andreas Delfs, Michael Lankester and Eugene Kohn.
Other San Juan Attractions
Casa Bacardi Rum Distillery
Puerto Rico Tours and Excursions
From easy leisurely drives and walks to serious hiking, rock climbing and kayaking, the nature lover and adventure traveler can find it all in Puerto Rico.
Imagine the blackness of the sea on a moonless night. Now watch it sparkle with the darting lights of a million fireflies. Nature lovers will not want to miss the phenomenal experience of visiting a tropical phosphorescent bay!
Gilligan's Island - a secluded paradise
How would you like to have your own little island, just for you, your family, and friends? On Gilligan's Island you can be king or queen for a day and rule over white sand beaches, mazes of mangroves, and crystalline waters.
Driving and Transportation
Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport
Caribe Hilton is located only 7 miles from the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport.
Caribe Hilton San Juan is located only 7 miles from the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport. – which is just 2 ½ hours flying time from Miami, 3 hours from Boston, 3 3/4 hours from Atlanta and NY, 4 3/4 hours from Chicago, Houston & Dallas and 8 Hours from Los Angeles.
From Luis Munoz International Airport take the first exit to the right: Baldorioty Expressway #26 west. Drive straight for approximately 7 miles. The Expressway ends and you continue on Munoz Rivera #25. Over the Dos Hermanos Bridge go through one set of traffic lights, follow the road round the corner and the Caribe Hilton hotel is on the right-hand side.
Driving is on the right-hand side of the road. A valid continental US drivers license legally can be used in Puerto Rico for up to three months.
$15 Self Parking
Multi-level Parking Garage Available.