My Town: San Juan, Puerto Rico

David Nicolas
Gonzalez on Caleta de las Monjas in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Top picks from Budget Travel readers who live in some of our favorite places.

Even though I've lived here almost all my life, I'm still dazzled by the sights in Old San Juan. It's only seven square blocks, but there's always something new to discover in the 16th-century colonial buildings; these days, creative types are opening quirky boutiques and B&Bs. —Manena Gonzalez, 36, therapist and yoga instructor

Artist and New York City native Jan D'Esopo decorated The Gallery Inn's 22 rooms with her own watercolor landscapes and bust sculptures. Her tropical birds—including a friendly cockatoo named Campeche—keep visitors company on the brick patios that overlook San Juan Bay and the Atlantic (, from $110). —Alexandra Suarez, 33, market researcher

At nightfall, you'll hear the sound of the coquí, a tiny frog found all over the island whose chirp sounds like "co-kee." Most of the shops in Old San Juan carry playful souvenirs like these. —Santiago Ramos, 60, insurance broker

Everybody should own a bag from Concalma. The shop's graphic wares, from clutches to beach bags, are created by a women's cooperative in Utuado, a small town about an hour west of the city (, bags from $20). —Manena Gonzalez

A meal at La Casita Blanca will make you feel like you're visiting your Puerto Rican grandma. The picadillo, a ground beef dish served with plantains and rice, is total comfort food (351 Calle Tapia, from $7). —Julio Nazario, 43, police officer

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