House Hunters Puerto Rico: Say No to Condado

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Where to Live Puerto Rico Condado is part of the TPOL Moves to PR Trip Report and a continuation of the series House Hunters (Semi) International: Where to Live in Puerto Rico.


What are the world’s biggest tourist traps? The first that comes to mind is the Amalfi Coast. The next would be Times Square or any city center (see Don’t Pay $30 for Tacos). Minus The Olive Garden, the place to go for authentic Italian cuisine, I see no reason to go there more than once. Generally speaking, travelers should be wary when visiting any place that is famous just for being famous (see Places NOT to Visit).

The same warning is true for someone looking to travel or, in my case, relocate to Puerto Rico. All I heard before coming here was how nice Condado is, how everyone who’s anyone lives in Condado, and that I, despite my desire to join Dorado Beach, would be making a mistake if I didn’t buy in Condado.

It should not come as a surprise when I say that those people don’t know what they are talking about. What should come as a surprise is that I actually listened to the masses and tried to convince myself that Condado was the best place for me. Here are the points they tried to sell me on:

  • Condado has happening nightlife.
  • Condado is convenient because it is close to the airport.
  • Condado has great restaurants.
  • Condado has a great beach.
  • Condado has plush resorts like the Vanderbilt.

TPOL’s assessment:

  • Nightlife? Besides sports bars (see Where to Watch Sports in San Juan), there is no great nightlife in Condado. Unless you think that going to a hotel bar to be surrounded by tourists who are paying too much for The Best Light Beer in the World, then you will be disappointed by Condado. Simply put, it is not and will never be Miami. You’re much better off going to Santurce and Old San Juan. Having said that, be sure to purchase a piña colada from Pinaloka on your way out.
  • Airport? Yes, it’s convenient.
  • Restaurants? Puerto Rico is where chain restaurants never die. There are twenty Ponderosa Steakhouses on this island. Condado caters to Americans who want American food. It has the usual suspects including Hard Rock and Chili’s where they at least serve alcohol (see No Happy Hour Margaritas in Marrakech). If you’re looking for tacos, skip the Tacos & Tequila at the Vanderbilt Hotel and go to Kabanas (see Uppity Vs. Affordable: Where to Eat Tacos in Condado). If you’re looking for Chinese food, there are plenty of options including fast food at a place simply called Dumpling.
  • Beaches? Clearly, these Condado-ites have never been outside their bubble. They remind me of Manhattan-ites who believe that NY is the capital of the world but have never left that burrow (see Brooklyn : New Zealand : : Manhattan : Australia). If you want a nice beach close by, go down the street to Ocean Park. If you want pristine beaches, fly to Culebra.

    Myrtle Beach?
  • Hotels: Clearly, these Condado-ites have never been outside their bubble. Look at this Vanderbilt pool. Look at this dated Marriott.
    Oh fancy Mr. Vanderbilt.
    The dated Marriott…

    Is in need of upgrades.

Producer taking the microphone.

Producer: Sorry everyone, we didn’t know TPOL was going to go on a rant about Condado. TPOL, can you focus on housing options.

TPOL: Fine. If you thought Dorado was expensive, you won’t like the prices in Condado. The buildings that are modern like Gallery Plaza are listed at $500,000. What a scam. I can only imagine what houses near the ocean go for. And for what? Just to say I live in Condado? No thank you. Now get that damn camera out of my face. I’m done talking about Condado.

Producer: Here are some properties we tried to show him.

  1. The aforementioned Gallery Plaza. Not only is it half a million but there’s a steep HOA.
  2. The affordable apartment… TPOL Interrupting: with no power generator and no ocean view. Might as well be living in a cave. Where’s the island charm?

3. The houses TPOL can’t afford.

9 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve never quite understood the appeal of Condado either. I’ll be there next month and have spent the last week trying to decide between a night at Condado plaza or el San Juan to burn through my aspire resort credit before the end of the year. I prefer the proximity to OSJ in Condado but really want to check out the reno at the curio

  2. I highly recommend moving to the suburbs aka Montehiedra. Honestly, it is the best and safest neighborhood in San Juan and you don’t have to worry about the flooding that hurricanes might bring. Plus, it’s a short drive anywhere.

      • Awesome ! us locals have never understood the appeal of Condado and Old San Juan in terms of housing. I get it, they are close to the beach, but anywhere you live in Puerto Rico, you will still be close to the beach. Old San Juan is a total mess in terms of parking. It’s dirty and not particularly safe. Condado got hit hard with hurricane Maria, and many people are just crazy to get rid of their property there already and Punta Las Marias (Isla Verde) got completely flooded. Hence my picks will always be the suburbs. Either La Villa de Torrimar (Guaynabo) or Montehiedra (San Juan).

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