The best San Juan shopping is easily found—just take a look around you. Every neighborhood in San Juan has a top shop or two to offer, particularly Old San Juan. Lovers of antiques, artisan goods, arts & crafts, traditional items and the like will adore the crooked old cobblestone streets that are lined with mom-and-pop shops selling unique items. These offer the best shopping in San Juan. Of course, you'll have to step around the many tacky gift shops selling t-shirts and shot glasses to see them, but they are there. Those who seek high-end treats will feel right at home in the Isla Verde and Condado areas—plenty of luxury stores flourish there. Even the ubiquitous American mega-mall can be found here, in the downtown business district of San Juan.
More Details onPlaza Americas
Inside a corner store colored a glorious, sugary pink, you'll find Bared, a jewelry store that lives for special occasions. If you yearn to commemorate your visit to Puerto Rico with a Lalique charm, a Bulgari bracelet, a Cartier or a Patek watch, visit Bared. You can also pick up some elegant porcelain figurines (Lladro-like in their simplicity), and hand-cut crystal stemware. Brides like to browse Bared to find items for their registry; it's also a good place to shop if you want to buy yourself an engagement ring.
Updated island gear that's ideal for beach hopping, or shuffling between the cabana and the all-day buffet in your hotel lobby, David Antonio has frothy, tunic-like wraps to go over your bathing suit, and sleek, neatly-tailored Caribbean classics like the guayabera worn by Fidel Castro. He designs more for men than for women, although many of his clothes—sporty, futuristic and perfect for tropic climes—could easily be considered unisex.
More Details onDavid Antonio
An institution that's been around for 30 years, Butterfly People has found a way to turn the butterfly's short life span into eternal art. A single mounted butterfly, perfectly preserved and sold in an intricately arrayed box, runs about $30. Buy one of the butterfly murals that covers an entire wall, and you'll pay in the thousands. The butterflies are all gathered from farms around the world, some as far-ranging as Indonesia and New Guinea, and then turned into these delicate art pieces. The butterflies are displayed inside a painstakingly restored old home, instantly recognizable by its light purple facade.
More Details onButterfly People
Nothing is out of bounds at Boveda, an innovative jewelry store that's been around since 1974. It started out just selling beads, but quickly grew into more. Now it features gorgeous creations from Puerto Rican jewelry artists, but also artists in northern Europe and beyond. There's no telling what you'll find there, from Chinese-inspired amber bracelet, earring and necklace sets, to handmade Brazilian items. Don't miss the "Lo Que Anhelas" (What Dreams Are Made of) line designed by Boveda owner Linda Williams, many of which can be custom-fitted to the length and thickness you prefer.
More Details onBoveda
Practice your bargaining skills at this local crafts store, which features local staples like mundillo lace (a rare, handwoven lace only made in the northern part of the island), carnaval masks, leather goods and pretty, stone-filled jewelry. Goods are brought in from all over the island, and prices range widely. Bargaining is allowed and is often a good idea; listed prices are more of a starting point than an absolute amount.