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San Juan

You'll certainly find plenty of craft and T-shirt shops in Old San Juan (particularly along Fortaleza and San Francisco Streets). One tip: The farther east you walk (going away from the cruise pier), the more interesting the shops and restaurants become. Looking for souvenirs? Pick up a top-notch bottle of Bacardi or Don Q rum. We also love the artisan crafts that are showcased at the Plaza Arturo Somohano in downtown Old San Juan.

One great street for window shopping is Calle Cristo; highlights include Magia (99 Calle Cristo), an artisan who crafts works of art from recycled objects -- old mirrors, wooden shutters, antique windows and even pocket-sized religious icons.

A new find on our most recent visit to Old San Juan was the pocket-sized Plaza Arturo Somohano. Just a block behind the Sheraton Old San Juan (located at pier central), this tree-shaded park is home to artisans who sell handmade and designed crafts. They must be approved by the government to open stalls (no "made in China" stuff here). While vendors vary, on my trip there were beautifully scented soaps from Taino Soapworks (the anise lavender is a favorite), hand-tooled leather belts, pretty (and reasonably priced) beach-glass jewelry, gourds and coconut shells, and charming burlap handbags.

Plaza Las Americas, located in the central business district, is the island's largest shopping mall and is home to the only Macy's in the Caribbean. There are more than 300 stores here, including familiar names like Banana Republic, Gap, Sears and Brooks Brothers.
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