He may be known for his smoldering, serious roles in film like The Usual Suspects, Traffic and the upcoming The Hunted, but this agile actor grew up in sunny San Juan. Tag along with him on a weekend in his Puerto Rican hometown.
This month, Benicio Del Toro returns to theaters in the thriller The Hunted, starring as an assassin hunted down by Tommy Lee Jones. It's been nothing but A-list jobs like this for Del Toro since his Oscar-winning turn in Steven Soderbergh's 2000 masterpiece Traffic. But when it comes to artistic influences, Del Toro points not merely to his formal dramatic training, but the childhood days he spent in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Born in the Santurce section of the city, Del Toro, dressed in basketball shorts, would jump off a local bridge into the sea dozens of times a day, entertaining the tourists, and in the process, becoming a performer. When he later enrolled at the University of California in San Diego, he planned to become a lawyer like his father, but a freshman acting class led him back to the stage. Although this time it wasn't a bridge but a series of TV appearances (on shows like Miami Vice), then films like The Usual Suspects and Snatch, before striking Oscar gold in Traffic. Here's a weekend with Benicio Del Toro in his hometown of San Juan, the sunny capital of the Caribbean.
"El Convento, which used to be a convent, is in Old San Juan. It's a good hotel. If you want something larger, there's the Wyndham El San Juan. It has a big casino and a great beach, Isla Verde. I like the Condado Plaza. It's right on Condado Beach, which is one of the most famous beaches in the Caribbean. Numero Uno is an old guesthouse turned into a hotel. It has a restaurant called Pamela's. It's right on the beach and the food is very good. If you want to be mellow, there's the Horned Dorset Primavera Hotel. That's more European. There's no casino and the rooms have no phones, but they have really good service and a terrific restaurant. If you're going for golf, the Hyatt Dorado Beach Hotel & Country Club has two great 18-hole courses."