san juan cruise port

Top 15 things to do in San Juan Cruise Port

It’s good luck if you’re taking a cruise to San Juan. When you step off your cruise ship in San Juan, Puerto Rico, you’ll find yourself in a historically significant city. Historical landmarks, stunning architecture, stunning beaches, tropical rainforests, and exhilarating excursions may all be found at the San Juan cruise port.

 

San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico, was founded in 1521 by Spanish colonists and is the oldest European-established city under US sovereignty (it is neither a sovereign nation nor a U.S. state). The greatest cruise activities in San Juan, including shore excursions and low-cost or free events, are covered on this page. Additionally, you’ll get all the information required to spend a day at the San Juan cruise port and get the answers to frequently posed queries.

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San Juan Cruise Port

San Juan Cruise Port

There are two cruise terminals in the port of San Juan: Pan American Terminal is located across from San Juan Bay. This ancient city is a port stop for numerous Caribbean cruise lines, including Carnival, Celebrity, Disney Cruises, Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas, Costa, and AIDA. The majority of cruise ships dock at the Old San Juan Port, which is close to many of the top eateries, pubs, landmarks, and tourist sites in Old San Juan (also known as Historic San Juan).

The passport

If you are an American citizen, you can visit Puerto Rico without a passport because the island is a part of the US. A legitimate ID, such as a driver’s license, should be carried at all times. Always make sure you and have the right paperwork by checking the requirements for your particular trip and itinerary.

Money

San Juan uses the US dollar as its official currency because it is an American territory. In San Juan, businesses take debit, credit, and cash.

Words & Zone of Time

Puerto Rico uses English and Spanish as their official languages. Although just 20% of Puerto Ricans are native English speakers, many of those working in the travel industry are multilingual. The San Francisco time zone.

Weather

As the border separating the Atlantic and Caribbean oceans, Puerto Rico is situated in the center of the Antilles island group. Since the climate is categorized as Tropical Marine, it is consistently warm and muggy. The summertime highs are in the nineties, while the wintertime lows are in the eighties.


San Juan experiences 62 inches of precipitation on average every year, making precipitation a part of life there. Puerto Rico experiences the dry season from January to April. One month from June to November is counted as the beginner month of the hurricane season.

San Juan Cruise Port

How to reach San Juan ?

Puerto Rico is an island that is 100 miles long and 35 miles wide. The island offers several ways to travel around if you have found an adventure or excursion that is farther away, even if there are lots of things to do close to the cruise ship ports.

On Foot

The cruise ship ports are close to Old San Juan, which includes the San Juan National Historic Site, La Fortaleza, Paseo De La Princesa, and other stores and eateries.

Public Transportation

The cost of a ride on the Tren Urbano is $1.50, while the bus fee is 75 cents per passenger. At any Tren Urbano stop, you can buy a transit pass for the train or bus. If you’re looking for adventure Outside of Old San Juan, there are several ways to get around the city: buses, Uber, taxis, and the Tren Urbano light rail system in San Juan.

E-bikes, or electric bikes

With an e-bike, you can explore the surrounding beaches and forts as well as historic San Juan. Numerous reasonably priced rental companies are available; some even offer to bring and retrieve bikes from the cruise liner terminal. You can rent a helmet and a bike lock, but keep in mind that inclement weather may cut short your cycling adventure.

Shuttle and Taxi Services

If you want to independently tour San Juan, you should think about ordering a shuttle or a cab. Taxi drivers will be available to transport you wherever you need to go as you disembark from your cruise ship.

Uber

With over 4,000 drivers for Uber, your Uber driver will be easy to locate. Uber will be most available in the San Juan metropolitan area.

Rental Automobiles

Old San Juan is only a few hours away from many thrilling activities. A car rental is a great choice if you have the time and want to visit areas outside the port. In Puerto Rico, the majority of automobile rental firms include Avis, Enterprise, Alamo, Hertz, Thrifty, and National.

 

Although there are a lot of toll highways in Puerto Rico, rental cars come with AutoExpreso stickers, which are prepaid toll collection services. You will be charged extra for using toll roads once the rental car is returned.

San Juan's Top 8 Shore Excursions

The San Juan port offers every kind of trip imaginable. San Juan is the starting point for a variety of experiences, whether you’d like to see stunning 16th-century architecture, discover more about Puerto Rico’s history, unwind on a white sand beach, or explore a tropical rainforest.

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The following are a few of the top shore excursions in San Juan:

1. National Historic Site Of San Juan

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the San Juan National Historic Site is a division of the United States National Parks Service. Fort San Juan de la Cruz, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristóbal, the majority of the city walls, and the San Juan Gate are all located on the property. 

 

The Spanish learned quickly after arriving in San Juan that richer regions of Mexico, Central America, and South America were to be found. As the “front door” to the Spanish colonies they were captured in the New World, and the Spanish troops fortified San Juan.

 

At the San Juan Historic Site, you can take a walking or self-guided tour to see the fortifications, which include walls and forts built in the 17th and 18th centuries to protect San Juan. The cruise ship dock is conveniently close to both forts, and children will enjoy exploring the dungeons, turrets, towers, and tunnels that are present.

2. National Forest El Yunque

Thirty miles (about an hour) southeast of San Juan is the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Forest System. There are 29,000 verdant acres of rainforest in El Yunque National Forest, along with 25 miles of paths, waterfalls, natural water slides, and fauna, including Puerto Rican parrots. 

 

Don’t miss Yokahu Observation Tower’s breathtaking mountain views (1575 feet above sea level). Trips to El Yunque will take the majority of the day due to its distance. But with so many things to do, like ziplining, horseback riding, and hiking, naturalists will be grateful for the chance to explore this wonderful rainforest.

3. The Americas Museum

This museum is a fantastic place to visit if you’d like to learn more about the individuals who have contributed to Puerto Rico’s rich and diverse culture. The museum, which is situated in Old San Juan, charges $6 for adults and $4 for children under the age of twelve.

 

Note that the majority of the signs are written in Spanish.

4. A San Juan Bay Jet Ski Tour

A Jet Ski Tour in San Juan Bay combines sightseeing and adventure. Your guide will become familiar with Jet Skis even if you have never attempted water sports before, and together you will ride past cruise ships, the Governor’s Mansion (La Fortaleza), and other historic fortifications as you splash through pristine waters.

5. A Culinary Tour of Puerto Rico

Through a Puerto Rican culinary tour, you may sample the blend of Spanish and Caribbean cuisine. Several half-day culinary tour alternatives will take you to eateries along the coast and local farmer’s markets. Sample-sized dishes such as bistec encebollado, mofongo, pastelon, pasteles, tripleta, and pernil may be among the delicacies you get to enjoy.

6. The Governor's Mansion, or La Fortaleza

See San Juan’s first stronghold, finished in 1540. Since 1846, the Governor of Puerto Rico has resided at La Fortaleza. Walking tours with a 30-minute guide are offered Monday through Friday from 8:15 am to 3:30 pm. When the government is not in session, the tour includes a peek inside the building and the gardens. Everyone must have a photo ID that is 21 years old or older.

 

The harbor is a minute’s walk or a minute’s drive from La Fortaleza. So, this is a fantastic choice if you want to see some attractions while you’re in San Juan.

7. Visiting Isla De Vieques for a Day

Consider taking a day trip to this small island, which lies seven miles off the coast of Puerto Rico if you have enough time in the San Juan port. You can have a more genuine Caribbean experience and some time apart from other cruisers and visitors on Isla De Vieques. Kayaking on the world’s brightest bioluminescent bay at night allows you to witness a unique phenomenon.

 

Travel time to Vieques, including driving and ferry travel, is around three hours each way. You can take pleasure in quiet beach coves, glistening water, and encounters with the wild horses that live on Vieques.

 

When visiting the Biobay at night, remember to pack a towel, a long-sleeved shirt, and pants. transform into. Considering that this bay is also known as Mosquito Bay, you should also cover yourself with insect repellent. also, bring a headlamp when kayaking at night that is safer.

8. Puerto Rico's Casa Bacardi

The “rum capital” on the globe is Puerto Rico. A full-service “From Ship To Pour” tour is available from Bacardi Rum. You’ll board a ship in Old San Juan to begin the trip, and after that, take a shuttle to Bacardi’s headquarters in Puerto Rico.

 

There are numerous tour options available, with prices starting at $30 per person and going up to well over $100. A welcome drink and a movie at the Bacardi Visitor Center are included in the tours. You must ensure that You have a valid ID and you are 18 years old.

 

The Top 5 Free Activities in San Juan Cruise Port

9. The Armas Plaza

This town square, which is reminiscent of Spanish colonial times, is a must-see if you’re planning to stroll through Old Town San Juan. Settle down on a bench with a Puerto Rican pastry and observe the folks. This area also has a small pharmacy and food trucks.

10. The Bay of San Juan

From Castillo de Morro, there is a nice walking trail that leads to Paseo De La Princesa. Savor the stunning emerald-green waters and try to picture what it was like to live in this “Rich Port” when it was under Spanish rule.

San Juan Cruise

11. San Juan's Old

Admire the vibrant structures and 16th-century design that welcome you to Historic San Juan. Wearing comfy shoes is essential when strolling down the streets made of cobblestones.

 

You can browse them on your own or take one of the guided excursions. There are eateries, drink bars, and street musicians performing frequently where you may stop and have a bite. Old San Juan is home to a number of sights, such as Plaza de Armas and Paseo De La Princesa. 

12. San Juan Bautista Cathedral

Visitors interested in history who come to Old Town The oldest church in the United States and the second-oldest in the Western Hemisphere may both be explored in San Juan. The current San Juan Bautista edifice was constructed in 1540, however, the church’s history dates back to 1521.

 

Despite decades of destruction from hurricanes, looting, and thefts, the cathedral continues to stand as a testament to faith. In addition, Ponce De Leon, the renowned explorer, is interred there.

13. The Princesa Plaza

Stroll down the Paseo De La Princesa, or “path of the princess,” a charmingly restored 19th-century esplanade that divides a town from a fortress. The pedestrian path surrounded by trees starts at the San Juan Gate and finishes at the Fountain of Bronze Races. You’ll pass by beautiful sculptures, expansive vistas of the bay, and, if you’re lucky, a vendor serving piragua, which is shaved ice mixed with sweet syrup.

 

Spending a day at San Juan’s breathtaking beaches with blue waves is an excellent idea! Thankfully, the San Juan Cruise Port is not too far from any beach options. These are a few of the top cruising beaches.

14. El Escambron Beach, or Balneario El Escambrón

Family-friendly Escambron Beach has food vendors, public restrooms, and umbrella and chair rentals. One of San Juan’s most well-liked beaches, this one is accessible from the cruise port in ten minutes by car or seventeen minutes by bus.

15. The Condado Beach

If you’d want to read while sitting on smooth sand, Condado Beach is a good choice (or watch surfers). via public transportation, this beach is 16 minutes from the harbor; via taxi or Uber, it takes 9 minutes.

 

There are no food sellers here, but you can rent beach chairs and umbrellas. Condado beach prohibits swimming due to high rip tides.

16. Beach Isla Verde

Isla Verde is about 26 minutes by taxi from the Old San Juan harbor. This three-mile stretch of beaches, which features gorgeous white sand and pristine waters, is lined with hotels and resorts.

 

The beaches, which include Pine Grove Surfing Beach, Balneario de Carolina, and Hobie Beach, are located along the Carolina city coast. It takes some time to get there, but the beach, waves, and sun make it an excellent site to spend a day.

Final Thoughts about San Juan Cruise Port Activities

Discover the history of this former Spanish colony, see some of the oldest structures on American soil, unwind on fine-sand beaches, and go on an adventure in a rainforest at the San Juan cruise port. On your next Caribbean cruise, San Juan will undoubtedly be your favorite port of call, regardless of the activity you select.

 

Have you yet to visit San Juan? Which aspect of this ancient city was your favorite?

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