Wake up in time: the sail-in is great!
Piers 1 to 6 are located in the heart of Old San Juan at Marina Street and within walking distance of all the major points of interest. If your ship is docked at Old San Juan Cruise Piers you could use the free trolley to take you to the city center. The Pan American Pier is located south of Old San Juan in Isla Grande and further away, because the docks serve larger cruise ships. There are no hotels near the Pan American Pier. The closest hotel is the Caribe Hilton, located approximately 5 minutes away by car.
Most cruise lines provide transportation from the airport to the pier. A taxi is about 20-25US$. A 20 minute ride.
Printable map to take along.
Watch a destination video.
San Juan is the capital of, and at two million the largest city in, Puerto Rico. It has one of the best harbors in the Caribbean.
A popular point of interest is Old San Juan, a 7-block area that has become popular for tourists as well as residents. The narrow streets of old San Juan are packed with people so it is recommended to experience Old San Juan by foot in order to avoid too much traffic.
Castillo San Felipe del Morro sits atop a high promontory overlooking the entrance to the San Juan Bay. It is the result of the efforts of Spanish engineers over a period of more than 250 years and is one of the largest fortifications built by the Spain in the Caribbean.
Castillo de San Cristóbal, is considered the largest fortress built in the Americas. It was built for the purpose of protecting the city of San Juan from attack by land from the east. It is a fortification with three levels and an extensive series of outer defenses and it took over 150 years to complete.
Public transportation in Puerto Rico is fairly bad: outside San Juan, there are no scheduled buses or trains. Taxi's are very expensive, but fixed prices.
Rental cars can be had for as little as $30 a day
If you are into history both of the Forts are within walking distance or you can take the free trolley. Either fort can take several hours to go through. The free trolley is winding throughout the area, with opportunities to get off at marked stops wherever desired. The trolley tends to stay full on afternoons when cruise ships are in.
It pays to compare your cruise line tours here
Visit the Bacardi Rum Factory. This is commonly offered as a ship-sponsored tour, but it's easy to go on your own, too; take the ferry (which leaves from Pier 2, right next to the cruise ship dock, every half hour and costs $1, round trip, for the six-minute ride) to Catano, and then catch a bus or taxi for the 10-minute ride to the factory.
Arecibo - You can go see the Arecibo observatory and Cavernas del Rio Camuy (Camuy River Caverns) in the same day. Arecibo is about one hour west of San Juan.
Loiza - On the north coast of Loiza you will find Piñones, a great place to go to the beach and eat some of the best Puerto Rican fried food. Just minutes away from El Condado and Old San Juan.
Fajardo - In eastern Puerto Rico a nice trip to make is Las Cabezas de San Juan, a natural reserve, you will have a tour around the place where they will show you the different types of plants in the reserve and then the lighthouse which now serves as a small museum, the place has a spectacular view. Reservation is required.
Rio Grande - The Caribbean National Rain Forest or El Yunque is located here, a great place to spend the day with nature, enjoying an awesome view and walking between trees and small rivers.
The entire island of Puerto Rico has also managed to maintain lower import tax rates and have the VAT rates duty-free. So for travelers looking to stock up on wines and spirits, especially Puerto Rican rum, this might be the perfect place to do so. Stores are open 7 days a week.
Plaza Las Americas, the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean.
Both Spanish and English are the official languages of Puerto Rico, but Spanish is without a doubt the dominant language.
High speed public wireless internet service in public areas (coffee shops, restaurants, hotels and malls) finally is also growing and free in most places.
In general, business hours are 8.30am to 5.30pm Monday to Friday. On the public holidays government offices, banks and schools are closed, and museum hours and transportation schedules may change
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