This article may contain affiliate links. For full information, please see our disclaimer page
San Juan Cruise Terminal
Welcome to our San Juan Cruise Terminal Guide. We hope this will provide lots of useful information to help your plan your day in this fascinating city in Puerto Rico
Established in 1521 San Juan is the second oldest European founded settlement in the America’s. Five centuries ago, San Juan was an impenetrable fortified city. Today, it is the capital of Puerto Rico and one of the top destinations in the Caribbean…welcoming travellers from all over the world. Here you can experience one of the most culturally rich places in the world with the added allures of a tropical Caribbean island. Prepare to be captivated by the natural enchantment of Puerto Rico, its vibrant culture, and old-world elegance.
Old World Charm
The charming Old San Juan will transport you back to colonial times. Bring comfortable shoes, because you’ll want to walk every cobblestone street, with bright candy-coloured homes. Explore scenic waterfronts, centuries-old forts, museums, charming plazas, excellent restaurants & shopping
Where do cruise ships dock?
The Old San Juan Cruise Ship Piers are very convenient for cruisers. At arrival all visitors have to do is cross the street to begin exploring the treasures of Old San Juan.
- Pier 1 – Modern passenger terminal (2 ship capacity) used by various cruise lines
- Pier 3 – Reconstructed pier for transit ships only (2 ship capacity), managed by Royal Caribbean
- Pier 4 – Modern passenger terminal (2 ship capacity) used & managed by Carnival for arrivals & departures
- Pier 6 – Wharf at Bahia Urbana (1 ship capacity) only used on heavy cruise traffic days
Things to do in San Juan, Puerto Rico
Walk the streets of Old San Juan
One of the easiest and cheapest things to do on your cruise visit to San Juan is to explore the streets of the old town. The 7 block historic district is packed with things to see and do. Everywhere you walk there is something interesting and beautiful to see. There is a plaza every few blocks where local gather and you can rest in the shade of Eucalyptus trees.
Try and see the following if you can;
- Paseo de La Princesa – shaded 19th century esplanade
- Puerta de San Juan – tall portal gate where all colonist, supplies etc entered the city
- Plazuela La Monjas – pretty little park that’s ideal for people watching
- Calle Sol – this street has great places to eat and shop
- Plaza Colon – another great place to shop where local artisans sell their goods in portable kiosks.
If you like rum then this is the place to visit. Take the rum tasting tour where you will discover how Barcardi makes their premium rums and the craft involved. You can taste 6 of their rums during the tour.
Visit Castillo San Felipe del Morro
El Morro sits atop bold headlands at the entrance to the Bay of San Juan and is said to be the oldest Spanish fort in the New World. Try to make the climb up to the rampart to the sentries walk for great views over the Atlantic. Good walking shoes are a must.
Visit The Cathedral Of San Juan Bautista
Situated in the heart of the old city this is a historic landmark to visit. See the tomb of Ponce de Leon, the mummy of St. Pio and the beautiful stained glass windows.
El Yunque National Forest is one of the jewels of Puerto Rico. 29,000 acres of verdant mountainous terrain with cascading waterfalls and rushing rivers. Towering trees give way to spectacular ocean views. There are 22 miles of trails, so both casual and experienced hikers will find something rewarding to enjoy.
Best beaches in San Juan
Located between Old San Juan and Condado this beach is an ideal location if you want to combine some time at the beach with a visit to these fascinating places also. It is also within walking distance (or a short taxi hop) from the cruise pier making it even more desirable. In addition to sunbathing and swimming you can also snorkel and scuba dive if you wish as the beach is protected by a coral reef
This is a long sandy beach next to Parque La Ventana as Mar. The park itself has places to eat and wonderful ocean views. The western end has calmer waters, ideal for swimming and families.
- Alcapurria – Alcapurria is made with fried dough made from either green bananas or yucca and wrapped around either beef or crab,
- Bacalito – Bacalito is a salted cod fritter/ It’s very thin and incredibly flavourful, as it’s spiced well and includes several chunks of code in the flat pancake-like fritter.
- Rellenos de Papas – A mashed potato croquettes stuffed with picadillo (ground beef hash). Fried to perfection on the outside whilst still creamy on the inside.
Taxi fares are set in the main tourism zones. If you are travelling outside those areas drivers should use meters. You can insist they do so, failing that establish a price from the start.
Is available in San Juan so you can utilise this service if you prefer.
For visitors wishing to explore the capital city of San Juan and keeping travel expenses to a minimum, it is possible to enjoy all the attractions by riding a bus. With a little planning and a little patience, you can enjoy the city and save money. The Puerto Rico Metropolitan Bus Authority prides itself on being dependable, safe, very affordable, and comfortable for people with disabilities.
There is the main bus terminal in Old San Juan directly across from Cruise Ship Pier 4
Good to Know
In terms of safety, San Juan is comparable to many big US cities. Just be careful as you would there. Old San Juan is relatively safe and well policed.
Uneven sidewalks are a bane here so if you are a little unsteady on your feet please take extra care.
- Currency: US Dollars
- Language: Spanish, English
- Money: ATM’s are common
- Visas: Not required for citizens of the US, EU or Australia