Why go to San Juan?
This city, split into new and old sections, shares vibes with Europe, South America and even Cuba
Shopping malls and chain restaurants can make it difficult for visitors to see the "real" San Juan
This U.S. territory does a great job of mixing American influences with old-world culture
San Juan Cruise Port Facilities?
There are two port facilities in San Juan -- one is a 10-minute ride, close to the airport, called the Pan American terminal, while the main cruise terminal (Piers 1, 3 and 4) is just a short walk from downtown Old San Juan. A 10- to 15-minute walk will get you to most restaurants and attractions (about 25 minutes to El Morro). A free trolley is also available from the port to explore the sights. At the terminal itself, local vendors usually set up stands selling knick-knacks as souvenirs. Otherwise, the immediate port area can be very commercial with a mall, ice cream shops and chain stores like Domino's and Senor Frog's. For a more authentic meal, venture into town.
Good to Know?
Sidewalks in Old San Juan are narrow and uneven. When more than one ship is in town, they're almost impassible. Also, beware that crowds do inspire pickpockets; keep an eye on your wallet.
On Foot: It's walking distance into compact, yet fascinating, Old San Juan. Streets are uneven (constructed of blue cobblestones, cast from furnace slag), and hills are steep, so wear comfortable shoes.
Taxis: They're available at the dock. You can also hail mini-buses (called "omnibuses"), which shuttle along main routes; to hail one, respond with a wave when the driver toots his horn.
Trolleys: There's a free trolley that will take you around Old San Juan and to the forts. You can pick it up across from the information booth, between cruise piers three and four.
Renting a Car: There is a Hertz Rent-a-Car in Old San Juan on Calle Brumbaugh, and other agencies in Condado (about 5 miles away) or closer to the airport -- but due to a severe lack of parking around Old San Juan, we don't recommend a car if you're staying in town. Only consider renting a car if you have time on either side of your cruise to explore further into Puerto Rico.
Rideshare: Uber is available in San Juan, but not Lyft. It might be easy to find a ride downtown, but be cautious of traveling far outside of the city -- it might be trickier to find a ride back.
Currency & Best Way to Get Money?
Since Puerto Rico is an American territory, the currency there is the U.S. dollar. ATMs are widely available throughout Old San Juan and in tourist beach resort areas, and credit cards are accepted at most restaurants and attractions.