In Old San Juan, Time is on Your Side
Make the most of your San Juan port of call and engage in enchanting experiences, each less than an hour from your cruise ship terminal.
Every year, Puerto Rico receives millions of cruise ship passengers from all over the world. Even though San Juan is a major international port of call, considered the best and most enchanting in the Caribbean, many of these visitors only have a few hours to explore everything San Juan has to offer before sailing off to their next destination. This may seem like a missed opportunity, but tourists are in luck. San Juan is one of the most vibrant cities in the hemisphere, a crucible of culture and history that dovetails with a contemporary urban vibe and fantastic coastal views. Learn more about visiting San Juan today!
A Walled City Encapsulates It All
Upon arriving in San Juan, you’ll immediately notice the city’s rich Spanish colonial heritage. The cobblestone streets, the architecture, and the way the city is laid out are clear signs that history is alive here. Known as the Walled City because of the massive four-mile long fortress wall that once protected the city from pirate invaders, Old San Juan is chock full of unique experiences that capture what many consider the best of Puerto Rico. A good starting point for a day trip through the city is Paseo la Princesa, located just west of the cruise ship terminal. Here you’ll see a portion of the imposing fortress wall.
The promenade is often lined with arts and crafts vendors, as well as kiosks that offer traditional Puerto Rican treats and snacks. Depending on the day of the week, you may come across a free live music performance. At the end of the promenade you’ll be met with a breathtaking view of the entrance of San Juan Bay. Keep an eye open for dolphins, as they often like to play in the wake of passing boats.
Strolling the streets of Old San Juan is a shopper’s delight. In addition to featuring many international brands and retail chains, the city is also home to unique and charming local shops that showcase Puerto Rico’s tradition for craftsmanship and good taste. From customized and elegant sombreros and guayabera shirts, to hand-rolled cigars, art galleries, fashion boutiques, cozy book shops and outlets that simply sell cool and curious stuff, Old San Juan has something for everyone.
The same can be said of the city’s culinary scene. There is a saying that goes along on the line of “You only truly know a culture by tasting their food.”
If that’s the case, then Old San Juan is essentially Puerto Rico on a plate. Eclectic. Traditional. Innovative. Delicious. The plethora of restaurants, diners, bistros, cafes, and yes, even the dives where the locals eat, drink, and hangout, is second to none. A traditional morning “cafecito” leads to hearty “criollo” lunch, which can easily lead to a world-class fine dining experience, capping it all off with colorful cocktails in the most vibrant nightlife in the Caribbean.
You can’t talk about Puerto Rico without talking about rum. At Casa Bacardi in Cataño you’ll sample a variety of rums and learn about our centuries-old legacy as makers of the world’s finest rums.
So just because you only have a few hours to spend in Old San Juan, rest assured that your time here will be time well spent.
Walking Tour of Old San Juan
Stroll cobblestone streets lined by colonial-era architecture. Savor the most varied cuisine in the Caribbean. Soak up the Walled City’s unique art and culture. Relive history at the San Felipe del Morro castle.
Be a Beach Bum
The Caribbean is all about beaches, and Puerto Rico has the best of them. Take in the city beaches at Isla Verde and discover the true meaning of “fun under the sun.”