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San juan port-question


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I just would like to know where you can go once you get off the ship that would be quick and easy to get to with the short time that we have. We've never been here before and thought we would get up very early and go exploring - close to the ship.

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I just would like to know where you can go once you get off the ship that would be quick and easy to get to with the short time that we have. We've never been here before and thought we would get up very early and go exploring - close to the ship.

 

If your ship is going in to SJ as a port... be sure to be on the bow of the ship to watch your arrival. It is awesome, looks like you will keep going right in to town :D

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If you have only a short time.... lots to walk to from the ship, depending on your interest. Lots of shopping, if that interests you go to the shopping lecture given on the ship for tips/ideas. There is a hotel right in front in front of where the ship docks, with a casino. There is a Senor Frogs one block over. A rum tasting place on the first street. Sure you will get lots of other places of interest posted soon. Which ship are you on?

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You can walk up the hill then on to the fort and along the way see the sites of Old San Juan. Of course on the way back, you can stop and shop. There's a Walgreen's, Marshall's and grocery store in one of the small town squares up from the ship as well as outlets on street with El Convento. jmho

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If you have only a short time.... lots to walk to from the ship, depending on your interest. Lots of shopping, if that interests you go to the shopping lecture given on the ship for tips/ideas. There is a hotel right in front in front of where the ship docks, with a casino. There is a Senor Frogs one block over. A rum tasting place on the first street. Sure you will get lots of other places of interest posted soon. Which ship are you on?

 

I'm on the Explorer with all the itinerary changes and we have younger children so we won't get off at 10 p.m. but I would like to get up early enough to see something in San Juan. We leave at 11:30 so I figure you need to be back on the ship by 10:30?? So it's not much time and our rainforest plans are ruined so we are trying to make the best out of a bad situation. I wasn't sure what was close by the ship that we could do.

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Here's how I spent my 5 hours in San Juan (before heat, lack of food, and free rum sidelined me) (Pictures can be found at: http://cafekarina.org/explorer/san%20juan/ ):

 

Ah, Day 6. Immigration Day. Woo hoo. Actually, it wasn't so bad. Got up at 6:30 and got down to Deck 5 at 7:10. Oh, dear heavens, the line stretches from the Dining Room (where Immigration was) all the way down the Promenade and circling the far staircase. Got in line along with a couple thousand of my closest friends. Within 25 minutes, we had gotten all the way through the process and exited the dining room at 7:35….just to find NO LINE. But, who knew? After breakfast, Dean decided to stay onboard and I went into town. He tells me that there were a lot of announcements looking for missing people throughout he next hour because the cut off was 9. Personally, I feel they should have stressed the $3300/person fine that they would have to pay if they didn't show up. I think that would have been remarkable incentive.

 

Anyway, I disembarked at 8ish. Here's the way not to be bothered by drivers and tour guides. Be a single woman. This kept most people uninterested in my business…the couple who asked me anyway were very accepting of my statement that I wanted to walk.

 

And, so I walked and walked along the wall road with El Morro as my destination. It was already really really hot. But, by the simple expediency of keeping to the shade, ducking into the air-conditioned art museum and buying the occasional bottle of cold water I had a wonderfully pleasant walk. I eventually got to the point where I had to leave the wall road and head up past the wall into town. Kept going up (people said it's smarter to take a cab up and walk down, but more on that theory later). Got to see some of the famed San Juan feral cats. Eventually made it to El Morro which is an amazing huge and beautiful place. There is a ton of walking throughout the place and up and around…well go look at the pictures if you didn't already and it was hot (did I say that already?). The good news is that there is an air-conditioned video room where you can watch the history of the fort in English and Spanish in comfy seats.

 

Here's the place where I disagree with the notion of taking a cab up and walking back. El Morro is big and if you spend the 1.5 to 2hours or better that it deserves, you are going to be wiped out and the idea of walking may not appeal to you so much. So, what I did was take the free trolley that stops at the foot of the El Morro road and rode it back into downtown Old Town. I wandered around the artisans tables a bit and then decided to head back onto the ship. Things were much more bustly in the pier area at 1pm than they had been at 8am, but I was too tired to take advantage of it.

 

But, when I walked into Pier 1, the Puerto Rican Rum Board had set up a table with free Rum Punches which I unwisely took one of. Even more unwisely, I decided to check out the Duty-free shop at the top of the near-by escalator where the people from Bacardi were giving out shots of something that was nominally punch but was really pink tinted rum and he dumped one in my rum punch. By the time I had bought 3 liters of Bacardi for $22, I was feeling decidedly light-headed and queasy…no food, lots of heat is not a good basis for drinking a couple of shots of rum in 10 minutes.

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Old Sheraton San Juan is across from dock. The streets directly behind

it have good food and shopping. If you turn left from ship and travel

directly down the street, near the Subway (fast food place) there is

a trolley stop. Offers free ride, on/off around the fort and adjacent

areas. Entire ride about 40 minutes, as I recall, without getting off.

The Old San Juan has a small casino. Nice area and I imagine some

others will help with specific names of eateries:) Can be hot this time

of year...comfortable shoes and maybe a hat..have a nice trip.

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If the ship docks at the Pan American Pier - you aren't in walking distance of Old San Juan and will need to take a taxi. (RCI usually uses that pier.) If the ship docks at Old San Juan - there are free shuttle buses around Old San Juan that run during the day. The hotel that is close to the pier is the Sheraton Old San Juan.

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With the time frame that you have and with children along your options are really limited. El Morro is great but they open at 9AM or 8AM during the summer. And it really takes a couple of hours to see and enjoy.

 

If you do dock at Old San Juan you may want to consider a walk toward Plaza Darcenas. With ships in port there may be a few vendors open and possibly horsedrawn carriages.

 

There is also a free trolly that runs through OSJ. Again, I'm not sure how early they start.

 

If you do dock at Pan Am you're quite a ways from anything. In your position I'd consider it a sea day and enjoy the ship.

 

If at all possible you will want to have a spot for a view when you enter and leave SJ.:)

 

Charlie

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If the ship docks at the Pan American Pier - you aren't in walking distance of Old San Juan and will need to take a taxi. (RCI usually uses that pier.) If the ship docks at Old San Juan - there are free shuttle buses around Old San Juan that run during the day. The hotel that is close to the pier is the Sheraton Old San Juan.

 

 

Nancy, RCCL ships only use the Pan Am Pier for cruises that begin or end in San Juan. If they are just in town for a port stop they will be at the piers in Old San Juan, most likely Pier 3 directly across from the Sheraton.

 

To the OP, my first San Juan visit was from 7-2pm, but I had spa treatments booked so only had a limited time to see anything. You can take a taxi to one of the ports to explore. El Morro is the fort you will see as your ship enters San Juan harbor. San Cristobal is also very fun to explore. San Juan also has nice shopping - you may not have a lot of time to shop before you have to head back to the ship but I just like wandering around Old San Juan to look at the buildings.

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We went to the Old San Juan Fort. We really enjoyed the historical site and there are many nice scenic views from there.

 

dk2202 - if we get off the ship, what time do you suggest for this? Can I get there by just walking off the ship or do you need a taxi. This sounds like it would be nice to do.

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dk2202 - if we get off the ship, what time do you suggest for this? Can I get there by just walking off the ship or do you need a taxi. This sounds like it would be nice to do.

 

 

There are two forts in Old San Juan, El Morro and San Cristobal. Both of them are uphill from the piers. I suggest taking a taxi to either of the forts and then walking downhill back to the ship if you want to walk.

 

El Morro opens at 9am until Memorial Day, then it opens at 8am. If your ship leaves at 11:30, then I would plan on being there when it first opens to give yourself time to explore and not be rushed back.

 

San Crisotobal opens at 9am.

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There are two forts in Old San Juan, El Morro and San Cristobal. Both of them are uphill from the piers. I suggest taking a taxi to either of the forts and then walking downhill back to the ship if you want to walk.

 

El Morro opens at 9am until Memorial Day, then it opens at 8am. If your ship leaves at 11:30, then I would plan on being there when it first opens to give yourself time to explore and not be rushed back.

 

San Crisotobal opens at 9am.

 

wrp96 - thank you very much for the tip. I printed this out and will keep it in my file. This sounds good to me. Do you know though, are we close to a beach where the ship docks?

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Do bring something to drink---it IS HOT, HOT, HOT, and humid! By the time we finished our walking tour of the fort and shops...I thought I was going to pass out. If they had delayed my getting back onto the ship, I would have either fainted, or had a tantrum!!! I NEEDED some AC!!!!!!

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I don't think there is a beach close enough to the dock for that short amount of time that you are in port--the San Juan thread should be able to tell you, but I'm pretty sure the closest beach is a good distance away. We were on the port/left side of the ship coming in in December and the view of El Morro was amazing! Absolutely stunning. You won't want to miss it.

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There is a free trolley that circles up to the fort and back - no need to walk up the hill.

 

Last time I was there we were short of time too, so we rode up, saw the beautiful fort and view (briefly, I admit), then got off in mid - OSJ, did some shopping and walked the rest of the way back down hill to the ship.

 

Walk through all the tour busses and taxis, etc, right as you get off the ship, cross the street, and the stop is right there on one of the corners, heading up hill.

 

You'll see locals waiting, or I'm sure if you ask anyone, they can point you to the stop.

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