By Nancy Schretter
San Juan, Puerto Rico is one of the Eastern Caribbean’s most diverse and exciting ports of call. This capital city of Puerto Rico offers a unique blend of so many factors: old and new; American and Taino/European cultures; art and adventure. Cruisers can stroll down bustling cobblestone streets filled with inviting shops or spend the day lounging on one of the island’s golden beaches.
While the city of San Juan offers lots of attractions, there are a host of adventures waiting nearby. Here are five exhilarating experiences that cruise guests can enjoy during their visit to San Juan, Puerto Rico:
1. Glow In The Dark: Cruise passengers whose ships remain in San Juan until late at night have a unique opportunity to tour one of Puerto Rico’s bioluminescent lagoons. Only a few of these exist throughout the world and those in Puerto Rico are considered to be some of the best. Participants can kayak in small groups along a trail to Fajardo’s Laguna Grande filled with glow-in-the-dark plankton. Touching the water with your hands will cause the little dinoflagellates to light up like fire flies. It’s an amazing experience and best on a moonless night.
2. Fly through the Canopy: Love excitement? Then sail from tree to tree on a zipline tour during your stay in Puerto Rico. This zipline course, located about a 30-minute drive from San Juan, consists of eight platform-to-platform traverses using a network of cables and pulleys up to 70 feet off the ground. At the end of the tour, participants will rappel down to the ground. Extensive walking, hiking and climbing may be involved as part of this tour. Guests must be five years of age, at least 46” tall and can weigh no more than 250 pounds to take part in this shore excursion.
3. Take a Hike. Nature-loving families should visit El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest within the U.S. National Forest system. This 28,000-acre rain forest’s waterfalls, natural pools, colorful wildflowers and tiny tree frogs (coqui) are favorites with visitors. Seeking more natural wonders? Take a shore excursion that will allow you to visit Rio Camuy Cave Park, the third largest cave system on the planet with illuminated caverns stretching up to 170-feet high. The kids will be thrilled to know that parts of Pirates of the Caribbean were filmed in these caves.
4. Ride the Trails. Cruisers seeking an adrenaline rush can get their fill on an exhilarating ATV adventure tour at a 600-acre Hacienda located near El Yunque in Puerto Rico’s eastern countryside. On this exciting shore excursion, guests will cross creeks and drive on trails that wind through the region’s beautiful scenery. If the weather permits, the guides will stop by a river and participants can take a dip to cool off in the clear waters. Each ATV can hold one driver and one rider. This tour is open to cruisers who are at least 12 years old. Drivers must be 18 years of age or older, and under 250 pounds. For those who prefer to ride on horseback, the Hacienda also offers leisurely trail rides meandering through the grounds and along the banks of a river. Participants must be at least 10 years of age, at least 48” tall, weigh no more than 250 pounds, and be in good physical condition to participate in this tour.
5. Get Out on the Water. Catamaran sail and snorkel excursions are popular with cruisers visiting San Juan. Most cruise lines and private tour operators offer catamaran based tours, typically along the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico, and some offer kayaking trips as well. There are plenty of opportunities to take scuba diving excursions in Puerto Rico, usually of the coast near Fajardo around the Cordillera Reef System. Just make sure to bring your certification card with you. For a less touristy adventure, head over to the COPI Cultural Center and go kayaking on the lovely Torecilla Lagoon. This peaceful lagoon is filled with mangrove channels and the bird watching here is fantastic.
To find more information on what to do in San Juan, Puerto Rico, visit https://www.seepuertorico.com.
Nancy Schretter is the Managing Editor of the Family Travel Network.
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