If your cruise ship docks in San Juan, Puerto Rico you can spend the day without breaking the bank. There is something around every corner in Old San Juan from when you first enter the harbor til you walk off the ship.
6 ways to experience San Juan on a budget:
1. $10 city highlight tour. This tour is offered to you right when you get off the cruise ship and walk outside of the cruise terminal. It’s not affiliated with the cruise line in any way.
The highlights tour offers a ride around Old San Juan and gives you a preview of the area. Even though this is a narrated tour, it’s more so a lay of the land type tour to figure out where you want to go after the tour concludes.
2. Walk old San Juan. One thing about San Juan is it’s a very walkable city. With a day in port and your comfortable walking shows you can pretty much anywhere in the Old San Juan area to take in the sights, photo ops, window shopping and some of Old San Juan’s historic architecture. Just make sure you have your walking shoes and legs toned up, Old San Juan is very hilly.
3. Hop on trolley. Board a free trolley that has several routes around Old San Juan. Where do you want to go? You can head to the fort, the shopping district, San Juan cemetery, Museum of San Juan or a dozens of other places. You can find more about the free trolley service and the routes here.
4. Bacardi Rum Plant. Across the harbor sits the famous Bacardi plant and distillery that offers tours every thirty minutes and gives you an inside look at the distillery process and the history of the company. Over 80 percent of the world’s Bacardi Rum is bottled there. After the tour you receive two tickets to lets you get two free rum drinks with over a dozen of flavors to choose from. You get to the plant for under $10 per person, see more about the Catano ferry below. More about the Bacardi Plant Tour here.
There has been a $12 entry fee added to the Bacardi Plant Tour in 2014.
5. Old Harbor Brewery. This is the only microbrewery on the island and it’s within a ten-minute walk from the cruise terminal. You can experience a flight of beer where you can sample five or six of the award-winning local beers that are made right there on the island. For $10 you can taste Old Harbor’s lager, pilsner, pale ale, stout, IPA and if you’re lucky their seasonal brew that’s made twice per year.
6. Take the Cataño Ferry. For only fifty-cents each way, the Cataño ferry is convenient, economical and quite possibly the most effective way to make it over to Cataño from Old San Juan to the Bacardi plant area. If you’re going to the Bacardi plant from the ferry terminal it’s a $3 cab ride each way. You can board the Cataño ferry just outside the cruise terminal. Check out the ferry schedule here.
This ferry is also perfect for catching a sunset, a day/evening sail across the harbor or just to kill some time before your ship leaves.
Have you cruised from or to San Juan, Puerto Rico before? What were your thoughts?