Caribbean Port of Departure - San Juan, Puerto Rico

1 Introducing San Juan

San Juan is the capital of and the largest city of Puerto Rico. Situated on the northern shores of the island, it is the second-oldest city established by Europeans in the Americas. San Juan is the most important transport center for Puerto Rico, and it is also the island's major center for finance, culture, manufacturing, and tourism. The Spanish originally called the seaport Ciudad de Puerto Rico and the entire island San Juan. For unfathomable reasons, the names have been reversed, and now the island is called Puerto Rico, and the city San Juan.

Today the original section of San Juan offers an authentic Old World feeling with nearly 400 restored Spanish 16th and 17th century buildings, and two near-original forts. The city also contains many restaurants, bars, shops and casinos for travelers to enjoy.


2 The Cruise Port of San Juan

There are three main pier areas in San Juan port. Old San Juan piers 1-6 at Old San Juan, then just east of these Navy Frontier pier, and lastly, across the San Antonio channel the Pan American Piers. Normally ships calling at San Juan dock at the Old San Juan Piers, so pax have easy access to Old San Juan. Cruise ships on cruises originating from San Juan will dock at Old San Juan pier 4, or the Pan American Pier. For a map of San Juan port see San Juan Port map. The cruise itineraries available from San Juan include some fabulous south Caribbean voyages. See cruises from San Juan for a comprehensive listing of cruises available.


3 Out And About in San Juan

El Morro Fort
El Morro, a huge fort dating back to 1539, protects San Juan from attack from the sea. Its full name is Castillo San Felipe del Morro, after the favored saint of King Philip of Spain. You can walk around six sets of gun emplacements and thick walls that tower over San Juan Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

San Cristobal Fort
San Cristobal Fort was built in the 18th century and offers beautiful vistas over Old San Juan and the Caribbean sea.

Paseo de la Muralla and Paseo de la Princesa
Two fabulous walks are the Paseo de la Princesa, a newly reworked promenade that hugs the waterfront, and the Paseo de la Muralla which contours along the ancient city walls.

La Fortaleza
Don't miss La Fortaleza, San Juan's oldest fortification, built in 1540. Later it was to become the official residence of the governor. Guided tours lead youon a walk through the sumptuous building, with gilded banquet hall, high galleries, and rooms decorated in period fashion.

Cathedral de San Juan
This beautiful cathedral dates back to 1592, on the site of the previous cathedral which was smashed by a hurricane. Located along Calle Cristo, this neoclassical building harbors the tomb of Ponce de Leon, a Spanish explorer and the 1st governor of Puerto Rico.

Escambron Beach
Escambrion beach, on the northern coastline is amongst the prettiest in the city. It's quick and easy to get to, and gives fabulous views back along the coast to El Morro.

Most of the shopping in Old San Juan is to be found in the many shops along Cristo, Fortaleza and San Francisco streets. Also make your way to the two craft markets where you'll find a wide choice of jewelry, fashions, art and souvenirs. One of the markets is located at the Plaza de la Darsena by pier 1, the other on the Paseo de la Princesa just along from pier 1.


4 Travelling to the San Juan Cruise Ports

The airport is about ten miles from the Pan American dock and twelve miles from the Old San Juan pier area. Allow around three quarters of an hour in a taxi for the journey. Some cruise lines offer shuttle bus transfers from the airport to the ship and vice-versa.

5 Other Information

Currency USD
Language Spanish and English
Timezone Atlantic Standard Time

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