An escape to rooftops, multicolor buildings and stunning views. Just a couple meters away from where the Cruise Ships dock, colourful San Juan Puerto Rico old town is a walkable city of sunshine and feels like an immediate natural pill clearing your thoughts of modern-day stress.
The cruise ship terminal
Cruise ships usually dock for a few hours in Puerto Rico. Therefore, you might be thinking, “how am I going to spend my time wisely?” A very good benefit for all cruise guests is that the ship docks only 5 minutes away from San Juan historical district. It is conveniently positioned and allows a manageable walk around the peninsula in few hours.
Paseo del Morro
We suggest starting your short journey by going left off the port and use the Paseo de la Princesa towards La Fortaleza, a fortification and manor from the 16th century. It is the official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico and it is listed as a world heritage building since 1983. Here you are on Paseo del Morro: a heaven for cat lovers. A little surprise awaits you as you walk along the shoreline. As a matter of fact, you will be graced by a clowder of cats, who have made this area their home. Cats are cherished throughout the little town and are very friendly.
Castillo Felipe Del Morro
The Paseo Del Morro will take you to the main landmark, Castillo Felipe Del Morro that you can also admire from the ships top deck as she sales into port. Also called “El Morro”, the fort, built in the 16th century, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Used for some movies, San Felipe Del Morro ramparts is one of the most visited places in the island with more than 2 million tourists per year. There is a wide-open field leading to the fortress and offers a stunning view of the ocean. It is the right place to have a picnic and enjoy the sunset. For more culture and history, here is the official website link : https://www.nps.gov/saju/index.htm
Colourful La Perla
As you head back towards the old town, most people use the Calle Norzagaray along the different bastions protecting and helping prevent attacks back then. The popular La Perla neighborhood is known for its basketball court bearing Carmelo Anthony’s name, a famous NBA player. The foundation of the athlete opened this basketball court in 2010 to help kids and the community. The court matches the colourful houses within the area.
Castillo de San Cristóbal
Another main landmark of San Juan Islet is the Castillo de San Cristóbal. The biggest Spanish fort of America is situated at the top of the hill and overlooks the city, old and new town. Built in 1783, the castle controlled entry into the city with a double gate. A century later, in 1897, some parts of the walled city were demolished in order to allow an easier access to this area. At this point, a good photoshoot of the Cruise Ships and the bay of Puerto Rico is welcomed.
Colourful San Juan old town
As you might have a few hours left before sail away, you cannot leave without exploring the old town. San Juan is home of many paved streets dressed in an array of colourful buildings. It plays a vital role in the Latino music video industry. Take a refreshing stroll along the vibrant streets and somehow you will imagine yourself being on a popular music video. Old town means bars, restaurants and cafes. For instance, local food such as appetizers and sea food are found at Plaza Arturo Somohano, a charming square near the cruise terminal.
Rooftop bar experience
As you plan your adventure in Puerto Rico, we are going to share with you our favourite place because we had such an amazing experience. We visited this special place twice in two weeks as our ship docked in Puerto Rico regularly. At the corner of Calle Sol and Calle de la Cruz you will be please to find” Al Fresco Rooftop Wine Bar” a must do we recommend! We had the best cocktails with a unique view of Puerto Rico on this rooftop. As a matter of fact the bar is located on the third floor with an open patio that offers a different angle of the city. The staff were very friendly and spoke English.
In the end, the best advice to visit Puerto Rico is to follow your instinct with all the tips provided in our blog and discover hidden spots within the heart of the old town. Enjoy the adventure and sightseeing.