San Juan, Puerto Rico

Introduction to San Juan, Puerto Rico

San Juan is the second-oldest European-founded settlement in the Americas. Founded in 1521, the old city (Old San Juan) is situated on a rocky peninsula that guards the entrance to San Juan harbour. 

With its diverse range of architecture and cultures, there is always a new experience to be had in San Juan. From the Old City, with its original Spanish inspired buildings and monuments to the modern shopping malls and office blocks of Hato Rey, Puerto Rico’s capital appeals to all.

The second-oldest European-founded settlement in the Americas, San Juan is home to many museums, galleries and exhibitions to explore and the San Juan National Historic Site in Old San Juan is arguably the city's greatest attraction. This UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises of colonial-era forts, bastions, powder houses, and three quarters of the old city wall, and is a fantastic visual representation of San Juan's incredible history. 

Many festivals and events take part throughout the year, celebrating the city’s vast history and culture. These colourful celebrations often involve music, dancing, local food, games and crafts and visitors are always encouraged to get involved and sample true Puerto Rican culture. 

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CAGUAS CITY TOUR

  • Discover the charm of the city of Caguas 
  • Learn more about Puerto Rico’s Creole traditions
  • Admire the fascinating plants and flowers at El Jardín
Activity Tour
Price£55.00-£65.00
DurationApproximately 5 to 5½ hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included

The city of Caguas is known as the Creole heart of Puerto Rico, and this cultural tour will show you why. Enjoy a visit to downtown Caguas and the Botanical and Cultural Gardens to get a true sense of Puerto Rican culture.

Your tour begins with an approximate 40-minute drive to the mountain region of Puerto Rico and the city of Caguas. Founded in 1775, Caguas, which is located in the lush Caguas Valley, was named after a local Indian chief and an early convert to Christianity.

Begin with a visit to downton Caguas, where you will visit the city’s main square and museums, including the History Museum, Tobacco Museum and the Popular Arts Museum, which specialises in preserving and promoting the diversity of Puerto Rican arts and crafts. At the city’s main square, you can enjoy approximately 20 minutes of time at leisure to relax under the shade of the trees, or browse and purchase (at your own expense) local treats including fritters, homemade candies, Puerto Rican coffee, refreshing piña coladas and fruit frappés.

Next, visit Caguas Botanical and Cultural Garden, known as El Jardín to locals. Embark on a guided trolley and walking tour, which will take you through a unique display of beautiful flowers and plants, indigenous and exotic trees and the ancient ruins of the Hacienda San José sugar mill. The diversity of the gardens reflects three ethnic roots – Taíno, Spanish and African – which fused together to create Puerto Rico’s Creole (Criollo) national identity.

Following your visit, re-board your tour coach for the relaxing journey back to San Juan and your awaiting ship.

Description correct for 2016/17 Caribbean season

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves approximately 90 minutes of standing and walking in downtown Caguas, and between one and a half and two hours at the Botanical and Cultural Garden, some of which may be over uneven terrain. All participants must be able to board the coach unaided. Guests are advised to wear flat, comfortable walking shoes and bring a hat, sun protection and a bottle of water. This tour may operate in a different order to that described. Refreshments are not included in the cost of this tour – these will be available to purchase during the period of free time at your own expense. 


El Yunque, San Juan, Puerto Rico

EL YUNQUE RAINFOREST

  • Marvel at the beauty of the El Yunque Rainforest
  • Embark on a nature walk through this stunning area
Activity Tour
Price£50.00-£60.00
DurationApproximately 5 Hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking

Uncover the exotic vegetation of El Yunque, the only tropical rainforest in the United States National Forest System. Home to more than 200 species of plants as well as waterfalls, streams, wildlife and trails leading to enticing locations, this forest is a nature lover’s paradise!
 
A drive of approximately one hour will take you from San Juan to El Yunque National Forest. Previously known as the Caribbean National Forest, El Yunque boasts more than 28,000 acres of beautiful, lush vegetation, and is one of the oldest reserves in the Western Hemisphere.
 
Upon arrival here, pause at the visitor’s centre, where you can learn about the many plants within the forest and their uses in natural remedies, spices and musical instruments. Following your informative stop here, you begin your journey through this spirited location. El Yunque’s rugged land climbs to around 1,066 metres (3,500 feet) above sea level, and is doused with up to five metres (200 inches) of rain every year. The forest was named after the good spirit Yuquiyu who, according to legend, reigned on his mighty mountain-top throne, protecting Puerto Rico and its people.
 
Pause at La Coca Waterfall and Yokahú Observation Tower, from where you can enjoy a wonderful photo opportunity of the breathtaking views. Embark on a nature walk of the forest, keeping your eyes peeled for local flora and fauna, including 23 species of trees which are unique to El Yunque. Some of the sights you will see today are the same as those that dazzled the first Spanish explorers more than 500 years ago. From the heart of the rainforest, you can listen out for the incessant yet delightful two-note chanting of the coqui (a frog native to Puerto Rico), the chattering of unseen tropical birds and – if you are lucky – the squawk of the endangered Puerto Rican parrot.

Description correct for 2016/17 Caribbean season

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves approximately 30 minutes of walking at the visitor centre and around five minutes on the nature trail, some of which will be over uneven and sometimes slippery ground. There are around 98 steps to negotiate at the Yokahú Observation Tower, therefore it is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. We cannot guarantee the presence of any wildlife. Guests are advised to wear flat, comfortable walking shoes (flip flops are not permitted) and bring sun protection, a hat, a bottle of water and insect repellent. El Yunque is a rainforest, and it rains an average of four times a day here, therefore ponchos or rain jackets are advisable. Please note that certain attractions within the forest can be closed at certain times due to maintenance or the weather.


Flavours of Puerto Rico

FLAVOURS OF PUERTO RICO

  • Learn how to cook Spanish paella, before sampling the dish for yourself
  • Experience an entertaining flamenco performance
Activity Tour
Price£60.00-£70.00
DurationApproximately 2 ½ hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Refreshments includedRefreshments included

Puerto Rico has a rich, Spanish heritage, which is evident in the country’s architecture, language, customs and traditions. On this tour you can gain a glimpse into the country’s Spanish roots as you witness a paella cooking demonstration by a local chef and taste the end result, before enjoying an energetic flamenco performance.

Meet your host at the pier, who will escort you to a local restaurant located approximately four blocks away. Upon arrival, you will meet your chef, who will share their secrets of how to cook the perfect paella. A traditional Spanish dish, paella originated in its modern form in the mid-19th century close to the city of Valencia, Spain. After you are given the recipe to take home with you, you can enjoy a succulent paella lunch accompanied by sangria.

During your time at the restaurant, sit back and relax as you enjoy a flamenco performance. Flamenco is a form of Spanish folk music and dance and originates from the region of Andalucía in southern Spain. It includes cante (singing), toque (guitar playing), baile (dance) and palmas (handclaps).

At the end of the tour you will have the option to remain in Old San Juan and explore at leisure, or follow your host back to your awaiting ship. 

Description correct for 2016/17 Caribbean season

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Depending on the berth of your ship, this tour involves a moderate amount of walking, some of which may be over cobbled and inclined ground. There are around seven steps to negotiate at the restaurant, therefore this tour is not suitable for wheelchair users. Please note that the sangria is only available to guests aged 21 and over. Please note that paella is a dish made of rice and ingredients including fish, shellfish and meats. Guests may opt for meat paella without shellfish.


San Cristobal Fort, San Juan

OLD & NEW SAN JUAN

  • Discover the highlights of the capital of Puerto Rico
  • Explore the historic part of the city – today a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Step back in time with a visit to San Cristobal Fort
Activity Tour
Price£45.00-£55.00
DurationApproximately 4 hours
Walking level 2 - moderate walkingModerate walking
Free time includedFree time included
Shopping time includedShopping time included

Boasting beautiful colonial buildings and cobblestone streets, San Juan is a bustling Caribbean city rich in history and culture. This tour takes you through New San Juan before you explore the Old City, where you can admire its charm and architecture.
 
Leaving the pier, you begin with a sightseeing drive through New San Juan, during which you can admire the highlights of this area, including the Convention Centre; the Plaza Las America Mall; Roberto Clemente Coliseum, a concert and sports arena; the Hiram Bithorn baseball stadium; Museum of Art and the banking district.
 
Arriving in the Old City, you proceed to the San Cristobal Fort. This historic stone fortress, one of two in San Juan, was built between the 17th and 18th centuries, and is the largest Spanish fortification in the New World. During your approximate 45-minute guided tour of the fort, learn of the history of this structure, and how it was built to protect the city from land-based attacks.
 
Continue your tour of Old San Juan, passing by many important historic buildings such as the Antiguo Casino, Museo de Ateneo and Casa Olímpica (Olympic House). Learn about the cultural significance of these important institutions during your drive, and also pause briefly at the south side of the Capitol Building, where you can take photographs of the statues of US presidents.
 
Next, enjoy approximately one hour of time at leisure at Plaza Colón – the main street here - where you can explore independently or browse for arts and crafts to take home as a souvenir of your visit.
 
Re-board your coach for the return drive back to the quayside, and your awaiting ship.

Description correct for 2016/17 Caribbean Season

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? This tour involves approximately 45 minutes of compulsory walking, some of which will be over uneven, cobbled and inclined ground, and there will be steps to negotiate. Although there is a lift at the fort, if it is out of order there are approximately 75 steps to negotiate to the second level, and a steep ramp to encounter to the third level. Unfortunately this tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Places of interest may be visited in a different order to that described. Guests are advised to wear comfortable shoes and to bring sun protection. A bottle of water would be a handy addition to your bag. At the end of the tour, it may be possible to remain in Old San Juan, however it is your own responsibility to make your way back to the ship in time for sailing.

 


Paddle Boarding at Condado Lagoon, San Juan, Puerto Rico

PADDLE BOARDING AT CONDADO LAGOON

  • Admire the beautiful Condado Lagoon
  • Enjoy the opportunity to try your hand at paddle boarding
  • No experience is necessary!
Activity Tour
Price£60.00-£70.00
DurationApproximately 2 ½ hours
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking

The Condado Lagoon boasts beautiful views of the city of San Juan with its striking skyline, monuments and marine life. On this tour, explore the lagoon as you experience a stand up paddle boarding lesson.
 
Leaving the pier, you will be transferred to the entrance of Condado Lagoon. Here you will meet with your instructor who will provide you with a safety briefing and all of the equipment you need for your experience.
 
Paddle boarding has its roots in ancient cultures in the likes of Africa, Hawaii and South America, and is today one of the world’s fastest growing water sports. After enjoying an introduction to paddle boarding and a demonstration of techniques, you will take to the water as your aquatic adventure begins. Pass beneath the San Anton Bridge, and keep your eyes peeled for bright red starfish, then stop at a secluded beach, where in the shallow waters your instructor will provide more advice on techniques as you try to stand on the board.
 
Proceed towards the Baldorioty de Castro Monument, which commemorates one of Puerto Rico’s most prominent abolitionists, then pause to enjoy a refreshing dip in the water. Continue paddling towards the Condado Lagoon Park, where you will pause to explore your surroundings. Then make your final push and paddle back to the shore, during which time you can admire views of San Geronimo del Boquerón, an old battalion outpost dating from Spanish colonial times.


Description correct for 2016/17 Caribbean season

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Guests are required to sign an insurance waiver prior to the start of this tour. Although this tour involves a limited amount of compulsory walking, all guests must be agile, and confident swimmers and have a good sense of balance. Your paddle boarding adventure will last for approximately two hours, and at times you may be required to kneel on the board. This tour is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Guests must be a minimum of ten years to take part in this tour. The maximum weight limit is 136 kilograms (300 pounds). As with all creatures in their natural environment, the presence of marine life cannot be guaranteed. Guests are advised to wear their swimming costume underneath surfing attire, including board shorts and a lycra shirt, and to bring a towel, sun protection and a change of clothes. This tour may operate in a different order to that described.


San Cristobal Fort, San Juan

SAN CRISTOBAL FORT & OLD SAN JUAN WALKING TOUR

  • Embark on a walking tour of Old San Juan
  • Admire the iconic colonial architecture of this unique city
  • Explore San Cristobal Fort, the largest Spanish fortification in the New World
Activity Tour
Price£40.00-£50.00
DurationApproximately 3 hours
Walking level 3 - extensive walkingExtensive walking

Step back in time as you take in a walking tour of Old San Juan, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and an area of historical importance. Discover over 500 years of San Juan’s past as you explore its narrow streets.
 
Meet your guide and set off for your informative walk along the blue cobblestone streets, admiring the Old City’s impressive sights and architecture. Discover the San Cristobal Fort, which was built between the 17th and 18th centuries to protect the city from land-based attacks. Standing guard at the eastern entrance to Old San Juan, the fort is part of the San Juan National Historic Site, and is one of Puerto Rico’s most visited attractions. During your tour here, peer through cannon embrasures, view sentry boxes from where Spanish soldiers kept watch, discover the military quarters, and admire the fort’s magnificent surroundings.
 
Continue your walk through Old San Juan, during which you can enjoy the opportunity to view a variety of monuments and landmarks, including Plaza Colon, San Jose Church (the second oldest in the Western Hemisphere), San Juan Cathedral, Capilla del Cristo and the Governor Mansion, which played an important role in Puerto Rico’s history and heritage. Have your camera to hand as you explore the historic heart of San Juan, before making your way back to the quayside and your awaiting ship.


Description correct for 2016/17 Caribbean season

Is this tour right for you?

IS THIS TOUR RIGHT FOR YOU? Please note that this is a walking tour, which covers some hilly and uneven terrain, and there will be around 20 steps to negotiate, therefore it is not suitable for guests with limited mobility or wheelchair users. Flat, comfortable walking shoes are essential, and guests are advised to bring sun protection and a bottle of water. The itinerary of the walking tour is subject to change, depending on local conditions or the weather on the day. Depending on the berth of your ship, there may be a short transfer to Old San Juan.

 


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