Why choose a cruise to San Juan?
San Juan is where the ancient and modern collide. The 500-year-old city is located on an islet, surrounded by thick, impenetrable walls. Old San Juan is an atmospheric district of brightly coloured colonial houses, cobblestone alleyways and shaded plazas, renowned for its picturesque appearance.
But there are also a host of more modern neighbourhoods within the city, giving it energy and dynamism. Santurce is a hip district, renowned for its street art and sizzling nightlife, while Isla Verde is an upmarket luxurious resort area where you can relax on soft sandy beaches, fringed with waving palms.
A guide to San Juan’s hotspots
Old San Juan is renowned for its historic buildings. The star of the show is El Morro, an imposing fort that looms over the headland. Climb the ramparts for a view of Old San Juan and the cobalt ocean. During the weekends, the manicured gardens around the fort come alive with children flying kites, food-cart vendors and families picnicking.
Head to hip Santurce, the city’s new art district, to check out the cool street art. Much of it is concentrated along Calle Cerra, which is the site of an international street-art festival. You’ll marvel over the colourful graphic prints that adorn the buildings and the walls.
Another reason to take a San Juan cruise is for the stunning beaches. Just a stone’s throw from Old San Juan you’ll find Balneario Escambrón, a sheltered bay of white sand fringed with palm trees and snack bars. Despite being so close to the city, you’ll always have space to spread your towel.
For a taste of luxury, head to Isla Verde neighbourhood, where a stunning swathe of sand is lined with high-end five-star resorts. As well as relaxing on the beach, you can also check out the glitzy casinos, try out water sports or enjoy an upmarket dining experience with ocean views.
Cruise lines that sail to the port of San Juan
The best time to visit San Juan
It’s summer 365 days a year in tropical San Juan, with temperatures averaging 25°C-28°C year-round; the driest months are December to April. Visit in February for two hallmark events – Carnival, a celebration of street parades, parties and masked balls, and Festival Casals, a renowned jazz and classical music event.
July sees less rainfall than any other month during the wet season, and the rain often arrives during the night. Visit in July for the International Salsa Congress, a fortnight of sizzling dance performances.
Did you know?
· The piña colada was invented in a San Juan restaurant, Barrachina, in 1963
· San Juan is the oldest European-founded settlement under US jurisdiction
· The city is renowned for its vibrant salsa-dancing culture