By land, San Juan
Free Trolley in Old San Juan!
There is an amazing trolley that goes for free in Old San Juan and this has several points where you can go off, including the two famous forts.
Departure points: Covadonga, La Puntilla, Plaza de Armas, and as mentioned the two forts….is you are not yet at a stopping station, try to wave at it for it to stop – it just might as we observed. However, the only problem we had was that I sat at the narrow back seats and I was sitting with a bum-looking man who seemed to be a bit drunk.
Otherwise, this is a great free way to move around the city. But Old San Juan is really best for walking unless you have some kind of plantar fascitis (foot problems) or you just can't stand the stifling heat and humidity...
UPDATE! UPDATE! UPDATE!
I made a video of our short trip to Puerto Rico!
Hope you like this:
JUMPING FAMILY IN SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO!
We were warned to allow several hours to drive into San Juan from Fajardo (~35miles) for our flight home. They were right- traffic comes to a stand still. There is only one main highway into San Juan from around the island, and this is the major metropolis where a lot of islanders work.
The local Merchants Association sponsors a free trolley that does a continuous route throughout the Old City. Ask for a map with the route marked from the Information Center kiosk near Cruise Ship Pier 1. You can use it to get a good overall view of the city by staying on for the whole circuit.
The trolley runs Monday through Friday from 7:00am until 7:00pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00am until 7:00pm.
HOWEVER: all the streets are narrow and one-way so traffic moves very slowly, especially on weekends or when there are special events. So if you're only going a short distance you'll probably do better on foot.
I always rent from this company, they have very competitive rates, are centrally located on Isla Verde and have an airport shuttle which will pick you up at the airport and drop you off on your return. The agents at the desk speak English and are helpful and very friendly.
You can make your reservation on line or contact them via their 800 number.
There are taxi's everywhere in San Juan, but they are expensive compared to most other places I've been outside the U.S. My solution was to take the buses! I lived in San Juan for a year and didnt have a car so I took advantage of the bus system. The regular buses are 25 cents for almost anywhere in the city and the metro buses are 50 cents. There is a large bus station in Old San Juan and from there you can get to about anywhere in the city. Yes the buses sometimes take longer than a taxi, but its an adventure and a good way to meet some locals. The A-5 runs from Condado to Isla Verde. Take the B12 to Plaza Las Americas for some shopping!
As you exit the Airport, grab a pick-up bus and rent a car. Driving around San Juan and beyond is a blast. Warning: there's CRAZY driving going on so be careful! Most of the Beaches, Restaurants, Bars and shopping are 5-15 minutes from each other. Shopping is GREAT at Plaza Las Americas and Latinas have great fashion sense so the offerings are sexy, feminine and flashy. Old San Juan at night is great to walk around in and party. Some of the hippest Restaurants to eat and people-watch. And the people are geogeous.
Bus service is fairly reliable and VERY COST EFFECTIVE. We saved, conservatively, between 100 and 200 dollars opting for bus service over taxi service in the Condado/Old San Juan area.
1) Buses don't run on scedules, expect a 10-15 minute wait on average at a "parada" (bus stop), though we got lucky a few times with no wait 2) HAVE EXACT CHANGE. Carry a pocket or purse full of quarters and dimes (75 cents/person/trip) 3) Service stops at 9:00 pm 4) DRIVERS ARE PSYCHO/UNHELPFUL. I soon found out that they care little for your safety and arrival at your destination. Don't expect them to help you with directions, ask the other bus patrons. On the other hand, we arrived quickly to each of our stops because THEY DRIVE AT BREAKNECK SPEEDS!
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No sooner than we were off the ship, we came across many mini buses parked along the street. They were offering to take us to Fort Cristobal for the reasonable fee of $5.00 US each. As it was quite a hike there from the dock area we went for it. The driver did give us a little tour of San Juan and let us off in front of the Fort.
We were able to take the local bus from our hotel in Isla Verde to Old San Juan for 25 cents. Look for the bus stops in front of most hotels. They are marked with a big green ball on top of them. The bus delivers you to the bus station in Old San Juan and picks you up from the same place for the return trip. Approx 35 minutes travel time each way.
A taxi ride was $17.00 each way!
$0.25 a ride to practically anywhere in San Juan and Viejo San Juan. Goes out as far as Plaza las Américas, Bayamón and Condado. Very convenient, air conditioned for tropical climate comfort. More reliable than driving into Viejo San Juan as parking is an utter nightmare.
It seemed like most of the other people staying at our hotel either rented a car or took a cab. Renting a car is expensive, and the driving style is...well...a little more assertive than in the slow-paced US. Taxis will run you $20 a ride. The bus? 25 cents. Can't beat that.
Tren Urbano, the new rail transportation system for metropolitan San Juan, will start revenue service by the end of Feb. 2005. Right now, they are introducing the system to the citizens with free rides on weekends and other special days. So far, Stage one (Red)from Bayamon (west of San Juan) to Sagrado Corazon station is the only one developed. It seems that the next line to be built will be Carolina to Rio Piedras (green). So far, the airport and other areas frequented by tourists are not covered but as you can see, there are plans to eventually cover Condado, Isla Verde and the edge of old San Juan
Finally, the long overdue new transportation system for the San Juan Metropolitan area will start officially by the end of Feb. 2005. Right now, you can get free rides on the weekends from 10.00 AM - 4.00 PM
In this nice bus the bus driver drove us up to
Fort Cristobal along a nice road with beautiful buildings.
The cost was very reasonable$10 U.S for an
hour and a half tour around Old San Juan.
Then he drove right through the center of the town and dropped us off for some shopping
That was no surprise, we walked back to the Cruise ship.
Use Taxi Transportaion at Santana Taxi Service, inc.
Visit our web-site at http://www.taxituristico.com
Taxi tours are less expensive than Bus tours. You can contact us for prices at : firstname.lastname@example.org