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Walking around Old San Juan


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Hubby and I will be in San Juan for a day at the end of July.  Once again, we have no set plans for this port.  We are planning to just walk around Old San Juan leisurely and see where the day takes us.  My question is...is there a place nearby (when you get off the ship) to get a good walking map of old San Juan with attractions marked etc.?

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16 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Hubby and I will be in San Juan for a day at the end of July.  Once again, we have no set plans for this port.  We are planning to just walk around Old San Juan leisurely and see where the day takes us.  My question is...is there a place nearby (when you get off the ship) to get a good walking map of old San Juan with attractions marked etc.?

I don't know if there's any kind of tourist information as we cruised from San Juan, but Frommer's has a map that might be useful: 323_oldsanjuanattractions.jpg

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Just now, DocLC said:

I don't know if there's any kind of tourist information as we cruised from San Juan, but Frommer's has a map that might be useful: 

Thanks!  I did find this online a while back but was hoping for a more "tourist" type map.  You know the kind you would find at a tourist agency.  I thought I had read somewhere that there was a tourist info center right when you get off the ship?

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2 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Thanks!  I did find this online a while back but was hoping for a more "tourist" type map.  You know the kind you would find at a tourist agency.  I thought I had read somewhere that there was a tourist info center right when you get off the ship?

I'm pretty sure there is some type of booth at the dock, but I'm not 100% sure. There's also a free tram that will take you up to the forts, which are worth the visit but can be hot. We were there in early January and were surprised how hot it was.

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I don't recall seeing a tourist booth but I may have walked right past it.  I tend to research on my own ahead and time and have a plan, even for self exploring. 

End of July - plan for hot and it's the Caribbean so a pop rain shower is always possible.  Take bottles of water off the ship. 

The walk down Passeo de la Princesa is a simple left turn at the end of the pier and just walk in that direction.  Nice fountain at the end, couple of bars you can stop at.  From there you can follow the shore and walk outside the old city walls.  It eventually ends at El Morro.  Or head up hill through the city and find El Morro then reverse what I said above and return to the ship walking along the shore.  Between the fountain and El Morro along the shore there aren't any bars or places to stop and cool down so plan that portion accordingly.

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48 minutes ago, twangster said:

I don't recall seeing a tourist booth but I may have walked right past it.  I tend to research on my own ahead and time and have a plan, even for self exploring. 

End of July - plan for hot and it's the Caribbean so a pop rain shower is always possible.  Take bottles of water off the ship. 

The walk down Passeo de la Princesa is a simple left turn at the end of the pier and just walk in that direction.  Nice fountain at the end, couple of bars you can stop at.  From there you can follow the shore and walk outside the old city walls.  It eventually ends at El Morro.  Or head up hill through the city and find El Morro then reverse what I said above and return to the ship walking along the shore.  Between the fountain and El Morro along the shore there aren't any bars or places to stop and cool down so plan that portion accordingly.

Great tips all around.  Thanks Twangster!  We are not 100% set on El Morro.  That was the plan before but since it's July and we know it will be really hot, we decided to let it be a "game time" decision.  I've read over @JLMoran and your blog from San Juan and they were a good refresher.  But being the Type A person that I am, I feel better if I have map in hand.

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1 hour ago, rjac said:

So, perhaps the Stubborn Canadian could hire them for the day?:3_grin:

Your one liners never fail to make me laugh 😂 

The "Canadian" part is the problem here. If I was American, I would likely have cell service and then I would not need to worry about a physical map.

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We did a self-guided tour last week.  When we exited the pier, there were several tour guys looking for customers, we weren't interested but the map that he gave one of the kids was the map that we ended up using.  We were planning to use the trolley for our touring.  The trolley is supposed to start at 7:30 and it was running when we arrived at the first stop a little before 8:00.  The signs were still missing, so there was a green metal sign post with no actual signage in it.  We took the trolley to El Morro.  Which we then found out didn't open until 9:00.  No problem, the kids ran around the outside, we looked around, took pictures.  It was already pretty hot before 9:00.  After the fort opened and we toured for about 30 minutes, we walked back to the trolley stop.  After waiting 20 minutes in the full sun and no trolley ever arrived, we decided to start walking.  It was a fairly easy and pleasant walk, we tried to stay on the shaded sides of the streets.  Did a little shopping and then made our way back to the ship before noon. 

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Must see the pigeon park, and let the kids each get a bag of corn for them! Even if you don’t go into the bird area, there are lots of little shops and probably that busker I saw, and the street is full of tables with umbrellas for shade. It’s about a 5-minute brisk walk from there to the cruise port, so could be a good last stop for the day if your ship departs at 2 pm.

Also, try to find Tropical Taste if you want good food and a great mojito! Wish I could tell you how to get there, but even our guides sort of stumbled across it.

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If any interest in Classical Music, the cello, or even World Peace, I would highly recommend the Pablo Casals museum as a stop.  Nice collection of his artifacts on display... He played at the Kennedy White House and the UN.   It was free last time we were there... On the walk to/from the Forts... 

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You may also want to see if there any active exhibits at the Museum of the Americas (the old Spanish barracks located close to El Morro, in what looked to me like the town center square). Supposedly it can be a great place to visit when they have an exhibit going on, but hardly anyone (including the locals) even realizes it's there. You'd have the place mostly to yourself and your family, so you could really enjoy whatever was on display.

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We were in San Juan in May and did a self walking tour:  http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/old-san-juan-walking-tour-1/  

There is a tourism office at the Old San Juan Jail.   The building is called "La Princesa."  They had several maps and the exhibit JLMoran mentioned.  There was some construction on a section of Paseo, so we had to double back and ask for directions at the Tourism office to take a detour to El Morro.   They were very helpful.  Not sure if it's still being worked on, but you can check with them and save yourself some time.    San Juan is an easy "walking" city.  You'll have a great time.  Unfortunately we had a very short time in port -- We got in a 8a and left at 1:30p 😪.

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16 minutes ago, Myisland said:

We were in San Juan in May and did a self walking tour:  http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/old-san-juan-walking-tour-1/  

There is a tourism office at the Old San Juan Jail.   The building is called "La Princesa."  They had several maps and the exhibit JLMoran mentioned.  There was some construction on a section of Paseo, so we had to double back and ask for directions at the Tourism office to take a detour to El Morro.   They were very helpful.  Not sure if it's still being worked on, but you can check with them and save yourself some time.    San Juan is an easy "walking" city.  You'll have a great time.  Unfortunately we had a very short time in port -- We got in a 8a and left at 1:30p 😪.

This must have been the building that I read about.  Was it by any chance a yellow building?  

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33 minutes ago, Lovetocruise2002 said:

This must have been the building that I read about.  Was it by any chance a yellow building?  

Possibly this one?

IMG_8509.thumb.jpg.2d2df46a24c998d38466b55528c0914f.jpg

The Museum of the Americas is to the left of that building and I think you also have to go down a side street a little ways. Here are a couple of the pics I took from inside, and you can see one of the paintings on display through the large opening in the second story, left side of the close-in shot.

IMG_8510.thumb.jpg.41134fba530404169eb37374eed2f051.jpg

IMG_8513.thumb.jpg.41ef3ddd3f5d564b29b92b078a02ce50.jpg

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Just now, Lovetocruise2002 said:

Thanks @JLMoran! I will save these so I have a reference!

That first pic is from the "town square", for want of a better term, and right by El Morro. You can see the fort clearly from there if you were to turn around from where I took the pic; just cross the big field where you'll often see people flying kites and you're there. So it may well not be the old jailhouse that @Myisland was talking about.

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27 minutes ago, JLMoran said:

That first pic is from the "town square", for want of a better term, and right by El Morro. You can see the fort clearly from there if you were to turn around from where I took the pic; just cross the big field where you'll often see people flying kites and you're there. So it may well not be the old jailhouse that @Myisland was talking about.

We'll wander and when in doubt, we'll head down hill lol.

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17 minutes ago, Myisland said:

I just checked my photos to see if I had one of the building, but I don't.  It's now painted gray.  I scanned in a map  I had to show the building and marked in red where they had blocked off the Paseo for restoration.

scan0001_LI.jpg

I am pretty sure that is the tourist building I've read about too. I will walk in that direction and see what happens 😊 Thank you!

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