San Juan with kids

PocahontasRN

Earning My Ears
Joined
Jun 3, 2021
Hello!
San Juan is one of our ports of call. We will be traveling with an 12, 8, and 4 year old. Is it even worth getting off the ship for anything or should we just stay on and enjoy the activities? We love the beach, but it sounds like the beach excursions aren’t that great.
 

Chemist

Mouseketeer
Joined
Jul 14, 2015
We LOVED San Juan. Its an easy walk to one of the forts, and a relatively easy walk to the other. (We took a taxi back.) The forts are FASCINATING.

We also got "ices" from a push cart. Did not see anyone selling piragua, though. (Puerto Rican shaved ice)
 

Quellman

Donald Duck
Joined
Aug 15, 2014
Before COVID there was a free tram that picked up at the port and took you on a tour of downtown with stops at each of the forts. It was a lot of fun to see a little bit of the city that way and it was budget friendly. The fort was fun too.
 

anricat

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 20, 2014
San Juan is beautiful! You should definitely get off the ship! If you can get to the rainforest, it's definitely worth a visit and would be my top recommendation with those ages.

We've been twice to San Juan, both times sort of part of DCL, however, neither as port stops, both of them were pre-cruise as we embarked from there. We did Old San Juan and the rainforest on one trip and then El Morro on our second trip. And I still feel like San Juan has more to give! My daughter (10 on our first trip and 11 on the second trip) loved the rainforest especially, but she also had a lot of fun at El Morro, though I doubt the 4 year old would get much from it. In the forest, there are some places to wade and some fun exploration to be done. We were there soon after the storm and some was still blocked off, but I'm sure most is pretty much back to normal at this point.

Here are my trip reports (direct links to relevant posting about San Juan) if that helps:

 

DLgal

DIS Veteran
Joined
Feb 12, 2013
Please get off the ship in San Juan. It's one of the best ports in the Caribbean. Explore Old San Juan, stop in at Barrachina for a pina colada at the place that invented them (as well as some traditional PR fritters). Check out the forts. There are 2 of them and you can walk to them both. Old San Juan is not that large and you can walk from the Pier all the way to the ports and then make your way back through Old Town.
 

daedelus

This will be my greatest performance!
Joined
Dec 23, 2017
San Juan is an amazing city! We've been going there pre and post cruise for years and now that there aren't any cruises starting stopping there, we go there for 5-7 days each year for vacation.

There is a ton to do as many have mentioned. The forts are really neat, but a lot of walking so you might want to consider that for your younger ones. There are ample taxis which are pretty reliable and safe.

A couple of places I will strongly recommend for kids - first is Chocobar Cortes, a cafe in Old San Juan where everything contains chocolate - even the BLT! My family loved it - https://www.chocobarcortes.com/. The other place you need to go is Pigeon Park, also in Old San Juan. On the map it's Parque de los Palomas and there are literally 500+ pigeons who come there daily. They'll land on you and crowd around anyone with pigeon-chow (which you can buy from a couple sellers outside the park. Bring wet wipes and/or hand sanitizer. So many awesome photos from there!

There's also Casa Blanca you can tour, the old cobblestone district (streets made from old ship's ballast stones) etc.

Regardless of where you go, get off the ship and explore! It's an amazing town.

Cheers!

daedelus
 

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  • OKW Lover

    Retired and living 2 miles from The Castle.
    DIS Lifetime Sponsor
    Joined
    Apr 29, 2004
    Another fan of San Juan. We love to get off the ship there and just wander the streets. Suggestion with kids, grab a taxi up the El Morro and tour the old fort. Then, walk back down through the city, checking out the various shops, to the ship.
     

    wideeyedwonder

    DIS Veteran
    Joined
    Jul 31, 2008
    Yet another vote for San Juan, love visiting it, love the beaches and the forts, love the food, the architecture, and the people. The only hesitation I would have is with the 4 and 8 year-old, do they like walking and sight-seeing new things, or would they be bored? Also, what time of year are we talking about? If it's in January, you will have the San Sebastián Street Festival going on most likely (I think it was virtual this year).

    We were lucky enough to have our Disney cruise start off and and end up in PR, so we stayed a few days before and after, and it is now one of our favorite vacation spots.

    UPDATE : Almost forgot, Calle de la Fortaleza is pretty cool to see, it's the "umbrella street", and a great photo op. Also, I'm assuming that most of the COVID-19 restrictions will be gone when you visit...otherwise, it's hard to say what ports are worth getting off the ship for anyways...
     
    Last edited:

    daedelus

    This will be my greatest performance!
    Joined
    Dec 23, 2017
    If it's in January, you will have the San Sebastián Street Festival going on most likely
    Good call - we've been there several times during Festival and it's pretty nuts. I wouldn't venture downtown with your young ones. Nothing bad, just very, very crowded and loud.
     
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