You’re joyfully anticipating your cruise, we extend an early welcome to San Juan and we thank you in advance for your visit. We have created this guide to help you plan a wonderful visit to our capital city, complete with maps, the best things to do, top-rated excursions for cruisers, tips for self-guided tours, getting around guides, and more. It is our hope that your stop in San Juan is joyous and memorable.
Related Cruise Guide: San Juan Cruise Excursions Guide
Local businesses appreciate your visit and support, since having to face the challenges of two hurricanes since 2017, and the covid-19 effects on the tourism sector. Our warm vibrant culture and hospitable friendly people await your arrival.
Cruise Port GuidesSan Juan, Puerto Rico
Welcome to San Juan
Reserve a Spot on Popular Walking Tour
San Juan is one of the Caribbean’s hottest and most beloved cruise stops, welcoming visitors to explore one of the best-preserved Spanish Colonial historic cities. We are celebrating five centuries of history in our beautiful Old San Juan, we invite you to celebrate with us. Five centuries ago, our capital city was walled and protected by fortifications, keeping outsiders out. We are proud of the fact that in modern days, San Juan is often referred to as one of the happiest and most welcoming places on earth.
Visitors can easily walk to explore blue cobblestone streets in Old San Juan leading to UNESCO historic sites, museums, restaurants, unique shops, and elegant squares, as well as participate in the many events that keep our traditions and vibrant culture alive. A short taxi drive from Old San Juan there’s more to see and do.
If your cruise begins in San Juan, we encourage you to extend your stay by at least 2 nights, we are confident that once you get a little taste of what Puerto Rico has to offer, you’ll regret not having stayed a few more nights. If your situation does not allow it, we hope that when you visit, you feel a warm welcome and come back to visit again.
The Piers at the Port of San Juan, Puerto Rico
The San Juan Cruise Port is host to an estimated 500 cruise ships (approx. 18 different cruise lines), and nearly 2 million passengers travel to Puerto Rico through this port – every year. Most Eastern and Southern Caribbean cruises include a stop in San Juan offering travelers an opportunity to experience a little bit of the magic of this extraordinary city.
Photo: Pier 1 in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
The San Juan Cruise Port is one of the largest and busiest cruise ports in the Caribbean. There are 4 cruise ship piers and 2 modern terminals along the southern shores of historic Old San Juan with a total capacity to accommodate 7 ships at once. The strategic locations of these piers give tourists easy walking access to Old San Juan and its many attractions. In addition, just 1-mile southeast, across the San Antonio Canal, are 2 more large modern cruise ship terminals at the Pan American Pier, which can hold 2 more cruise ships.
Photo: View of Cruise Port from the corner of Calle Norzagaray – Castillo San Cristobal
In order to plan your stay or day in San Juan, be sure to inquire about which pier your ship will be docking at or departing from. Although we provide information, be sure to contact your booked cruise line or call the San Juan Cruise Port at 787-723-2260, Pier (Muelle) 4, in Old San Juan in order to verify the arrival or departure pier location. By being informed you can prepare for whether you’ll need transportation, find a nearby hotel, and plan adequate travel time for getting to or from the ship.
Home Port cruise lines (Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Disney, Princess) often use San Juan as their departure port, thus cruises embark from San Juan. Transit ships are those docking for a day or two originating from another homeport. See the map below for pier locations.
Old San Juan Piers & Terminals
Photo: View of Pier 3 in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico
Getting Around from Old San Juan Piers:
The Old San Juan Cruise Ship Piers are the most convenient for cruisers. As soon as you get off the ship, you can easily walk the 7 blocks magical city of Old San Juan and enjoy the top attractions and things to do on foot.
Closest Hotel to the Old San Juan Pier:
The most convenient hotel to stay at near the cruise terminals is the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino, just across the street from the piers. See more hotels below.
Old San Juan Pier Facts:
- Pier 1 – Modern passenger terminal (2-ship capacity) used by various cruise lines
- Pier 3 – Reconstructed pier for transit ships only (2 ship capacity), managed by Royal Caribbean
- Pier 4 – Modern passenger terminal (2 ship capacity) used & managed by Carnival for arrivals & departures
- Pier 6 – Wharf at Bahia Urbana (1 ship capacity) only used on heavy cruise traffic days
Top Rated Hotels Near Old San Juan Cruise Port – San Juan
Pan American Pier & Cruise Terminals
Photo: View from Parque de Las Palomas in Old San Juan
Getting Around from Pan American Pier:
You will have to take a taxi or book a tour in order to visit the historic Old San Juan and other tourist districts in San Juan. The pier is a 10-15 minute ride into Old San Juan. The only thing within reasonable walking distance is the regional Isla Grande Airport, Puerto Rico Convention Center, Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, and the Hyatt House Hotel.
Closest Hotels to Pan American Pier:
The most convenient hotels to stay at near the Pan American Pier terminals are the Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino, Aloft San Juan, Hyatt House, and Hyatt Place.
Pan American Pier Facts:
The Pan American Pier has two modern two-tiered passenger terminals (I & II), located in Isla Grande, next to the Isla Grande Airport and near the Puerto Rico Convention Center. Two mega-ships can dock at the Pan American Pier terminals. Depending on your cruise line and cruise ship traffic, your ship may arrive and dock here for the day and will most likely embark from here if San Juan is the home departure port.
Top Rated Hotels Near Pan American Cruise Port – San Juan
Quick Facts for Cruise Visitors
- If you’re arriving a the Old San Juan Piers, you’ll be happy to learn that all you have to do is cross the street and in minutes you’ll be enjoying major attractions such as El Morro, San Cristobal, museums, shops, and restaurants.
- If you’re arriving at the Pan American Piers, you’ll need a taxi to get to Old San Juan, or you may book a tour which typically includes transportation. See suggested tours for cruisers below in this guide.
Language in San Juan
Spanish is the main language spoken by locals, but most speak English as well. All attractions, restaurants, and shops will have English-speaking staff. Puerto Ricans love to smile and laugh, so go on and smile… you can also say “Hola” (Hello).
Money in San Juan
The currency in Puerto Rico is U.S. Dollars. We advise carrying some cash for artisan vendors along Paseo de la Princesa, and purchases such as ice cream and piragua vendors. Food trucks may also prefer cash, not all accept credit cards.
What is the closest airport to the San Juan Cruise Port?
- The closest international airport is Luis Muñoz Marin, best known as San Juan Airport (SJU), a 20-minute drive, just 8 miles east of the Old San Juan Cruise Piers and 7 miles from the Pan American Pier.
- Isla Grande Airport is officially the closest airport, a single-runway airport with primarily regional flights such as Vieques and Culebra.
For more detailed information, please visit the San Juan Cruise Port Guide.
Map of San Juan Cruise Port & Piers
Frequently Asked Questions
Do I need a Passport for a cruise to / from San Juan, Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory, and individuals born on the island are U.S. citizens. You do not need a passport if flying from the U.S. to Puerto Rico or vice versa. You only need a government-issued photo ID, like a driver’s license. If you are a U.S. citizen, and you board a cruise ship at a U.S. port (which includes San Juan), travel only within the Western Hemisphere, and return to the same U.S. port on the same ship, you will most likely NOT need a passport unless you enter a foreign country as part of the cruise itinerary. A U.S. or Puerto Rico driver’s license should suffice. For children under 16, a birth certificate is typically required. However, check with your cruise line to be absolutely sure what documentation is needed.
Are there places to store luggage in San Juan before or after a cruise
- If you’re staying at a hotel in Old San Juan (near Old San Juan Cruise Piers) or the Puerto Rico Convention Center District (near the Pan American Pier), they will typically hold your luggage before check-in or after check-out for a few hours. See map of hotels near cruise port.
- Some tour operators offering sightseeing tours will hold your luggage
- In addition, the following restaurant will hold your luggage, please call to confirm this service is still offered. – Barrachina Restaurant – 104 Calle Fortaleza, Old San Juan. Storage is free (try to drink or eat something there & leave a tip) | Storage hours: 9 am – 5 pm, 7 days/week. ph. 787-725-7912. Note: It is a 1/2 mile uphill walk from Old San Juan Pier 4, and a 1/4 mile walk from Pier 1.
- The San Juan International Airport offers luggage storage daily from 7 am to 10 pm on the 2nd level of Terminal D. For more information call 787-791-3371
What pier will my cruise ship dock at or embark from in San Juan?
In general, arriving transit ships that are day-docking for one afternoon/ evening in San Juan usually dock at the Old San Juan Piers (Muelle 1, 3, 4, 6), so you can walk right out into Old San Juan and avoid taking a taxi. We believe an exception to this rule to be Celebrity Cruises which typically day-dock at the Pan American Pier. Cruises that start in San Juan (home departure port) usually leave from the Pan American Pier Terminals I or II. However, Carnival cruises embark from the Old San Juan Pier 4 terminal if San Juan is the home departure port. Again, be sure to contact your cruise line or call the San Juan Cruise Port at 787-723-2260 to verify the arrival or departure pier location.
Is there parking available at the San Juan Port Cruise Terminals?
Old San Juan Cruise Piers
There are numerous, safe overnight parking garages in Old San Juan around the Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel & Casino, which is across from the Old San Juan cruise piers.
- The Covadonga Parking Garage offers cruisers special parking rates, is nice, safe, and conveniently located across from pier 4 behind the bus terminal and police station. Call them at (787) 722-2337 or (787) 721-6911 for special rates and reservations.
Pan American Pier
- Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino offers overnight parking for $16 per day.
- Isla Grande Airport – there’s a limited number of outdoor lot spaces available at the Isla Grande Airport for $8 per day.
- Park & Cruise with “Estaciona y Vuela” – offers transport services and low long-term parking rates.
For more detailed information see Parking Guide – Tourist Districts in San Juan.
Is there a beach close to the San Juan Cruise Port?
Yes – there are a number of beaches within a mile or so of the cruise piers.
See Map of Best Beaches near the Cruise Port in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Are there places to shop and eat within walking distance of the San Juan Cruise Port Terminals?
Old San Juan Cruise Pier
If your ship docks at an Old San Juan pier, you can walk just a few blocks into Old San Juan streets of San Francisco, Calle del Cristo, and Fortaleza where you can also find a number of great restaurants and cafes.
There is a large CVS store/pharmacy which has a large variety of food, drinks, and other necessities directly across from Old San Juan piers 1 & 2 and only 1/4 mile west of piers 3 and 4.
Pan American Pier
You’ll have to take a taxi into Old San Juan for $10, or to the Condado fashion shopping strip on Ashford Avenue for $12 where the best stores are across from Ventana el Mar Park. You can also take a taxi for $14 to the largest shopping mall in the Caribbean, Plaza Las Americas, located in nearby Hato Rey, San Juan.
Places to Eat – There are many places to eat at Distrito T-Mobile next to the Puerto Rico Convention Center, right in between Sheraton Puerto Rico Hotel & Casino and ALOFT San Juan.
Which cruise lines visit or embark from San Juan, Puerto Rico?
Following is a list of 18 cruise lines that visit or embark from San Juan, Puerto Rico
- Azamara Club Cruises
- Delta Queen Steamboat Co.
- Holland America
- Mediterranean Shipping Cruises
- Orient Lines
- Radisson Seven Seas Cruises
- Regent Seven Seas
- Royal Caribbean
- Viking River Cruises
- Windstar Cruises