Tips for using the trolley, stops and map
If you’re visiting Old San Juan for just a day, you need to make the most of your time. Using the free trolley system may get you where you need to go more comfortably depending on your mobility comfort. One of the benefits of getting on the trolley is that it offers a nice way to get acquainted with the layout of the city, then you can get off and begin your walking tour.
A good starting point is on Trolley stop #12. If you were getting off a cruise, you would start walking to the left, follow the sidewalk along the water past “La Casita”, and you’ll soon see the stop. Before you get to the stop, be sure to stop at the Puerto Rico Tourism Office at the corner of the Ochoa Building across the street from Pier #1 where you can get maps and speak to friendly staff ready to answer your questions. Stop #12 is right at the entry of Paseo de la Princesa, which is the first attraction on our favorite walking tour of Old San Juan. On your way to stop #12, you can get a refreshing “Piragua” and taste favorite Puerto Rican treats.
Please keep in mind that Old San Juan is a wonderful city that can be enjoyed by foot – 7 blocks of colorful streets offering many stops along the way to interesting attractions, shops and restaurants. Some of the most charming details are missed unless you walk. There’s so much to see that you’ll be entertained as you walk across the other side to the forts.
Running times – Old San Juan Trolley
The trolley runs every day of the week and it’s free of cost.
- Monday – Friday – 7am – 6pm
- Saturday & Sunday – 9am – 7pm
Trolley runs about every 15 minutes when all the trolleys are properly functioning.
You may get on or off at every trolley stop.
There are 3 trolley routes, one of them is an open air tram with 2 cars and the other 2 are enclosed and air-conditioned.
Castillos / Fortifications Route
If you’re mostly interested in visiting the forts, the open air trolley/ tram is a good option to start your tour.
This open air tram is loved by both children and adults. Not only does it take you places, but it offers a refreshing ride on hot summer days. The main stops for the open air trolley are the forts and the Capitol Building. It goes all the way out to the stops around “La Casita” and back to stop #1.
Best spots to hop on are at the main entrances of the forts (stops 18B, 22), near “La Casita” (stops 12 and 13) and stop #14 near Pier 4 at Bahia Urbana. During days when there are no cruise ships arriving, you may also hop on trolley stop #1, right across from the main piers.
El Morro / Fort Trolley – Ruta Larga / Long Route
The long trolley route is on one of the enclosed air-conditioned trolleys, and is a perfect mix of the forts and the main streets in Old San Juan where you’ll find great shops and restaurants. The trolley circles around Plaza de Armas making a few stops. It then circles around “La Casita”, the entrance to Paseo de la Princesa, and back to stop #1.
Best spots to hop on are at the main gates of the forts, near “La Casita”, and the stops around “Plaza de Armas”. Again, during days when there are no cruise ships arriving, you may also hop on stop #1, right across from the main piers.
Just be sure to look for the “El Morro / Fort” sign on front of the bus / trolley.
Casa Alcaldia / City Hall – Ruta Corta / Short Route
This short route is on the enclosed air-conditioned trolley. It circles around the main shopping & dining streets of Old San Juan and comes around “La Casita” and back to stop #1.
Best spots to hop on are any except stop #1 when cruise ship crowds arrive.
Just be sure to look for the “Casa Alcaldia / City Hall” sign on front of the bus / trolley.
Important tips and things to know when using the Old San Juan Trolley System
- When cruises arrive to San Juan, there will be hundreds of people trying to get on the trolley. Most cruisers will attempt to get on the nearest trolley stops right near Bahia Urbana. If you want to get a faster head start on your walking tour of Old San Juan, it is smarter to just start walking towards one of the attractions and hopping on the trolley on another stop around the city.
- During cruise ship arrival days, do not waste time waiting on Trolley stop #1. No one ever gets off on stop #1, on regular days it’s not a problem. One of the best stops to hop on the trolley is #14 at Pier 2, and stops #12 and #13 around the plaza with “The Casita” building (picture on right).
- If you’re visiting the forts, you’ll have a shorter wait time by getting back on the trolley right at the main entrances where visitors typically get off. Most visitors are going straight to El Morro after visiting San Cristobal, so the trolley is typically full and it’s hard to get back on Calle Norzagaray.
- During the morning and at the end of the business day, locals will be hopping on, so expect more crowds.
- There is no organized line for the trolley. It can be quite annoying at times to get on the trolley, especially if you have a seat on a bench while you wait, because then other people come and wait to hop on before you. Stay as close to the front of the sidewalk as possible at the stop to get on more quickly.
- Get tips while you wait – Locals are very friendly and ready to help. So while you’re waiting for the trolley use this good opportunity to ask questions. Most locals in San Juan speak English, and if they don’t, they will still do their best to help you.
Map of Old San Juan’s Trolley Routes & Stops
Following you can click on the image for a larger size file which you can print. We advise you to print and bring it with you, these printed maps are not always available, especially during cruise ship days when thousands of people arrive.
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