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Shore Excursion Options in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Things to Do in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Iguanas - San Juan Iguanas at Castillo San Cristobal

Iguanas - San Juan Iguanas at Castillo San Cristobal

San Juan Photo (c) Linda Garrison

These are some examples of shore excursion options cruise ships might offer in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

San Juan City & Bacardi Tour
This half-day bus tour includes a drive through old town and the many Spanish colonial sites as well as a ride through the more modern metropolitan area of San Juan. It also features a visit to the famous Bacardi Rum factory where passengers learned some of the history of this sugar cane drink. This tour gives visitors the chance to "follow the rum" from cane to vat to barrel to bottle. If you haven't traveled to San Juan before, this shore excursion gives a good overview of the city.

Nature & Cultural Impressions
This 5-hour tour starts with a visit to the Botanical Garden at the University of Puerto Rico that was founded in 1971. The garden is the center of study and conservation of Puerto Rican flora and fauna. The second stop on the bus tour is at the Art Museum of Puerto Rico, where passengers do a self-guided tour inside the museum. Finally, the bus travels to Old San Juan, the second oldest city in the Western hemisphere. In the old town, the group visits some of the fortresses surrounded by thick stone walls that were so important in colonial times.

Horseback Riding in the Countryside
The horseback ride duration was about 2 hours and the total tour was about 4 hours. A bus transfers the riders-to-be to a ranch specializing in horseback riding adventures. The horses are "gentle, but spirited", according to the brochure. The group rides along a shore trail that meanders along the edge of the El Yunque rainforest and the banks of the Mamey River.

Rainforest Hiking
This tour starts with a ride to the top of the El Yunque National Forest in the mountains of Puerto Rico. The tour group spends the time hiking this natural wonder, and the turn around point was at La Mina falls. It's a good way to "walk off" some of the pounds you might be gaining on the ship! See page 1 of this article for a description of this shore excursion.

Bioluminescent Bay Kayak
Although the bioluminescent bay at Fajardo is over an hour's bus ride east of San Juan, I loved this shore excursion! Be sure to wear your swimsuit and take along some bug spray, "just in case" the mosquitoes are out.

The guides will show you how to paddle the two-person kayak, and the tour starts at almost dark. Paddlers each wear a light, with those in the front of the kayak wearing green on the front of their life vest, and those in the back wearing a red light on their backs. These lights are necessary, because the kayak trail through the mangrove forest is narrow and winding. Without the lights, you'd get easily lost! After paddling about 1/2 mile (45 minutes), the group reaches amazing Laguna Grande of Fajardo. When you touch the water with your hand or paddle, millions of microscopic bioluminescent organisms light up like fire flies. It's quite beautiful, and paddling through the mangroves is fun, especially when there is traffic both ways.

Ronnie and I are neither one in great shape, but we had no problems paddling on this excursion. This is a "must do" for anyone who loves the out of doors and nature. Unfortunately, the tour leaves the ship in the late afternoon and doesn't return until about 9:00 pm, so you'll need to look for a cruise with a late departure from San Juan to take advantage of this memorable excursion.

ATV Adventure
This half-day excursion takes participants to the foothills of El Yunque National Rain Forest, where they board two-passenger All-Terrain Vehicles for a 1.5 hour ride through the rain forest and across creeks. Sounds like fun!

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