Cataño Ferry: A Low Cost Ride & Quick Photo or Sunset Cruise
The Cataño Ferry, also called La Lancha de Cataño, is a small commuter ferry that services one route – from Pier 2 in Old San Juan across the bay to the ferry terminal in Cataño. It is a quick 8-minute ride in either direction, and it runs in one direction or the other every 15 to 30 minutes. It doesn’t go by any of the "sites" of Old San Juan, but you can see the old city wall, the San Juan Gate and El Morro in the distance. You also can get a decent (though distant) view of the Bacardi Rum Factory and Isla de Cabras (site of the small Cañuelo Fort).
The water in the San Juan Bay is almost always calm, so the ride is very mild, but occasionally there are some small waves. The ferries are 1-story catamarans, with no outside seating, that hold about 100 passengers. The ferry is fully enclosed and does not have air conditioning. However, it has windows that were open to let in some fresh air.
The fare is $0.50 each way. People aged 60-74 years pay 25¢ and seniors (75+ years) are always free. You can buy your tickets at the ferry terminals. Extra baggage/stuff (like bikes/ice chests) also have a small fee.
Make sure you explain where you want to go as there could be ferries that depart from the Old San Juan terminal that go to 2 different places (Cataño and Hato Rey). You can get your round-trip tickets before boarding. The Cataño ferry waiting area is to the left and behind the ticket window. If the Hato Rey ferry is working, that waiting area is behind the ticket window and to the right. Boarding and unloading is a fairly quick and easy process.
Ferries run from 5:45am until 10:00pm 7 days/week. During rush hour (5:45am-9:30am and 3:30pm-6:30pm) on Monday through Friday the ferry it runs every 15 minutes. During non-rush hour, weekends and holidays it runs every 30 minutes.
From the terminal in Cataño, you can take a taxi to the famous Bacardi Rum Factory for a free tour. There are always taxis available at the Cataño ferry terminal. Expect to pay about $3.00 per person each way for the taxi.
There is also a decent Puerto Rican restaurant right in the Cataño pier area called Don Tello. I have not been there, but I hear that the food is good and inexpensive, and the restaurant has a good view!
We took the ferry at 6:30pm in September and stayed on for the round trip. As you can see, we were able to get some wonderful sunset pictures. If you want to try for some beautiful pictures of your own, check the sunset time for SJ for the month your visiting.
So enjoy the ferry system and use it as you like – either as inexpensive transportation to Cataño, or a quick and easy sunset cruise!
You can call 787-729-8714 for more info.
Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.