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Hop Aboard the Free Trolley in Old San Juan

Posted on Dec 18th, 2007 by • Updated on Sep 21st, 2013

Old San Juan TrolleyOld San Juan now has a free trolley service to help you get around the city. The trolley runs Monday through Friday from 7:00am until 7:00pm, and Saturday and Sunday from 9:00am until 7:00pm. Just stand at any of the marked trolley stop signs and wait for the next trolley to come along. You can get off at any marked trolley stop.

These trolleys are strictly free transportation. They are not "tour" or "sight-seeing" trolleys. There is no tour guide to explain what you’re seeing. But having said that, the trolleys are a nice way to see an overview of the city. They are not the fastest way to get around in the city – the best way to get around and see more is on foot. But they are convenient when you are hot and tired, or physically unable to walk the steep streets.

Old San Juan Trolley StopThere are three routes, all of which start at trolley stop 1 , which is on the corner across the street from Cruise Ship Pier 4. This corner has a little restaurant, a convenience store, liquor store, a cigar shop, an internet cafe, and scooter shop. The route names are posted on the front of the trolley above the windshield.

City Hall Route

The trolley used for this route is enclosed and air-conditioned. It travels around the main shopping area of Old San Juan, including Calles Tanaca, San Francisco, Fortaleza, Recinto Sur, and then swings around by the Casita before heading back to trolley stop 1. It hits these stops in this order: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 9 , 10, 11, 15, 16, 3, 12, 13, 14.

City Hall / El Morro Route

The trolley used for this route is also enclosed and air-conditioned. It travels around the main shopping area of Old San Juan, including Calles Tanca, San Francisco, Fortaleza, and then heads up past Fort San Cristobal, along the ocean on Calle Norzagaray, then on to El Morro. After turning around at El Morro, it retraces it’s path back to Calle San Francisco, back down Forteleza to Recinto Sur, and then swings around by the Casita before heading back to trolley stop 1. It’s a combination of the City Hall route and the El Morro route, and stops at all the same trolley stops, including numbers 6 and 7.

El Morro Route

The trolley used for this route is an open-air tram-like vehicle with two cars. It bypasses the main shopping area, and makes a bee-line for the forts, passing the Capitol Building along the way. This one stops at trolley stop 1, 2, 18, 20, 22, 24, 26, and then goes right up to the entrance of El Morro. After turning around at El Morro, it stops at 25, 23, 21, 19, 12, 13, 14, and then returns to stop 1.

Old San Juan Trolley Map - click to enlarge

Click the map above for a larger map in a new window.

 
Here’s a list of the trolley stops and what’s near each one …

  • 1 – Calle Corretjer – Pier 4, Internet Cafe
  • 2 – Corner of Calle Corretjer and Recinto Sur – Covadonga parking, bus station
  • 3 – Calle Recinto Sur – across from parking decks, restaurants
  • 4 – Corner of Calles Tetun and Tanca
  • 5/6 – Corner of Calles Tanca and Forteleza – a small park with benches, shopping
  • 7 – Calle San Francisco – shopping
  • 8 – Calle San Francisco – City Hall, Plaza de Armas
  • 9 – Calle San Jose – Howard Johnson Hotel
  • 10 – Calle Forteleza – Marshalls, shopping
  • 11 – Calle Forteleza – La Casa de Casitas, shopping, restaurants
  • 12 – Calle Tizol – beginning of the Paseo de la Princesa
  • 13 – Plaza Darsena, Casita, San Juan Bay,
  • 14 – Piers 1 and 2, Don Q, Ferry terminal
  • 15 – Calle Forteleza – Hotel Milano, beginning of SoFo restaurants, Museum of the Family, Pharmacy Museum
  • 16 – Calle Forteleza – Teatro Tapia, Plaza Colon, end of SoFo restaurants
  • 17- Calle San Francisco – Plaza Colon, Cafe Berlin
  • 18/19 Calle Norzagaray – Fort San Cristobal
  • 20/21 – Calle Norzagary – entrance to La Perla
  • 22/23 – Calle Norzagaray – Museum of San Juan
  • 24/25 – Calle Norzagaray – Cuartel de Ballaja, National Gallery
  • 26 – the lawn at El Morro – stay on the trolley – it takes you right to the entrance to El Morro, where it turns around

 
Here’s a of attractions (indicated by letters on the map) …

  • A — El Morro
  • B — Fort San Cristobal
  • C — San Juan Cemetery
  • D — Cuartel de Ballajá
  • E — Casa Blanca
  • F — Plaza del Quinto Centernario
  • G — Convento de los Dominicos
  • H — Plaza San José
  • I — Pablo Casals Museum
  • J — San Juan Art and History Museum
  • K — San Juan City Hall
  • L — Plaza de Armas
  • M — San Juan Cathedral
  • N — Children’s Museum
  • O — Felisa Rincón Vda. de Gautier Museum
  • P — La Rogativa
  • Q — San Juan Gate
  • R — Fortaleza (the governor’s mansion)
  • S — Pigeon Park
  • T — Cristo Chapel
  • U — Paseo de la Princesa
  • V — San Juan Tourism Office
  • W — Museum of the Family
  • X — Plaza Colón
  • Y — Tapia Theater
  • Z — Puerto Rico Capitol Building

Here is a hint: Loads of people wait to get on the trolley at stop 1. I would suggest you walk west down the waterfront to Trolley stop 14 (by Pier 2, in front of coffee shop) for a better chance of getting a seat.

Use this map to locate places mentioned in this article. You can click on a placemark to view the GPS coordinates for that place.

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  1. We often receive questions from our readers wondering if the trolleys are handicap accessible. I contacted the company that runs the trolleys in Old San Juan,and they said that _some_ of the trolleys are handicap accessible and can accommodate a person in a wheelchair. They also said that you can bring aboard a folded wheelchair as long as there is room.

  2. Will be in San Juan on July 4. Do the trolleys run on holidays?

  3. The trolleys are supposed to run everyday, including holidays. July 4 is not _that_ big of a holiday here, so I don’t see any reason why they shouldn’t be running.

    Hope this helps.

  4. Hi, I think your post is wonderful, I printed the whole thing! Only one thing, approx. how much time does it take to do one complete circut of the 3 routes?? Thanks, Donna

  5. Thanks for the kind words!

    You could figure that each loop takes about 30-45 minutes. Of course, that will depend on traffic, the number of people getting on and off, and how long it takes for people to get on and off, etc.

    I’m not sure that it makes much sense to take all 3 trolley routes … these are not sight-seeing trolleys … they are for transportation. Also, each of the 3 loops has considerable overlap with the others, so you’d essentially find yourself riding around in circles!

    Hope this helps.

  6. Hi i am staying at the Marriott Stellaris is there a bus that takes you to Old San Juan or is it walking distance?

  7. You can take the B21 bus into Old San Juan.

  8. Hi,

    Thank you for having this site up, it help us plan a good part of our trip.

  9. Where can we park to catch the trolley?

  10. Any of the parking lots or decks in Old San Juan are fine. We like to use one of the parking decks along Recinto Sur (indicated on the trolley map by a ‘P’ inside of a pinkish triangle). Those parking decks are easy-in, easy-out without having to deal with the traffic ‘inside’ of Old San Juan.

  11. How often does the trolley run? A local said every 2 hours….

  12. The trolleys in Old San Juan do not run on a “set schedule”. They run continuously throughout the day, making their respective loops around the city. The amount of time between trolleys at a given stop depends
    on the amount of street traffic in Old San Juan, and how many people are getting on/off at each stop (more people on/off takes longer per stop). Personally, we don’t depend on the trolleys since it’s often easier and quicker to walk.

  13. Very useful and helpful. Thanks for posting this information.

  14. Hi, I will stay in Conrad San Juan Condado Plaza. What bus should I take to Old San Juan

  15. Hector- for bus routes in SJ, check this post: http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/san-juan-bus-routes/
    Looks like 21 will get you to OSJ right from your hotel.

  16. My wife and I are staying at the Hotel Milano. Can we ride the trolley to catch our cruise? Can we take our luggage on the trolley?

  17. I can’t 100% guarantee my answer by I am almost certain the answer is no. I don’t believe they allow suitcases on the trolley (it is usually too crowded for that).
    Depending on how much luggage you have, you should be able to just walk it down the hill IF your ship is docked at Pier 3/4 cruise terminal.

  18. what time of day does the trolley run until?

  19. They run until about 7pm.

  20. i’m getting married in Old San Juan. And i’m looking for transportation from the Hotel to Fort Morro. (all within Old San Juan boarders) My husband thought the trolley would be a great idea! So i need to know who to contact bout renting a few trolley for at least 3 Hours… if at all possible.

  21. We don’t know anything about it- you would have to contact San Juan municipality for something like that.

  22. I am staying at the ritz in isla verde which is best to get to old SJ bus or taxis. Are taxis safe there? Are they licensed?
    Thanks

  23. Taxi is the fastest/easiest way. Yes, they are licensed and safe. They are also set fares from Isla Verde to OSJ. Check out taxi article for info/rates.

    The bus is another option, but it kinda sucks. No set schedule, and takes about 45 mins. Check our bus article for more info.

  24. Can you bring a fold up wheelchair aboard?

  25. I believe yes, and there is a special handicapped section on one of the trams.

  26. Thank you for this article! I printed it along with many more articles this took me to. We will be in San Juan via a Cruise in December, 2013. Is the cost still $5 for both El Morro and Fort San Cristobal? Are there charges for any of the other points of interest aside from the obvious museums? Thank you!

  27. Yes, the forts are still $5 for a combo ticket. Many of the sites around OSJ are free, except for a few museums.

  28. This is exactly what I needed! Thank you for the information!

  29. Does this trolley run on Thanksgiving?

  30. yes, it runs 365 days/year.

  31. Is it easy to get to las Americas shopping from the cruise terminal

  32. It is very easy by a taxi. And it is a set rate, so not too expensive. But by bus, it is not easy. I believe you have to change buses half way.

  33. Am cruising out of San Juan next month however arriving 3 days early to visit San Juan. Debating between using a time share at the Hyatt Hacienda del Mar in Dorado, PR or the La Concha Renaissance San Juan Resort. Our concern is location between the two and it’s proximity to downtown and tourist activities. To stay at Dorado are we isolating ourselves from downtown therefore having to spend more time and money in cabs in order to do anything? Also suggests activities for a family of four with two grown children (25 and 18)? Considering the Segway tours, worth it or a waste of time and money? Appreciate any feedback!!!

  34. Yes, Dorado is about 45 mins west of SJ area (so not close to the SJ tourist things). You must rent a car to stay there as taxi $$ would be high. If you don’t want to rent a car, stay in the SJ area. Dorado is a bit far away from the usual sites.
    Usual first timers visit- Old San Juan and the forts (I really enjoyed the Segway tour), rain forest, maybe snorkeling tour to an out island.Biking in Pinones is fun too. These can all be done on your own or with a tour. I also like the caves (Camuy/Ventana/Indio). Bacardi tour is a maybe.
    I really suggest a car rental, it will save a lot on tours.

  35. This was super helpful and I’m printing out the whole thing! Thank you so much!!!

  36. Just wondering if someone can give me idea of how long the wait is for the trolley at the main location, #1, and what the likelihood is of getting a seat. Also, are all the trolley stops listed updated?

  37. Yes, the trolley stops listed are accurate. The wait can be anywhere from 5 mins to 45 mins, depending on traffic. If you can get a seat….that all depends on if a cruise ship is in port. If there are lots of people around using the system, then seats are hard to come by.

  38. Thanks Gwenn. Maybe you can answer a few more questions for me. How hard are the bus schedules and stops to figure out. I can’t seem to find an updated accurate bus route map online. Also, are there taxis readily available driving around to just flag down or do you have to call taxi cab companies to pick you up? I’m trying to avoid having to use the publicos.

  39. There is no bus schedule, they come when they come. This is our closest thing to a current map of the routes: http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/san-juan-bus-routes/

    Taxis are available at hotels and airport and at certain spots in OSJ- other than that, I think you will need to call them.

  40. can I rent a trolley for a wedding at the cathedral so that it waits for all guests to take them down to the restaurant in old San Juan in front of La Puntilla Parking lot?

  41. There are taxi vans right outside the Cathedral that you can hire. But Trolleys- you can try calling San Juan Municipality and ask.

  42. Hi…We will be docking on a cruise ship. Can you tell me approximately how long it would take to get from the pier to El Morro? I visited Old San Juan many years ago but we didn’t take the correct route and had no idea where were going. This time we’re bringing our son so wanted to be better prepared and knowledgeable. ;-) OSJ is such an incredible destination…so excited for our cruise in mid June 2014. Thanks for your help!

  43. It’s about a 20 minute walk from San Juan Bay to El Morro. Head up-hill (north) and to the left (west).

  44. Hi, thanks for posting such helpful info!
    Arriving on a Cruiseship – how long would it take to walk to the nearest trolley stop? Please give exact directions. Thank you!

  45. The closest trolley stop is just off the boat and go to the corner (most ships in port for the day park at pier 4). However, everyone else on your boat will be going to that one. I would walk to the west (left) about 600 yards, I believe there is a stop right by pier 2. Look for the sign. Get on there and stay on until you get to where you want to go.

  46. Coming to SJ for first time with kids, (14 and 7), can you tell us anything we need to visit or see. We will be visiting the forts for sure and have a day and half to explore.

  47. The forts are great, there is now one price and you get admission to both forts. I like the Museum of the Americas- like 7 different museums to see. There are stores, restaurants, food tours, walking, biking, Jet ski, sailboats, beaches etc. Lots to do and see. Check out our OSJ page for more ideas and info:http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/category/oldsanjuan/

  48. Where would the municipal bus (coming from Sheraton Hotel by Convention Center area) drop you off in Old San Juan? I understand it would be near trolley stop #1, but what street/intersection? Thanks.

  49. The bus terminal in Old San Juan is on the corner of Paseo Covadonga and Calle Juan Antonio Coreteias.

  50. Can anyone tell me if the buses and trolley run on Christmas Day in Old San Juan? We will be staying at Hotel Milano. I know we can walk to all the major historical sites from there, but can we also walk to the beaches? Does the trolley or bus take you to the beaches? Also, which beach would you recommend in that area? I assume the beaches are open on Christmas? Thanks.

  51. Yes, the buses and trolleys will be running on Christmas day, though maybe fewer than a usual day. You can walk to a Escambron beach, but it is a mile or more. I believe that Escambron beach will be “open”- at very least it is open for walk in (the parking area, lifeguards etc may not be available). There is a bus that can take you there- check the bus map for the number: http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/san-juan-bus-routes/#amamap . You can also try the Playita in Condado or Isla Verde beach.
    There is a little beach by the Capitol building, but it unless there are other people using it, it may be a bit scary.

  52. we are staying at the Condado Plaza Hilton is there a trolley or bus that will take you to old san juan from there

  53. Yes, I think the 21 and 52 buses. Here is the map: http://www.puertoricodaytrips.com/san-juan-bus-routes/
    But your concierge will have exact info (there is a stop right outside the hotel).

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