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See Old San Juan from the Water Side

Posted on Jan 13th, 2013 by • Updated on Nov 29th, 2013

San Juan Water Tours

Old San Juan is an amazing place. There is always something happening, something new, or something that you just haven’t seen before. It is a must-see place for anyone visiting, or living in, Puerto Rico. And viewing Old San Juan from the water adds a new dimension to the experience — it kind of gives you an idea of what the original visitors saw and experienced some 500 years ago.

Now, San Juan Water Tours has started offering tours of San Juan Bay via boat. They depart from the Bahía Urbana, at Pier 6, along the bay in Old San Juan. Being just a couple-minute walk from the cruise ship piers, it is easy and convenient for anyone visiting Old San Juan. Being out on the water gives you great photo opportunities, too.

San Juan Water Tours

San Juan Water Tours uses a Duffy boat, which has comfortable couch benches along the sides and front of the boat, so everyone is close to the water and has an unobstructed view. The boat is also covered, so you are comfortably out of the sun, or any rain that may pass. They have plans to add a larger boat to their fleet that will be able to accommodate up to 40 people.

Our Trip

San Juan Water Tours

We were in Old San Juan checking out the new Bahía Urbana waterfront area when we saw the kiosk for the boat tour. We decided to take the tour and check it out. It was a Sunday afternoon. There were two large cruise ships in port, and we went just after sunset, so we got to see the lights come on in Old San Juan and on the ships.

We were out on the water for about 45 minutes. The boat motored slowly around the bay, passing a number of sites along the way. Being on the water provides probably one of the best perspectives to see the massive wall and the Gate of San Juan.

San Juan Water Tours

Some of the things that can be seen from the water include the old Customs Building, La Fortaleza, La Rogitiva, the Raices statue, Paseo la Princesa, Casa Blanca, the wall, the Gate of San Juan, and El Morro. It is a relaxing trip and, since the bay is calm, there are no waves to bother you. During the trip, they have an audio narration of the sites you are seeing, and the captain is there to answer any questions and add insight into the trip.

You can obviously see the city sites the best during the day, and going out on the bay at sunset can be magical with the colors in the sky. After dark, some of the sites are harder to see. But some of them are lit up dramatically after dark, so it adds another dimension to the trip. Seeing Old San Juan from the water is a great perspective that not everyone has seen before, and it makes for some great photos.

Normally, when we review an activity that is not free to the public, we pay the admission price out of our own pockets. However, we just want you to know that the guys at San Juan Water Tours were kind enough to offer us this trip for free. While we don’t feel that this free ride influenced our review one way or the other, we felt that we should tell you, just as a matter of fact.
Ray & Gwenn

Details

The price for the San Juan Bay boat tour is $28/person. Check their Facebook page for special offers. They also offer shorter trips around the bay starting at $10.

They run tours 7 days per week. They have a minimum of 2 people per tour. You can make a reservation, or you can just show up and they will fit you onto a tour.

There are no age nor weight restrictions to take a tour. But you do need to be able to step down (1 step) from the dock to get into the boat, and then back up again at the end (but they assist you).

Allow 45 minutes for the tour, and some extra time in case you have to wait to get onto a tour.

You can give them a call at 787-624-6295 for more information or to make a reservation.

San Juan Water Tours

You can visit the San Juan Water Tours website for more information or to make a reservation.

They regularly offer the public 45-minute narrated bay tour, but you can also charter a private tour.

Tours are offered in both English and Spanish.

San Juan Water Tours is located on the Bahía Urbana waterfront area, just steps from the cruise ship piers.

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

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid ... then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

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3 comments
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  1. My wife and I took this tour, We thoroughly enjoyed it. I believe taking it at night was the better choice. The lights of the cruise ships and Old San Juan made the trip very memorable.The recorded narrative was informative, but I felt it didn’t track with our tour. A re-editing is in order.

  2. We enjoyed it also! It is true on earlier trips they had a general audio of OSJ sites, but they have changed it to be more about the sites you can see from the boat.

  3. My wife and I did it in June, and pulled up ready to pay $28, and it turned out to be $20. I don’t know if it was a temporary change, or they were just having a slow day and were trying to increase traffic, but I felt like I got it on sale. To make it even better, the other people that were planning on going on the same trip were no shows, so it ended up being a private little ride for the wife and I. We went on what I would call the sunset tour, and even went past the end of El Morro. We left when it was light, and came back when it was dark. Very nice, interesting, and different views. We pretty much had seen the views from a cruise ship, but it was still enjoyable with the sunset, and light and dark views. We enjoyed talking with the captain, and made sure and told him about PuertoRicoDayTrips.com, which he didn’t know anything about.

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