See Old San Juan from the Water Side
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 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.
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 50 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.
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.
The price for the 60-minute San Juan Bay boat tour is $39/person. Check their Facebook page for current info and special offers. They also have a 90-minute Sunset Tour every day for $65/person.
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 see if they can 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 1 hr 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.
You can visit the San Juan Water Tours website for more information or to make a reservation. Great online reservation system..
They regularly offer the public 1 hr 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.
- Cruise Ship Pier 1, Old San Juan: (18.462086, -66.113670)
- Cruise Ship Pier 3, Old San Juan: (18.463245, -66.111755)
- Cruise Ship Pier 4, Old San Juan: (18.462584, -66.109985)
- Cruise Ship Pier 6, Old San Juan: (18.463520, -66.108215)
- San Juan Water Tours: (18.463572, -66.107204)
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!