Enjoy the Cataño Malecón Waterfront Promenade
While there is always some exciting to do or explore in Puerto Rico, sometimes you just want to relax and enjoy some quality time with family. Bahía Viva is a beautiful outdoor waterfront promenade in Cataño that the whole family can enjoy. Cooling ocean breezes let you enjoy the area, which has playgrounds for the kids, a long promenade along the waterfront — where you can walk, run, bike, or even skateboard (I assume) — all while enjoying the scenery and art along the way. It faces Old San Juan across the bay, so the views are great!
The Cataño waterfront is across the bay from Old San Juan, so you get great views of the city from a different angle than usual. We went on an afternoon, midweek in summer. We enjoyed the breeze, which made the hot summer afternoon comfortable.
We weren’t alone; there were a few people enjoying the piers, and some families with kids enjoying the area. We walked from the convention center to the pyramid, a distance of just over a half-mile, though the total waterfront walkway is about 1.5 miles long. Of course, you want to take your time and enjoy the view and artwork. Don’t forget your camera, there are loads of photo-ops here!
There are a couple playgrounds (one is designed for learning) and some of the equipment is handicapped accessible. The kids seemed to enjoy the play area with the pirate ship! But we also saw families with the kids on their little bikes and scooters.
The walk is very nice; it is all flat (except the elevated walkway). People were walking their dogs, there were joggers (one area offers exercise equipment too!), and even people fishing from the boardwalk.
We really enjoyed the artwork along the way. From the murals, to the building that is painted with the Puerto Rico flag, one of the flag murals painted by HectorPR, murals, people watching, and even a painted pyramid. We even found the ruins of an old church, just one block off the south end that we thought was lovely.
There are 3 piers along the way (one for LGBTQ Pride, one for love, and one for Autism awareness). The Pride pier and the Autism piers are colorful. On the Rosada pier, you can “secure your love” by putting a lock on the side rails of the pier. Each of these piers give you great photos with El Morro and Old San Juan in the background.
There are a number of snack shacks, bars, and even a few nice restaurants along the way to enjoy when the mood strikes you. There is an elevated boardwalk that goes over the mouth of the marina, and a stage where the town sometimes offers music or other entertainment events. There are many places to enjoy the sunset, too!
On the eastern side of the waterfront area, you will find the ferry terminal, where (for only 50¢ each way) you can ferry to Old San Juan! Note the ferry is currently running, but it is not continuous mid day during the week. Check the schedule!. The ferry terminal has restrooms. Their parking lot may have a fee.
I am sure it gets pretty busy on the weekends — it looks like a great fun place! We didn’t notice a ton of benches, and while there are some restrooms on the promenade, they were closed when we went (so you may need to stop into the restaurants/bars, who will let clients use their restrooms).
There is plenty of parking (free) in a number of different lots along the waterfront road. But it is all “open air”, so if it rains, you would need to find a place to duck into!
There is no charge to use the waterfront area. There is some lots along the waterfront with free parking. There may be a parking fee in the ferry terminal lot.
You can get to the Cataño waterfront area by taking the ferry from Old San Juan, or by car. If driving from the San Juan area, you can take Route 22 west to Route 165 north. From Route 165, there are a number of smaller roads that connect over to the waterfront area (which is along Road 888 or Av. Las Nereidas).
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