Getting Around San Juan
There are different ways of getting around San Juan. You just have to determine which one is more suitable for your budget and your specific needs. Here is a list of the main available transportation options.
If you are planning to stay a couple of days in San Juan and explore other cities and attractions outside San Juan, you may want to consider renting a car. The cost of a car rental could be considerably less per day and per person than if you were to take a taxi every time you are heading somewhere, especially somewhere outside San Juan. Plus, it can be an adventure and you can stop anywhere and anytime you want to. However, there are a few important things you need to know if you choose this option.
- Roads in Puerto Rico do not always have signs with road names, and sometimes if they do, they are hard to find. If you don’t have a map you could have a hard time trying to figure it all out based on road signage. I recommend two things: (1) get a map that is easy to follow or a GPS device, and (2) double check your directions with hotel staff or any other local that is knowledgeable of the area where you are heading. This could save you a lot of trouble.
- Parking is limited in some places and it is more than likely that you will have to pay for it. Also, most hotels charge a daily fare for parking of approximately $10 or more, but this varies from hotel to hotel.
- Speed limit signs are posted on miles per hour (MPH), but distances are posted on kilometers (KM). You could get very confused if you don't realize this.
- Drivers in Puerto Rico are a little agressive sometimes (or most of the time), so extreme caution is needed when driving in the busy hours of the day, especially in the metropolitan areas.
In spite of these things, car rental is a great option and it is the preferred transportation alternative for many visitors for the flexibility it provides.
Car rental establishments are conveniently located in or near the airport and in other main areas of San Juan. See a list of car rental companies and locations in San Juan.
Another way to explore San Juan is by taxi. This is the most common transportation alternative for tourists. It is easy to find taxis as they are pretty much everywhere in San Juan, but if you don’t see one right away where you need it, you can always have someone call one for you. The rates are fixed for common touristic routes between zones in the metropolitan area of San Juan.
Here is a list of zones and rates:
Zone 1: LMM International Airport
Zone 2: Isla Verde
Zone 3: Condado and Ocean Park
Zone 4: Old San Juan, Cruise Piers and Puerta de Tierra
Zone 5: Convention Center
Zone 6: Plaza Las Americas Shopping Center
Zone 7: Plaza Carolina Mall
Zone 8: José Miguel Agrelot Arena
Zone 1 – Zone 2: $10
Zone 1 – Zone 3: $15
Zone 1 – Zone 4: $19
Zone 1 – Zone 5: $15
Zone 1 – Zone 6: $18
Zone 1 – Zone 7: $14
Zone 1 – Zone 8: $14
Zone 2 – Zone 4: $19
Zone 2 – Zone 5: $15
Zone 3 – Zone 4: $12
Zone 3 – Zone 5: $9
Zone 4 – Zone 4: $7
Zone 4 – Zone 5: $9
Zone 4 – Zone 6: $14
Zone 4 – Zone 7: $24
Zone 4 – Zone 8: $14
Zone 5 – Zone 6: $12
Zone 5 – Zone 7: $22
Zone 5 – Zone 8: $12
Rates vary for routes outside these zones. You can negotiate those with the taxi driver. Additional fees for extra passengers, tolls, and luggage apply. Tips are appreciated but not required.
A more economical way for getting around San Juan is by bus. Nevertheless, there are some disadvantages of taking a bus.
- It could be time consuming, as there could be several stops before you get to your destination. Also, depending on where you are heading, you may have to get on and off once or twice to get to your destination as there are no direct routes to main attractions and places of interest.
- The bus system is more geared for locals than for tourists, and buses could get full easily during rush hour with people coming and going to work.
- While some buses have been refurbished, others lack proper maintenance.
The bus system serves the metropolitan area of San Juan. You can hop on a bus at the Old San Juan terminal, which is located on Marina Street and Juan A. Corretjer Street, and hop off at any stop marked as PARADA. The regular bus fare is $0.75. Discounts for seniors and students apply.
Recommended bus routes that connect Old San Juan with Condado, Santurce, Isla Verde, and the airport are: A5, B21, M1.
Tren Urbano (Urban Train) is a transit system (metro) that serves suburban areas of San Juan, Guaynabo and Bayamon. It is the Caribbean's first rapid transit system. Although this transit system has only one line, it is a good transportation option to explore places in the metropolitan area of San Juan. Fares range from $0.75 to $1.50 per trip. Discounts for seniors and students are available.
The closest station to Old San Juan is Sagrado Corazon. You can get there by taking a city bus at the Old San Juan bus terminal.
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