Free trolley san juan puerto rico: Old San Juan Trolley, Puerto Rico. Hours, Map, Stops, Tours

Old San Juan Trolley, Puerto Rico. Hours, Map, Stops, Tours

San Juan Puerto Rico  ⎮ Getting Around San Juan  ⎮ Old San Juan Trolley  

If you’re visiting Old San Juan for just a day, you need to make the most of your time.  Using the free trolley system may get you where you need to go more comfortably depending on your mobility comfort.  One of the benefits of getting on the trolley is that it offers a nice way to get acquainted with the layout of the city, then you can get off and begin exploring the colorful historic district full of interesting things to do and see.

Trolley Update:  The free trolley in Old San Juan is currently not in service. If you have mobility challenges or are limited on time, we highly recommend you book a private driving tour of Old San Juan or a private walking tour so it can be customized to any of your special needs.  See tours below.  Book in advance to reserve a spot.

Driving Tours 

The Old, The New and the Now: An Updated Private San Juan City Tour

  • Private Driving tour of places of interest such as Condado, Ocean Park, and Old San Juan
  • Duration: 2 hours (approx. )
  • Price: $129 per person
  • Times of Tour:  8:00 am, 11:30 am, 3:00 pm
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later 

Private Walking Tours

Private Walking Tour of Old Town San Juan

  • Private tour for your group
  • Duration: 3 hours
  • Price: $140 varies by group size
  • Tour Times: 9:00 am & 1:00 pm
  • Reserve Now & Pay Later

A good starting point is on Trolley stop #12.  If you were getting off a cruise, you would start walking to the left, follow the sidewalk along the water past “La Casita”, and you’ll soon see the stop.  Before you get to the stop, be sure to stop at the Puerto Rico Tourism Office at the corner of the Ochoa Building across the street from Pier #1 where you can get maps and speak to friendly staff ready to answer your questions.  Stop #12 is right at the entry of Paseo de la Princesa, which is the first attraction on our favorite walking tour of Old San Juan.   On your way to stop #12, you can get a refreshing “Piragua” and taste a favorite Puerto Rican treat.

Please keep in mind that Old San Juan is a wonderful city that can be enjoyed on foot – 7 blocks of colorful streets offering many stops along the way to interesting attractions, shops, and restaurants.  Some of the most charming details are missed unless you walk.  There’s so much to see that you’ll be entertained as you walk across the other side to the forts.

  • When cruises arrive in San Juan, there will be hundreds of people trying to get on the trolley.  Most cruisers will attempt to get on the nearest trolley stops right near Bahia Urbana.  If you want to get a faster head start on your walking tour of Old San Juan, it is smarter to just start walking towards one of the attractions and hopping on the trolley at another stop around the city.
  • During cruise ship arrival days, do not waste time waiting on Trolley stop #1. No one ever gets off on stop #1, on regular days it’s not a problem.    One of the best stops to hop on the trolley is #14 at Pier 2 and stops #12 and #13 around the plaza with “The Casita” building (picture on right).
  • If you’re visiting the forts, you’ll have a shorter wait time by getting back on the trolley right at the main entrances where visitors typically get off.  Most visitors are going straight to El Morro after visiting San Cristobal, so the trolley is typically full and it’s hard to get back to Calle Norzagaray.
  • During the morning and at the end of the business day, locals will be hopping on, so expect more crowds.
  • There is no organized line for the trolley.  It can be quite annoying at times to get on the trolley, especially if you have a seat on a bench while you wait because then other people come and wait to hop on before you.  Stay as close to the front of the sidewalk as possible at the stop to get on more quickly.
  • Get tips while you wait – Locals are very friendly and ready to help.   So while you’re waiting for the trolley use this good opportunity to ask questions.  Most locals in San Juan speak English, and if they don’t, they will still do their best to help you.

There are 3 trolley routes, one of them is an open-air tram with 2 cars and the other 2 are enclosed and air-conditioned.

Castillos / Fortifications Route

If you’re mostly interested in visiting the forts, the open-air trolley/ tram is a good option to start your tour.

This open-air tram is loved by both children and adults.  Not only does it take you places, but it offers a refreshing ride on hot summer days.  The main stops for the open-air trolley are the forts and the Capitol Building.  It goes all the way out to the stops around “La Casita” and back to stop #1.

The best spots to hop on are at the main entrances of the forts (stops 18B, 22), near “La Casita” (stops 12 and 13) and stop #14 near Pier 4 at Bahia Urbana.  During days when there are no cruise ships arriving, you may also hop on trolley stop #1, right across from the main piers.

El Morro / Fort Trolley – Ruta Larga / Long Route

The long trolley route is on one of the enclosed air-conditioned trolleys and is a perfect mix of the forts and the main streets in Old San Juan where you’ll find great shops and restaurants.  The trolley circles around Plaza de Armas making a few stops.  It then circles around “La Casita”, the entrance to Paseo de la Princesa, and back to stop #1.

The best spots to hop on are at the main gates of the forts, near “La Casita”, and the stops around “Plaza de Armas”. Again, during days when there are no cruise ships arriving, you may also hop on stop #1, right across from the main piers.

Just be sure to look for the “El Morro / Fort” sign on the front of the bus/trolley.

Casa Alcaldia / City Hall  –  Ruta Corta / Short Route

This short route is on the enclosed air-conditioned trolley.  It circles around the main shopping & dining streets of Old San Juan and comes around “La Casita” and back to stop #1.

The best spots to hop on are any except stop #1 when cruise ship crowds arrive.

Just be sure to look for the “Casa Alcaldia / City Hall” sign on the front of the bus/trolley.

Following you can click on the image for a larger size file that you can print. We advise you to print and bring it with you, these printed maps are not always available, especially during cruise ship days when thousands of people arrive.

Open Trolley Video from El Morro through Old San Juan

El Morro and Old Town from an Open Trolley…

This Post and Video is related to a quick trip into San Juan for family visiting from the ‘mainland’, back before the San Blas Marathon.
Because parking is sooo ridiculous in Old San Juan, we started with the Bacardi tour in Cataño and then parked at the ferry terminal for the ride across the bay into old town. The run out to the nearby Bacardi facility is worth the ride, but I’ve been there several times now so I don’t need to do it again anytime soon. At the end of the movie presentation, I was polite and kept my mouth shut when they asked for questions.

I have two –
Where do they get the sugar (or molasses) to make their rum and –
why did they relocate their world corporate headquarters to the Bahamas?
BTW – I already gave the Bacardi Tour a 5 Skulls rating in my previous post about Old San Juan, just so ya know.

Once we hit Pier 2,
we walked around the old cobblestone streets and slowly made our way to ‘El Morro’. There are lots of concession stands down by the docks where the cruise ships come in selling all the standard tourist type stuff. On my first trip,
I walked around the outside wall of the fort, but never made it inside.
It was too hot and way too much walking for this old dog. All of that was covered very thoroughly in my first Post about Old San Juan.

We were there on a beautiful Tuesday afternoon, hoping the crowds would be at a minimum. We were mistaken. When I was here back in late August and early September, I pretty much had the place to myself… not now. Come to Puerto Rico during the winter months and it will be crowded.

The Castillo San Felipe del Morro National Historical Site

Known simply as ‘El Morro’ by the locals. There was a small cover charge to go inside, but its worth it. The price includes a nifty black & white self-guided walking-tour (in English and Spanish). Fort construction began in 1539 after the Spanish abandoned their first site at Caparra. It took another 250 years before it got to what it looks like now. The second fort just up the road, San Cristobal was built to protect the city. I have yet to visit it, though you can see us run past it in the video. There were several small organized tours going on at the time we were there. One group showed up on a bunch of Segways! I bet that was a lot of fun. I took my time shooting the inside of the fort. The late afternoon sun made all the textures pop out. There was a good breeze up on top where the fortified lighthouse is along with a nice view of the surrounding area.

Stop 24 Gets a Better Seat

We retreated from the fort along the route of the trolley shuttles. Its free to ride, if you can get on one. By walking down a ways to Stop 24, we were able to score a seat. This meant we were heading back to El Morro, but who cares, we were off our feet now. The open trolley we were on runs all the way up to the gate at El Morro, but the closed, air conditioned one does not. Something else you can see in the video: They both make the run from El Morro through Old San Juan, all the way down to the docks. We are only talking a half dozen blocks, but its all up and down hill. Not too bad if you are in shape and have good shoes. They badly need more than the 2 trolleys I saw.

A Video Ride Back to the Docks

We made our way back to Pier 2 for the ferry ride back to Cataño. It was full of folks getting off work and local families heading home for the day. From there, we drove back to Coamo.

About the video: It was shot with my VadoHD, hand held out the side of the trolley. The old cobblestone streets made it a very bumpy ride so some of it suffers from the ‘jitters’. Sorry about that.

The video’s background music is courtesy of The Free Music Archive which has made my work fun! I appreciate these guys!

Copyright © 2009~2020 Robert Westmoreland — RobertosPuertoRico.

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