While on our most recent cruise aboard the beautiful Carnival Breeze, we stopped in San Juan, Puerto Rico. The city is filled with beauty and charm, adventure and gorgeous views. There is so much to do but the question is what is there to do when cruising to San Juan with kids?! Here are some of our tips on making the most of your trip to San Juan and what we feel are the best options for kids.
About San Juan, Puerto Rico
San Juan, Puerto Rico, is both the capital and the largest city in Puerto Rico. It has one of the widest beach fronts on the entire Isla Verde strip and is best known for its nightlife. However, just past the nightclubs and casinos, you can find a breathtaking ocean view as well as colorful colonial buildings and landmarks that date back to the 16th century. This city is full of rich history and historical places to visit if you make the trek out here to see it!
Puerto Rico, in general, is considered safe for travel. However, there are some neighborhoods in the area that do pose a safety risk. Theft is a significant concern in Puerto Rico, but we found that San Juan was an overall pleasant experience and we felt safe the entire time.
Highlights from our trip
During our time in San Juan, we decided to visit Old San Juan. This is known as San Juan’s historic district. Also known as San Juan Antiguo, this is one of the most visited places in all of Puerto Rico! Here you will find anything but your usual touristy flare. This islet is connected to the main island by three bridges. Which provides a fantastic view of the San Juan Bay and the Atlantic ocean. You’ll also find a seven-block historic district that has a ton of historical sites, restaurants, shopping, and even a few nearby beaches.
The buildings in Old San Juan are picturesque. You are sure to find many Instagram worthy photos on this tour. My family and I walked the cobblestone streets of this quaint part of town. We let the kids take pictures of the beautifully colored buildings. Try giving your kids their own camera. It can be a polaroid, digital or even an old disposable. Let them capture Old San Juan from their perspective and you’ll be surprised with what happens.
We stopped at the home of the Pina Colada and a beautiful park close to the port. Although there were many things to see, the weather was quite hot, and the kids got tired quickly. We opted to take them back to the ship to play in Camp Ocean for a bit. This was one of their favorite parts of the cruise. You have to be able to roll with the punches when cruising with kids.
What should you do with your kids here?
If you don’t want to explore the Old San Juan historic district, there are still several amazing activities you can do while you are here! One activity to put on your list is a visit to El Yunque National Forest. Very few people will have the unique opportunity to visit a rainforest in their lifetime. Our cruise line did offer both a bus and a walking tour of this rainforest. There are also a ton of fantastic parks and caverns nearby for the more adventurous types. If you want to get into the water, head to Icacos Cay for beautiful snorkel and diving views in San Juan.
There are also many beaches that are worth the visit when cruising to San Juan with Kids! One of the best to visit is Bioluminescent Bay. If you get the opportunity, head here at night to see one of the few bio bays in the world. Puerto Rico has three of them, and one of them can be found here. Here you can get into a kayak or small boat at night to see millions of glowing plankton light up the water. Although most cruises don’t have overnight stays at this port you might be one of the lucky ones to get an opportunity to do this. We didn’t so we have this on our bucket list for a future visit.
If you are considering visiting San Juan on a cruise or on your own, there are a ton of great options for you! While we spent most of our time in Old San Juan, there are a ton of great options for those who want to visit.
Cruising to San Juan with kids can be such an exciting adventure. Whether you decide to do a picture tour or visit the rain forest, I am sure you will find something that will make life long memories for your family.
Have you been to San Juan? What were your favorite parts? I would love to hear about them in the comments below
Want to find out about our favorite family-friendly destinations? Or maybe you are planning a cruise for your family? Make sure to stop by my Cruise Page to get all the free info.
I also share some of my favorite cruise packing hacks in these two posts:
Ultimate cruise packing guide.