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dltaeg

Driving in San Juan.

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We are looking at renting a car in San Juan but I've read a few comments that its rather unsafe, We'll have 3 children with us. Is it really that bad?

 

Does anyone have any ideas how else we can get around as a party of 6.

 

Our plans were to jump on the trolley bus and visit the fort and also trying to visit the Hard Rock Cafe but I've figured out tonight RC docks on the other side.

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Is San Juan a port stop for you or the embarkation point?  If it is a port stop you will be docking in old San Juan; the free trolley stops right at the end of the dock and Hard Rock Café is easily within walking distance.

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Posted (edited)

The Hard Rock Cafe in Old San Juan is closed. They opened up a new Hard Rock Cafe in the Condado. We ate there in February and got the scoop. 

We stayed at Best Western, facing water turn right and walk down Ashford Ave a block or two, can’t miss it on the right.

Edited by Denise Ann

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We went to the new Hard Rock last Nov, it's on Ashford Ave near the Marriott. I think you would need a taxi to get there from the ship.

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11 minutes ago, Denise Ann said:

The Hard Rock Cafe in Old San Juan is closed. They opened up a new Hard Rock Cafe in the Condado. We ate there in February and got the scoop. 

We stayed at Best Western, facing water turn right and walk down Ashford Ave a block or two, can’t miss it on the right.

Thanks, I stand corrected, I did not realize the HRC had moved. 

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1 hour ago, dltaeg said:

We are looking at renting a car in San Juan but I've read a few comments that its rather unsafe, We'll have 3 children with us. Is it really that bad?

 

Does anyone have any ideas how else we can get around as a party of 6.

 

Our plans were to jump on the trolley bus and visit the fort and also trying to visit the Hard Rock Cafe but I've figured out tonight RC docks on the other side.

I wouldn't do it. I drove professionally for 40 years and hate renting cars in unfamiliar cities

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Don't drive there. It's very stressful. When we arrive on cruises we have my cousin pick us up or take car service.  Lots of one way traffic, small streets, and signs you will not be able to read.  Get a service or a taxi.

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5 minutes ago, CapeGal said:

Don't drive there. It's very stressful. When we arrive on cruises we have my cousin pick us up or take car service.  Lots of one way traffic, small streets, and signs you will not be able to read.  Get a service or a taxi.

 

Totally agree!   So much easier and less stressful to use a taxi!  :classic_wink:

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I think tha driving in Old San Juan would be nothing but stressful. The traffic is terrible and the streets are narrow. I think many times you can walk to places faster than you can drive. If walking is not an option then I would leave the driving to someone else.

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Agreed - it doesn't make sense to rent a car in SJU as a port stop.  The ship docks in town if you arrive as a port stop.    If you are you are sailing from SJU and staying on the island for more than a day it would be different   The RC dock for cruises out of SJU is across town and not near any car rentals.   We rented a car from the airport once and never had any issues driving around and dropped the car in Candado.   There are some rough areas, but I felt safer in the car than when we were walking.   I was confronted by a tourist that claimed he was robbed when walking thru OSJ.   Most of Old San Juan is very nice and not too far to walk,  but some areas are very steep with narrow sidewalks. 

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5 minutes ago, racerxspeedy said:

   I was confronted by a tourist that claimed he was robbed when walking thru OSJ.   

 

 

This guy?  

 

 

 

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We used Uber when we were there in Dec. Simple and easy. I don't think I would want to drive there.

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Uber is the way to go.  Taxi is fine but will cost significantly more.  We are cheap and used the public bus system and trolley.  No schedule for them so you could wait for 1 minute or 1 hour for it though.  If you are in San Juan for the day, you will port right in town, no need for a car.  There is a free shuttle like the ones they have in Disney in the parking lots to take you around.  If staying in San Juan for a few days, I do not recommend driving in OSJ.  Streets are narrow and cobblestone in many areas.  Most cards are scraped down the doors and have mirrors hanging off them.  We rented a van and drove out to El Yunque rainforest.  Found the highways and roads out of OSJ to be fine.  If you are driving around Puerto Rico, rent a car.  If staying in OSJ, do not bother.

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Probably the same guy - Same description an story, from the mainland, just got mugged, dad was hurt and is in the hospital, just trying to get home.  

 

We have run into this a lot in our travels.   You can only cry "wolf" one time with me.   

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Not sure why everyone thinks driving around San Juan is dangerous- it's far from it.  It does suck, for sure, but it's not dangerous.

 

OP- if your plan is to just drive around Old San Juan, there's no need for a car at all- it's too small to justify that.  Between the taxis (who have a fixed rate around Old San Juan, BTW), the free trolley, and any uber/lift you can get, you will be fine.  Parking is Old San Juan is a royal pain- we've been going there for 25 years, and there are only a few places we would be willing to park- two of them are right next to the port.  Which makes them not all that helpful for your trip.

 

In terms of the Taxis, there are full sized vans all over the place, which will easily move 6.

 

If you would like to venture outside of Old San Juan, then perhaps a car would be good to have- but unless you are staying for a day or more, the timing makes it hard to venture outside of San Juan.  FWIW, I would not bother with the Hard Rock- plenty of things to see and bars/restaurants to go into just staying in Old San Juan.

 

Have fun- while this city is a mere child relative to most European cities- it's one of oldest established in the Western Hemisphere by Europeans.  

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No different than driving in many other places around the world.  If you're not comfortable, don't do it.  If you're okay with it, fine.  No more "dangerous" than a million other places I've driven.

 

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Thanks for all the replies.

 

We are just in San Juan for 1 day so does than mean we dock in Old San Juan? I think we arrive at 10am and leave around 7pm.

 

If thats the case we are more than happy to use the little trolly bus to visit the fort then jump in a taxi to the Hard Rock Cafe.

 

Thanks again for all the invaluable advice 🙂

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50 minutes ago, dltaeg said:

 

We are just in San Juan for 1 day so does than mean we dock in Old San Juan? I think we arrive at 10am and leave around 7pm.

 

Yes, you will docked in OSJ likely at pier 3 almost directly across from the bus terminal.

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1 hour ago, dltaeg said:

Thanks for all the replies.

 

We are just in San Juan for 1 day so does than mean we dock in Old San Juan? I think we arrive at 10am and leave around 7pm.

 

If thats the case we are more than happy to use the little trolly bus to visit the fort then jump in a taxi to the Hard Rock Cafe.

 

Thanks again for all the invaluable advice 🙂

 

Hi,

Definitely do taxi or Uber.  You can probably negotiate a tour with your Uber driver.  Renting a car not worth the hassle - especially if you chance damaging your rental car, etc.  We have lived in San Juan for half the year for the past 10 years so have a little experience with the area.     GPS does not work coz people use landmarks instead of actual street addresses.  Have to be careful with car rental charges too - you could get dinged for toll charge, there's also $2 fee for "insurance" if your tires are damaged coz the roads have potholes/in disrepair.   Driving when dark is another story - some traffic lights are still out, need to be very careful.  More crime, less police.

NJ 

 

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Good idea   - take the trolley from the ship toward the Fort  (uphill).   It is much easier to walk back toward the ship - downhill.

There is a nice walkway along the waterfront at the base of the wall that has a nice fountain and some historical markers.  They also have a bunch of street vendors in this area. 

 

 

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10 hours ago, dltaeg said:

Thanks for all the replies.

 

We are just in San Juan for 1 day so does than mean we dock in Old San Juan? I think we arrive at 10am and leave around 7pm.

 

If thats the case we are more than happy to use the little trolly bus to visit the fort then jump in a taxi to the Hard Rock Cafe.

 

Thanks again for all the invaluable advice 🙂

Yes, you should be right docked in the heart of OSJ.  The Pan American pier across the bay, which requires a cab to get to OSJ, is used for embarkation/disembarkation.  Ships porting just for the day dock right in OSJ.  Very walkable town if you are in decent shape.  Hilly but there is the free hop on hop off trolley you can utilize, if it is not full.  The forts are great to see.  You can see both on a single pass, but walking from one to the other is a LONG walk.  Take the free trolley if you do the 2 forts.

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Ive been to San Juan several times.  I wouldn't consider it dangerous but definitely would not drive around.  Uber or taxi.  

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Let me tell you about driving there.

 

I was sent down there a part of pre-hurricane team.  We all rented cars, as ordered.  That night, we were driving to our hotel in a convoy.  About 8 cars.  A local person, changes lanes right into one of our group.  We all stop, this guy gets out and starts yelling that it was not his fault, as his wipers did not work (realize we are experiencing the rain bands of a coming hurricane), and he could not see the car he hit.  they he starts with, it was not his fault, as he did not have functioning headlights and could not see.

 

There was virtually no damage, so we just left.

 

Next day, the hurricane had changed its path, but we were doing some work and driving around, several of us per car.

 

In PR, they use the shoulder as an extra lane.  We watched car pull out of a slow moving flow, accelerate to 50+ on the shoulder, and slam into a stopped car on the shoulder.

 

I would recommend AGAINST driving in PR.

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