Author Vanessa Ramos smiling for a photo with sailing boats on the dock on her background during her San Juan Excursions

11 Best San Juan Excursions for 2023 (By a Local)

San Juan excursions will be your best friend if you’re short on time when visiting Puerto Rico. Whether you’re looking for a more extensive tour from San Juan, or are looking for something quick and breezy while you’re cruise ship is in port, there is an excursion for you!

I’m a Puerto Rico local who loves exploring the island. In addition to this list, I’ve written many San Juan guides, including a list of the best things to do in San Juan you may want to check out.

But, first, here are 11 of the best San Juan excursions and guided tours to try:

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11 Best San Juan Excursions in 2022

🚢 Note for Cruise Ship Passengers: While most of the San Juan excursions listed below will fit into a port call, I do recommend double checking the times to make sure they fit into your itinerary. If you find you have a longer time on the island, then check out my picks for the best Puerto Rico tours and excursions as well.

Old San Juan Walking Tour

Learn how about San Juan’s history and culture directly from a local history expert

View of tourists under the clear blue sky during a Old San Juan Walking Tour
  • Length: 2 Hours
  • 🌟 Guest Reviews: 5 /5 Stars
  • 🗺️ Highlights: La Fortaleza, Chapel of Christ, San Juan Gate, San Juan Cathedral
  • ✅ Includes: Local guide, bottled water 
  • 👉 Check prices & availability here

Although a relatively young city, Old San Juan is rich in history and culture. If you take a San Juan walking tour, you’ll get a fun and interactive crash course on it.

History buffs and photographers will love the views of the city while learning about the little hidden gems inside it. This walking tour includes stops at famous San Juan sights like La Fortaleza, the Chapel of Christ, and the San Juan Gate – three of my favorite San Juan landmarks.

Flavors of Old San Juan Food Tour

Sample the best of local food while learning about San Juan’s history

One of the meals served during the Old San Juan Food Tour
  • Length: 3 Hours
  • 🌟 Guest Reviews: 5/5 Stars
  • 🗺️ Highlights: Christ Chapel, Fortaleza Street, Mofongo making
  • ✅ Includes: Meals, rum cocktail, local guide
  • 👉 Check prices & availability here

Instead of taking a regular walking tour, foodies can discover the best of Old San Juan while enjoying some of the local Puerto Rican delicacies

This food tour goes through Old San Juan highlights while making stops in popular restaurants like Triana Tapas & Flamenco, and El Patio.

You get to learn about Puerto Rico’s top dishes and how they became staples on the island. As a foodie myself, I’d recommend the making mofongo experience at Triana Tapas & Flamenco.

San Juan Guided Snorkeling Tour

Discover the underwater world on San Juan’s coast

A blue fish and coral reefs under the Escambron Beach
  • Length: 1.5 hours
  • 🌟 Guest Reviews: 4.5/5 Stars
  • 🗺️ Highlights: Escambron Beach, snorkeling, underwater photography 
  • ✅ Includes: Snorkeling gear, GoPro Video, Local guide
  • 👉 Check prices & availability here

While most San Juan tours take around the city’s streets, this one is special as it takes you underwater. San Juan’s coasts and bays hide an underwater world full of coral reefs and marine life. 

This tour will allow you to snorkel in the famous San Juan beach, Escambron Beach, where you’ll get to see an underwater museum. You might even get to see sea turtles! 

This is a guaranteed day of fun for your family, which is why it’s one of the most popular San Juan excursions. You don’t need any previous experience to participate and equipment is included in the tour price.

Night Kayak Excursion in Condado Lagoon

Admire the Condado’s night skyline while drifting calmly in a lagoon

Overlooking view of the Condado Lagoon and the buildings around it at night
  • Length: 1 Hour
  • 🌟 Guest Reviews: 5/5 Stars
  • 🗺️ Highlights: Condado Lagoon, Night kayaking, Clear kayaks 
  • ✅ Includes: Life jackets, Kayaks, Lockers, Glow Paint, Glow Sticks
  • 👉 Check prices & availability here

Kayaking in the Condado Lagoon is one of the San Juan tours you can’t miss if you’re into watersports. 

This tour allows you to kayak in the lagoon at night, to admire the city in a whole different light. The kayaks have clear windows on the bottoms and led lights that light up your surroundings as you paddle. 

You kids will love putting on the glow-in-the-dark paint on their faces and the glow stick bracelets. 

Casa Bacardi Distillery

Tour the largest rum distillery in the world from a worldwide renowned rum brand

Small barrels with the name of Casa Bacardi Distillery
(photo: Mia2you / Shutterstock)
  • Length: 45-75 minutes
  • 🌟 Guest Reviews: 4.8/5 Stars
  • 🗺️ Highlights: Rum tasting, Mixology class, Guided tour 
  • ✅ Includes: Welcome cocktail, Trolley ride, Rum tasting
  • 👉 Check prices & availability here

One of the most popular San Juan excursions is the Casa Bacardi Distillery. Considered the largest rum distillery in the world, Casa Bacardi is located a short ride from San Juan. 

Connoisseurs can enjoy a guided tour through the facilities and learn about Bacardi’s history in Cuba and Puerto Rico.

If you’re looking for an interactive experience, you can book a mixology class or a tasting tour. The on-site bay is also a great spot to relax and spend the afternoon looking at one of my favorite views of Puerto Rico, the Cataño bay.

Fajardo Bioluminescent Bay Night Kayak Adventure 

Kayak in one of the five bio bays in the world

Glowing water at the Fajardo Bioluminescent Bay at night
Water glowing at Laguna Grande in Fajardo
  • Length: 2 Hours
  • 🌟 Guest Reviews: 4.5/5 Stars
  • 🗺️ Highlights: Laguna Grande Bio Bay, kayaking, eco-tourism
  • ✅ Includes: Life jackets, Hotel pickup from San Juan
  • 👉 Check prices & availability here

If you’d have to choose only a tour to do, let it be a kayak tour to one of the three bioluminescent bays in Puerto Rico.

Although not exactly in San Juan, Laguna Grande Bioluminenescet bay is an hour away from the capital city. This is one of the San Juan excursions that include transportation on the tour price, so you can take advantage of it. 

You’ll get to paddle a double kayak through a red mangrove forest for 30 minutes before reaching the bay.  

If you’re an outdoor lover, you’ll rave about the landscape, the bioluminescence, and the guide’s insight information on the phenomenon. 

El Yunque Rainforest, Waterslide, Beach, Dine, and Shop

Explore the only tropical rainforest in the United States 

Water running through the Las Paylas
  • Length: 6-8 Hours
  • 🌟 Guest Reviews: 4.5/5 Stars
  • 🗺️ Highlights: El Yunque Rainforest, beach, food kiosks 
  • ✅ Includes: Hotel pickup, local guide
  • 👉 Check prices & availability here

If you’re short on time but want to visit multiple destinations in one trip, then this is one of the San Juan tours for you. 

This tour offers pick-up from your San Juan Hotel and takes you directly to one of the hidden gems in El Yunque Rainforest, Las Paylas. This natural waterslide in El Yunque and Luquillo Beach, one of the top beaches in Puerto Rico, will mesmerize nature fans.

But, if you’re a foodie, your favorite stop of this El Yunque excursion will be the food kiosks in Luquillo, where I’d recommend trying the alcapurrias.

📚 Continue Reading: 13 Best Things to Do in Luquillo

San Juan ATV Tour

Ride an ATV through Carolina’s countryside

People riding their ATVs in San Juan, Puerto Rico
(Photo courtesy Viator / Rico Sun Tours)
  • Length: 3.5 Hours
  • 🌟 Guest Reviews: 4.5/5 Stars
  • 🗺️ Highlights: ATV running, mangroves, wetlands, sugarcane plantation
  • ✅ Includes: ATV, local guide, Hotel pickup
  • 👉 Check prices & availability here

Adventurers visiting Puerto Rico can’t miss this ATV excursion in the countryside of Carolina. 

One of the best things to do in Carolina, you will tour wetlands, mangroves, and 2,200 acres of green fields with a crew that will tell you everything about the local wildlife. You’ll also get to visit Mi Casa, a sugar cane plantation, and the horse stables at the hacienda.

Rookies don’t need any experience for this tour, as they’ll receive basic training and guidance.

👉 Pro Tip: Always book tours with free cancellation in case your travel plans change. 

Scenic Horseback Riding Tour from San Juan

Discover the charming sites of the countryside from the back of a horse

People enjoying a horse back riding experience in San Juan
(Photo courtesy Viator / Rico Sun Tours)
  • Length: 3.5 Hours
  • 🌟 Guest Reviews: 4.5/5 Stars
  • 🗺️ Highlights: Horseback riding, plantations, countryside
  • ✅ Includes: Hotel pickup, local guide, basic lessons
  • 👉 Check prices & availability here

One of the best San Juan excursions to do in Puerto Rico is to go horseback riding with your friends and family. 

Guests will relax while slowly galloping through one of the most popular haciendas in the country, Hacienda Campo Rico. As you explore the 2,200 acres of land in the hacienda, your tour guide will give you information about the wildlife in Puerto Rico. 

Your excursion will end at a Mojito Bar, where you and your group can grab some of the most popular Caribbean drinks.

Icacos Catamaran Day Sail

Snorkel off the east coast of Puerto Rico

A sailing boat at the Cayo Icacos turquoise water
(Photo courtesy Viator / East Island Excursions)
  • Length: 6 Hours
  • 🌟 Guest Reviews: 4.5/5 Stars
  • 🗺️ Highlights: Icacos Island, snorkeling 
  • ✅ Includes: Snorkeling gear, lunch, rum cocktails
  • 👉 Check prices & availability here

The San Juan islands, Isla Verde and Peñon de San Jorge, aren’t nearly as interesting to visit as the islands off the east coast of Puerto Rico. 

So, if you are staying in the country for enough time, you shouldn’t miss a trip to Icacos. A tour to Icacos is like a wildlife cruise. Seeing humpback whales, orca whales, and minke whales is possible on the west coast of Puerto Rico, but on Icacos, you might get to see dolphins!

During this trip, the whole family will love to swim close to coral reefs and tropical fish.

👉 Local Tip: This trip doesn’t include pick-up from San Juan hotels. You can browse Puerto Rico shuttles to Fajardo on Viator. If you’re staying in Puerto Rico for a longer period, you can use Discover Cars to find special offers for rental cars. 

Old San Juan Bay Sunset Sail 

Cruise the San Juan Bay in this romantic sunset sail

The sailing boat used for the Old San Juan Bay Sunset Sail
(Photo courtesy Viator / East Island Excursions)
  • Length: 2 Hours
  • 🌟 Guest Reviews: 4.5/5 Stars
  • 🗺️ Highlights: San Juan Bay, El Morro, La Fortaleza, Sailing 
  • ✅ Includes: Guide, appetizers, beverages
  • 👉 Check prices & availability here

Everything about Old San Juan gives a glimpse into the lifestyle of Puerto Rican and Spaniards during the colonial period, and this tour is no exception. 

This tour aboard the Amazing Grace will have you sailing on a 19th-century ship through San Juan Bay. Whether you’re a history enthusiast or looking for a Puerto Rico couple’s activity, this two-hour Puerto Rico boat tour will be unforgettable. 

Besides enjoying appetizers and drinks during the sunset, you will also see some of the top San Juan attractions including El Morro and Paseo La Princesa. 

🛥️ Want More Boat Tours? See my guide to the best Puerto Rico boat tours!

FAQs About San Juan Tours & Cruise Excursions

Which places provide the best tours in San Juan for groups?

The best places for group tours in San Juan include Escambron Beach, El Morro, the San Cristobal Castle, and Paseo La Princesa. Other San Juan nearby attractions that offer fun trips and excursions for friends include El Yunque National Rainforest, Laguna Grande Bio Bay, and Toro Verde Adventure Park.

Which experiences are best for tours in San Juan?

The best experiences for San Juan tours include food tours and walking tours in Old San Juan, snorkeling in Escambron, and kayaking in Condado Lagoon. Other San Juan experiences worth trying are horseback riding, ATV running, taking a salsa class, and a cooking class. For visitors that have time, the most popular tours from San Juan include tours to El Yunque National Forest and Laguna Grande Bio Bay.

How many days do you need to visit San Juan?

Between 1 and 5 days are enough to visit the main attractions in San Juan. For visitors on cruise excursions, a day in San Juan is enough to visit the beautiful Old San Juan and its highlights like El Morro, Paseo La Princesa, and La Fortaleza.

Travelers that have more days can explore other San Juan popular areas like Condado, Santurce, and Miramar.

How many days are enough in Puerto Rico?

7 to 10 days are enough to explore the main highlights of Puerto Rico. You can follow my 7 day Puerto Rico itinerary and see the island’s main sites during a week.

But, travelers that want to visit Puerto Rico’s offshore islands and explore the mountainous central region can spend up to three weeks touring the country. Seven days are enough to explore Old San Juan, Isla Verde, Ponce, Cabo Rojo, Fajardo, El Yunque, and Vieques. 

📚 Continue Reading: 7-Day Puerto Rico Itinerary

*** 

Those were the 11 best San Juan excursions! Do you know which one you’ll be taking during your next trip? If you’re curious about more things to do in Puerto Rico, check out our guide to the top things to do in Puerto Rico.

Have fun in San Juan!

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