San Juan Cruise Terminal
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Our cruise started and ended in San Juan. We were taken directly from the airport to the ship terminal area. Not much to see there. A the end of the cruise we were given a 3-hour tour of a couple of sites and a stop downtown. I appreciated this as we had many hours at the airport before our flight out. We did a walking tour of Castillo San Cristobal, the largest fortification built by the Spanish in 1783 to protect San Juan. In 1797 an attack by the British was thwarted before forces could get to the castle. During the Spanish-American war San Cristóbal’s gunners traded fire with U.S. warships during a day-long bombardment. Fast forward 6 months and Puerto Rico became a U.S. territory at war’s end. The Castillo sits high on a hill overlooking San Juan. The climb to the top is pretty steep, yes, I stopped to catch my breath a couple of times, but the views made it worthwhile.
After our brief tour, we were taken to the center of town. The guide made it clear that the local merchants would appreciate some spending on our part, but, being Sunday, a lot of shops and restaurants were closed. I did pick up some crocheted items in an open market as gifts. After that the only thing left for me was to look for some local color.
While cruises are a good way to get a taste of places in a one-week sailing, hit and run port visits block opportunities to do a deep dive into the locale. It is a good way to identify a place where a longer visit would make sense, like Dominica or St. Lucia. Most important for me was as a family get together to celebrate this years milestones, it was a great success.
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