There is a lot of ground to cover to see all of the important sites in the San Juan metropolitan area, and many recommend against renting a car. If you choose to follow this advice, it could mean a large sum spent on taxis or getting to know the local public transportation system. That is, the least expensive way to get around San Juan is to take the bus.
Public buses in San Juan are run by the Puerto Rico Metropolitan Bus Authority. Locally, the buses are called guaguas, and can get you not only around San Juan, but to and around Old San Juan, Isle Verde, Condado, and Ocean Park. The main bus terminal is located near the Treasury Building downtown.
As you can see below, this is a typical bus route, but your best bet is to get a local listing when you arrive to be sure you have the most up-to-date schedule. And be aware that buses can be 15 minutes late with no apology. During rush hour, the buses and the roads are packed, so the wait could potentially be longer. Make sure you are able to go with the flow and don't have to be somewhere at a specific time if you're planning to ride. It is also important to note that while buses do have stops near the airport, some drivers will not allow luggage on board. This is not usually an issue traveling away from the airport.
Unfortunately, there is no regular bus service connecting San Juan to the rest of the island. Publicos are known to fill this service, but with frequent stops it can take much longer than expected to get from one town to the next.
|Route||Beginning||Stops Along the Route||End|
|Route C45 to Loiza||Iturregui Bus Terminal||Isla Verde Bus Terminal, Piones Bus Stop||Loiza Bus Stop|
|Route C53 to Isla Verde||San Juan Bus Terminal||San Juan Bautista Bus Stop, Art Museum Bus Stop, Parque Barbosa Bus Stop, Hotel Zone Bus Stop||Isla Verde Bus Terminal|
|Route M3 to the Train Station||San Juan Bus Terminal||San Juan Bautista Bus Stop||Sagrado Corazon Bus Stop|
Although there are bus stops throughout this area (yellow posts that say PARADA), most people just flag the bus down as they walk along the side of the road, and the drivers will pull over and allow you to hop on. It is not uncommon for a bus to keep on driving if they don't see potential passengers on the side of the road, so be sure to make yourself seen.
The cost to take the bus is $0.75(USD) per person, $0.35(USD) per student and 60 to 74-year-olds each time you board, and only coins are accepted. If you don't have coins on hand, no change will be given, so be prepared to part with a full dollar or more.
Even though it might take a little extra time to get around when you ride the bus, there is no denying that this is the least expensive way to go when you opt to skip renting a car for your stay in San Juan.
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