US: Call US1-888-490-1280

Other: Other1-281-547-7661

San Juan, Puerto Rico

By John Sage

San Juan Puerto Rico Disabled Access ReviewSan Juan disabled accesses challenging due to the hills and cobblestones present throughout the Old Town.  Nevertheless, there are some great experiences that disabled visitors can participate in.

Visits to the two large forts in Old Town San Juan are possible for wheelchair users and other disabled travelers (see photos of accessibility challenges below).

I gave San Juan Puerto Rico a 3 Star Sage Accessibility Rating because there is step-free access to exit the port and the main tourist attractions are within walking distance of each other.  It did not get a higher accessibility rating because of the abundance of hills and cobblestones in the San Juan Old Town.
 

 

View San Juan accessible shore excursions

 

Best Aspects of San Juan Disabled Access

Free admission to two fortresses – The two large forts on the island (El Morro & San Cristobal) are part of the US National Parks service and disabled US citizens can get free admission.  Be sure to obtain your National Park pass beforehand.  Step free exit at Pier 3.  The closer you stay to the cruise dock, the less of Puerto Rico you will see an experience.  You might think you’re still at the Miami cruise terminal!

El Morro & San Cristobal El Morro & San Cristobal

Good sidewalk ramps in some placesGood sidewalk ramps in some places – An example of good San Juan wheelchair access is shown on the right. See below for examples of bad sidewalk ramps.

Lots of English spoken – Although there is a lot of Spanish spoken here, the tourist parts of town will have plenty of English speakers.

Some of the most important historical sites in the Western Hemisphere – For the last 500 years, San Juan’s harbor has been one of the most important strategic locations for countries trying to have influence in the Americas.  If you’re interested in learning more, a San Juan accessible guided tour will tell you all about the fascinating history that occurred here.

Close proximity of cruise ships to Old Town – Cruise ships usually dock in the middle of town.  Your travel agent should be able to give you an indication of where you are scheduled to dock.  The farthest distance that you’ll have to travel is from the cruise dock to El Morro which is 1.1 miles using a wheelchair accessible route.

 

Worst Aspects of San Juan Disabled Access

Cobblestones – Cobblestones are present on the vast majority of the streets in Old San Juan.  These can be a major hindrance for wheelchair users.

Cobblestones Old San Juan

 

Steep hills – While cobblestones can be annoying and slow me down, a steep enough hill can be a complete barrier…and San Juan has several of those very steep hills.  A couple of examples of poor San Juan disabled access are shown below.

Steep hills Steep hills

 

Narrow sidewalks in Old Town – Back when the layout of the city was designed, horses were the transportation mode of choice. Narrow sidewalks can mean that wheelchair users have to roll in the streets.

Narrow sidewalks in Old Town Narrow sidewalks in Old Town

 

No sidewalk ramps in some places – Sidewalk ramps are present in most, but not all, intersections.

No sidewalk ramps in some places No sidewalk ramps in some places

 

Bad sidewalk ramps – Where they are present, they can sometimes have awkward angles like this example below where the sidewalk ramp leads down to a street sloping left to right.

Bad sidewalk ramps

 

Historical sites have steps, stairs, and extremely steep ramps – Here are a few examples of the San Juan Puerto Rico disabled access barriers that you might encounter during your visit.

Historical sites have steps, stairs, and extremely steep ramps  stairs
Historical sites have steps, stairs, and extremely steep ramps  Historical sites have steps, stairs, and extremely steep ramps
Historical sites have steps, stairs, and extremely steep ramps  Historical sites have steps, stairs, and extremely steep ramps

 

View San Juan accessible shore excursions

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Call to speak with one of our accessible travel consultants
US: 1-888-490-1280

Other: 1-281-547-7661
More Info