Carnival Mardi Gras 2023 – Day 4 San Juan, PR

By | January 25, 2024

If you missed the 1st two posts from our Cruise, you can check those out there:
Day 0 & 1
Day 2 & 3

Day 4 of our cruise on the Carnival Mardi Gras was in San Juan, Puerto Rico. We got off the ship after eating breakfast at the Pig & Anchor. It was really the only place on board that opened early enough to get off the ship 1st thing. Our plan for the day was to explore Old San Juan by foot.

Here’s what we saw as we made our way through Old San Juan…


Loved all the Christmas decorations

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We are always so fascinated to see many chicken running free as well as a good number of feral cats.


Puerta de San Juan (on the map) is a large, circa-1635 gate that was the main entry into the walled city during its Spanish colonial era.


Castillo San Felipe del Morro

The 2 forts in old San Juan are quite vast with amazing views. You can pay $10 and the receipt will get you into both that day.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro, also known as El Morro, (on the map) is a citadel built between 16th and 18th centuries.

It was considered the gateway to the Spanish empire, and the Spanish monarchy considered Puerto Rico the “Key to the Antilles.” From then on, no enemy ships could get near the fortress without the fear of death or capture.


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Another bucket list item for the kids was to go to the home of the original Piña colada, Barrachina (on the map). The world famous Piña Colada was first mixed by Don Ramon Portas Mignot in 1963.

There were 2 pretty long lines. One is to get Piña coladas to go and other is for a table so you can eat. We got on the waiting list and since we weren’t using cell service, we were happy they gave us an actual time for us to be back since they couldn’t text us.

We walked around and shopped while we waited.


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We got the younins’ a virgin Piña colada.

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After getting a full red snapper in Freeport last year, when I saw it on the menu there, I decided I wanted that again. It was delish!

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After lunch, we walked over to the other fort.

Castillo San Cristóbal

Castillo San Cristóbal (on the map) is walled & heavily fortified citadel built 1765-1785 & largest of the Spanish built forts in Americas.

Entry to the city was sealed by San Cristóbal’s double gates. After close to a hundred years of relative peace in the area, part of the fortification (about a third) was demolished in 1897 to help ease the flow of traffic in and out of the walled city.





Really nice view of the cruise ships from there too!


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On the way back to the ship, we stopped at a little stand and some of us got homemade popsicles and some of us got virgin Piña coladas.

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Rob always like to try local sodas so we stopped at a Walgreens right near the cruise port. He and Alex got a Malta India that’s made in Puerto Rico. It’s a non-alcoholic, low sodium, malt beverage from Puerto Rico which is said to give you energy. It is a carbonated malt beverage also called kids beer, wheat soda or young beer.
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This is how Alex really felt about it….

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Not a drink you’ll enjoy if you don’t like malt!

After that it was back on the ship for some relaxation and watching us leave SJ.


Leaving port. So beautiful


That afternoon, Drew played in a pickleball tournament.


That night we enjoyed dinner with the family. Then, Rob and I went to the Vegas show. There singing and dancing and the aerialist part of the show happened! And it was so cool! So glad they didn’t have to cancel that part of the show like the previous nights on board.

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See more pics from the day>>>Day 4 – San Juan

Other times we’ve been to San Juan:

6 thoughts on “Carnival Mardi Gras 2023 – Day 4 San Juan, PR

  1. Natasha

    We loved our days in San Juan. And there’s definitely controversy as to where the first pina colada was made because we were told the place we were at was the first one — although they did acknowledge the conflicting reports of who invented it!

  2. Joanne

    That sounds like so much fun! I only tend to drink the virgin pina coladas anyway.. I tried 1 with alcohol on our trip and didn’t even drink 1/2 of it.

  3. Laura Bambrick

    It looks like you all had so much fun exploring San Juan. I don’t think I would have liked the kids beer either. I’m not a fan of malt!


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