We just did the rain forest and it took a very long time to get there because of horrible traffic. It was raining and there were accidents everywhere. Go with the ships excursion because if you go on your own and get stuck in traffic you might not make it back to the ship in time. We just barely made it. The rain forest was very nice, just wish we had more time to spend walking the trails. We spent most of our time getting there and getting back.
We did the rainforest last May as a ship excursion on the last day of our cruise. They dropped us at the airport afterward. It sounds like this is a port stop for you and not where the cruise started like us. If you want to do this and it is offered, I would take it as a ship excursion because you will get off sooner and have more time. Also, I'm not sure what the hours at the rainforest are, as it is a National Park. It was a long bus ride, they bring you to the visitors center first for a little history and then drive around, stopping at a few scenic locations. I'm glad I did it once, just to satisfy my curiosity, but I also wished we had more time to explore. Arriving at 2pm in port, not sure how the timing would work. Our tour left in the morning and we were dropped at the airport around 2. Hope this helps.
Thanks for that. I don't think it sounds like we will get to do it. I am really interested in San Juan all together, so we may need to take a trip there for a few days next year. I found a restaurant there, who knows if we'll be able to go, but it's Cuban food, and I can't think of the name right now, but at least we have some sort of backup plan for that day. I think it will probably be a beautiful sunset just to sit and watch anyway.
If you don't have time to go to the El Junque, don't miss El Morrow fort. It was absolutely great. We did a self guided tour and just enjoyed the history and the magnitude of the fort. One thing to remember, is all the 200 or so beaches are open to the public, so that's an option.
Another thing we missed was canoeing in the luminescent lake they have there. If they offered a trip from the ship, then you know they would have to get you back in time.