San Juan Travel Guide
Puerto Rico’s largest city, the capital San Juan was founded in 1521 and is known as the ‘Walled City’. It is the second oldest municipality in the Americas and one of the largest natural harbors in the Caribbean. Old San Juan is nearly 500 years old and features several forts, cathedrals, museums and numerous plazas, and attracts visitors with its lovely beaches and vibrant casinos.
The city abounds with impressive attractions including various forts, such as El Morro and the Castillo de San Cristóbal, and remarkable churches, especially the San Juan and San José. Captivating museums like the San Juan Museum of Art and History and the Pablo Casals Museum as well as parks including Palomas and Munoz Rivera are only the tip of San Juan’s innumerable tourist draws.
Old San Juan has developed into a delightful commercial and residential area and boasts over 400 cautiously renovated Spanish colonial buildings dating from the 16th and 17th centuries. This spot is also very popular for its tropical climate, fine beaches and casinos. Several plazas serve as charming meeting places for the young and old alike, above all the historic Plaza de San José.
Old San Juan: this seven-square-block area is 465 years old and a most enthralling site visited by more tourists than any other location in the Caribbean.
El Morro: this fortress is a National Historic site consisting of a unique labyrinth of tunnels, barracks, dungeons, ramps and outposts, and provides visitors with spectacular views of San Juan Bay.
Castillo de San Cristóbal: built between 1634 and 1771, this intimidating fort covers 27 acres and is a World Heritage site.
San Juan Cathedral: built in the 1520s, the cathedral was repeatedly destroyed by hurricanes and is nowadays a genuine and exceptional New World exemplar of medieval architecture.
San Jos*é* Church: this eye-catching church was constructed by Dominican friars and is the second-oldest in the Western hemisphere.
San Juan Museum of Art and History: built as a market in 1855 and renovated as a cultural center in 1979, this museum presents Puerto Rico’s music and art as well as a number of festivals and concerts.
Pablo Casals Museum: the Spanish master’s inheritance to Puerto Rico exhibits memorabilia, manuscripts, photographs and countless videotapes of Casals’ concerts.