My recent trip to Puerto Rico took me back in time while visiting the Castillo de Cristóbal and Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in San Juan. In 1983, these historic landmarks were designated to be World Heritage Sites.
Planning a visit:
– We did both forts in one day, but I recommend a day for each fort. Towards the end of my time in the forts, I felt my attention span dwindling (even though Spanish colonial history is my favorite type of history!).
–The entrance fee is $5 for ages 16 and up (under 16 is free!). This ticket allows you in and out of the fort for a period of 7 days.
– It takes about a half-hour to walk between the two fortifications
– The on-site parking is $2.oo per hour. There is more information about parking available at the visitors center.
– Once at the Castillos, the Old City of San Juan is within walking distance – perfect if you want to grab a meal or drink at one of the many cafes.
– For more information check out the National Historic Site
Castillo de Cristóbal:
Castillo de Cristóbal is the biggest fortification built by the Spanish in America. It was actually built to protect El Morro from land attack. There is plenty of history within the walls of the fort. Today, you can still walk through hidden passage ways that were used to move troops covertly within the fort. You can stand where the guards would have stood. You can enter the dungeon where prisoners awaited their eminent death… Well that sounds a bit morbid. But if you are not interested in the history, I still suggest going for the beautiful views.
Castillo San Felipe del Morro, “El Morro”:
Over the years, El Morro was transformed from your average fort into an astonishing six-level fortress. It was responsible for protecting Spain’s access to the New World for over 300 years. Walking through this architectural masterpiece, I was amazed by the shear size of the antique building. Near El Morrow is the Cementerio Maria Magdalena de Pazzis, where many of Puerto Rico’s most prominent people have been laid to rest. The cemetery was established in 1893 with a view overlooking the Atlantic Ocean (pictured above).