It took more than 250 years for the Spanish to build the castles, fort, and city walls that comprise the San Juan National Historic Site.
The first tower at Castillo San Felipe del Morro and La Fortaleza rose in 1539. Over the next two and a half centuries, El Morro would grow to six levels. Its 60-foot walls weathered attacks from Englishman Sir Francis Drake in 1595, the Dutch fleet in 1625, and American ships during the Spanish-American war.
The guards manning the cannons and garitas at El Morro kept watch for invaders entering San Juan Bay. Those stationed at Castillo San Cristobal a mile away protected the city from overland attack.
In the 17th and 18th centuries, the ramparts at San Cristobal would have been constantly patrolled by Spanish soldiers. Today they provide breathtaking views of Old San Juan.
Stroll the restored grounds of El Morro and San Cristobal. Explore miles of underground passageways, “dungeons,” and staircases. Follow the Paseo del Morro, a walking trail that runs between the castle walls and the coastline.
San Juan National Historic Site is a picturesque journey into Puerto Rico’s colorful past.