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Escape to the Historic City

Old San Juan: the City of the Brave


Soon after the conquest of Puerto Rico by the Spaniards, in the 16th century, the city of Old San Juan became a military fort surrounded by sandstone walls and huge fortifications. For their purpose, they transformed our town until it became the historic, Spanish landmark that it is today. The architecture brings us curving, cobblestone streets and pastel-colored, tile-roofed buildings with decorative balconies and wooden doors that open onto interior patios in the style of Andalucia in southern Spain. It contrasts with the rest of the island, turning it into a local's favorite place to visit. Every step is filled with history of the natives, Spaniards, and the Americans that later took over in 1898. Here are some of its attractions:

San Felipe del Morro Fortress:

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Lying on the northwestern-most point of the islet of Old San Juan, Castillo San Felipe del Morro is named in honor of King Philip II of Spain. The fortification, was designed to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay, and defend the Spanish colonial port city of San Juan from seaborne enemies.

In 1983, the el Castillo was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in conjunction with the San Juan National Historic Site. Over two million visitors a year explore the "Castillo", making it one of Puerto Rico's leading tourist attractions.  

San Cristobal Fortress

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The Castillo de San Cristóbal is a Spanish fort in San Juan, Puerto Rico. It was built by the spanish government to protect against land based attacks on the city of San Juan.

Castillo de San Cristóbal is the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the New World. When it was finished in 1783, it covers about 27 acres of land and basically wrapping  the city of San Juan. Entry to the city was sealed by San Cristóbal's double gates. After close to one 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.


Plaza de Armas

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The Plaza de Armas of San Juan is one of the main squares in San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. It is located on San José Street in Old San Juan, and was designed to serve as the original main square for the city. San Juan City Hall is located to the north of the square.

The square's main feature is a round fountain with four statues called "The Four Seasons". The statues are more than 100 years old, and each of them represents a different season.

Paseo de la Princesa

Paseo de la Princesa is located on the south side of Old San Juan near Plaza de Hostos and Plaza Darcenas and just along from where the cruise ships dock (as a port of call).

Paseo de La Princesa was originally built in 1853 and over the past couple of years has been faithfully restored to become a great place to walk or people watch. The tree lined promenade provides plenty of shade and you will usually find local street vendors and artisan stalls as you walk along the promenade.

Casa Blanca

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Casa Blanca is a house museum located in Old San Juan within the historic colonial section of the capital of Puerto Rico. Built in 1521 it served as the first fortification of the San Juan islet and residence for Juan Ponce de León and his family and also his cousins, although de Leon died in an expedition to Florida without ever getting to occupy the structure, it was used as the residence of his descendants, until the mid-18th century. As a fortification it served mostly as a refuge in times of attack from Taino rebels. The house was built in wood but was destroyed by fire and rebuilt in stone and masonry. It subsequently was occupied by members of the Spanish army and later by American army commanders. The surrounding gardens were planted by the first American governor of the island in the 19th century. In 1967 the complex was transferred to the government of Puerto Rico and declared a historical monument. The house is a museum of 16th and 17th century artifacts managed by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.

Hotel Plaza de Armas

San José St. 202
Old San Juan, PR 00901

Hotel Plaza de Armas PR Old San Juan
San José St. 202
Old San Juan, PR 00901

Email: Tel: 787-722-9191
Fax: 787-725-3091