If walls could talk?! That’s all that came to mind while I walked through this fortress, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, named after King Phillip II from Spain. This castle is also known as, “El Morro.” This gorgeous structure was built-in the 1600’s as a fort to protect sea-borne enemies from entering the San Juan Bay. This is one of Puerto Rico’s number one attraction points since 1983 when it was declared a World Heritage Site. You can learn more about the history of Puerto Rico here.
I was born and raised on the beautiful island of Puerto Rico and remember coming here. It never gets old. Viejo San Juan is a gorgeous antique city. Everything from the buildings to the streets all have history and are all in tact just how they were built back in the 1600’s. I can never go home and leave without walking the streets of Viejo San Juan.
ARRIVING AT EL MORRO
I usually park on the main road that leads straight to El Morro. There’s several museums at no cost that you can go to. Several with nothing more than just history and art. The whole city is an artistic, historical city. We walked down the sidewalk till we got to the huge empty field with just a pathway going down the middle of it taking us straight to the fortress. A lot of people come with their families here just to sit down and watch the sunset, fly kites, and drink piraguas or eat some delicious local ice cream. We decided to buy some piraguas or as it is known in the US, shaved ice. As you can see on the top right picture, my daughter is posing at the beginning of the pathway to El Morro with her strawberry piragua.
GETTING INSIDE THE FORTRESS, EL MORRO
As we walked down the very long pathway, you can see on your left side the bay and the rest of the main island and on the right side you can see La Perla and the Atlantic Ocean. [Cool fact, Puerto Rico is split by the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean.] To walk the whole outside of the fortress is free but to go look inside the fortress it’s $5 per adult but kids and military (with military ID) are free. El Morro is part of the National Park Service
Once we were inside we headed to the left up the ramp to go to the top. Let me tell you that the view from up there is amazing. These pictures don’t do it justice. As we walked around the top-level from one side of the fort to the other we saw the lighthouse along with all the tracks for the cannons.
Just walking through each hallway, floor, room, I kept asking myself, “What if walls could talk? What story would they tell me? What awesome war stories were created here?” We then walked down a ramp that is next to the lighthouse and went to the main level in which we entered. From there we found two stairways leading to the other levels down below.
Since I was a little girl I have been mesmerized by this place. Not just because of the history but also the view of the ocean and the bay. The sunsets here are also incredible to witness. Viejo San Juan, overall, has a lot to offer.
LEVELS WITHIN FLOOR LEVELS, INSIDE EL MORRO
Once we were on the main level again we decided to go down to the lower level which is split into two levels. It’s like a level within a level. Here it was more of an open area for the soldiers of that time to walk around at and to stand guard. They had cannons, cannonballs, and other things but the best of all was the view looking out towards the ocean. There were other rooms as well in which the soldiers slept in, prisoners were kept, storage, and another room with another ramp going down to a room at a lower level. That room had a set of stairs going down to a way out to the front of El Morro (the front looking out to sea).
By the time we got to the lowest level we didn’t have enough time to go to the outside of El Morro so we had to head back out before they closed. We did kind of start our trip a little later than expected but it was still worth it and tons of fun. It’s an amazing experience.
VISITING VIEJO SAN JUAN
If you are ever in Puerto Rico I definitely recommend you visit here and all of Viejo San Juan. Just take a day or two to explore this beautiful city. Trust me that after your first day you may never want to leave. There are so many places here to visit besides El Morro. There is La Fortaleza, Parque de Palomas, Museo del Niño, Castillo de San Cristobal, and Paseo de la Princesa. There’s also tons of shops, art clubs, restaurants, bars, and much more. The night life is just as amazing. Below are some pictures of us at El Morro.
LOCATION OF EL MORRO
501 Norzagaray Street
San Juan, PR 00901
$5 per adult
Military and children are free.
Entry fees are subject to change. To view the most up to date fees view here.
If you ever find yourself in Viejo San Juan don’t forget to visit this iconic park. El Morro is definitely beautiful and worth seeing. Don’t forget to grab a kite to fly in front of the castle at sunset. After your tour in the castle, walk the streets of Viejo San Juan which is full of even more history and beauty.
Have you ever been to Viejo San Juan? What was your favorite place to go to when you were there?
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