With more than 500 years in the making, San Juan is the cultural, social, and historic heart of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico’s metropolitan region is made up of San Juan, Cataño, Toa Baja, Trujillo Alto, Bayamón, Guaynabo, and Carolina.
Excellent combination of the city and the sea, this region has a variety of beaches that start across the beautiful San Juan Bay and extends to the golden sand beaches of Piñones neighborhood.
Castillo San Cristóbal
The largest fort ever built by Spain in the New World, the imposing Castillo San Cristóbal was completed in 1785. It was intended to guard against a land invasion, so it was ingeniously designed according to a “defense in depth” model, which created numerous successive barriers for advancing enemy forces.
Castillo San Felipe del Morro (“El Morro”)
El Morro is perhaps the most famous historic structure in Puerto Rico. Begun in 1539, the might fortress was built on a narrow point overlooking the San Juan Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. It served as a formidable stronghold, successfully repelling almost every naval attack on the city. Today, El Morro and its sister fort, Castillo San Cristóbal, are National Historic Sites and the oldest European constructions in the United States National Park Service.
(787) 729-6960, (787) 729-6754
The playful yet instructive Museo del Niño is a favorite destination for kids of all ages. With exhibits that include a mini TV studio, a children-only town, and a variety of exhibits that educate children about science, health, music and art, the museum is a unique and delightful attraction in Old San Juan.
The National Gallery exhibits works of religious art, the largest collection of José Campeche paintings, artworks by Francisco Oller and his disciples, and a selection of iconic works from up to 60 years, with a strong representation of the famous 50s generation.
(787) 725-2670, (787) 725-2671
Isla de Cabras National Park
This tiny island just across the bay from Old San Juan has played an important role in the island’s defense. The small battery here (called “El Fortín del Cañuelo”) was El Morro’s deadly counterpart, delivering a barrage of cannon fire that made the San Juan Bay practically impregnable. Close by is another reason to visit this area: the lovely Blue Flag public beach at Punta Salinas.
La Marquesa Forest
This 600-acre forest in the middle of the city offers many recreational areas, as well as a great variety of flora and fauna. Among its highlights are a spectacular aviary, a butterfly conservatory, and a funicular railway. It is a very popular destination among the children.
Puerto Rico Museum of Art
The Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico (MAPR) in Santurce is San Juan’s magnificent fine arts showcase. Inaugurated in 2000, the architecturally stunning, 130,000-square foot structure exhibits Puerto Rican art from the 17th century to the present. In addition, the museum hosts numerous exhibits throughout the year and boasts an outstanding children’s interactive exhibit.
San Juan Bautista Cathedral
The second oldest cathedral in the Americas, the San Juan Cathedral dates back centuries. The original structure, built in 1521, no longer stands; the current building was begun in 1540 and gradually evolved into the graceful Gothic facade you see today.
San Juan National Historic Site
The oldest European constructions in the United States National Park Service that includes the imposing forts of Castillo San Felipe del Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal, as well as the Fortín San Juan de la Cruz known locally as El Cañuelo, and three fourths of the city walls.
A great attraction for the whole family. The museum features an exhibition of animals divided into biomes that transport you to places such as Africa, Asia and United States among others. The educational material available for visitors is very diverse and rich on information about the animals and the environment in which they live. You can make the journey on your own or participate in a guided tour offered on a specific schedule.
The Capitol of Puerto Rico (Spanish: Capitolio de Puerto Rico) is located on the Islet of San Juan just outside the walls of Old San Juan. The building is home to the bicameral Legislative Assembly, composed of the House of Representatives and Senate. The building is located in the Puerta de Tierra sector of San Juan.
San Juan Botanical Garden
The San Juan Botanical Garden, also known as the Botanical Garden of the University of Puerto Rico, is located in the caribbean city of San Juan, capital of Puerto Rico, This lush 300-acre (1.2 km2) «urban garden» of native and exotic flora serves as a laboratory for the study, conservation and enrichment of plants, trees, flowers, grasses and many other plants. Seventy-five acres are landscaped and open to the general public as well as researchers.