Puerto RicoSan Juan Puerto RicoBest Things to Do in San Juan ⏐ Top Landmarks in Old San Juan

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro - San Juan, Puerto Rico

+ Castillo San Felipe del Morro

This 6-level fort is magical both inside and out and is the most popular fort in San Juan.  Again, make sure to bring your camera while exploring all levels of the fort.  The “El Morro” exterior grounds are some of the most beautiful and beloved attractions in Puerto Rico and home to many cultural events, excellent kite-flying in the trade winds.

+ Castillo San Felipe El Morro

Castillo San Cristobal

Castillo San Cristobal - Things to Do in San Juan, Puerto Rico

+ Castillo San Cristobal

Covering 27 acres, this is the largest Spanish fort in the New World and an architectural masterpiece, allowing you to travel back 500 years, it is a must-see during your visit to Old San Juan.  Whether you’re a history buff or not, you’ll want to spend a few hours inside.  Make sure to bring your camera for breathtaking photo opportunities.  Group tours with friendly park rangers are available, or you may walk on your own.

+ Castillo San Cristobal

Paseo de la Princesa

Paseo La Princesa - Points of Interest / Attractions in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

+ Paseo de la Princesa

Included on the list of “Most Scenic Walks in the World”, this walkway makes it to the top of our list for setting the mood for the start of a wonderful walking tour of Old San Juan. Paseo La Princesa is a must for romantics, a perfect place to hold hands, take in the views of the San Juan bay, watch the sunset, and admire the walls of Old San Juan.

Paseo de la Princesa – San Juan, Puerto Rico

La Fortaleza / The Governor’s Mansion

La Fortaleza - Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

+ La Fortaleza / Palacio Santa Catalina

La Fortaleza / Palacio Santa Catalina and Casa Blanca were the first fortifications built in San Juan, Puerto Rico.  Today, Palacio Santa Catalina is the official residence of Puerto Rico’s governor. Guided tours are available.

Cathedral San Juan Bautista

Cathedral of San Juan Bautista - Old San Juan, Puerto RIco

+ Cathedral San Juan Bautista

This Cathedral is one of the most important religious landmarks in Puerto Rico, the oldest church under the US Flag and the second oldest church in the Americas. The San Juan Cathedral was also the first school in Puerto Rico and the first under the U.S. Flag.  The remains of Juan Ponce de Leon rest inside the church.  The cathedral is the seat of the Archdiocese of Puerto Rico.  Catedral San Juan Bautista dates back to 1521.  The Spanish sailors walked into the city through the San Juan Gate and had the tradition of stopping at this church to thank God for a safe voyage.  Famous celebrities choose the San Juan Cathedral to say “I do”.  If you happen to be here at Christmas, be sure to get here early to enjoy one of the most beautiful Christmas services on the island.  A tomb with the remains of Ponce de Leon and a mummified body of St. Pio are at the Cathedral.  Cathedral is open daily from 8 am – 4 pm and Sundays from 8 am – 2 pm.

Location: Calle del Cristo, across from El Convento Hotel.  See the map below.

Casa Blanca

Casa Blanca - Top Landmarks in San Juan, Puerto Rico

+ Casa Blanca

Visit the first fortification in San Juan, built as the home of Juan Ponce de Leon, the first governor of Puerto Rico.  Enjoy a self-guided tour of beautiful gardens, living spaces of the family’s mansion, and a small museum with exhibits of 16th and 17th-century artifacts. + Casa Blanca – San Juan, Puerto Rico

The Ballajá Barracks

Cuartel de Ballaja - The Ballajá Barracks - San Juan, Puerto Rico

+ Museo de Las Americas

After touring the magnificent Fortress of El Morro, walk across to Cuartel de Ballaja, built between 1854 y 1864 to house Spanish soldiers and their families.  Today Cuartel Ballaja is a cultural center housing Museo de Las Americas, a coffee shop, restaurant, dance school, and some offices.  As soon as you walk into the courtyard, your eyes will wander admiring the elegant architecture.  Head to Cafe Don Ruiz for a great cup of Cafe con Leche or have lunch at one of the restaurants by the courtyard. Then head to the second floor to visit Museo de la Americas, where you can visit a number of exhibits showcasing aspects of the history of Puerto Rico and the Americas.  Works by renowned artists of Latin America, the United States, and Puerto Rico are featured throughout the year.  During crowded cruise days in Old San Juan, Cuartel de Ballaja tends to be quiet and relaxed.

Tel:   787-721-3737

Old San Juan Cemetery

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery - Old San Juan, Puerto Rico - Attractions

+ Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery

Most people don’t connect visiting a cemetery with a Caribbean vacation, but it is definitely worth visiting this Puerto Rican landmark. The cemetery sits outside the 20-foot walls of fort El Morro – overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  Many notable Puerto Ricans are buried here.  Puerto Ricans consider this cemetery the ultimate location as a final resting place… families paying top dollar for a spot. Walk through unique ornate marble thumbs, some depicting stories of love and family. 

Among notable Puerto Ricans buried at Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery:  Jose Celso Barbosa, Pedro Albizu Campos, Jose de Diego, and the infamous real pirate of the Caribbean Roberto Cofresi.  If you don’t have the time to visit, you can take a peek from the grounds of El Morro Fort. 

Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery

Raices Fountain

Fuente Raices / Raices Fountain - Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

+ The Raices Fountain

The Raices Fountain is a popular spot among visitors.  Raices translate to roots, and the fountain represents just that – the roots of Puerto Rican culture, made up of Tainos (natives), Spaniards and Africans.  See it at Paseo de la Princesa in Old San Juan.

La Rogativa

La Rogativa - Landmark - Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

+ La Rogativa

One of the most beautiful and meaningful statues in Old San Juan is centered at one of the top 5 most scenic spots of San Juan. Learn more about La Rogativa.

El Capitolio / The Capitol Building

El Capitolio / Capitol Building - San Juan, Puerto Rico - Attractions

+ El Capitolio

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, the building is the meeting place for the Legislative Assembly.  El Capitolio (the capitol building) is located just outside the Old City Walls. The constitution of Puerto Rico is exhibited on the first floor.  It is open to visitors Monday through Friday, 8 am to 5 pm.

Fortín de San Gerónimo de Boqueron

Fortin de San Geronimo de Boqueron - Condado - Points of Interest

+ Fortin Geronimo

You won’t find Fortin on any top lists but we think it is worth a stop.  Fortin Geronimo is sadly at risk of collapsing into the water and it may not be standing for long.  This small fort is an easy walk for those staying in Condado.  Paseo Caribe makes visiting even more interesting, you can stop at various restaurants and shops after seeing the fort.  Entry to the fort is not allowed, you’ll be observing it from the paseo.  Fortin is located inside the Caribe Hilton and can be accessed through the entrance at the corner of Dos Hermanos / Paseo Caribe.

+ More Landmarks in San Juan, Puerto Rico

 

Map - Top Attractions & Landmarks in Old San Juan

San Juan, Capital City of Puerto Rico
Puerto RicoSan Juan Puerto Rico ⏐ Best Things to Do in San Juan