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 Calle Beneficiencia - Old San Juan Streets - Walking Tour

Right across from El Morro in Calle Norzagaray, you can continue walking down this street, Calle Beneficencia.  To fully explore the attractions on this street, you’ll need about 2.5 hours if you were to visit both museums and have a coffee break.

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 shops, a restaurant, dance school and some offices.  Tel:   787-721-3737

Cuartel de Ballaja - San Juan Puerto Rico Points of Interest

Cuartel de Ballaja - San Juan Puerto Rico Points of Interest

Coffee Break & Great Architecture – Part of the San Juan Life is learning to slow down during the daily routine to sit down and relax to a cafe con leche.   We know you may be eager to continue touring Old San Juan, but as you pass Cuartel de Ballaja, we encourage you take 20 minutes to simply relax and have a cup of coffee, a quesito goes great with it.  The elegant courtyard gives you a feeling of being in a European country, it is typically quiet since most tourists are busy trying to make it to El Morro and other places.  Don Ruiz is inside the building on the southeast corner, great quiet spot to admire the architecture of the courtyard.  Cinema Bar is on North wing, you may enter from the courtyard or through Norzagaray Street.

Old San Juan Walking Tour - Coffee Shop

Museo de Las Americas

On the second floor of Cuartel de Ballaja, you can visit Museo de las Americas, one of the best museums in Old San Juan.  Entrance to the museum is on the west wing.  Museo de las Americas Museum features permanent exhibitions about the history and culture of Puerto Rico and the Americas the entire family will enjoy.  Other exhibitions include popular art in America, history of the natives in America (22 ethnicities), the African heritage, the conquest and colonization of Puerto Rico and more.  Excellent museum for families with children and history buffs. See below for hours.

Museo de las Americas - Old San juan Walking Tour - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Museo de las Americas +

Located on the second floor of  Cuartel de Ballaja, in Old San Juan.  This is one of the best museums in San Juan, featuring permanent exhibitions about the history and culture of Puerto Rico and the Americas the entire family will enjoy.  Other exhibitions include popular art in America, history of the natives in America (22 ethnicities), the African heritage, the conquest and colonization of Puerto Rico and the newborn evolution that makes up what Puertoricans are today.  Excellent museum for families with children and history buffs. 

Hours: 

  • Tuesday - Friday: 9am - 12pm & 1pm - 4pm
  • Saturday: 10am - 5:00pm
  • Sunday: 12pm - 5pm 
  • Mondays: Closed 

Entry Fees:

  • $6 - Adults
  • $4 - Children up to 12 years old, students & seniors 65 + years

Institute of Puerto Rican Culture

Institute of Puerto Rican Culture / Instituto de Culttura Puertorriqueña - San Juan, Puerto Rico

Plaza de la Beneficencia

Plaza de la Beneficencia - Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Across from Cuartel de Ballaja, is the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture.

As you walk down Calle Beneficencia, you’ll walk pass Plaza de la Beneficencia, the focus of the plaza is a statue in honor of Eugenio Maria de Hostos, known as “The Great Citizen of the Americas”, he was an advocate for Puerto Rico’s independence, an educator, lawyer, philosopher, sociologist, and writer.

Just a minute walk longer and you’ll get to Casa Blanca, one of the top attractions in Old San Juan.

Casa Blanca Museum

Casa Blanca Museum - Old San Juan Walking Tour

Casa Blanca, the oldest home on the island of Puerto Rico, is tucked on the southwest end of Calle Beneficencia.  The mansion was built for Juan Ponce de Leon and his family.  You’ll tour through gardens, mansion living spaces, a display of artifacts and historic information.

Where to go from here? 

Head east down Calle San Sebastian until you get to Calle Cristo, you’ll find various restaurants, cafes, bars, a plaza and the historic church of San Jose.  A walk down Calle Cristo will take you to more restaurants, historic churches, more colorful streets and many shops.

Calle Cristo Walking Tour Page coming soon… please come back soon to check for updates.

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