Established in 1949, The San Juan National Historic Site is home to some of the city’s most famous attractions. Visitors can climb to Castillo San Felibe del Morro, overlooking the San Juan Bay, for an up close look at military efforts more than 250 years ago. Travelers can learn about historic battles that took place against the English and Dutch while visiting the restored lighthouse, chapel and vintage cannons.
History buffs will also love Castillo San Cristobal, near the gate of Old San Juan. While El Morro protected Puerto Rico from seaside attacks, Castillo San Cristobal was designed to stop intruders approaching by land. With grounds stretching some 27 acres, this is Puerto Rico’s largest fortification site, as well as the biggest built by the Spanish after discovering the New World.
The National Historic Site is an easy walk from the pier where most cruise ships dock. Travelers can head north past the Plaza Colon to access most sites. Free trams are also available every 20 to 30 minutes. Most attractions are open from 9 a.m until 6 p.m. daily, except Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s.