This Private San Juan Explore Historic Sites Walking Excursion begins by meeting with your friendly and experienced private guide just outside your San Juan cruise ship terminal.
This is a private excursion just for you and your group. Once you are all checked in and set, your guide will lead you out to start your exterior walking sightseeing experience to the Castillo San Felipe del Morro a 16th-century citadel that was built to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay. The bay was a popular docking area for all sorts of ships due to its depths. The construction began in 1539 on the orders of King Charles V of Spain, but it continued to increase in size due to additions built over the centuries to accommodate changing military technology. It is also interesting to note that the Castillo San Felipe del Morro was built strong enough to withstand several attacks by the English. In modern times, it was designated a World Heritage Site by the United Nations in conjunction with the San Juan National Historic Site. Castillo San Cristobal Fort which is 15 minutes away from the San Juan Cruise Terminal may be visited instead due to traffic. Not to worry, both of the forts are quite impressive and both are internationally recognized historical buildings.
The Castillo San Cristobal is a fort that was also built by Spain for protection against land attacks. This fort is part of the San Juan National Historic Site and is the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the New World. When it was completed, in 1783, it covered an area of about 27 acres and wrapped around the landside of San Juan. It is interesting to note that Castillo de San Cristobal (Fort San Cristobal) contains giant cisterns that were used for the transport of water during the ages of the Spanish Colony. Due to their enormous size, 30 ft. tall, 60 ft. wide and 100 ft. long, they were used as bomb shelters during World War II.
You will then continue on to Old San Juan where you will visit the San Juan Cathedral. This cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in San Juan and the second oldest cathedral in the Americas. You can visit the tomb of the Spanish explorer and settlement founder Juan Ponce de León and marvel at the beautiful painting of the Virgin of the Providence.
Your next San Juan Explore Historic Sites Walking Excursion stop is the Ballaja Barracks. These were constructed by the Spanish militia in 1864. The structure occupied about 83,000 sq. ft and could accompany over 1,000 soldiers and their family members. The immense interior patio is a wonderful example of 19th-century Spanish architecture. The San Juan walking excursion continues for an exterior visit to observe magnificent buildings like the famous El Convento Hotel and the La Fortaleza (Governor's Mansion). Your knowledgeable and experienced Puerto Rico guide will tell you interesting facts and stories about the sights.
You will also have the chance to stop at Quincentennial Square, San Juan Gate, and the La Rogativa monument, all great examples of the beauty of Spanish construction. This San Juan Historic Sightseeing Shore Excursion ends at one of the outside cafes where you will enjoy a refreshing Pina Colada, by Cristo Chapel, just a block away from the cruise ship pier. You will have the choice to have the guide lead you to the San Juan cruise ship terminal or you also have the option to stay for a little longer in the shopping area and walk back at your own pace, you will have a little more than an hour to look around, drink, lunch, etc.
Come along with us and explore the best of Old San Juan on this downtown historic private sightseeing walking excursion for just you and your party. You will visit an impressive Cathedral, and the most important buildings and highlights.