Where?📍Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico
501 Bulevar Del Valle, San Juan, 00901
Hours of operation 9:30 AM- 4:30 PM You can find more information to help plan your visit by visiting the National Park service website here!
Everyone else, FREE!!!
Quick History Recap
In 1539, about 46 years after Christopher Columbus invaded Boriken, the Spanish started building El Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in efforts to fortify San Juan and protect it’s bay from military attacks.
Because humanity has shown through History an insatiable desire for power, San Juan was being constantly attacked by other big thrones at the moment such as England.
To the glory of some and the demise of others, after resisting other nation’s attacks, in 1898 El Morro succumbed to the naval forces of the United States of America. This happened during the American-Spanish war and marked the beginning of the rule of USA over Puerto Rico.
I won’t go into the complexities of Puerto Rico’s ambiguous status and it’s unfortunate History, for now, but I will share a bit of what to expect if you visit this place!
What to expect
El Castillo de San Felipe del Morro is currently under the management of the National Park Service and it’s categorized as a National Historic Site. In a nutshell, after destroying some parts of El Morro during the American-Spanish war, the government of the USA allocated funds to restore and preserve this site.
After getting some consciousness, or woking up a bit, I realized that this fort is a reminder of what happens to beautiful places that get caught up in the race for imperialism.
El Morro was built on a strategic spot, right by the entrance to the Bay of San Juan, so invaders could deter other invaders from getting in. For that reason, it does have spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.
Like the many forts that exist in the DMV area, it features antique cannons, artillery, and military engineering features. But what’s unique of this fort is that it also has a lot of iguanas basking all around. It sure does provide the best rocky surface for reptiles to heat their bodies.
For the lovers of photo ops and captions that have nothing to do with the picture, El Morro delivers. You can walk to the “garitas” and experience what was like to sneak peek into the horizon to spot the next attackers, and pee too because you couldn’t let your guard down. Growing up, I visited this place so many times and the “garitas’ would often smell like piss. Lo and behold, they weren’t smelly on this visit. yay!
The fort is huge! If you want to see it all, take it all in, read the history facts and immerse yourself, it’ll take about half a day. There are no elevators to make it easier or modern ramps for accessibility. You gotta walk down and up often under the Caribbean sun and heat. Bring water!
If you forget to bring water, there’s a shop on site that sells souvenirs, cold drinks, including water and some snacks. There are restrooms on site too. And after getting fried and tired under the sun, go and hang out at the huge grassy area in front of El Morro. It’s such a nice spot for picnics, kite flying, rolling down the hills or just chillaxing.
Make sure to check out El Cuartel de Ballajá which is across from El Morro. We had lunch there at Café Don Ruiz. Great spot for light meals and good coffee.
I hope you have a great time visiting this beautiful place. Being in contact with nature is proven to make you feel better and happier. Let me know if you go how it goes and remember that the easiest way to stay on the loop is to follow me on insta, where I also share videos and more on my stories/highlights!
Please, share with your family and friends and comment below, and/or send me an email/message with suggestions of what else you would like to see here. I want this page to be as helpful as possible. Thanks for reading!
Note:If you want to visit Puerto Rico right now and don’t know what to do, what you need and where to start, read my blog post titled: “What you need to know if traveling to Puerto Rico “post” the Covid-19 vaccine”.