El Morro, Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

Is it worth tearing yourself away from the beautiful beaches and rum drinks in Puerto Rico to explore an old fort built in 1539 to protect San Juan from invading armies and pirates? We say – heck yes, but check out these pictures and decide for yourself.

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Entrance to El Morro

The entrance to El Morro is majestic with its surrounding grounds of manicured green and a backdrop of blue ocean. The entrance fee is $5.00 and also includes access to the nearby Castillo San Cristobal. The fee includes a map so you can do a self guided tour, and there are plenty of knowledgeable rangers walking around that can answer any questions you might have.

We visited on a holiday, Veteran’s Day, and the grounds were dotted with families picnicking and flying colorful kites – or chiringas, which you can buy at a nearby stand.

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copyright Rum Therapy
Walking through this majestic fort is like taking a walk back through time. The fort itself is comprised of six levels and each with it’s own features and purpose. Be sure to walk into some of the gun turrets, or garitas, and imagine being a sentry hundreds of years ago!

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copyright Rum Therapy
copyright Rum Therapy
The area around the working lighthouse on the top level offers some of the best views of  the  ocean and surrounding areas.

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copyright Rum Therapy
Many of the rooms are marked with plaques or signs explaining their purpose, such as this cannonball storage room.

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copyright Rum Therapy
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copyright Rum Therapy
The enormity of the structure, the thickness of the walls and the engineering of it all makes it quite evident why El Morro, and the soldiers that manned it, were able to stave off many attacks against San Juan, including one led by Sir Francis Drake in 1595.

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copyright Rum Therapy
Leaving El Morro, be sure to walk by the San Juan Cemetery to gaze at the elaborate tombstones overlooking the beautiful ocean. This graveyard is the resting place for several famous Puerto Ricans.

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After walking up and down stairs and exploring in the warm sun, you might end the day doing what we did – we walked to Barrachina in Old San Juan, purported to be the birthplace of the Piña Colada, and enjoyed one (ok two) of the very refreshing libations.

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Check out National Park Website for more information on El Morro and Castillo San Cristobal.

Find El Morro on our Puerto Rico Map

To see more posts on Puerto Rico and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

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