Spain’s influence is evident as you wander the streets of Old San Juan. From the narrow passageways lined with olive trees to the imposing El Morro fort that anchors the city, spending a day in this magical city is a must for your Puerto Rico vacation agenda.
Old San Juan
Today, a great effort to restore this city, that dates back to 1500’s, is resulting in a revival of tourism. Bordered on three sides by water, I was confident that no matter how lost I’d get, I’d eventually find my way back to the starting place.
My journey began at Starbucks for a fortifying cup of Java. I then set out to discover the city given to Ponce de Leon in 1509 to manage.
Blue Cobblestone Streets
The original city streets are narrow and paved with classic blue cobblestones Today, restaurants, clubs, and shops occupy the ground floor of most buildings while condos and hostels use the remaining floors.
Tree-lined streets and park offer shade and refuge from the sometimes oppressive heat and humidity.
Plaza de Colon (above) was erected on one of the five entry points into the original city. Dedicated in 1893, this plaza was modeled after ones in Madrid and Barcelona. A statue of Christopher Columbus pointing the way anchors each one.
Pigeon park provides a respite for the city’s feathered friends.
Enchanting is how I describe the walled portion of Old San Juan. Its influence is everywhere, and I can only imagine how Spanish soldiers must have felt patroling the sea wall.
Puerto Rico is an ideal getaway for those living in the U.S. No passport is required, English is spoken by the majority of Puerto Ricans, and there are relatively inexpensive flights from most major U.S. airport. The island is also bathed in year-round sunshine with some of the most spectacular beaches in the world. If you are in need of a getaway, I encourage you to consider this island.
Until next time, much love and happy travels!