Spicyland in San Juan

It was a beautiful sky as we approached San Juan Thursday morning.

entry to San Juan 1

entry to San Juan 4

entry to San Juan 2

entry to San Juan 3

Actually kind of overcast for a while – I [incorrectly] assumed our day of walking about town would be one under the clouds.

San Juan shore 1

San Juan shore 2

San Juan shore 3

San Juan shore 4

view of fort

San Cristobal from the ship

Oh no – it turned out to be a sunny and toasty-HOT afternoon.

Our cruise three years ago left from San Juan, but we stayed on the other side of town AND my suitcase was misplaced on its way from Minneapolis to Miami to San Juan.  So the fun night in the city before boarding the ship the next day was completely stressful and frazzled and NOT FUN, with calls to the airline and tracking what we could online.  Oh, and I had no clean clothes. 😦 Anyway.  Here’s round two!

(And, just for clarity….there are no pictures of me here because, well….my husband does not take pictures of me.  So, you know.  I know.  We’re working on it 🙂 )

fort entrance 1

From the port, it was a less-than-10-minute walk to Castillo San Cristobal, the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the New World (not the fort you saw in the photos above – that is Castillo San Felipe del Morro, or El Morro).

Construction began in 1634 (1634!) and finished in 1790.  While El Morro was built to protect the city from attacks by sea, San Cristobal’s 27 acres defended against attacks by land.

For a $3 entrance fee, we more than got our money’s worth on this visit.

fort entrance 2

You guys, this place was pretty amazing.  So old and such rich history, with tunnels, lookout posts, cannons, moats, uh….a dungeon!

tunnel 1

tunnel 2

main plaza 1

Main plaza


The first tunnel we entered

view 1

View of the sea


The dungeon!

The idea of a dungeon just seems so….primitive and archaic.  It’s crazy to imagine people were actually held here.

dungeon 2

dungeon 3

dungeon drawings

Wall drawings by prisoners

dungeon 4

Back into the light!  We found our way out of the tunnels and explored San Cristobal’s sprawling grounds.  As you’ll soon see, the views are absolutely spectacular.

fort green 1

fort view 1

fort green 2

fort watchtower 1

fort watchtower 2

Sentry box

waves 1

view of second fort

View of El Morro

fort green 3

fort green 4



Hello little green friend

coastal view 1

capital 1

capital 2

Capitol of San Juan

fort green 5

View back to San Cristobal

coastal view 2

DT, vista

drawbridge, kind of

fort cubby


Dry moat

Under Cover

Main firing battery

Main firing battery

cannon balls

WWII Observation Post

observation post view 1

View from observation post

observation post in the distance

narrow path

The long, narrow path to the sentry box

view out

view of San Juan

view of San Juan 2

steep climb

Fire Observation Deck 1

fire control station 2

Fire control station

180-degree view….

view out 2

view out 3



spiral staircase 1

Steeeep spiral stairway

spiral staircase 2

DT, spiral staircase

fort bunk 1

Troop quarters

fort bunk 2

water well

Water well



Wowee.  DT and I spent about two hours at San Cristobal and could have easily spent another two.  If you find yourself in San Juan, definitely make time to see one or both of these old forts!  The history lesson and incredible views are so well worth it.

We wove our way into and around Old San Juan on our way back to the ship.  Such a pretty part of the city – narrow, cobblestone streets and bright, colorful buildings.

Old San Juan 1

Old San Juan 2

I just love those wrought iron balconies….especially with little pops of flowers!  So European.

Old San Juan 3

Old San Juan 4

Old San Juan church

This street made us think of Charleston or Savannah:

Old San Juan 5

Old San Juan 6

So did this.

Old San Juan 7

It was such a great day in San Juan, I’m so happy we could explore this port.  I’ll count on a return visit someday!

Coming up….last, but certainly not least, our day in Grand Turk.  Sad!  The cruise is almost ending! 😦

Thursday's towel friend

Thursday night’s little friend


One Comment on “Spicyland in San Juan”

  1. […] Coming up:  we get a little touristy in San Juan! […]

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