Experience the rich colonial heritage of Old San Juan, a city unrivaled in the Western Hemisphere with over 500-years of architecture and history, on this half-day sightseeing tour. Spend a few hours wandering the scenic cobblestone streets, fascinating museums and Spanish-built forts of this one-of-a-kind neighborhood, part of which is designated a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Start your day with a pickup from select hotels, crossing a bridge to enter into Old San Juan. The neighborhood, which was founded in 1513 and is the second-oldest city in the Americas, features a wealth of colonial buildings. Take a look at the white marble-covered Capitol Building and admire the elegant Casa de España, bedecked in colorful tiles inspired by Moorish architecture.
Continue on through Old San Juan’s narrow cobblestone streets, pausing to note the imposing walls that surround the old colonial city, also known as “La Muralla.” This protective barrier, which is up to 20 feet (6m) thick and 60 feet (18m) tall in places, shielded this once-tiny settlement from enemies.
Next, proceed with your guide to Cuartel de Ballajá, a 19th century military barracks situated around a central courtyard. Take in the building’s impressive architecture before heading upstairs to the Museo de las Américas on the second floor. The museum’s exhibits provide an overview of the artistic and anthropological history of Puerto Rico and the Americas, including collections covering traditional folk art, the island’s African heritage and an overview of American indigenous tribes like the Taíno.
The tour moves on for a 30-minute visit at San Cristobal Fort. This massive military complex, the largest Spanish military complex in the Americas, was constructed in 1785. Enjoy sweeping views of San Juan Bay and the nearby El Morro Fort and listen to details about the fort’s history and clever design from your guide. Finish your day with a half-hour to 45 minutes for shopping before a drop-off at your hotel.