Visit one of the oldest cities in the world, San Juan, founded by the Spanish in 1521 AD. Get to know Old San Juan's history and sights on this walking tour of the city! With an expert local guide, you will discover the neighborhoods and learn about the powerful colonial influence. Starting from the Historical Hotel El Convento in Old San Juan, your local guide will take you on a 2.5 hour walking tour along the Paseo de la Princesa (Princess Promenade) to the La Fortaleza, which is currently the official residence of the Governor of Puerto Rico and the Castillo San Felipe del Morro.
There is a magical feeling to the area of Old San Juan and your first thought may be that you are not in the United States. There seems to be nothing that looks as old or has the history on the mainland as you will see in Old San Juan. Founded in 1521, this part of the city of San Juan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a US Historic Zone. Your walk begins at the water's edge and follows the city wall, where the view is spectacular and the past comes alive. There are over 400 well-preserved buildings in the old city that date back to its inception. The architecture is incredible and you will feel as if you are in Europe, with cobblestone streets and buildings sitting side by side.
Most of the old city will remind you of its history as a military stronghold but much of this area has now been modified to house attractions for tourism. Cafes, small shops, great gardens and courtyards abound. The former barracks now house the Museo de Las Americas and has a collection of Latin American Folk Art. Some of the religious structures spread throughout the area such as the San Juan Cathedral seem to be both Gothic and modern in architecture due to constant renovations since it was opened in 1540. You'll have the chance to see the San Juan Gate, San Juan Cathedral and many more historical places. And you will learn where to find other points of interest that you can return to and explore in greater detail.
Some sights you'll see include San Juan Gate, Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Ballaja Barracks, San Jose Church and Plaza, La Casa Blanca, El Convento Hotel, Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, Plaza del Quinto Centenario and Felisa Rincón de Gautier Museum. This special itinerary was created to deliver an entertaining venture in this historical city. Unless you take in Old San Juan on foot you really cannot understand how special it is and accompanied by a local guide, you will learn about the history of this US territory. The cobblestone path through the narrow streets will bring you to the fort, the area that artisans make and sell bamboo cups, local cigars, tropical candles and souvenirs and what life is like on Puerto Rico. But most important is hearing the background of this amazing island.