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Castillo San Felipe del Morro – LuzWanderer

Where?📍Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico


501 Bulevar Del Valle, San Juan, 00901

Click on the picture to get directions from Google Maps.

Hours of operation 9:30 AM- 4:30 PM You can find more information to help plan your visit by visiting the National Park service website here!


Adults $10.00

Everyone else, FREE!!!

Picture of their current hours of operation and fees. Picture taken during our recent visit on Wednesday, July 28th, 2021

Quick History Recap

In 1539, about 46 years after Christopher Columbus invaded Boriken, the Spanish started building El Castillo de San Felipe del Morro in efforts to fortify San Juan and protect it’s bay from military attacks.

El Castillo San Felipe del Morro was built to protect San Juan from other conquerors that were trying to possess anything they could in the Caribbean.

Because humanity has shown through History an insatiable desire for power, San Juan was being constantly attacked by other big thrones at the moment such as England.

Views from El Morro. On the far end you can see a display of colorful structures. That’s La Perla neighborhood which is where the video Despacito was filmed.

To the glory of some and the demise of others, after resisting other nation’s attacks, in 1898 El Morro succumbed to the naval forces of the United States of America. This happened during the American-Spanish war and marked the beginning of the rule of USA over Puerto Rico.

I won’t go into the complexities of Puerto Rico’s ambiguous status and it’s unfortunate History, for now, but I will share a bit of what to expect if you visit this place!

What to expect

El Castillo de San Felipe del Morro is currently under the management of the National Park Service and it’s categorized as a National Historic Site. In a nutshell, after destroying some parts of El Morro during the American-Spanish war, the government of the USA allocated funds to restore and preserve this site.

This picture wasn’t taken in the women’s restroom, but the women’s restroom has a “balcony” ocean view exactly like this one. What a nice way to pee and/or poop!

After getting some consciousness, or woking up a bit, I realized that this fort is a reminder of what happens to beautiful places that get caught up in the race for imperialism.

El Morro was built on a strategic spot, right by the entrance to the Bay of San Juan, so invaders could deter other invaders from getting in. For that reason, it does have spectacular views of the Atlantic Ocean.

Like the many forts that exist in the DMV area, it features antique cannons, artillery, and military engineering features. But what’s unique of this fort is that it also has a lot of iguanas basking all around. It sure does provide the best rocky surface for reptiles to heat their bodies.

For the lovers of photo ops and captions that have nothing to do with the picture, El Morro delivers. You can walk to the “garitas” and experience what was like to sneak peek into the horizon to spot the next attackers, and pee too because you couldn’t let your guard down. Growing up, I visited this place so many times and the “garitas’ would often smell like piss. Lo and behold, they weren’t smelly on this visit. yay!

The fort is huge! If you want to see it all, take it all in, read the history facts and immerse yourself, it’ll take about half a day. There are no elevators to make it easier or modern ramps for accessibility. You gotta walk down and up often under the Caribbean sun and heat. Bring water!

If you forget to bring water, there’s a shop on site that sells souvenirs, cold drinks, including water and some snacks. There are restrooms on site too. And after getting fried and tired under the sun, go and hang out at the huge grassy area in front of El Morro. It’s such a nice spot for picnics, kite flying, rolling down the hills or just chillaxing.

Make sure to check out El Cuartel de Ballajá which is across from El Morro. We had lunch there at Café Don Ruiz. Great spot for light meals and good coffee.

Menu from Café Don Ruiz at El Cuartel de Ballajá.

I hope you have a great time visiting this beautiful place. Being in contact with nature is proven to make you feel better and happier. Let me know if you go how it goes and remember that the easiest way to stay on the loop is to follow me on insta, where I also share videos and more on my stories/highlights!

Please, share with your family and friends and comment below, and/or send me an email/message with suggestions of what else you would like to see here. I want this page to be as helpful as possible. Thanks for reading!

Note:If you want to visit Puerto Rico right now and don’t know what to do, what you need and where to start, read my blog post titled: “What you need to know if traveling to Puerto Rico “post” the Covid-19 vaccine”. 

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information and geography, nature and climate, living and culture

Nature of Puerto Rico

Flora and fauna Puerto Rico is famous for its biodiversity. Puerto Rico is a beautiful island located in the heart of the Caribbean Sea. Surrounded by crystal clear and beautiful blue waters, this huge island is home to a variety of natural habitats, from coastal forests to rocky estuaries. Inland you will find farms and denser forests, while along the coast you will find mangrove swamps, coral reefs.

The island also has 36 nature reserves, 19 state forests and five wildlife sanctuaries, offering travelers the opportunity to immerse themselves in an incredible number of ecologically protected areas.

Several thousand varieties of tropical plants grow in Puerto Rico, including the thick-stemmed kapok tree, poinciana, a thorny tropical shrub with brilliant reddish flowers, breadfruit, and coconut palm. The tropical forest in the northeastern part of the island is home to tree ferns, orchids and redwoods, and part of this tropical area is part of the Caribbean National Forest. Cacti grow in the arid southwest corner of Puerto Rico. Hardwoods that are now rare include nutmeg, satin, Spanish elm, and Spanish cedar.

There are no large wild mammals in Puerto Rico. The mongoose was introduced to control rats on sugarcane plantations. Iguanas and many small lizards abound, there are bats. The island is home to several island-dwelling animals that are found almost nowhere else in the world.

There are several endemic birds and many migratory birds. Birdwatching in Puerto Rico is very easy. Puerto Rico’s most «famous» bird is the Puerto Rican parrot. There are many hummingbirds on the island, so just keep an eye out for the bright colors and you will see them. Marine life is extraordinarily rich, including many tropical fish, crabs and corals. Barracuda, kingfish, mullet, Spanish mackerel, tuna, lobster and oysters are among the many fish found in coastal waters.

Puerto Rico climate

Puerto Rico has a rainforest type of climate with a predominantly hot and humid atmosphere throughout the year. Puerto Rico is mostly hot and humid, with two distinct seasons. The rainy season lasts from April to November and brings over 80% of the annual rainfall. The dry season runs from December to March, with a slight decrease in temperature and humidity.

Average monthly air temperatures in Puerto Rico and the outlying islands vary little throughout the year. Air temperatures are usually highest in August and coolest in January and February. Puerto Rico is vulnerable to thunderstorms, tropical cyclones, hurricanes, typhoons, tornadoes and high speed winds. From June to November, the islands experience the hurricane season in the Atlantic.

Puerto Rico’s summer temperatures can rise above 32°C and rarely fall below 21°C at any hour. Afternoon showers are a common occurrence in most places on the island, especially in August and September, and humidity levels can reach 80% at this time of the year.

Autumn is the peak of the hurricane season, especially in September. The autumn months are very rainy, with frequent severe thunderstorms on the west coast, many tropical waves and low pressure. This season is hot and humid.

The winter months in Puerto Rico offer delightfully warm conditions and acceptable levels of humidity. Temperatures typically range from 29°C during the day to nearly 21°C at night in most places, with little rainfall typically.

Spring usually starts with dry and pleasant weather. March is Puerto Rico’s driest month, with little rainfall in parts of the island. In May, the rainy season begins again, with frequent showers and thunderstorms.

The best time to visit Puerto Rico is from January to April when temperatures are relatively mild during the dry season. The tropical islands do not have a winter season, but temperatures drop to 15°C from August and September highs.

Transportation in Puerto Rico

Getting around Puerto Rico is easy, you can travel however you want. The island has taxis, car rentals, buses, public transport and private limousines.

Puerto Rico does not have a bus service throughout the island, but most of the island is accessible by public transport. Outside the San Juan metropolitan area, buses, vans, limousines, and automobiles provide transportation between cities. The Publico system is a public system used by local residents and can be useful for budget travelers. There is a public station in the center of each city. They serve Puerto Rican cities all over the island and can even take you from one city to another.

Upon exiting the airport terminals, travelers will see an organized line of taxis waiting to be serviced. Taxis can be hailed anywhere, but there are areas where it’s better to call a taxi service to arrange a ride rather than wait for one to pass by. San Juan also has several taxi hailing options, including Uber and the local Jaime te lleva app.

Every major car rental company has a presence in Puerto Rico, as well as several smaller local businesses, so you have plenty of options based on the specific needs of your trip. There are 14 companies for you to choose from.

Puerto Rico is an archipelago with offshore islands and reefs. If you like the quiet and want to experience a more natural side of Puerto Rico, Puerto Rico ferries make it possible.

Puerto Rico airports serve domestic, US and international flights to and from the island daily. Puerto Rico has two international airports that offer flights to and from major US cities, international destinations, and other Caribbean islands.

Money and purchases in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s currency is the US dollar. Puerto Rico has several institutions offering currency exchange services, as well as branches of major banks from the US, Canada and Europe. ATMs located throughout Puerto Rico are connected to banking networks around the world. Credit cards are accepted in most places.

From international luxury brands to unique Puerto Rican handicrafts, the island offers a wide variety of retail options. Large malls with hundreds of well-known brands, discount outlets and eclectic neighborhoods with local artisans are just some of the places where you can have your perfect shopping experience in Puerto Rico.

Puerto Rican coffee is known all over the world. The coffee is really good and would make a great souvenir from Puerto Rico for those who love to drink coffee! Enjoy a good cup of Puerto Rican coffee in the many cafes of Old San Juan. This is one of the best things to do in the old town.

Puerto Rico is one of the best places in the world to taste and buy rum. Most of the rum sold in the United States comes from Puerto Rico. There are several local producers of rum with flavors ranging from coconut to lemon.

Hammocks are incredibly easy to find in Puerto Rico. You can find canvas or denim hammocks sold in stores and on the side of the road. Alternatively, you can buy a handmade cotton hammock from craft shops.

Guiro is another popular instrument in Puerto Rico. Guiros are made from hollowed-out gourds with parallel ridges carved into one side.

In Puerto Rico, you can shop for everything from wooden sculptures, boxes, toys for children and other works of art.

If you want to buy something beautiful for your home, then you should try the local ceramics. In Puerto Rico, you can buy cups, plates, bowls, and vases in various shapes and colors.

One of the most popular sweets in Puerto Rico is Dulces, a candy made from local seasonal fruits. You can buy flavors like orange, pineapple, coconut, lime, guava, papaya, and even sweet potato.

Walking through San Juan, you will find many shops selling local jewelry. You will find shops selling everything from gold and silver to jewelry made from natural materials such as sea glass and coconuts.

Top Puerto Rico Attractions

The Caribbean island of Puerto Rico is rich in historic buildings, natural wonders, and adventure opportunities, and is relatively small, so there’s a lot to see in a day. Puerto Rico’s attractions range from the adventurous, like the El Yunque jungle, to the historic, like the 500-year-old walls of Fort El Morro. There are many options between the two extremes.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro, known locally as «El Morro», is a gigantic citadel that was built in Puerto Rico in the 16th century to protect the island from pirates, soldiers, slavers and anyone who I wanted to test my strength against him.

The El Yunque Rainforest is the only rainforest protected by the Forest Service and the largest reserve in densely populated Puerto Rico.

With cobbled streets, busy plazas, and colorful houses that stack together like building blocks of yellow, blue, green, orange, and teal, Old San Juan is one of the most vibrant places to visit.

Rio Camui Cave Park is a huge cave system. The caves have various rooms, in some cases with very high ceilings, stalagmites and stalactites, and rivers running along the base.

Flamenco Beach is the most popular Caribbean island of Culebra, covered with white sand and clear turquoise water, which can be reached by plane or ferry from Fajardo.

Vieques Biobay is one of the most amazing places that Puerto Rico has to offer. Due to its geography, climate and environmental efforts, Vieques Biobay is one of the most bioluminescent bays in the world.

The Puerto Rico Museum of Art houses over 1,000 works of art created by Puerto Ricans. The collection features works dating back to the 1600s, including sculptures, photographs, paintings, drawings and more.

Vieques Island has some of the best beaches in the Caribbean, as well as the famous Vieques National Wildlife Refuge. Broncos roam the island’s black sand beaches, and sea turtles nest on the shores of Vieques.

Puerto Rico Tourism

Puerto Rico offers water sports opportunities throughout Puerto Rico, from San Juan’s coastal hotels to the eastern resorts and coastal islands of Vieques and Culebra to Rincón on the west coast and Cabo Rojo in the south.

The beaches of Puerto Rico are ready to welcome you at any time of the year thanks to the warm tropical climate of the island. The beaches there never close and each has something unique to offer, depending on what kind of experience you want to have. From great views to sailing adventures, Puerto Rico’s stunning beaches include stretches of sand perfect for lounging in the shade, catching waves, kayaking, and diving or snorkelling.

Snorkel along sandy beaches, take selfies at waterfalls and explore the only rainforest. Visit the salt flats of Cabo Rojo, a wildlife sanctuary of unexpected pink color, and witness the mesmerizing glow of the bioluminescent cove.

Think Hawaii and California are the only places in North America worth going to surf? The West Coast of Puerto Rico is known as the Caribbean’s answer to Hawaii’s North Shore — and with good reason. In particular, the beaches around the cities of Aguadilla, Isabela and Rincon boast some of the best surf in Puerto Rico.

Take a wild ride through the natural water park by descending Las Pilas, a waterfall whose smooth rock walls have earned a reputation as a natural waterslide.

Parasailing in Puerto Rico, a safe and fun activity by the ocean, has quickly become a favorite among travelers. Flights are easy to arrange and no special skills are required.

Contrary to popular images of the sea and sand, much of Puerto Rico is covered in tropical wilderness that offers some of the most spectacular hiking opportunities in the Caribbean.

Northeast Puerto Rico is a deep sea fishing center with dozens of boats sailing daily into the open waters north and east of mainland Puerto Rico. Grab your rod and tackle box and try your luck catching wahoo and yellowtail bass, or try a wilder approach to deep sea fishing by taking a freediving tour with professional spearfishers.

Accommodation in Puerto Rico

The most important part of a vacation or trip is accommodation. Puerto Rico has a great selection of accommodations to suit all tastes, and most of the smaller villages and towns do offer accommodation for travellers. In addition to the dozens of hotels located throughout the island, Puerto Rico accommodation also comes in the form of guest houses, eco-lodges, quaint B&Bs or comfortable resorts.

If you love incredible pools, gorgeous beaches, delicious food and superb service, there are several resorts in Puerto Rico that are sure to exceed your expectations. Depending on your preference, you’ll find resorts in a wide variety of locations, including oceanfront locations as well as resorts located in more remote, forested locations. Puerto Rico resorts offer a variety of swimming pools, nearby beaches, world-class golf courses and spas, and fine dining local restaurants.

Puerto Rican hotels range from simple guesthouses to standard resorts and mega resorts. A unique type of accommodation is the guest house, where Puerto Ricans themselves usually stay while traveling. They have from 7 to 25 rooms and a family atmosphere reigns. Many are on or near the beach, and some have pools or sun terraces.

Puerto Rico has a chain of 13 family hotels located outside of the San Juan metropolitan area known as the paradores. These hotels highlight the island’s history, gastronomy and cultural diversity while highlighting the roots of hospitality and offering affordable rates.

Puerto Rico Youth Hostels are the best way to see the sights without losing your savings. Benefits include free Wi-Fi, free breakfast, and private rooms. Some hostels also have common areas where you can cook meals together.

When traveling as a family or group of friends, it is sometimes more convenient to choose a vacation rental rather than a hotel, resort or hostel. This type of accommodation is an excellent alternative for those who appreciate privacy and privacy, as well as amenities such as a fully equipped kitchen. There are approximately 4,000 holiday rental properties in Puerto Rico, including studios, apartments, houses and villas.

If you’re a camping enthusiast, there are plenty of opportunities to camp on the island in a variety of settings, from the coast to dry forests and mountains.

Puerto Rican Cuisine and Dishes

Although often compared to Spanish, Cuban and Mexican cuisine, Puerto Rican cuisine is a uniquely tasty blend of Spanish, African, Taino and American influences. Pork, beef and chicken are popular in Puerto Rico. Meat and poultry are often cooked by rubbing adobo, a mixture of ground black pepper, oregano, and garlic. Seafood is also common on the island, especially crab, lobster, shrimp, octopus, red snapper and mahi mahi. Puerto Rican cuisine uses fresh vegetables and other ingredients, as well as cloves, ginger, cilantro, garlic, and limes. Puerto Rican food is not particularly spicy, but sweet and sour combinations are popular. Vinegar, sour orange, and lime juice add sourness to dishes, while dried or fresh fruit adds sweetness to dishes.

Puerto Rico’s rich and fertile fields grow a variety of vegetables. A favorite is chayote, a pear-shaped vegetable. Bananas are the most popular side dish on the island. Plantain is a type of banana that should not be eaten raw. They are much coarser in texture than regular bananas and are harvested green, then baked, fried, or boiled. Roasted until golden yellow, bananas can accompany fish, meat, or poultry dishes.

Let’s start with one of the staples of Puerto Rican cuisine — arroz con gandules. It consists of white rice, olives, capers, pigeon peas, tomato sauce, bay leaf, sofrito and seasonings. Sofrito is a sauce that is used as a base for a wide variety of dishes.

Mofongo is one of those staples that can be found almost anywhere in Puerto Rico. It is made from mashed fried bananas, lots of garlic toppings, and chicharrones, fried pork skin. If you are a fried pork fan, you will definitely love pernil. This is one of the most popular Puerto Rican dishes. Pernil is a whole roast pig that is slowly roasted.

Asopao is popular in the Caribbean. It is essentially a mixture of rice and soup. This dish is similar to gumbo and is often paired with seafood, chicken, or pork. The jibarito is a Puerto Rican sandwich that consists of steak, garlic mayonnaise, lettuce, tomato and cheese sandwiched between two pieces of puree and fried plantains, otherwise known as toastons.

The chefs use the bountiful Puerto Rican fruit crop to create any number of desserts, including orange layer cake, banana muffins and guava cakes. The most delicious dessert can be a freshly prepared fruit cocktail. Coconut is probably the most common dessert ingredient. Many delicious desserts are made from its milk, including coconut cake, coconut cream desserts, crispy coconut squares, meringue coconut, and candied coconut rice.

Culture and traditions of Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico’s culture has been greatly influenced by its history. In the mixture of Taino Indians, Spanish and African cultures, there is a mixture of people and traditions, as well as the influence of political and social exchange in the United States on all aspects of life. First of all, Puerto Ricans are extremely outgoing, family oriented and friendly people.

Both Spanish and English are the official languages ​​of Puerto Rico, but Spanish is without a doubt the dominant language since most people in Puerto Rico do not speak English.

There are many religions on the island. The two main religions that are practiced in Puerto Rico are the Catholic faith, which belongs to 85% of the population and the Protestant, which is followed by only about 8% of the population.

Puerto Rico has one of the richest artistic, cultural and historical heritages of all periods. With vibrant street murals and contemporary art museums, Puerto Rico’s art scene is unique and full of history.

Puerto Rico’s architecture is a diverse mix of cultural and artistic influences reflecting the history of the island. You will find Spanish Colonial, Gothic, Neoclassical and Baroque architectural styles in close proximity to each other.

Like other aspects of Puerto Rican culture, the dance tradition comes from the Taino people and also has Spanish and West African roots. Puerto Ricans love to tell stories through dance, which often includes beautiful and colorful costumes: women wear long, flowing skirts, while men wear large hats and sashes to match women’s skirts.

Speaking of charm, the contagious musical rhythm of the island is sure to please you. The island’s sounds range from traditional salsa to bombshell and captivity, an infectious dance inspired by Puerto Rico’s African roots.

Sport is a very important aspect of Puerto Rican culture. Baseball is by far the most popular sport in Puerto Rico.

Festivals in Puerto Rico are colorful and noisy: live bands play, rides spin, parades take place in the streets, and, of course, you can taste fried food. Each festival has its roots in traditions, often Catholic, starting mostly in the middle of the week and continuing through the weekend. For example, the Coffee Harvest Festival, the Atillo Mask Festival, the Jayuya Indigenous Festival, the Day of the Three Kings, the San Sebastian Festival.

San Juan, Puerto Rico. El Fangitto Slum District

Georgia photographs — Farm Security Administration / Office of War Information Photograph.

Untitled photo, possibly related to: Saturday afternoon in White Plains, Greene County, Georgia

Street in the slum area known as «El Machuelitto» in Ponce, Puerto Rico

Farmers and townspeople in the center of town on Court day, Campton, Ky

Untitled photo, possibly related to: Tug-of-war at school, Southeast Missouri Farms Project

Farm Security Administration / Office of War Information Negatives

The photographs in the Farm Security Administration / Office of War Information Photograph

Guayanilla, Puerto Rico.

Houses in a company village behind a sugar mill

Saturday afternoon outside of a Negro store and barbershop in Union Point, Greene County, Georgia

San Juan, Puerto Rico. El Fangitto, the slum area

San Juan, Puerto Rico. El Fangitto, the slum area

San Juan, Puerto Rico. El Fangitto, the slum area

San Juan, Puerto Rico.

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