Destination 2: Old San Juan and Castillo San Felipe del Morro
Old San Juan lies on an island to the northwest of the main tourist area of Santurce. As would be expected Spanish influences dominate the architectural style. While some areas of the town can get overrun by tourists (specifically the areas near the cruise ship harbor), there are plenty of smaller more local bars and restaurants to be found. Calle Sol and Calle San Sebastian are excellent streets to bar crawl.
I would recommend a short tour of the old town, specifically the Flavors of San Juan food tour. The tour guides weave you through the old town explaining the history of the city and noting key landmarks. Local restaurants and bars are featured as opposed to the tourist traps. One of the more memorable oddities of the tour was La Casa Estrecha, one of the thinnest residences in the world. The house is now being renovated to be turned into an art gallery. Our favorite restaurant in San Juan was Verde Mesa, which we stumbled upon while strolling the streets of the town. The restaurant has a small number of tables and the entrees feature fresh fish. The ceviche was one of the best I’ve ever had.
Protecting the harbor entrance is Castillo San Felipe del Morro (post header shot). El Morro protected San Juan from invasion up to the last military actions it saw in the Spanish-American War in 1898. The sentry towers along the fort and city walls called Guerites or Garitas, have become the image most associated with San Juan. The fort is within walking distance from the old town. The main entrance can be accessed by walking along Calle del Morro which is flanked by expansive lawns used by the locals for picnics and flying kites. Shots were taken with an Olympus EPL-1 and various lenses including the Oly 14-42, Panasonic 20mm, and Panasonic 7-14mm. Next Post: Triglav and Lake Bohinj, Slovenia