In 1508 the celebrated Spanish military leader Juan Ponce de Leon founded the town of Caparra behind a natural harbor on the north shore of the central Caribbean island of Puerto Rico. In 1521 the base was abandoned and moved to the headland of Old San Juan. Throughout the 16th century, the town was the origin for Spanish expeditionary forces leaving to little known regions of the New World.
Nowadays the original part of San Juan has an authentic Old World feeling with nearly 400 restored Spanish 17th century town houses. The area is home to many shops, restaurants, bars, clubs and casinos, all very popular with cruise ship passengers.
San Juan Port
There are three major pier areas. The first is Old San Sunset cruise tamarindo Juan piers 1 through to 6, the second the Navy Frontier pier, and the last the Pan American pier. Most times ships calling at the city dock at the Old San Juan Piers, so you have easy access to Old San Juan. Ships starting from the city utilize Old San Juan pier 4, or the Pan American Pier, about a 15 minute cab ride from the city center.
5 Best Things to Do in San Juan (Editor's choice!)
Charming Old San Juan stands atop a hill facing the Atlantic Ocean northwards, and the bay southwards. This walled fortified city is now a major historic landmark. It is compactly sized, and quick to walk around. However if your energy runs out take the free trolley bus that shuttles between tourist spots. Enjoy strolling along the narrow cobbled streets and check out the brightly colored houses, craft shops, and visit the interesting museums. Don't miss sights in the city include:
1. El Morro Fort
El Morro, an enormous fort dating from 1549, protected the city from pirates. Its full name is Castillo San Felipe del Morro, after the patron saint of King Philip. A tour takes you along six sets of gun platforms and huge stone walls that tower over the Ocean.
2. La Fortaleza
Don't miss La Fortaleza, the city's most ancient fortification, built in 1540. Later it was to become the governor's official residence. Guided tours take you through the luxurious building, with golden banqueting hall, high galleries, and rooms decorated in period style.