The Forts and Tunnels of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

The UNESCO World Heritage Site comprising Old San Juan in Puerto Rico includes several forts. The two most massive are the fortresses of El Morro and San Cristóbal, built by the Spanish during Colonial times. The immense ramparts of these colossal structures are pierced by a labyrinth of tunnels and passageways.

El Morro across the entrance to San Juan Bay

El Morro across the entrance to San Juan Bay

The most prominent of the two fortresses is El Morro, more fully called the Castillo de San Felipe del Morro. It stands at the end of the headland on which Old San Juan is situated, guarding the entrance to San Juan Bay. The original small fort on the site was built in 1539-40, but in the 18th Century it was expanded beyond all recognition. It now covers an area of more than five acres, with six levels that climb 145 feet up the cliff.

The road up to El Morro

The road up to El Morro

The entrance to El Morro

The entrance to El Morro

El Morro's main courtyard

El Morro’s main courtyard

The upper level of El Morro

The upper level of El Morro

Making friends on the upper level of El Morro, with the lighthouse in the background

Making friends on the upper level of El Morro, with the lighthouse in the background

Looking down on the Santa Barbara Battery, which encloses the original 1539-40 fort

Looking down on the Santa Barbara Battery, which encloses the original 1539-40 fort

Cannon tracks on the Santa Barbara Battery

Cannon tracks on the Santa Barbara Battery

Heading down to the Santa Barbara Battery

Heading down to the Santa Barbara Battery

El Morro's upper ramparts, with tunnels going in all directions

El Morro’s upper ramparts, with tunnels going in all directions

Down into the original fort

Down into the original fort

a local cat has found a tunnel of their own!

A local cat has found a tunnel of their own!

Room to room

Room to room

Surf spyhole

Surf spyhole

One of the garitas, protected stone sentry boxes

One of the garitas, protected stone sentry boxes

If you thought El Morro was big, the Castillo de San Cristóbal is a monster. Its defences extend over an area of roughly 27 acres! It protects the landward side of the Old San Juan peninsula, and was once connected to El Morro, half a mile away, by a network of sturdy walls that surrounded the city at that time.

Looking from El Morro towards San Cristóbal

Looking from El Morro towards San Cristóbal

The seaward defences of San Cristóbal

The seaward defences of San Cristóbal

San Cristóbal's main gate

San Cristóbal’s main gate

San Cristóbal's main courtyard, awash with ramps, doors and tunnel entrances

San Cristóbal’s main courtyard, awash with ramps, doors and tunnel entrances

Entering the lower tunnels

Entering the lower tunnels

Deeper into the San Cristóbal tunnels

Deeper into the San Cristóbal tunnels

Dead end?!

Dead end?!

Escaped from the lower tunnels

Escaped from the lower tunnels

San Cristóbal upper tunnel

San Cristóbal upper tunnel

Another local with their own tunnel, this time at San Cristóbal

Another local with their own tunnel, this time at San Cristóbal

Looking back towards El Morro from the World War II battlement on San Cristóbal

Looking back towards El Morro from the World War II battlement on San Cristóbal

This post was inspired by Cee’s Which Way Challenge and Jo’s Monday Walk.

El Morro from the sea at night, with San Cristóbal in the background (the dark shape on the left)

El Morro from the sea at night, with San Cristóbal in the background (the dark shape on the left)

the-great-migration-coverthe-pride-of-london-coverThe first two Jaspa’s Journey adventures, The Great Migration and The Pride of London, are now available in both paperback and ebook formats from all good booksellers! Click here for more information. The third instalment, Jaspa’s Waterloo, is scheduled to be released by Speaking Volumes early next year.

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If you’re the sort of person that loves experiencing history and culture on your travels, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal (on WordPress or Bloglovin’), or through my website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Tumblr?

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About Jaspa

Star of my own award-winning adventure novels, Jaspa's Journey. Geocaching addict & F1 fan. Adventure Journeyer & blogger extraordinaire. Check out my website: www.jaspasjourney.com And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
This entry was posted in Adventure, Caribbean, History, Travel, UNESCO World Heritage Site, USA and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

21 Responses to The Forts and Tunnels of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

  1. Cee Neuner says:

    This is such a great entry for Jo’s and my challenges. Wonderful. 😀

  2. ventisqueras says:

    spendidi contrasti di colori e bellissime inquadrature

  3. Rupali says:

    Wonderful gallery.

  4. Fabulous photo series, such a wonderful bit of history.

  5. mukhamani says:

    Amazing, thank you for sharing 🙂

  6. Pingback: Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge – October 5, 2016 – Cee's Photography

  7. Cee Neuner says:

    Congratulations! I have selected your post to be featured on Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge.
    https://ceenphotography.com/2016/10/05/cees-which-way-photo-challenge-october-5-2016/
    I sure hope you have ha a great week so far.

  8. Pingback: Cee’s Weekly Wrap October 8, 2016 and WPC-H2O – Cee's Photography

  9. restlessjo says:

    Many thanks Jaspa. Apologies for late reply but Dad died last week.

  10. Pingback: Jo’s Monday walk : Saying goodbye | restlessjo

  11. BeckyB says:

    What an amazing pair of forts . . great post. Thanks for sharing 🙂

  12. Pingback: Sam’s Ses Challenge #11: Uphill | Jaspa's Journal

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