El Morro, San Juan

4.5 out of 5 stars 37 Reviews

Been here? Rate It!

hide
  • Triangular Stairway
    Triangular Stairway
    by TexasDave
  • Central Courtyard
    Central Courtyard
    by TexasDave
  • Main Entrance
    Main Entrance
    by TexasDave
  • jumpingnorman's Profile Photo

    Fascinating, Pyramid of Cannonballs, Great views

    by jumpingnorman Written Jun 17, 2009

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This is the fort that we have seen before in travel documentaries and so I wanted my family to have a picture at one of those nice towers – I also wanted the twins to go around the many corners of the turrets.

    We decided to go down at Old San Juan near the entrance of the fort which is located at the end of Norzagary Street at the entrance to the bay of San Juan. There is a big green lawn to walk towards it, and you can take that famous FREE trolley but we wanted to go through all the people who were enjoying kite-flying on the Monday morning. The walk was just a quarter-mile. It was also a great picture taking opportunity.

    Once at the entrance gate, we just paid $5 per adult to see both forts (just $3 if you se only one fort)…and the 5 year old twins were free. This Castillo San Felipe del Morro protected the rich port from sea going enemies during the Spaniard Era, and it is part of the World Heritage UNESCO Site List (1983, as San Juan National Historic Site)

    The fort is amazing and the twins found this group of cannon balls arranged like a pyramid and nobody could stop them from climbing up – this seems to be a popular place for pictures. And then we just went everywhere around this big fort, enjoying the views and even having some jumping pictures.

    There are several levels on the fort, the famous being the uppermost level and the one with the artillery. There’s a map available for you once you get there so you can navigate yourself and choose the places you want to visit. I will not go into detail about this…but all the levels were fun!

    Twins on Cannonball of El Morro, Puerto Rico Great Views from El Morro, Puerto Rico Wife with stroller on way to El Morro in San Juan Daughter just outside El Morro, San Juan, PR Going up to highest level of El Morro- San Juan,PR
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Jefie's Profile Photo

    The most popular attraction in Old San Juan

    by Jefie Updated Feb 16, 2010

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    El Castillo San Felipe del Morro, usually referred to as "El Morro", dates back to 1539 when a small, turret-like tower was built by the Spanish settlers to defend the bay of San Juan. Over the next two centuries, the fort grew until it reached the present form towards the end of the 18th century. El Morro was attacked several times during the course of its history and was at the centre of battles against the likes of Sir Francis Drake, George Clifford and Ralph Abercromby. It was also involved in the two World Wars, when the American army made some slight modifications to convert El Morro into a military base and to watch for possible German attacks. In 1961, El Morro was finally opened to the public and the fort's sentry boxes, or "garitas", have since become a national symbol that can be found on license plates as well as most souvenirs.

    It only costs $3 to visit El Morro (for $5, you can buy a ticket that also gives you access to the Castillo San Cristobal - the ticket is valid for 7 days), and it's open every day from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm. Every hour on the hour, you can catch a 20 minute orientation talk, and there are also some special guided tours (check the website for schedule). However, what I enjoyed the most about visiting El Morro was that we were able to roam around the fort on our own. We picked up a map at the entrance and made our way through the different rooms, going up and down El Morro's six levels and taking plenty of pictures along the way - good walking shoes are a must!

    One of El Morro's garitas The main entrance to El Morro An old cannon protecting the bay of San Juan Looking towards the Castillo San Cristobal Tunnel leading to the original 1539 tower
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • starship's Profile Photo

    Fuerte San Felipe Del Morro

    by starship Updated Dec 1, 2013

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Fuerte San Felipe Del Morro, commonly known as "El Morro", is a widely known landmark of Puerto Rico and its picture is often used in travel advertisements. El Morro owes its history and architecture to the Spaniards who began building it in 1539. It suffered attacks from Sir Francis Drake in the 1500's and the Dutch fleet in 1625. El Morro also came into play in 1898 during the Spanish - American War.

    The fort was in use as lately as World War II when the U.S. added an annex to the fort for military purposes. Today its historical significance has been sealed by its designation as a World Heritage Site and is also a U.S. National Park Site coming under the U.S. National Park Service.

    The fort is open 9:00am to 5:00pm from June to November and 9:00am to 6:00pm from December through May. Adult Admissison is around $3.00 (2007 price). Children 15 & under are free!!

    El Morro- courtesy of welcome.topuertorico.org
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Family Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • moiraistyx's Profile Photo

    EL MORRO-ONE OF TWO FORTS IN OLD SAN JUAN

    by moiraistyx Written Aug 9, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This was actually a cool tour to take. The fort is loaded with plaques and banners to read that provide loads of information. The fort itself is really old, it was built in 1539 by Spain. El Morro is 140 feet above sea and has 20-foot-thick walls. Spain's European enemies didn't stand a chance against this fort. The fort cosists of a maze of tunnels, barracks, dungeons, outposts and ramps. From El Morro visitors get an excellant view of the wall the Spainards began to build around the city. My favorite part of visiting the fort were the views it provided of the city, the cemetary, the ocean and San Cristobal. The fort is open daily from 9am to 5pm and costs $3.00 to get it in, if you are going to visit both forts you can get a combo ticket for $5.00.

    El Morro Outpost Painting in the chapel El Morro Light House cannon
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • LoriPori's Profile Photo

    CASTILLO DE SAN FELIPE DEL MORRO

    by LoriPori Updated Apr 9, 2006

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A well-known landmark in San Juan is the CASTILLO DE SAN FELIPE DEL MORRO or "EL MORRO". The Spaniards began construction in 1539. Francis Drake and the British attacked it and later on in 1625 so did the Dutch.
    Today this World Heritage Site welcomes multitudes of tourists arriving by cruise ship. We were four of them - Hans & I and His brother and his wife from Florida. We had a wonderful time exploring the nooks and crannies of El Morro. I was intrigued by the little circular sentry cubicles or "Garitas" that are unique to this fortification, the largest in the Caribbean.
    "Garitas" are small shelters with an open front to protect a sentry from the weather.
    I believe we paid a $2.00 US entry fee which is very good value.

    Entrance to El Murro Views of the Sea Lori & Sentry Post
    Related to:
    • Cruise

    Was this review helpful?

  • ets's Profile Photo

    El Morrro - an engineering standard

    by ets Updated Jan 12, 2006

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    As I stood on its walls, I was reminded of similar views of Fort St Augustine in Florida, the first permanent Spanish settlement in the USA and of Fort Santiago in Manila. During its colonial period, Spain built forts to guard its empire using the same basic design and standards with efficiency and skill. They served well their purpose - to guard Spain's galleon trade routes from Manila to Acapulco, then from Vera Cruz to Seville.

    El Morro - sentinel of the Spanish empire
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • XanderDone's Profile Photo

    Fly a Kite!

    by XanderDone Written Jun 2, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    If you so desire (and have one in tow) you can join hundreds of others to fly a kite in the field in front of El Morro. It's a uniting experience between families who don't even know each other, and it embodies the true spirit of the Puerto Ricans. Just taking a day to relax with the family in a park, perhaps picnic. If you get thirsty, there are vendors on the side of the road awaiting the tourists with overpriced waterbottles. But hey, there must be a market willing to pay that price, and if they can get the money out of someone, they deserve a pat on the back.

    Kites asail at El Morro
    Related to:
    • Budget Travel
    • Family Travel
    • Study Abroad

    Was this review helpful?

  • pecaspeca's Profile Photo

    San Felipe del Morro

    by pecaspeca Updated Jul 3, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    El Morro, surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean and San Juan Bay, is the most striking of the city’s military fortifications (and the greatest in the Caribbean). Along with San Cristóbal Fort, El Morro has been designated a National Historic Site and is part of a World Heritage Site. It is administered by the U.S. National Park Service. Open daily from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM. English tours depart at 11:00 AM and 3:00 PM.

    El Fuerte San Felipe del Morro, rodeado por el Océano Atlántico y la Bahía de San Juan, es la más impresionante de las fortificaciones militares de la Isla ( y la más grande del Caribe). Al igual que el Fuerte San Cristóbal, El Morro ha sido designado como Legado Histórico Nacional y es parte del “World Heritage Site”.

    Interior del Morro El Morro
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • Family Travel
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • steph4867's Profile Photo

    Castillo San Felipe del Morro

    by steph4867 Written Mar 12, 2003

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Called "El Morro," this fort stands on a rocky promontory dominating the entrance to San Juan Bay. Constructed in 1540, the original fort was a round tower, which can still be seen deep inside the lower levels of the castle. More walls and cannon-firing positions were added, and by 1787, the fortification attained the complex design you see today. This fortress was attacked repeatedly by both the English and the Dutch.

    The U.S. National Park Service protects the fortifications of Old San Juan, which have been declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations. With some of the most dramatic views in the Caribbean, you'll find El Morro an intriguing labyrinth of dungeons, barracks, vaults, lookouts, and ramps. Historical and background information is provided in a video in English and Spanish. The nearest parking is the underground facility beneath the Quincentennial Plaza at the Ballajá barracks (Cuartel de Ballajá) on Calle Norzagaray. Sometimes park rangers lead hour-long tours for free, although you can also visit on your own. With the purchase of a ticket here, you don't have to pay the admission for Fort San Cristóbal if you visit during the same day.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Museum Visits

    Was this review helpful?

  • Gypsystravels's Profile Photo

    El Morro

    by Gypsystravels Updated Jan 5, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The views of San Juan Bay from El Morro are spectacular. The area was designated a National Historic Site in February, 1949 with 74 total acres. It is the largest fortification in the Caribbean and rises 140 feet above the sea with 18 foot thick walls which proved to be a very important defense.

    The fort is a maze of tunnels, dungeons, barracks, outposts and ramps. It is full of small, circular sentry boxes called 'garitas' that are unique to the forts of Puerto Rico and have become a national symbol.

    The fort underwent a major restoration in 1992 for the 500th anniversiary of the discovery of Puerto Rico.

    Grounds of
    Related to:
    • Museum Visits
    • Historical Travel
    • Castles and Palaces

    Was this review helpful?

  • saw50st8's Profile Photo

    El Morro

    by saw50st8 Updated Apr 4, 2011

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    The El Morro fort is one of the things that has to be done in San Juan. The large structure makes you feel safe and protected from any pirates. There are multiple levels to the fort and many artifacts to see. My favorite are the old cannons. Wander around and explore the site!

    Was this review helpful?

  • virtualpatrick's Profile Photo

    El Morro - Castillo San Felipe Del Morro

    by virtualpatrick Updated May 10, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Whether you pay the entrance fee ($3 adult) or admire this fort from the outside, it's an amazing structure. Imagine yourself transported back in time when it was used as a fortress and lookout point to prevent attacks from the land and sea.

    El Morro is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

    Next to the El Morro is the cemetary of Santa Maria Magdalena and it has a wonderful vista of the sea.

    El Morro & Cementerio de Santa Maria
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • National/State Park

    Was this review helpful?

  • Stephen-KarenConn's Profile Photo

    El Morro Faro/Lighthouse

    by Stephen-KarenConn Updated Nov 6, 2005

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Standing above the massive fortress of El Morro, at the entrance to San Juan Harbor is an interesting and unique lighthouse. The first lighthouse on this site was built in 1846, and the present one in 1876. It was damaged by shellfire from the US Navy during the Spanish-American War in 1898, and rebuilt by American military forces ten years later. This is the oldest of 15 surviving light stations that can be found in Puerto Rico.

    Three flags are unfurled every day near the lighthouse on the Ochoa Bastion. They are the flags of the United States of America, the flag of Puerto Rico, and the Spanish military flag, known as the Cross of Burgundy.

    El Morro Lighthouse Three Flags above El Morro
    Related to:
    • Architecture
    • National/State Park
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

  • grandmaR's Profile Photo

    Land side of Castillo de San Felipe del Morro

    by grandmaR Written Apr 9, 2009

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Moro means 'promontory' or 'headland'. The original actual name is for of King Philip II of Spain. Construction began in 1539. El Morro's last active fight occurred during a naval bombardment by the United States Navy during the 1898 Spanish-American War.

    In 1843, the first lighthouse in Puerto Rico constructed atop El Morro. A second one replaced it in 1876. The second lighthouse took a direct hit during the 1898 bombardment of El Morro by Sampson's U.S. fleet, but the brick foundation was salvaged and reused in 1906-1908 when the present lighthouse seen atop El Morro was built by US Navy.

    In 1961, the United States Army officially retired from El Morro. The fort became a part of the National Park Service to be preserved as museums. In 1983, the Fort was declared a World Heritage Site by the United Nations.

    In honor of the Quincentennial of the voyages of Columbus in 1992 the exterior esplanade was cleared of palm trees that had been planted by the U.S. Army in the Fort Brooke era, and restored to the open appearance this "field-of-fire" for El Morro's cannon would have had in colonial Spanish times. Parking lots and paved roads were also removed, and the El Morro lighthouse repaired and restored to its original appearance.

    What this meant for me was that I could not get close enough to the lighthouse or fort for a quick visit. I had to be satisfied with views from the ship in the harbor, or from the car across the FIELD OF FIRE. This "esplanade" was historically maintained without trees or plants or any object that could shelter the approach of enemy soldiers. Attackers here would be in the line of fire from the cannon of El Morro. Today it is used as a picnic grounds.

    Field of Fire (parade ground) Informational sign Lighthouse side from the car Fort from inside the harbor at dawn Looking out to sea
    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Museum Visits
    • Architecture

    Was this review helpful?

  • Travellingismylife's Profile Photo

    El Morro

    by Travellingismylife Written Jan 17, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    This a fort near the Old San Juan. You can't miss it! The construction of this fort began in 1539 to keep enemies, who were on the sea, out of San Juan. For 2,50$, you can visit El Morro. You'll have a splendid view of the coast of San Juan. Arrive early because around 1pm, there is a lot of people!

    El Morro
    Related to:
    • Castles and Palaces
    • Cruise
    • Historical Travel

    Was this review helpful?

Instant Answers: San Juan

Get an instant answer from local experts and frequent travelers

18 travelers online now

Comments

Hotels Near El Morro
4.5 out of 5 stars
5 Reviews
0.5 miles away
Show Prices
4.0 out of 5 stars
2 Reviews
0.5 miles away
Show Prices
Show Prices

View all San Juan hotels