Colon Plaza (Columbus Plaza) is located at the entrance to Old San Juan between Fortaleza Street/Ponce de Leon Avenue and San Francisco Street at O'Donnell Street. Note that Ponce de Leon Avenue changes names to be Fortaleza Street at Colon Plaza, so it can be a little confusing.
Originally, the city wall (La Muralla) ran through this area and a large gated entrance was located on this spot. However, this portion of the protective city wall was removed in the late 1800's, but this area still serves as somewhat of an entrance to Old San Juan from the rest of the city. As such, along Fortaleza Street on the southern side of the plaza is where the buses stop and where the taxis congregate.
The plaza is surrounded by restaurants and cafes and with how busy the plaza can get, it is fun to relax at a cafe and enjoy the people watching. There are park benches in the plaza, but most of the plaza is not shaded very well, so it can get a bit hot in the middle of the day. There are some parts of the plaza with large shade trees, so you can find a cool place to sit down and relax.
Christopher Columbus Statue
The highlight of Colon Plaza is the statue of Chrisopher Columbus in the middle of the plaza. The statue features Christopher Columbus standing regally on top of a pillar with ships and sea serpents coming out of the base.
A fountain surrounding the statue shoots streams of water towards the base of the statue.
The statue commemorates the 400th anniversary of the discovery of Puerto Rico by Christopher Columbus on his second voyage to the new world. Christopher Columbus originally named the entire island of Puerto Rico to be San Juan Bautista (Saint John the Baptist), however the island was later renamed and only the capital city of San Juan retains the name. Bronze plaques on the base of the monument provide pictoral representations of the ocean journey and arrival of Christopher Columbus and the meeting of the indigenous people.