El Morro Fort

El Morro Fort

El Morro Fort, also known as Fort San Felipe del Morro (Castillo de San Felipe del Morro), is a defensive fort built in 1539 to protect the city of San Juan from invading armies and pirates. The fort is located in the Old San Juan section of the city of San Juan at the tip of the pennisula serving as the entrance from the Atlantic Ocean into San Juan Bay.

El Morro Fort is surrounded by large grass fields where tourists and locals enjoy the large open spaces with picnics, food carts, flying kites, people watching, or even an impromtu ballgame. The entire fort and the surrounding grounds are encompassed by the historic protective city walls known as La Muralla. Outside the walls on the southern and western side is the Paseo del Morro, which is a walking trail, lined with street lamps, with amazing views of San Juan Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Paseo del Morro ends at the tip of the pennisula below El Morro Fort, but there is currently not a way to get from the walkway to the fort.

El Morro Fort itself contains a museum, a lighthouse (still functioning), military barracks, dungeons, ramparts, sentry boxes, and of course a gift store. Both El Morro Fort and San Cristobal Fort are well worth the visit. Bring your camera for the great views of the bay and ocean from the sentry walks. In addtion to overlooking the ocean, the fort also overlooks the San Juan Cemetery with its distinctive chapel with a neoclassical style dome and surrounding tombstones.

Defined as a Unesco World Heritage Site by the United Nations, the fort is operated and managed by the United States National Park Service. El Morro Fort costs about 3 dollars for complete access, but for 5 dollars you can access both El Morro Fort and San Cristobal Fort. There is a trolley that connects the two forts for easy and convenient transport between them. You can tour the grounds on your own or wait for a free guided tour by a tour guide which is offered about once per hour. The fort is open daily from 9am til 5pm.