The Magic of a Colonial Walkable City
There’s always been something special about walking through old colonial cities. They make feel like you’re an ancient explorer. And if there’s no one around, you can easily imagine that you’re strutting around dressed in colonial attire with everything coming to life just like hundreds of years ago. This is just one of the many feelings the Old San Juan City can give you from the first moment you step foot.
The city is characterized by its narrow, blue cobblestone streets and stone buildings, which date back to the 16th century. It is connected to the mainland island by three bridges and the geographical shape and proximity to the metropolitan area make it easy to go from one end to the other on foot.
As soon as you start seeing the brightly colored buildings you will start smiling and accelerating your pace just to be able to see as many Spanish style façades as possible, so remember to wear comfortable shoes that won’t give you any blisters! Make sure to take the time to admire the impressive architecture on every street, many of the buildings are well-preserved others, others have been remodeled and a lesser few, due to the passage of time, have been impacted by erosion and structural decay, while always maintaining their romantic charm. This mix of old and new gives off an enchanting “traditional colonial look”. The city walls and gates are also quite significant. Many of them are decorated with religious imagery and silhouettes of saints painted over tiles. Art lovers will instantly become enamored with all these exterior pieces as well as the many art galleries that can be found on almost every street.
So with all this walking, you may begin to ask yourself, how can I beat the heat and stay energized to keep exploring this wonderful place? Well just take a break and stop by the street carts to indulge in the local delicacies. You can have a refreshing “piragua”, an iced cone filled with artisan Puerto Rican syrup flavors or you can have the popular local handmade “helados” (ice cream) made with coconut, guava, pineapple or passion fruit. And after eating a tasteful Puerto Rican plate for lunch don’t forget to learn a bit about the history of the city.
You’d be surprised to learn that many of the buildings are some of the oldest in the United States. Throughout the years Old San Juan has been an important port city, always being considered the largest in the commonwealth. The biggest attraction is the Fort San Felipe del Morro, located on the northwestern-most point of the city, it was designed to guard the entrance of the San Juan Bay from pirate attacks and military invasions. Today, as a registered National Park, it is considered one of the most historic landmarks on the island and has the some of the most breathtaking ocean views you’ll ever see. This is the perfect spot to conclude your awesome day by flying a kite while watching the beautiful sunset and then the lights of the cruise ships passing by as the night covers the sky.
Are you ready for this cultural and historical Puerto Rican adventure? Choose the best Old San Juan Walking Tour you can find.
By Cindy Perez| July 2nd, 2016