San Juan, Puerto Rico: A Walk on the Streets of Old San Juan

Old San Juan Puerto Rico A Walk On The Streets Of Old San Juan

As soon as I set foot on San Juan Puerto Rico's pier, I saw a rush of tourists who were already on their way to different destinations.  There were sidewalk vendors that sell all kinds of stuff from souvenirs, food and drinks and what not.  I can hear the loud voices of the tour operators as they holler on tourists to avail of their offers.  There is also a 4-star hotel and a whole strip of modern shops, boutiques, others being high end brands that are easily accessible.  Amidst the highly urbanized city of San Juan in Puerto Rico still lies the walled city of Old San Juan.  Here are some of the places that I have stumbled upon when I went on a walk on the streets of Old San Juan.

San Juan Puerto Rico
A Prime Cruise Destination in the Caribbean

Paseo de la Princesa

It is a long stretch of footpath with decorative lamp posts and trees that are lined up on both sides. Listen to the sound of the parrots and see it fly freely from branch to branch as you walk along. At the end of the promenade was the majestic Raices (Roots) Fountain having San Juan Bay at the background. The fountain was completed in May 1992; it was made up of bronze sculptured-statues honoring Puerto Rico’s diverse heritage.

Paseo de la Princesa
Paseo de la Princesa

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San Juan Puerto Rico Tourism Office
The Wall - Tourism Office
Pasee de la Princesa
Raices Fountain

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Entrance to the City of Old San Juan (La Puerta San Juan – San Juan Gate)

This enormous red-walled gate is the last of the remaining principal gates in San Juan. During the 1500s – 1800s dignitaries arriving from Spain pass through this gate. It was strategically placed facing San Juan Bay to serve as the city’s protection against invaders.

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San Juan Gate
San Juan Gate

Cathedral of San Juan Bautista (Catedral Metropolitana Basílica de San Juan Bautista)

It is the first cathedral church in the Western Hemisphere. The original cathedral made of wood was built in 1521 but was destroyed due to a hurricane. The stone structure was erected in 1540 and had undergone repairs and remodeling until 1917. It was ingeniously constructed just a few steps away from the entrance to the city so voyagers during the olden days can go to the cathedral and say their prayers.

Now, it is where the tomb of the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Leon can be found. A grand cathedral with high ceilings that have an intricate design; there are several spaces with small altars and stained glass windows. In any place I go to, I look for the old churches to visit most of the time, the older the better. I would say that I have a special admiration for old churches due its architectural design and its craftsmanship.  It makes me wonder how they were able to build it during that time.

San Juan Bautista Cathedral
San Juan Bautista Cathedral Facade
San Juan Bautista Cathedral
San Juan Bautista Cathedral Altar

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Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery

Puerto Rico’s well-known sons and daughters lie in this cemetery. It was built in 1863, located next to Fort San Felipe del Morro and named in honor of Saint Maria Magdalena de Pazzi. The cemetery surely is a peaceful resting place as it is right at the edge of a cliff watching over the immense Atlantic Ocean.

Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery
Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery
Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery
Little Black Bird

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Iguana at Old San Juan Puerto Rico

Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery
Santa Maria Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery at Night

Streets of Old San Juan

Travel back to the olden days as you wander the streets on Old San Juan. The city is characterized by the blue cobblestone roads and colorful buildings made up of bricks and stones. Artistic paintings on the outside walls are also an added attraction and it has similar doorways on almost every building.

Streets of Old San Juan
Streets of Old San Juan
Old San Juan
Colorful houses

Old San Juan

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Old San Juan
Old San Juan Street Art
Puerto Rican Flag Old San Juan
Puerto Rican flag painted on the wall along the streets of Old San Juan

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Old San Juan

Old San Juan
Parrot Man

Plaza de Armas

Found in San Jose Street, it is one of the main squares in the city marked by the “Four Seasons Fountain” – a round fountain with four statues made of marble symbolizing the four seasons, winter, spring, summer and autumn.

Old San Juan
Plaza De Armas Four Seasons Fountain

Parque de las Palomas

There are pigeons everywhere in San Juan, but it was in this park where they have found shelter. I haven’t seen that much pigeon in my life and they were there by the hundreds on the ground, above the trees, on the walls. It is right beside Capilla Del Santo Cristo inside a fenced park overlooking San Juan Bay. If you raise your hand with bread or any food, these birds will fly to you and take it; most of the time it will perch on your arms, shoulders and even on your head. Warning: Don’t stay too long under the tree, you might catch pigeon droppings. 🙂

Old San Juan
Parque Las Palomas Marker

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Parque Las Palomas
Lady in white

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Parque Las Palomas
Parque Las Palomas

Parque Las Palomas

Capilla Del Santo Cristo

Right next to Parque Las Palomas at the end Calle del Cristo is this small chapel at the edge of a cliff. It was built in 1753 by Baltazar Montanez to give back after his life was saved from falling off the same cliff. Today, people go to the chapel hoping for miracles.

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Capilla del Santo Cristo
Capilla del Santo Cristo


Capilla del Santo Cristo

I know that San Juan, Puerto Rico is in the Caribbean but it didn’t feel like it, it was like I have been transported to Europe while walking on its streets.  It is generally safe in the Old City as there was high police visibility in the tourist-drawn areas.

Stroll around the city and you’ll surely relish every step you’ll be making on those cobblestones. Foodies would also be in heaven when they visit this old city as there are a lot of food options and establishments that will titillate their taste buds.  Watch out for that.

Would you like to go back in time and relive history?

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Old San Juan Puerto Rico A Walk On The Streets Of Old San Juan Portrait

 

Source for historical information: Wikipedia, Puertorico.com, AtlasObscura, gopuertorico.about.com

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I have always yearned to try out new things but I tend to procrastinate or too reluctant to take that first step to making it happen and being an introvert only made it even harder. When In My Journeys is all about stepping out of that comfort zone and bringing all those aspirations come to life while exploring different places, trying the not so familiar things and meeting new souls.
Seize the moment! Let us all Go Out, Travel, Enjoy and Live Life!

33 Comments

  1. baiad13
    2017-04-14

    Visiting South America and Puerto Rico is my dream. saved you blog so I know where to look for interesting places when I finally manage to plan a trip. Thanks!

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2017-04-14

      You’re welcome Baia and thank you too. I’m glad that you find my post useful for your future trips.

      Reply
  2. Always a Foreigner
    2017-02-23

    Love the streets of San Juan pictures! there’s so much color and personality in them.

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2017-02-23

      Yes, it is very colorful and lively. Thank you.

      Reply
  3. diytravelhq
    2017-01-30

    I love going back in time & reliving history so San Juan looks right up my alley. I’ve been hearing a lot about Puerto Rico lately, so it’s great to see more photos. Old San Juan looks like a place steeped in culture & colour, I truly hope to visit in the near future

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2017-01-30

      That’s perfect. Old San Juan is literally and figuratively colorful. You’ll surely enjoy it there. 🙂

      Reply
  4. Iftekhar Idris Asif
    2017-01-30

    This is really a nice post. Thanks for sharing…

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2017-01-30

      You’re welcome.

      Reply
  5. Sandy N Vyjay
    2017-01-28

    A very vibrant and colourful place. Your post brings alive the place in words and pictures. I would love to stroll on the Paseo de la Princesa. The cemetery set against the sea, provides a serene picture too.

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2017-01-28

      Thank you Sandy. It was absolutely serene. When I saw some photos of the cemetery on the internet, I wanted to see it for myself too.

      Reply
  6. Ami Bhat
    2017-01-28

    That is such a lovely photo-journey. I loved every pic here. Especially those of the Cathedral and the Cemetery. You have captured quite a few unique perspective of the place.

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2017-01-28

      Thanks Ami, the cemetery is one of my favorite spots there.

      Reply
  7. Anabel Marsh
    2017-01-23

    What a beautiful walk!

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2017-01-24

      Thanks. 🙂

      Reply
  8. Hendrik
    2017-01-23

    Such a beautiful spot! Somehow more or less exactly as I imagined Puerto Rico, since I haven’t been there yet. Your beautiful photos made me really curious about this place, I especially love all these colors of the buildings.
    The Necropolis is also somehow fascinating, great impressions that you also gave from this place.

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2017-01-24

      Nice to know that you enjoyed it. Thanks.

      Reply
  9. Adrenaline Romance
    2017-01-23

    What a beautiful, charming place. Full of culture and nostalgia. San Juan looks more like a quiet, sleepy town than a busy city.

    Looking at your photos and sans the sea, San Juan reminds us of Vigan in Ilocos, Norte.

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2017-01-23

      It gets busy when there are a number of cruise ships docked in one day. But the place is indeed charming. I hope to visit Vigan too to see the similarities.

      Reply
  10. cbholganza
    2017-01-02

    Very much like our Intramuros! Your blog makes me want to revisit the old walled city. Happy new year, friend! 😊👍🏻

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2017-01-02

      Funny thing is, I also wanted to go back to Intramuros and compare. Happy New Year to you too, all the best. 🙂

      Reply
  11. applebitsblog
    2017-01-01

    Love this.😉👍

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2017-01-01

      Hi Apple, thank you. 🙂

      Reply
  12. PATRICKJOSEFDC
    2017-01-01

    oh my god i love your photos

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2017-01-01

      Thank you Patrick.

      Reply
  13. SueT唐 梦 琇
    2016-12-31

    Some fabulous scenery here – what a wonderful place to visit. Thanks for taking me there.

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2016-12-31

      Old San Juan is just awesome! I’m glad that you enjoyed the ‘virtual tour’. 🙂 Thank you Sue.

      Reply
  14. Daal
    2016-12-31

    wow! fabulous – your photos thoroughly capture it all! did you go recently? am wondering if its still shorts wearing weather

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2016-12-31

      Hi Daal, that was almost 2 months ago, but will be back next week and will let you know about the weather. 🙂

      Reply
      1. Daal
        2016-12-31

        how do do you get to go so often? for work?

        Reply
        1. wheninmyjourneys
          2017-01-01

          Lucky enough, yes it’s for work. 🙂

          Reply
  15. setmeravelles
    2016-12-30

    I would love to return to San Juan one day. Great entry! Thanks for sharing. San Juan is amazing.

    Reply
    1. wheninmyjourneys
      2016-12-30

      You’re welcome setmeravelles. Why not put it again on your list for 2017? 🙂 Thank you for sticking around this year.

      Reply
      1. setmeravelles
        2016-12-30

        It’s not in my budget at the moment :-/ But I can dream! 🙂

        Reply

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