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El Morro

Updated: Oct 26, 2023

El Morro, also known as Castillo San Felipe del Morro, is a historic fort on the mouth of San Juan Bay. The fort was built by the Spanish in the 16th century to protect the city from attacks by sea.

The fort is a massive six-level structure, with walls three times thicker than the height of a man. It has a network of tunnels, barracks, gun emplacements, and a lighthouse that was added in the 19th century.

The structure has been repeatedly attacked by English, Dutch, and French forces who failed to conquer it, but was no match for the Americans and their battleships in the Spanish American War. The Spanish garrison was pummeled into surrender in just a few days.

El Morro is a popular tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You can explore the fort's many rooms and tunnels, climb to the top of its walls for stunning views of the ocean and city, and learn about Puerto Rico's history. The fort also hosts regular events, such as concerts and festivals.

If you are staying in Condado Beach, then the best way to get here is to walk. Traffic through the maze of narrow streets is very heavy all day long.

El Morro is worth a visit for the passing kayaker as you can scout the cliffs below to see where you will be paddling. There are a few shallow rocks you should keep an eye on.

Keep an eye for ships leaving and entering the bay. They can sometimes stay hidden behind the cliffs, and you might not see them until they are way closer than you'd want.

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