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El Morro (Castillo de San Felipe del Morro)

This walled fortress was once used to protect Puerto Rico from invading colonies, and today offers visitors a dramatic reminder of that history.

El Morro National Monument, also known as the Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, offers a glimpse into Puerto Rico’s history as well as some of the best views in the city. This 400 year-old fortress sits on the northern tip of the San Juan Island., with breathtaking opportunities for photos or just to sit and contemplate the sparkling blue water.

This impressive stone fortress was originally built and used by Spanish colonialists to defend against attacks from the sea. From the late 19th century until 1961, El Morro was occupied by the American Military service and operated as an active military base for both World War I and II. Today, the site is has UNESCO World Heritage status and attracts over two million visitors per year, making it the city’s most popular historical attraction.

Begin your visit to El Morro with a free orientation, given hourly by rangers. The 20-minute talk gives an excellent overview of the history and architecture of the fort, and is offered in both English and Spanish. Discover why the walls are over 18 feet (five meters) thick and how it took over 200 years to complete construction of the massive building.  

Explore the grounds of El Morro on your own time with the help of a self-guided tour, and don’t be shy about asking a ranger for additional information. Maps and tour brochures with descriptions of points of interest are included in the entrance fee, and there are annotated markers throughout the park. 

Climb through the fort’s six stories for some of the best views of San Juan. From the third level visitors can take in breathtaking views across the historic city, and the ocean beyond it. 

El Morro, or Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, is located on the outskirts of Old San Juan. While no public transportationation operates within the historic quarter, you’ll will have no problem reaching El Morro on foot. Taxis are also available in the area, however driving yourself is not recommended due to the narrow, one-way streets and the difficulty of navigation. El Morro is closed on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Day and New Year’s Day, and there is a modest fee for entry.

Popular Activities at Castillo San Felipe del Morro

It's worth giving yourself loads of time at Castillo San Felipe del Morro. Below are the most popular things to do:

Why not consider purchasing an Old San Juan Deluxe Walking Tour or an Old San Juan Walk & Taste Tour?

If you'd like even more activities, examine our San Juan things to do page.


Guide to Exploring around Castillo San Felipe del Morro


Map

Best Lodging Options Near Castillo San Felipe del Morro

See all 662 Properties near Castillo San Felipe del Morro
CasaBlanca Hotel ¥11,429
CasaBlanca Hotel

CasaBlanca Hotel

316 Calle Fortaleza, San Juan
     
    3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

    This family-friendly San Juan hotel is located on the Strip, within a 5-minute walk of Museo del Mar and Port of San Juan. San Juan Cathedral and La Fortaleza - Palacio de Santa Catalina are also within 10 minutes.

    Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel ¥15,025
    Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel

    Sheraton Old San Juan Hotel

    100 Brumbaugh Street, San Juan
       
      4.0 out of 5.0 Stars

      Located in San Juan Antiguo, this hotel is steps from Pier 3, Port of San Juan, and Teatro Tapia. Pier 4 and Pier 1 are also within 5 minutes.

      Hotel El Convento ¥15,953
      Hotel El Convento

      Hotel El Convento

      100 Cristo St, San Juan
         
        4.5 out of 5.0 Stars

        Located in San Juan Antiguo, this luxury hotel is steps from Statue of Ponce de Leon, San Juan Cathedral, and San Juan Gate. Convento de Los Dominicos and La Fortaleza - Palacio de Santa Catalina are also within 5 minutes.

        La Terraza de San Juan ¥13,839
        La Terraza de San Juan

        La Terraza de San Juan

        262 Calle del Sol, Viejo San Juan, San Juan
           
          3.5 out of 5.0 Stars

          Located in San Juan Antiguo, this hotel is within a 5-minute walk of Statue of Ponce de Leon and San Juan Cathedral. Convento de Los Dominicos and Castillo de San Cristobal are also within 10 minutes.

          Decanter Hotel ¥14,149
          Decanter Hotel

          Decanter Hotel

          106 Calle San José, Old San Juan, San Juan, PR
             
            3.0 out of 5.0 Stars

            Located in San Juan Antiguo, this hotel is steps from Statue of Ponce de Leon and San Juan Cathedral. San Juan Gate and La Fortaleza - Palacio de Santa Catalina are also within 5 minutes.

            Hotel Plaza De Armas Old San Juan ¥8,512
            Hotel Plaza De Armas Old San Juan

            Hotel Plaza De Armas Old San Juan

            Viejo San Juan, San Jose St, 202, Btw San Francisco St and Fortaleza, San Juan
               
              2.0 out of 5.0 Stars

              Located in San Juan Antiguo, this hotel is steps from San Juan Cathedral and Paseo de la Princesa. La Fortaleza - Palacio de Santa Catalina and Plaza de Armas are also within 5 minutes.

              Hotel Milano ¥8,780
              Hotel Milano

              Hotel Milano

              307 Fortaleza Street, San Juan
                 
                2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                Located in San Juan Antiguo, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Pier 1, San Juan Cathedral, and La Fortaleza - Palacio de Santa Catalina. San Juan Gate and Castillo de San Cristobal are also within 10 minutes.

                S.J. Suites Hotel ¥8,911
                S.J. Suites Hotel

                S.J. Suites Hotel

                Fortaleza Street N 253, San Juan
                   
                  2.5 out of 5.0 Stars

                  Located in San Juan Antiguo, this hotel is within a 10-minute walk of Paseo de la Princesa, San Juan Cathedral, and La Fortaleza - Palacio de Santa Catalina. San Juan Gate and Port of San Juan are also within 10 minutes.