Old San Juan - Puerto Rico
What is a fear of living? It's being preeminently afraid of dying. It is not doing what you came here to do, out of timidity and spinelessness. The antidote is to take full responsibility for yourself - for the time you take up and the space you occupy. If you don't know what you're here to do, then just do some good. - Maya Angelou
On Wednesday morning, May 14, I was woken up by the sounds of birds chirping outside. I checked my phone only to find it off. I looked up at the time on the tv and it was 5:23am – CRAP! We were supposed to be at the airport at 5:30am. Needless to say, we missed our morning flight to Puerto Rico and ended up catching a later flight.
We arrived in San Juan at 6:30pm. It was definitely hot and humid. I was a little disappointed that it was already starting to get dark considering New York gets dark around 9pm in the summer. We got on a cab, which was about 15 minutes ride to our hotel. I was so happy to see palm trees; this place definitely reminded me of Miami.
Our ocean view room at the Condado Plaza Hilton was absolutely gorgeous and breath-taking. Condado is a posh, tourist area that boasts of a wide variety of hotels, oceanfront dining, casinos, and of course, it’s right by the beach.
The next day, May 15, was Kevin’s birthday. We woke up at 6am to the sound of the ocean and it was beautiful just sitting in the balcony, watching the ocean with clear turquoise water and a light blue skyline. We decided to explore the town of Condado by taking a walk around the neighborhood and hanging out by the beach. Later that night, we went and had dinner at an ocean front restaurant and tried some paella.
Thursday - This was a perfect day to take a trip down to Old San Juan (I’ll abbreviate OSJ). We took a cab, which was about 10 minutes from Condado. OSJ is a beauty to behold, resembling Spanish architecture with narrow streets paved with blue cobblestone and brightly colored brick houses ranging from lavender, light yellow, orange, etc. It was originally established as a military stronghold; thus, our first stop, Fort San Felipe del Morro, commonly known as El Morro. This is a historical site that is about 400 years old. The views of San Juan bay from here are simply breath-taking; enjoy taking some amazing pictures with the bay as your backdrop. Plan to spend a couple of hours exploring this 6 level fort by passing through the tunnels, barracks, dungeons, etc., and.
About 15 minute walk from the fort, stands another small fort, Castillo San Cristobal. While El Morro was designed to protect the city by sea, Cristobal did it by land. This is the largest fortification built by the Spanish in the Caribbean. Enjoy panoramic views of the coast while you are here and make sure to check out the sentry boxes where Spanish soldiers stood watch. The forts are open daily from 9am to 6pm and the fees are $3, good for both forts and valid for five days.
While you are in Old San Juan, try some local cuisine such as Chicken Mofongo and Flan (Puerto Rican desert). I’d recommend you take a walk instead of driving as the streets get quite congested in this small town.
In my upcoming posts, I will cover other parts of Puerto Rico that we visited.
Until next time, stay blessed!