Casa Bacardí might be the most exciting tour you take whilst visiting Puerto Rico. Not only will you learn how Bacardí produces 100,000 gallons of rum per day, but you’ll also have a bartender demonstrate how to make popular drinks featuring Bacardí. If you choose to take the mixology tour you’ll receive a complimentary cup and four Bacardí drinks throughout the tour. Be sure to pack snacks for this trip and stop by the the gift store to pick up rare Bacardí drinks.
For centuries this 16 feet tall, 20 feet thick crimson gate has protected the city and kept invaders out. It sits along the promenade of the bay and makes for a beautiful view of the San Juan Bay. When you walk through the giant red doorway that is La Puerta de San Juan you embark on a romantic and magical journey through the streets of Paseo La Princesa.
All American cultures, time periods and genres are on full display in the Museo de las Américas, displayed through archaeological artifacts, handmade folk art, paintings and sculptures. There are even carved figureheads all the way from New England and Caribbean and Indian canoes on display. The permanent display everyone must see is the Puerto Rican santos (famous hand-carved figurines of saints), but considering the museum is located in an old Spanish troop barracks, the largest Spanish-built building in the Americas, everything in this museum is fascinating and definitely worth a look.
In 1797, the British fleet surrounded the outside walls of San Juan and blocked any incoming supplies; citizens were desperate as they waited for reinforcements to arrive. The governor asked for prayers to the saints for assistance. Women in the city marched through the streets of San Juan carrying torches and the British believed reinforcements had arrived which led them to abandon their siege. This powerful bronze statue of three women marching, sculptured by Lindsay Daen, is a reminder of an important event in Puerto Rican history, and pays tribute to the bishop and the townswomen who took part in La Rogativa.
Most people enjoy spending an entire day at the beach, especially when that beach is three miles of soft white sand and clear blue water on Culebra Island. You might see some old U.S. Army tanks around since the area was used for military exercises until 1975. Pack a ton food for the day because picnic tables and campgrounds are available if you choose to stay overnight.
El Morro was named a World Heritage Site in 1983 by the United Nations and is the largest fort in the Caribbean. El Morro was built to honor King Phillip II and also overlooks the San Juan Bay at 180 feet above the sea. Within are corridors, dungeons, ramps and vaults that allow you to literally explore history. You can also purchase a combination ticket to visit Fuerte San Cristobal and make an entire day of sightseeing.
Though he never lived here, this house was built for Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León in 1521. His descendants called it home for 250 years until it was seized by the Spanish government for military housing. Now it is a museum that focuses on 16th to 18th century Puerto Rican life. Within the house are paintings, antiques and artifacts, and outside are beautiful gardens blooming in tropical colors.
Inspired by the designs of the Madrid city hall, San Juan’s city hall is a must see for any visitor. The project began in 1604 and finished in 1789. At the entrance you’ll find a small information center and an art gallery on the first floor. Not to mention it has its own tiled courtyard and overhanging balcony. When you’re done, enjoy a fruity drink in the plaza and listen to the fountains play.