5 Historical Buildings in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico (Rich Port in Spanish) is an unincorporated territory of the USA, and is located southeast of Miami, Florida. It is in the northeastern Caribbean Sea and is basically made up of a collection of the most exotic, breathtakingly beautiful islands. Its capital and largest city is the beautiful city known as San Juan and the US dollar is the official currency. The official language is Spanish due to the long colonization by the Spanish which can be found in both their culture and their structures, but because of its affiliation with the USA, however, most of its citizens speak English and are very nice and welcoming. Puerto Rico has almost perfect weather conditions with plenty of sunshine, over 200 gorgeous tropical beaches, beautiful gardens, historical buildings, uniquely diverse ecosystem, great landscaping and amazing views. You can take unguided tours around the city if you want to make a few detours and you won’t be disappointed, most locations are just 2-3 hours away. There are a lot of hotels in Puerto Rico, but for extra comfort and flexibility, property management services in Puerto Rico are top notch and you can find accommodation cheap and easy if you decide to use their services. Locating tourist attractions or beautiful places to see can be easily gotten from the natives, but this article’s aim is to quell regrets (imagine visiting Paris for the first time, having a great time but when you get back home you realize you didn’t visit the Eiffel tower). These are five of the most historic buildings in Puerto Rico; they are tourist attractions and have been made very accessible and accommodating to visitors.

1. Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro
Castillo San Felipe del Morro

The Castillo San Felipe del Morro (aka El Morro or Morro Castle) was first started in 1539 and completed in 1589 on a rocky point and protected the passage to San Juan Bay. Towering 140 feet above the sea and 74 acres, its 18-foot-thick wall was a formidable defense that fell just once, in 1538, to a land assault launched by the Earl of Cumberland’s forces. The fort is the result of about 250 years of consistent effort by the Spanish Engineers in that era and is one of the largest fortifications in the Caribbean; it’s a six level fortification consisting of a maze of tunnels, dungeons, barracks, outposts, ramps and a lighthouse with excellent view of the San Juan Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Numerous restorations and expansions have contributed to the imposing structure that it is today. The area was declared a National Historic Site in February 1949 and by the United Nations in 1983 with 74 total acres.

Flanking either side of a quarter-mile walkway linking the city to the fort is a sprawling, magnificent green esplanade. Though it is mostly filled with families flying kites, the space reminds visitors how intimidating the fort was to attacking soldiers, who had to cross the wide-open field under heavy fire to reach its walls. So much of the initial artillery, the casements and chapel are still present today and can be visited. El Morro is considered the most iconic location in Puerto Rico.

2. Castillo San Cristobal

While The Castillo San Cristobal and the Castillo San Felipe del Morro are two separate fortresses however, they are connected by less than a mile of city wall. Together, they defended the Old San Juan against attacks for centuries and made San Juan a strategic military stronghold. Built after several land-based attacks on the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, the Spanish began fortifying the hill to the east. San Cristobal was mainly built over the course of 25 years starting in the 1760s. Though not as famous as El Morro, The Castillo de San Cristobal is the largest fortification ever built by the Spanish in the New World. Declared a World Heritage site in 1983, this massive castle which covers 27 acres is where the first shots of the Spanish-American War on Puerto Rican soil occurred. The intricate castle-like structure features five units connected by moats and tunnels, Explore creepy dungeons, ancient soldier barracks and military-based exhibits throughout the fort’s history-rich nooks and crannies. One of its best attractions, the stunning views from the upper battlements features views of the Old San Juan’s landscape and the expansive Atlantic. Peering down at the shore from behind a massive cannon and you almost imagine the storied battlegrounds. Keep an eye out for the devil’s sentry box.

The San Cristobal Castle is located right next to the El Morro attraction

3. La Fortaleza

La Fortaleza was the first military fortification built in San Juan and was constructed from 1533 to 1540. This structure was Old San Juan’s original defensive fortification before the construction of the El Morro; its original design was of a huge circular tower and four massive stone walls. In 1846, La Fortaleza was extensively remodeled, enlarged to resemble a mansion and the appearance of the streets were modernized. La Fortaleza was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Invaders plundered the fortress only two times in its history: first, by the English in 1598, and then by the Dutch in 1625. It used to be the designated official residence of the Spanish Captain-General in Puerto Rico but from 1640 onwards, it has served as both official residence and office for over 170 governors of the island. The original tower, is now called Torre del Homenaje (“tower of homage”) still exists; its name comes from an island tradition whereby the resident governor climbs to the top of the tower to pledge a solemn oath of courage and loyalty during dangerous times.

4. Cathedral of San Juan Bautista

Cathedral of San Juan Bautista
Cathedral of San Juan Bautista

The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista is the second-oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere. It was the first cathedral church (Archdiocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico) in the Americas, also the first diocese of the new world in 1511. It was originally built from wood in 1521 but was destroyed by a hurricane and the rebuilt structure completed in 1540. The stark, gothic façade that can be appreciated presently is the result of later restoration efforts, but inside it there are several rooms and architectural elements that can be traced back to 1540, it is one of the few genuine examples of medieval architecture to be found anywhere in the Americas. The church houses the tomb of Ponce de Leon (Spanish explorer and settlement founder), whose remains were moved there in the 19th century; and a shrine to the first Puerto Rican or Caribbean born layperson in history to be beatified, Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodriguez Santiago. It also houses the beautiful wooden image of the Virgin de la Divina Providencia which was created in 1920 and can be seen behind the altar.

5. Camuy Caves

These incredible structures are not the product of human ingenuity or buildings in their own right; The Camuy Caves were first discovered in 1958, documented in 1973 and they can only be described as one of nature’s best works. A 268-acre park was built around the site of these great subterranean caverns carved out by the Camuy River more than one million years ago and is regarded as one of the world’s largest cave networks. The caves are one of the largest underground formations in the Western Hemisphere, and only ten miles of these series of limestone caves have been explored fully. Seventeen entrances and about 220 caves have been explored so far. Tours are available where visitors are guided through the caves, yawning cathedral-caverns and sinkholes and sights include fine examples of stalactites, unique formations, stalagmites and be warned, some caves full of bats. The park contains numerous picnic areas, walking trails, food shops, exhibition hall and a souvenir shops etc. Visitors must be in good physical conditions to walk through some of the caves especially the sinkholes. A good example is the spiral sinkhole and cave; it has 205 steps and as this will be strenuous for people in poor physical/health condition. However, if you are willing to brave the stairs, the cave below is absolutely breath taking.

The fancy stalactite and stalagmite formations are aesthetically arranged to enhance the quaint beauty of the cave surroundings. The camuy caves are absolute with the visit.

Honourable Mention: San Juan Gate

San Juan Gate
San Juan Gate

These massive wooden doors served as the front entrance to Old San Juan and the date 1749 is boldly engraved on the doors. In the old days, People arriving by sea passed through the gate up the Caleta de San Juan to the cathedral to give thanks for a safe voyage. Those who didn’t arrive before the gate was shut in the evening had to spend their night outside the walls of the city.

One fact that stands out is how properly these structures have been maintained over time to prevent decay and dereliction. This has been due to the proper application of property management in and around these facilities. Historic property management melds modern systems management with preservation maintenance with modern systems. Vacant historic buildings are at greater risk of damage; a few of these historic buildings listed above usually have sections that can be rented. Property management refers to the handling or management of residential, commercial and/or industrial real estate, including apartments, detached houses, condominium units and shopping centers usually on behalf of the owner to maintain the property’s value while generating income. Property management companies are licensed by the local real estate board in their states and it is advised you confirm their legitimacy before doing business.

Property Management is a staple of Puerto Rico and would be perfect for situations where you visit with your family or you are in need of private secluded locations to stay while touring, you can get the best service with an emphasis on guest satisfaction. Benefits include comfortable accommodation depending on what locations you’d love to visit while in Puerto Rico, housekeeping, security (surveillance), repairs and maintenance. These vacation homes are uniquely tailored to customer taste and offer the ease and comfort of home that isn’t found in a hotel room.

Alternatively, If you own a home around these tourist attractions and would love to rent your property, you can get full value and care of your home by employing a professional property manager. The advantages include meticulous maintenance: regular inspections and safeguarding of your properties, professional management of your assets while maximizing your time and income. Your home will be properly advertised and Potential guests screened to ensure their suitability.

Whatever your needs, welcome to Puerto Rico! Our teams of professionals are well grilled at providing the best comfort, guides, ease of living and security advice while you are here. We aim to please and ensure that at the end of your stay, your only question would be, “When can I come again?”

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