Castillo San Cristobal is within walking distance (less than a mile) from the Castillo San Felipe del Morro (El Morro). Both structures are part of the San Juan National Historic Site. Considerably more tourists choose to visit El Morro. If you only have time to visit one place and prefer to avoid crowds, Castillo San Cristobal should be your first choice.
Castillo San Cristobal is adjacent to the walled city of Old San Juan. Its early construction history dates back to the 17th and 18th centuries. This makes it a bit younger than El Morro. The intended purpose of these fortresses is a distinguishing factor. Castillo San Cristobal was designed to protect the city’s residents from a land attack while El Morro was made to protect the inhabitants from a sea attacks.
Like El Morro, there are plenty of nooks and crannies to explore as well as many wonderful photo opportunities. Castillo San Cristobal is one of the largest Spanish built forts in the New World. It is considerably larger than El Morro. (27 acres)
From Castillo San Cristobal you can see remnants of San Juan’s city wall that are about 40 feet high. Construction was initiated in the 17th century and was not completed until the end of the 18th century. This defensive wall includes embrasures and sentry boxes.
During the Spanish-American War, Spain’s outdated military equipment was no match for the U.S. Navy’s fire power. The Spanish troops surrender within a day.
This location is a combination of beautiful coastal scenes and a mega dose of history. Children will be delighted to roam through the fortress and explore this aspect of San Juan’s history.
Before You Go
Check the National Park Service website for information about pricing, movies, tours and opening/closing times. Look at the site map so that you can plan your route.
On a sunny day, sunscreen is mandatory. It is a good idea to wear comfortable walking shoes, and to bring a hat and sunglasses. Bottled water is a necessity, especially if you’re planning to walk between the two fortresses.
THE ABOVE ARTICLE WAS ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED ON April 12, 2016. IT IS BEING REPOSTED ON THIS SITE BECAUSE THE EXAMINER SITE SHUT DOWN IN JULY, 2016. SOME PARTS OF THE ORIGINAL ARTICLE HAVE BEEN UPDATED AND THE ORIGINAL SLIDE SHOW HAS BEEN ELIMINATED.
Sandra Bornstein is a freelance travel writer. She shares her travel experiences and recommendations on this blog and on other websites—One Travel: Going Places, Cheapoair.com Miles Away Travel Blog, We Said Go Travel, Mom It Forward, Boulder Jewish News, and Family Circle.
Sandra is the author of MAY THIS BE THE BEST YEAR OF YOUR LIFE. This memoir highlights Sandra’s living and teaching adventure in Bangalore, India. She is a licensed Colorado teacher who has taught K-12 students in the United States and abroad as well as college level courses. Sandra is married and has four adult sons.
The memoir was a finalist in the Travel category for the 2013 Next Generation Indie Book Awards, the 2013 International Book Awards, the 2013 National Indie Book Excellence Awards, 2013 USA Best Book Awards, and a Honorable Mention award in the Multicultural Non-Fiction category for the 2013 Global ebook Awards.