A Walk Through Viejo San Juan, Puerto Rico: Photo Essay


Castillo de San Felipe del Morro

When I was a kid my dad would drag me to the forts of Old San Juan, Puerto Rico to catch the light. He’d say, “ooouiii, look at that shot!” Then, this spectacular thing would happen between the image we saw in person and what he captured through a lens. We’d play with the shadows in the corridors to make ghost like effect and fly kites across the grassy lawns of El Morro. Somehow, his photographs have always looked just as beautiful as the real thing, and if there’s one thing that Old San Juan is, it’s beautiful.

San Juan’s National Historic Site is composed of the famous forts built by Spanish Conquistadors over the course of 250 years. It was the main port in the Caribbean and the way the Spaniards controlled access to the area. Needless to say, it was quite an important safety precaution turned into a beautiful Unesco World Heritage Site. Today, the forts are just as beautiful as ever. Quite honestly, they’re some of the best preserved of all the colonial cities and some of the most picturesque (your Instagram account will not be disappointed).

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Composed of four main parts,the historic area spans through the entire city, covering the exposed land with walls and walls of fortresses and stone. Not pictured here is “La Fortaleza,” the home of the governor of Puerto Rico which is also an important part of the historic area. Plus, there’s always Calle San Sebastian, which is not only a significant part of the cities history but also the center location of one of Puerto Rico’s largest annual parties called Las Fiestas de la Calle San Sebastian. You can’t forget about El Totem which towers over San Sebastian St. and El Parque de Palomas, home to dozens of pigeons looking over the Caribbean Sea.

Walking through Old San Juan is the only way to truly experience the beauty of the city. However, I’ll do my best to give you a little walk through in photographs.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro

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El Paso del Morro

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PR

Castillo San Cristóbal

Castillo San Cristóbal

Soldier Uniforms

Ghosts in San Cristóbal

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Regimiento Fixo de Puerto Rico, model release available

 Fort San Juan de la Cruz

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The San Juan Gate and Surrounding Walls

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Fort San Juan de la Cruz

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All photography courtesy of Jerry Bauer, except one photo by Nestor Bauer (thanks talented family).

Which parts of Viejo San Juan’s National Historic Site do you want to see the most?

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20 Comments

  1. April 16, 2015
    Reply

    I was in San Juan a couple of years ago! I love your photos – it’s so fun to see the same sites through someone else’s images. Gorgeous!

    • April 16, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much Susan! I’m glad you liked PR 🙂

  2. April 16, 2015
    Reply

    Great photo essay Neysha! I remember the short time I spent in San Juan and these images took me back! Your storytelling complemented the photos perfectly ^^ Looking forward to visiting PR again and seeing more of these places beautifully captured in your photo essay!

    • April 16, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks girl! Come with me, I’ll show you around 🙂

  3. April 17, 2015
    Reply

    What an amazing walk through San Juan!! One of my good friends is from Caguas and I still haven’t been to PR!! It’s definitely high on my list though. It looks so beautiful and I know I’ll have friends there, which is great when traveling. Thanks for the look-see! 🙂

    • April 19, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks Evan and Rachel 🙂 yes, you definitely must go!

  4. April 19, 2015
    Reply

    The photos look amazing! Its tough to choose just one place. I would visit them all, but Castillo San Felipe del Morro would be the one I visit if I had to choose just one location. That’s great that your Dad gave you the opportunity to see this special place when the sun was rising. I bet you’re glad he “dragged” you out that early. I love seeing the sun rise in any location. Thanks for sharing.

    • May 29, 2015
      Reply

      Charisse, oh it’s so hard for me too, haha. He was pretty cool, I don’t give him enough credit.

  5. April 19, 2015
    Reply

    What a pretty place, and gorgeous photos! I really hope one day I can visit an exotic location like PR.

    • May 29, 2015
      Reply

      Oh you should Rafiqua! Come to PR with me, I’ll show you all the best places!

  6. April 20, 2015
    Reply

    I loved these photos, especially the first 2 at the top! Jerry really got some good shots there. I just keep scrolling through and checking on the varying colors. This was a fun essay to read and scroll through:) Really makes me want to visit PR now!

    • May 29, 2015
      Reply

      Isn’t he super talented! I had to share these because they’re so spectacular. I just couldn’t resist. You definitely should, Carl! We can show you and Christina around!

  7. April 20, 2015
    Reply

    I think I’d do the Castillo San Felipe del Morro as well, but I hate making decisions. I’d probably just do them all!

    Your Dad sounds super cool; it’s really neat that you have that extra perspective of exploring these forts with him. Great pictures!

    • May 29, 2015
      Reply

      San Cristóbal is definitely my favorite, but El Morro is the biggest and for sure the most visited. You can’t go to Old San Juan and not go to El Morro! You made a good choice 🙂 Thanks Nathan! He’s so talented, I hope just a little rubs off on me.

  8. April 20, 2015
    Reply

    I absolutely loved traveling with my dad and it sounds like you did, too. I’ve always had an interest in Puerto Rico and would like to go even more now after seeing your photo essay. The history is astounding.

    • May 29, 2015
      Reply

      Oh it’s my favorite thing to do, Meg (travel with my Dad). He’s a little crazy, but he’s pretty fun. You definitely should go visit PR if you get the chance!

  9. April 20, 2015
    Reply

    Absolutely lovely photographs. It is really difficult to get photographs to truly capture the beauty of a place, but I think that you managed to do so beautifully. We also like playing with the settings and doing long exposures to capture a ghost like effect with people moving through the frame, but I think that kind of shot really suits this historic place.

    • May 29, 2015
      Reply

      It’s so fun, right? I love the eerie feeling it gives with the long exposure. Thanks as always for your insightful comment, Hedgers!

  10. April 20, 2015
    Reply

    Not to join the bandwagon, but great photographs! They’re truly stunning and I’ve always been tempted by Puerto Rico’s unique beauty. I can’t believe I’ve never made it over there, but now you’ve inspired me!

    • May 29, 2015
      Reply

      Thanks so much Taylor! Oooh you definitely should go! So worth it.

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