Castillo San Cristóbal (Fort San Cristobal), San Juan

Castillo San Cristóbal (Fort San Cristobal), San Juan (must see)

Standing guard at the eastern gate, north of Columbus Square, is an imposing 18th century fortress, called Fort San Cristóbal. Contrary to her sister, El Morro, designed to protect from attacks by sea, the San Cristóbal guarded the city from enemy approaches by land, creating a crossfire with El Morro over the bay. Meant to strengthen Spanish position in the face of imminent English and Dutch invasion, construction of the citadel began in 1634.

The fort was named San Cristóbal in celebration of the Spanish victories ejecting English and Dutch interlopers from the island of this name in the Lesser Antilles, which was then part of the insular territorial glacis of Puerto Rico.

When finished in 1783, the Fort San Cristóbal covered nearly 27 acres of land and practically wrapped around the whole of San Juan, with the entry to the city sealed by the San Cristóbal's double gates. After almost 100 years of relative peace, about a third of the fortification was demolished in 1897 to help ease the flow of traffic in and out of the walled city.

The Fort San Cristóbal is now a listed National Historic Site.

Why You Should Visit:
San Cristóbal is the largest fortification ever built by the Spanish in the New World, where the first shots of the Spanish-American War were fired. If you're a keen photographer, San Cristobal is a goldmine of panoramic views of the coast, from Old San Juan to Condado and beyond.

Tip:
Guided tours by local rangers visit the extensive tunnel system connecting various sections of the fort. There is an exhibition of military clothing. Be sure to visit the overlook for the Devil's Sentry Box or the "Garita del Diablo", from which, according to legends, soldiers mysteriously disappeared. Tickets to San Cristobal or El Morro can be used to enter either of the forts.

Operation Hours:
Everyday from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm.
Sight description based on wikipedia

Want to visit this sight? Check out these Self-Guided Walking Tours in San Juan. Alternatively, you can download the mobile app "GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities" from iTunes App Store or Google Play. The app turns your mobile device to a personal tour guide and it works offline, so no data plan is needed when traveling abroad.

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Castillo San Cristóbal (Fort San Cristobal) on Map

Sight Name: Castillo San Cristóbal (Fort San Cristobal)
Sight Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico (See walking tours in San Juan)
Sight Type: Attraction/Landmark
Guide(s) Containing This Sight:

Walking Tours in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Create Your Own Walk in San Juan

Create Your Own Walk in San Juan

Creating your own self-guided walk in San Juan is easy and fun. Choose the city attractions that you want to see and a walk route map will be created just for you. You can even set your hotel as the start point of the walk.
Old San Juan Walking Tour

Old San Juan Walking Tour

Founded by Spanish colonists in 1521, who called it "Rich Port City", San Juan is the third oldest European-established capital city in the Americas and the oldest one in the U.S. territories.

During the Spanish colonial times, most of the city population resided in what is now known as Old San Juan. Today, this part of the town is a lovely historical area renowned for its narrow...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 3.1 Km or 1.9 Miles
Old San Juan Squares

Old San Juan Squares

A distinctive feature of Old San Juan is the number of quaint historic squares. Many of them are adorned with beautiful fountains, prominent monuments and intricate sculptures recounting rich history of this amazing city. Check out San Juan’s most popular squares on this self-guided walking tour!

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 1.8 Km or 1.1 Miles
San Juan Historical Buildings

San Juan Historical Buildings

San Juan was founded by the Spanish in 1521, which makes it the third oldest European-established capital city on the American continent. Owning to its long history, the old town of San Juan is filled to the brim with heritage colonial buildings.

Chief among them, La Fortaleza is the longest-standing executive mansion in continuous use in America, whereas the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista is...  view more

Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.4 Km or 1.5 Miles
Souvenir Shopping

Souvenir Shopping

Puerto Rico was colonized by Spain following the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493. Among the crafts that followed the Spanish to the island was mundillo, a kind of decorative lace made of wooden bobbins. Over the next few centuries, the mundillo craft flourished on the island and today is one of the most popular local products sought after by visitors.

Being Caribbean, the country also...  view more

Tour Duration: 1 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 0.9 Km or 0.6 Miles

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