Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, San Juan

Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, San Juan (must see)

The Cathedral of San Juan Bautista is the Roman Catholic temple and the seat of the Archdiocese of San Juan de Puerto Rico. This cathedral is one of the oldest buildings in San Juan, and the second oldest cathedral in the Americas (the Cathedral of Santa María la Menor in Santo Domingo, the Dominican Republic, is the oldest). The original cathedral in the then city of Puerto Rico (renamed San Juan after the Spanish-American War) was constructed from wood in 1521. It was destroyed by a hurricane, upon which the current church was built in 1540 to be reshaped several times in the course of the later centuries, with the last remodeling taking place in 1917.

The first school in Puerto Rico (and the oldest school in the United States after Puerto Rico became a territory of the United States) was the Grammar School. The school was established by Bishop Alonso Manso in 1513, in the area where the cathedral would later appear. The school was free and the courses taught here included Latin language, literature, history, science, art, philosophy and theology.

The cathedral contains the tomb of the Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León. It also houses a shrine to the Blessed Carlos Manuel Rodríguez Santiago, the first Puerto Rican, the first Caribbean-born layperson and the first layperson in the history of the United States to be beatified.

Why You Should Visit:
Cathedral of San Juan Bautista is a rare New World example of medieval Spanish architecture. The restored frescoes and the fact that it is still an operational church make it absolutely exceptional. Traditionally, travelers entering San Juan Gate would make this cathedral their first stop in San Juan to thank God for their safe journey.

Tip:
In this quiet and reverent atmosphere you can almost hear the angels singing. You can walk through it in less than 30 minutes, but you might as well want to take longer and savor the spirituality resonating from the structure.
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.

Download The GPSmyCity App

Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for IOS   Download 'GPSmyCity: Walks in 1K+ Cities' app for Android

Cathedral of San Juan Bautista on Map

Sight Name: Cathedral of San Juan Bautista
Sight Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico (See walking tours in San Juan)
Sight Type: Religious
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.
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
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
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
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

Useful Travel Guides for Planning Your Trip


13 Distinctively Puerto Rican Goods to Bring Home from San Juan

13 Distinctively Puerto Rican Goods to Bring Home from San Juan

The uniqueness of Puerto Rico is partially associated with its political status - part of the United States yet with a Latin twist. Other than their widely-acknowledged musical talents, e.g. Carlos Santana and Ricky Martin, Puerto Rico is just as rich in many other good things. When you're in...