A trip to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, is a neighborhood steeped in history. The community is tucked away in the northwest corner of the city of San Juan with streets made of cobblestones dating back over 500 years. For anyone looking for great pictures, it’s a dream come true.

Narrow avenues are lined with colonial-era homes painted in a variety of colors. For a photographer willing to venture out, there are plenty of areas to explore, with most locations no more than a ten-minute walk. One such place: El Morro fort, otherwise known as Castillo San Felipe del Morro. This fortress protected the city of San Juan from attack by sea for centuries. It provides a dramatic setting for pictures.

Another spot worth visiting is the famous Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery, which is located on the Atlantic coast at the foot of El Morro. The 150-year-old cemetery is the final resting place for many of Puerto Rico’s most prominent residents.

The La Perla neighborhood is an area with an interesting history. The community sits on the north shore of Old San Juan on the Atlantic Ocean, not far from Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery. It was established in the 19th century for housing slaves and servants. More recently, the area developed a reputation for high crime, but residents have turned to nurturing their own music culture to change the community’s image.

One of the most famous landmarks in Old San Juan is the Cathedral of San Juan Batista, a Roman Catholic church and the second-oldest building in the city. The picturesque church holds the remains of the famous Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de Léon, the first governor of Puerto Rico.

There are plenty of quick day trips to be had from Puerto Rico’s capital, either with a rental car or through your hotel. You can see El Yunque rainforest, Luquillo Beach or, if you’re up for a longer getaway, beautiful Vieques, a small island located off the main island of Puerto Rico.