Part 8: Old San Juan to Dorado, Puerto Rico


Navigation Links
 Trip Home Page     


The Trip

We only signed up for one night at El Convento so next morning we had a great breakfast in the patio dining area then we broke camp and prepared to roll out.  But, prior to getting on the road we decided to do a final walkabout in Old San Juan to the portions that we had not yet seen.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

After securing our bags with the bellman, we went to the 4th floor of the El Convento hotel to their roof deck for a look around.  We could hear that a mass was in progress at the cathedral across the street.  A small rain squall had just rolled through and produced about 5 minutes of strong rain then it moved on.  There had been just enough rain to make the sidewalks slick and the humidity like a sauna.

We could see the roof of La Fortaleza from the balcony of El Convento.

Across the mouth of San Juan harbor we could see the sister fort for El Moro.  This fortified position also had canons and was used to create a cross fire for invading ships.

The dark skies that produced the brief rain squall moved on lending some color to the eastern horizon.  The cathedral is clearly visible across the street.

The balcony also gave us a clear view of the small park across the street from El Convento.

It was Sunday morning and Mass was in progress in the cathedral.  We could hear the singing from the balcony.

We stowed our luggage with the bellman and headed out.  A parting shot of El Convento.

We walked across the street to the cathedral and took a look in the open door.

The stained glass behind the altar was quite nice.

We are at an overlook at the south end of the city shown on the map as the small circle.  Man it was hot and humid.

The overlook allowed us to see another cruise ship that had docked at Old San Juan.

These are the premium houses as the street is blocked off and there is nothing to obscure the southern view.

We headed over to La Fortaleza and then toward the water.  These places are on the western edge of the city against the wall.

The area around La Fortaleza was heavily patrolled and this was as close as you could get.  Indeed, the open door at the right of the photo above goes to the police motor pool; there were 20+ motorcycles parked inside.

This is the San Juan Gate, the entrance to the city from the shore side.  Arriving ships would put ashore and come into the city through this heavily guarded gate.  There were 5 gates to the city and commercial traffic went through other gates.  The gates were locked at dark and if you were outside, you stayed outside until morning.

A view of the seaward side beyond the gate.  Today there is a walkway along the wall called Paseo del Morro.  Note the watch towers.

Outside the gate and a bit to the south was a small plaza.  This bust was there, but without attribution.

There are some very nice places just inside these walls.

Toward the southern point we could see inside La Fortaleza.  This was a nice fountain and there was some kind of party going on.

We returned to El Convento, retrieved luggage and left Old San Juan in our rental car.  We went around the south end of San Juan bay to Isla Cabra.  Cabra is directly across the mouth of the harbor from El Morro.  From the point we could see La Fortaleza (baby blue and white building).  From here you can clearly see the height of the city walls.

Downtown San Juan was visible from Cabra as well as the Yunque rainforest in the mountains beyond.

This was clearly a tourist seaplane on approach to a landing in San Juan Bay.

Cabra also provided a clear view of El Morro, a very impressive and imposing structure.

We headed west along the northern shore of the island and encountered a huge political rally.  There were a number of large trucks each mounted with generators and massive sound systems blaring out music at a million decibels.

It was getting near sundown and we did not have a hotel reserved so we started looking in earnest.  We stumbled upon the Embassy Suites in Dorado right on the beach, so we checked it out.  The price was right and we were ready to stop so we did the deal.  From our room on the sixth floor we could see a portion of the golf course and tennis courts.  Note the mountains to the south.

Toward the north we could see the waves on the beach.

From our room we could see the artificial lagoon that was constructed with the rock breakwater.  The waves on the north side of the island were pretty strong, particularly since hurricane Sandy was due north of us.

Old San Juan was a real treat.  Plenty of things to do and see.  It was tropical hot and the sun will fry you to a crisp in short order if you are not prepared.  The drive out of San Juan was quite challenging despite our combination of multiple maps and a GPS.  Roads are marked, but there is typically minimal warning of an impending turn which caused us to back-track a number of times in heavy traffic.

Tomorrow, continue west toward the northwest point on the island of Puerto Rico.

Navigation Links
Previous Adventure
Top of this Page
  Next Adventure
Trip Home Page  
Bill Caid's Home Page

Photos and Text Copyright Bill Caid 2012, all rights reserved.
For your enjoyment only, not for commercial use.