Learn About The importance of EL Morro and Living there
Note- 7/19- they are not currently offering the Soldier’s Life tour, but they are offering a different tour about the importance of El Morro as a defense. Check their Facebook page for dates/times. Visiting one of the massive forts in Old San Juan is a must-do for a couple of hours while on vacation in Puerto Rico. But can you imagine what it was like to have lived in a fort? The National Park Service offers a number of different educational tours at the forts, and the Tour of a Spanish Soldier’s Life at Castillo San Cristobal offers some insight into life inside the fort. It is a 45-minute, guided, tour that tells you about life in the fort back in the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries.They also offer the tour “El Morro-Keystone to the Spanish Empire” Where you will learn why EL Morro was so important.
When we visit the forts today, we happily go to the forts to explore, enjoy the views of the city and ocean, and duck into the air-conditioned movie theater when we get too hot. As it turns out, a “Spanish Soldier’s Life” in the forts was not a happy tale.
During this tour, they’ll tell you about the soldiers who manned to forts, who these young soldiers were, how and why they arrived in San Juan, the uniforms they wore, the weapons they used, where they slept, what food they probably ate, health issues they encountered, and what they did for fun in their spare time. The ranger leads you through the fort, and explains the the purpose of different rooms and areas. It is really interesting, and the rangers are open for all questions about the fort and life back in the day. On the Keystone to the Spanish Empire tour, The park ranger will explain why the forts where needed, how they were built, and the protections they provided. They also will go into maintenance of the forts.
We have been on these tours a few times, at both forts through out the years. We have really enjoyed the free Park Service tours at the forts, and want to encourage more people to take advantage of these learning experiences.
The Park Service tours inside the forts are free. We’re always amazed at how few people attend the tours. Just sign up when you buy your ticket. There is a maximum of 30 people per tour.
Other fun stuff at the forts- On the third Sunday of every month, the Life Inside the Fortification tour is offered at El Morro. This is a living history demonstration of military drills and cannon firing. The costumed actors tell a little bit about the military part of a soldier’s life at the fort, and are available for questions and pictures.
The usual fort entrance fee ($10/person over 15 years old, free for 15 and under) is charged, but once it is purchased, it is good for visits to both forts! These National Park Service tours are free with fort admission. Maximum of 30 people per tour. If you have a National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass, you can use it in the forts, too!
Check with the forts for exact time and dates and tours available. As of 10/19, they are offering at El Morro- Keystone to the Spanish Empire at least until the end of the year. Saturdays at 10:30am and 3:30pm in English and Sundays at 10:30am and 3:30pm in Spanish..
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