Castillo San Cristobal also known as Fort San Cristobal is a fort in San Juan, Puerto Rico, which was built in 1783 and now is a part of the San Juan National Historic Site. This particular fort is the biggest European fortification in the Americas. Some part of the city walls were tore down due to the expand of the city of San Juan. Castillo San Cristobal has two entries and three levels. It is considered the best place to sightsee in Puerto Rico and makes this place a popular wedding venue among locals and even tourists. It has an elegant vibe to the building and courtyard with a feeling that you are in a fairy tale world once you step inside.
Explore the biggest European fort in the Americas
1. La Garita del Diablo
La Garita del Diablo is one of the guerites at Castillo San Cristobal which means 'The Devil's Guerite'. It is famous for the story of the ghost and legends surrounding it. This guerite is one of the oldest parts of the fort which was built in 1634. La Garita del Diablo is a pretty place providing a beautiful scenery and a good photo spot for both locals and tourists. It is currently inaccessible to the public but can be seen from the upper part of the fort from where you can get a full view of La Garita del Diablo beside the sea.
2. Isla Verde
In this particular neighborhood, you will find 2 beaches: the Isla Verde Beach itslef and Carolina Beach. You can do all sorts of things here, starting from fun watersports such as banana boat, parasail, diving, and snorkeling. The Isla Verde neighborhood also provides casinos. Isla Verde is also known for its nightlife as it has lots of clubs all around the neighborhood making it worthwile to visit if you want a little boost. If you want to relax, you can always find a decent spa too around Isla Verde.
3. Balneario El Escambron
Balneario El Escambron is such a beautiful paradise and is considered the prettiest beach in the entire San Juan. Both locals and tourists come to the Escambron Beach which offers not just a pretty landscape but also fun things to do while you're there. Here you can go scubadiving, snorkeling, diving, or just take a walk alongside the sea and feel the sea breeze.
How to Get Tickets?
Tickets for age 15 and under are free while a ticket for an adult starting from age 16 costs $5. Buying prior to your visit can be done online but you can also buy your ticket offline when you visit the park. The ticket could be used for both Castillo san Cristobal and Castillo San Felipe del Morro.
How To Get Around?
You can just walk leisurely around the site because it is well equipped with information in English and Spanish so locals and tourists visiting can find their way easily. There is also a free trolley which could get you to the major parts of the site, including transferring from Castillo San Cristobal to Castillo San Felipe del Morro.
What Should I Wear?
There is no dress code to go to the Castillo San Cristobal. Long pants and shirts are usually the best bet since it gets humid in the afternoon but it can get chilly in the evening or at night. Don't forget to carry sunglasses, hat, or an umbrella to give you shade in the afternoon.
Best Time to Visit
Best time to visit the fort is in the morning when it opens so you can avoid the crowd. Castillo San Cristobal and the surroundings usually get crowded in the noon and evening. You can also visit the fort in the evening and see the sunset there, it is bound to be picturesque.
United States Dollar
Will I Need a Guide?
You have the option of taking a guided tour or you could just explore the site on your own as walking and navigating the area is easy. Directions are written in bilingual languages that help tourists and are easy to spot. You won't have a hard time wandering on your own.
How To Get There?
To get here, you can ride a bus and stop at the El Tren frente Estacionamiento Veterano Puertorriqueno stop. From that bus stop, you can walk for around 20 minutes or if you don't want to walk too much, you can call an Uber or board a taxi. It might be more expensive but it will save you a lot of energy for walking around the fort.