Walking tour description and information

Architectural Tour Old San Juan


The ideal tour for the history and architecture enthusiast -offered by a local historical architect and preservation expert. In 2.5-hours you will experience Old San Juan's most significant historic buildings, urban spaces and unique history.

  • Walk the cobblestone-covered streets of an almost 500-years old Spanish colonial city;

  • Get unknown facts offered by a local historical architect and preservation expert with more than 20-years of professional experience;

  • See the most significant buildings, streets and public spaces of this unique walled city including two UNESCO-designated World Heritage Sites;

  • Understand how the second-oldest city in the Western Hemisphere developed through time.

  • This is the ideal tour for the history and architecture enthusiast interested in making the most of its visit to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico.  In a fun way, local historical architect and preservation expert Karen González-Jensen will share with you her 20-years of experience studying, identifying and protecting this almost 500-year old city.  She will guide you through its cobblestone-covered streets, pointing out and sharing the history of its most significant historic buildings, urban spaces and historic features -including the second-oldest church in the Western Hemisphere and the conquistador Juan Ponce de León's medieval tower-house.  Myths and legends will be clarified with interesting facts and little known information offered by this special tour guide.

    Tour begins at the San Juan Gate and ends at the neighborhood of Ballajá -stopping at the Plaza de La Rogativa, Plaza de la Catedral, Plaza de Armas, Capilla del Cristo, Plaza San José, Plaza de la Medicina and Plaza Ballajá.  Using historic maps and aerial photographs specially prepared for this tour, architect González-Jensen offers in-situ explanations at each of those areas of this unique walled city.  The tour provides detailed and little known information regarding, among others, how the city evolved; how the walls were constructed, by whom and why; the history of the defensive system; daily life within the city and the historic infrastructure that made it all possible.

    Length of tour: 2.5 – hours
    Offered: Every Day (including Saturdays and Sundays)
    9:00 am/ 12:00 noon/ 3:00 pm

    Cost:
    $40.00 per adult (Includes entrance-fee)
    $25.00 per children (8-11)
    * Not recommended for children under 8

    Activity level: light/ hills

    Tour meeting place: at the Old San Juan Gate (see aerial photograph for location)
    Tour ending place: at the turn-around of the Castillo San Felipe del Morro

    Check in: 10-minutes before the beginning of the tour.
    Contact phone number: 787-640-4070

    Eventbrite - ARCHITECTURAL TOUR OLD SAN JUAN

    Architectural Tour Castillo San Felipe del Morro


    The only specialized tour offered of Castillo San Felipe del Morro -the most impressive fort ever built by the Spanish Crown in the New World- given by a historical architect and preservation expert. Explore each of the six levels of this unique UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site begun in 1540 and spanning 145-feet above sea level.

  • Explore each of the 6-levels of this master of military architecture with the only local historical architect and preservation expert who has actually worked on the site;

  • Learn about artillery (cannons, mortars, guns) and the role they played in the development of the place;

  • Admire the historic graffiti left by both Spanish and US soldiers;

  • Explore the original medieval tower, the dungeon, the chapel, the gunpowder magazine, the sentry-boxes;

  • Learn about particular elements of military architecture that helped defend the place and keep the city safe;

  • See the modern 20th-century, US Army/ WWII additions that are part of the history of the castle;

  • Learn about how soldiers lived -where they got water, where were their kitchens, their latrines, their barracks.

  • Historical architect and preservation expert Karen González-Jensen will guide you through each of the six levels of this unique UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. Making use of historic maps and aerial photographs specially prepared for the tour, she will offer in-situ explanations in selected spots about the history and physical development of this castle, begun in 1540.

    The tour begins at the turn-around area and ends at the esplanade of the Castillo San Felipe del Morro and includes all the areas of the site. It provides detailed and little known information regarding, among others, how the castle was constructed, by whom and why; construction materials and methods used; unique medieval and renaissance elements of military-architecture; daily activities held by the soldiers, civilians and workers within the premises; the infrastructure of the place and other information regarding historic graffiti, artillery weapons and Second World War additions.

    Length of tour: 2 – hours
    Offered: Every Day (including Saturdays and Sundays)
    9:00 am/ 12:00 noon/ 3:00 pm

    Cost:
    $40.00 per adult (Includes entrance-fee)
    $25.00 per children (8-11)
    * Not recommended for children under 8
    * The entrance fee to the fort is not included ($5.00 per adult)(free per child 0-15)

    Activity level: Moderate/ steep ramps and long flights of stairs
    Tour meeting place: at the turn-around of Castillo San Felipe del Morro (see aerial photograph for location)
    Tour ending place: at the main square of Castillo San Felipe del Morro

    Check in: 10-minutes before the beginning of the tour.
    Contact phone number: 787-640-4070

    Eventbrite - ARCHITECTURAL TOUR CASTILLO SAN FELIPE DEL MORRO

    Architectural Tour Castillo San Cristóbal


    The only specialized tour offered of Castillo San Cristóbal - the largest castle ever built by the Spanish Crown in the New World - given by a historical architect and preservation expert. In this 2-hour tour, explore each area of this unique UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site.

  • Explore this master of military architecture -the largest castle ever built by the Spanish Crown in the New World- with a local historical architect and preservation expert who has actually worked on the site;

  • Learn about artillery (cannons, mortars, guns), mine tunnels, gunpowder and the role they played in the development of the place;

  • Admire the historic graffiti left during centuries by prisoners and both Spanish and US soldiers;

  • Explore the tunnels, the dungeon, the gunpowder magazine, the sentry-boxes;

  • Learn about particular elements of military architecture that helped defend the place and keep the city safe;

  • See the modern 20th century, US Army/ WWII additions that are part of the history of the castle;

  • Learn about how soldiers lived -where they got water, where were their kitchens, their latrines, their barracks.

  • Historical architect and preservation expert Karen González-Jensen will guide you through each of the areas of this unique UNESCO-designated World Heritage Site. Making use of historic maps and aerial photographs specially prepared for the tour, she will offer in-situ explanations in selected spots about the history and physical development of this castle, begun in 1634.

    Tour begins at Plaza Colón, the historic entrance to the walled city, and ends at the WWII bunker within Castillo San Cristóbal, including all the interior areas and outworks of the site. The tour provides detailed and little known information regarding, among others, how the castle was constructed, by whom and why; construction materials and methods used; unique medieval and renaissance elements of military-architecture; daily activities held by the soldiers, civilians and workers within the premises; the infrastructure of the place and other information regarding historic graffiti, artillery weapons and Second World War additions.

    Length of tour: 2 – hours
    Offered: Every Day (including Saturdays and Sundays)
    9:00 am/ 12:00 noon/ 3:00 pm

    Cost:
    $40.00 per adult (Includes entrance-fee)
    $25.00 per children (8-11)
    * Not recommended for children under 8
    * The entrance fee to the fort is not included ($5.00 per adult)(free per child 0-15)

    Activity level: Moderate/ steep ramps and long flights of stairs
    Tour meeting place: at Plaza Colón (see aerial photograph for location)
    Tour ending place: at the visitor’s center of Castillo San Cristóbal

    Check in: 10-minutes before the beginning of the tour.
    Contact phone number: 787-640-4070

    Eventbrite - ARCHITECTURAL TOUR CASTILLO SAN CRISTÓBAL

    Architectural Tour of Sacred Spaces within Old San Juan:

    The San Juan Bautista Route Tour


    A totally unique tour to experience in Puerto Rico offered by a local historical architect and preservation expert. In 2.5-hours you will experience some of Old San Juan's most significant historic churches, chapels, convents, and learn how Christianity shaped the city of San Juan –the first diocese in the New World.

  • Learn about the role played by the church in the architectural and urban development of the second-oldest city and first diocese on the New World;

  • Enter three of the oldest and most important churches and chapels of this Spanish colonial city accompanied by a local historical architect and preservation expert;

  • Learn about construction materials and techniques, traditions, religious orders, miracles, and acts of faith that shaped this city then -and still do now;

  • Understand the symbolism and meaning of the architectural styles, spatial elements, religious art and relics that have witnessed the Puerto Rican faith for almost 500-years.

  • The ideal tour for the architecture enthusiast interested in sacred spaces, historical traditions, and customs. In addition to be certified by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company to offer these religious tours, historical architect and preservation expert Karen González-Jensen will share with you her more than 20-years of experience studying, identifying and protecting this almost 500-year old city while guiding you through its cobblestone-covered streets along sacred spaces within this city.

    This 2.5 -hour tour begins at the San Juan Gate and ends at the Plaza de la Barandilla -stopping at the Plaza de la Catedral, the San Juan Cathedral, the Carmelite’s Convent, the Chapel of the Christ, the Santa Ana Church and the San Francisco Church. The tour provides detailed and little known information offered by this special tour guide and includes touring inside buildings.

    Length of tour: 2.5 – hours
    Offered: Every Day (including Saturdays and Sundays)
    9:00 am/ 12:00 noon/ 3:00 pm

    Cost:
    $40.00 per adult (Includes entrance-fee)
    $25.00 per children (8-11)
    * Not recommended for children under 8

    Activity level: light/ hills, ramps
    Tour meeting place: at the San Juan Gate (see aerial photograph for location)
    Tour ending place: at La Barandilla square

    Check in: 10-minutes before the beginning of the tour.
    Contact phone number: 787-640-4070

    Eventbrite - ARCHITECTURAL TOUR SACRED SPACES OF OLD SAN JUAN

    Other specialized tours and lectures


    In addition to the Old San Juan Architectural Walking Tour and the Castillo San Felipe del Morro Architectural Walking Tour, we also offer specialized tours and lectures of Old San Juan and Puerto Rico which are tailored to the needs of a particular individual, group or audience. Please call 787.640.4070 or send a message to kgonzalez@archtourspr.com to coordinate themes, dates and costs.