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thegoodlife247

Best fort to visit?

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We have been to San Juan a few times but never been to either fort. Which one is the best to visit if we have to pick only one of them?  We plan to walk and don’t mind the distance. How long would it take to visit both forts - walking?  We are only docked from 7-3. Thank you. 

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Honestly, I really like both of them. If I had to choose one it would be El Morro.  With the lawn out front, the gorgeous cemetary next to it and the views (make sure to look in the bathrooms) it is gorgeous!  They are open 9a-6pm.  If you went straight there, and got there when it opened you MIGHT have enough time to see both depending on how fast you walk and how involved you are looking.  You can walk between them, it is about a mile straight down the road.  They are both very cool and massive!  There is a free trolley but it gets pretty hard to find a spot.  Once at El Morro, it is mainly all downhill back to the ship which is nice!

 

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On 1/14/2019 at 3:51 PM, thegoodlife247 said:

We have been to San Juan a few times but never been to either fort. Which one is the best to visit if we have to pick only one of them?  We plan to walk and don’t mind the distance. How long would it take to visit both forts - walking?  We are only docked from 7-3. Thank you. 

you can walk to Ft San Cristobal but you can't walk to El Morro 😉 ..

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You can walk to both forts, not sure where you got your info Joie1016.

The outside of El Morro is spectacular, if i had to do it again i would not enter and would only enter San Cristobal,

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The answer to whether it is walkable depends on your endurance and how much time you want to spend at each. The weather can also be a factor--San Juan can get pretty hot and uncomfortable. The walk is easier up to San Cristobal but the fort is smaller and less impressive. The same ticket gets you into both forts, so if you don't spend a lot of time at San Cristobal you should be able to also visit El Morro (I have done both in the same day and I am 70+ years old). The walk between the forts is interesting, but you can also catch the free shuttle that runs between them. By the way, you get a beautiful view of El Morro going in and out of the port.

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This is good information, thank you. We will be there in March and I have all the maps from the visitors bureau, but wasn’t sure if we could walk it all. I think we’ll take the trolley for at least one section of the old city. I’d like to leave time for a nice traditional lunch.

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On ‎1‎/‎21‎/‎2019 at 2:10 PM, joie1016 said:

you can walk to Ft San Cristobal but you can't walk to El Morro 😉 ..

Both forts are walkable.......All of Old San Juan is walkable.

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On 1/21/2019 at 3:10 PM, joie1016 said:

you can walk to Ft San Cristobal but you can't walk to El Morro 😉 ..

Sorry... Not true.

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You can easily do both on your time frame. You need to decide if you want to be closer to the ship to start to start or finish. San Cristobal is less than 10 minutes walking distance from the ships and a bit more accessible from the lower entrance (not everyone knows of this entrance when they visit). The walk to El Morro is a mile long, slightly uphill. San Cristobal has more square footage since is more spread out but you can see most everything important in about 90 minutes to 2 hours. El Morro is larger in stature since it has more levels and elevation than San Cristobal. I'd budget at least 2 hours.

 

Forget the trolley! You'll only waste precious time waiting for space for everyone on one of them and they don't have a regular schedule since they are at the mercy of inner Old SJ traffic. If you want to leave more time to explore or ample time for a niche lunch, take a taxi to El Morro, which is farther, and walk back to San Cristobal, then to lunch. Taxi should be about $10 or less.

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11 minutes ago, Stinger-pr said:

Sorry... Not true.

I know thats why i said that . you cannot walk to El morro 😞 I 'be been to san juan a ton of times so i was speaking the truth and sharing 

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28 minutes ago, joie1016 said:

I know thats why i said that . you cannot walk to El morro 😞 I 'be been to san juan a ton of times so i was speaking the truth and sharing 

 

I have only been to OSJ a couple of times...and somehow found the walk to El Morro quite nice, although one time it was drizzling and wet.  Still, it is a nice walk....or hike, if you like.

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1 minute ago, thinfool said:

 

I have only been to OSJ a couple of times...and somehow found the walk to El Morro quite nice, although one time it was drizzling and wet.  Still, it is a nice walk....or hike, if you like.

its not a hike that most are able to do 😉 . 

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We walked to both forts and had a beautiful day.  They don't open until 9am, so we got there too early and had to wait.  We loved San Cristobal, went there first, and there were less than a dozen people inside so we could walk around and go inside every room, up and down, take photos of the ship from the top, etc.  Then we walked down towards El Moro which was much busier with people.  We weren't there very long due to the crowds and heat, and we were hungry for lunch.  We left there and walked towards the ship and found a restaurant for lunch.  We had a leasurely lunch, then shopped a bit on our way back to the ship.  It was a fantastic day, loved it, never felt rushed, and got back to the ship long before sailing time.  

if you are in decent shape the only hard part is that first hill up to the first fort, going counter-clockwise.  Take your time, as I said it doesn't open doors until 9am.  We spent over an hour inside, lots and lots to see.  

 

some photos

Mar29_SanJuanPR430-XL.jpg

 

walk down the road towards El Moro, there is a huge graveyard in between

 

Mar29_SanJuanPR445-XL.jpg

 

then into that fort

 

Mar29_SanJuanPR493-XL.jpg

 

 

 

Love Old San Juan.   We have been there on another cruise since this one, didn't do the forts just walked around and found the wonderful huge cathedral, the lunch at a sidewalk cafe.  Can't wait to go back!  

 

 

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9 hours ago, joie1016 said:

I know thats why i said that . you cannot walk to El morro 😞 I 'be been to san juan a ton of times so i was speaking the truth and sharing 

I'm sorry. I seem to be misunderstanding you. Please elaborate as to why you cannot walk to El Morro. There are multiple ways to walk to El Morro from various parts of the city. I'm actually born, raised and living in Puerto Rico and have more than a few personal stories about my time in and around El Morro. So, unless I'm missing something, I don't quite seem to get why it is you cannot walk to El Morro.

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7 hours ago, Stinger-pr said:

I'm sorry. I seem to be misunderstanding you. Please elaborate as to why you cannot walk to El Morro. There are multiple ways to walk to El Morro from various parts of the city. I'm actually born, raised and living in Puerto Rico and have more than a few personal stories about my time in and around El Morro. So, unless I'm missing something, I don't quite seem to get why it is you cannot walk to El Morro.

I am done talking about this ...have a nice day and please don't bring anything to my attention...I apparently don't know anything 😉

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My Mom (in her 80’s) and I walked to El Morro and visited various other historical sites and shops during our day in Old San Juan. We loved it. We walked at a very leisurely pace as it was uphill, though not steep. It was one of my favorite port days, just exploring a delightful city. On another (shorter) visit we walked to San Cristobal. There was a steep, but short hill to get to the lower entrance, but again, we weren’t in any hurry. San Juan is a gorgeous city and easy to get around in, unless you are mobility challenged. We are visiting there again next week for a short port stop (with kids and grandkids this time) and I’m unsure what they might like the most. Whatever we do, I know it will be great!

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IMHO, El Morro is the fort to go to if you could only visit one.

 

It's the one you can clearly see when your plane is landing, the one you see when the ship exits the harbor, and the one everyone thinks about when talking forts of Old San Juan.

 

It also offers some cool things to do either before or after- you can buy a kite, and be a kid for a little while after visiting the fort.  Or you can buy a pocket kite before you go- which is what I do now.  Pretty nice to fly a kite in one of the best locations that you will ever have the opportunity to fly a kite.

 

Like SingerPR, we've walked every little street in Old San Juan- and have even run many of them.  Yes, if you have a real mobility issue, then walking can be a challenge.  But if you don't, making the walk will let you closely examine an amazing old city.  Very, very worth the walk to El Morro.  So many paths one can take from the cruise port area up to the fort, it's impossible to be convinced one is better than another.  I like to "brag" that we visited 3 Havana, Quebec City, and Old San Juan- all stops that RCCI makes.  It's an amazing place to wander around.

 

I'm not from Puerto Rico, but DW is, and even though she's from Ponce, she has a very firm attachment to San Juan- so we try to stay a night or two every time we are there.  If there's ever a time you sail from San Juan- please try to come one or two days early, and just wander around.

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Only one person mentioned above but I think it's also worth noting again.  IF YOU BUY A TICKET TO ONE FORT, YOU GET INTO THE OTHER FORT FOR FREE WITHIN 7 DAYS.  Last time we went on a 7 night cruise out of San Juan, we checked out El Morro pre-cruise, cruised, then 7 days later, post cruise, we checked out the other fort for free, using the same receipt.

 

It is also certainly walk able from one to the other too.  We basically did the whole city in a day.  

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On 2/15/2019 at 8:42 AM, joie1016 said:

I am done talking about this ...have a nice day and please don't bring anything to my attention...I apparently don't know anything 😉

Dully noted!

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For reference, Google map says it is 1.8 km (22 blocks) from the dock to the front entrance of El Morro (22 minutes).  As noted, it has an incline in places.  It is less than 500 meters to San Christobal (8 minutes).  It is 1.3 km between the two forts (17 minutes).  There are more cafes between the dock and these forts than between the two forts.

 

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When we have walked to the El Morro Fort, there is a trail that goes along the base of the Fort next to the water.  If I remember correctly there were several cats around it. Can anyone tell me if I take the trail to the point(entrance to the harbor), can I enter the fort there or do I need to walk back. Thanks in advance.

 

Don

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1 hour ago, diverdon48371 said:

When we have walked to the El Morro Fort, there is a trail that goes along the base of the Fort next to the water.  If I remember correctly there were several cats around it. Can anyone tell me if I take the trail to the point(entrance to the harbor), can I enter the fort there or do I need to walk back. Thanks in advance.

 

Don

If the fort is open, it will lead you to the front entrance of the fort.  You have to just keep going around climb some stairs, and follow a path....

 

The reason I put in the caveat- we did the walk (as part of a run), but since the fort was closed, we had to run back on the water path.  Which is kind of warm in the sun.... 🙂

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We are arriving in San Juan on the Allure next week for a 7:00 am to 2:00 pm visit.  We would like to visit El Morrow first and we would like to walk.  Is there a recommended route you experienced folks would suggest?  We would likely walk directly there (meaning we would not likely be stopping to shop or explore much, but would be walking at a slower pace to absorb what we are walking by and through).  So... do we just zigzag through the Old Town streets in the general direction of the Fort?  or do we pass through Paseo de la Princesa and then hug the water as much as possible? other options? 

 

We will not likely lunch in San Juan. Instead we will likely just return to the ship around 1pm and eat lunch then.  So our route of return walk back to the ship will largely be driven by how much time we spend at El Morrow.

 

Any tips appreciated.

Edited by MeHeartCruising

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Yes, you can take either route.  

 

Paseo to the formal gate, and then left up the hills, 

Paseo to take the path all the way around the fort and then climb up the stairs and some grass and weave to the entry

Or just weave your way through town.  And there are a LOT of choices there....

 

It's really hard to say which is best or fastest.  Although, I think taking the entire path around the fort is the slowest.

 

I'd suggest taking one route to the fort and another back- so you can see as much of the old city as you can.

 

If you have a smart phone, you can use the mapping app and set the route to walk, and it should give you options.  I just did a quick look, and it gave me 3 routes.

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