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La Fortaleza (The Fortress) Tours and Activities

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La Fortaleza (The Fortress)
The blue-and-white Santa Catalina Palace (Palacio de Santa Catalina), otherwise known as La Fortaleza (The Fortress), is the official residence of the governor of Puerto Rico. Situated in Old San Juan, the UNESCO World Heritage Site occupies a spot that was long one of the most contested strategic positions in the Caribbean.

The Basics
La Fortaleza was built between 1533 and 1540, and it’s an impressive sight to behold from the approach through Calle Fortaleza, a narrow street. The historic structure is the oldest executive mansion in the Western Hemisphere, and one can still see stone fortifications erected by the Spanish. 

Although travelers aren't permitted roam the governor’s mansion at will, guided walking tours (held on weekdays) cover the lush gardens and will venture inside the building when the government is not in session. Walking tours or Segway tours of Old San Juan often make stops at the governor's residence, as well as other important Old San Juan sites and government buildings in the San Juan National Historic Site.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Since La Fortaleza is a functioning government building, it’s subject to closures without warning; additionally, interior tours aren’t available while government is in session.
  • The gardens surrounding the palace are a great place for kids to burn off some energy.
  • Like many buildings constructed centuries ago, La Fortaleza is not fully handicap accessible. 
How to Get There
La Fortaleza, located in the heart of Old San Juan, is walkable from most other destinations in downtown. Several local bus lines stop at the Terminal Covadonga San Juan, which is an easy walk to La Fortaleza.

When to Get There
The Palacio de Santa Catalina is open from 9am to 4pm on weekdays for guided tours. Puerto Rico has a mild climate year around; hurricane season runs from June through November. The weather in April through June is considered the best—it’s warm but not too hot or rainy. 

The San Juan National Historic Site
La Fortaleza is part of the San Juan National Historic Site, which includes other landmarks such as the San Juan Gate, the Castillo de San Cristobal, the city walls (La Muralla), and the Paseo del Morro. All of these sites are situated within easy walking distance of the governor’s mansion.
Address: Calle de la Cruz, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Admission: Varies
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7 Tours and Activities to Experience La Fortaleza (The Fortress)

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Old San Juan Harbor Sailing Tour

Old San Juan Harbor Sailing Tour

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59
Float past more than 500 years of history and picturesque scenery during this 1.5-hour sailing excursion in Old San Juan Harbor. Climb aboard the ‘Amazing Grace,’ a topsail schooner fashioned in the style of 19th-century American sailing vessels, for an unforgettable ride past the wonders of this historic area. As you sail you’ll enjoy up-close views of Old San Juan sights such as El Morro fortress, La Fortaleza, and Paseo la Princesa. A guide and complimentary beverages and snacks are all covered.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$59.00
From
$59.00
Taking safety measures

Old San Juan Walking Tour

Old San Juan Walking Tour

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471
Explore the colorful buildings and charming streets of Old San Juan in a small group with the help of writer David Rodriguez, author of ‘The Rise and Fall of the Great Barbate.’ During the course of your day, the knowledgeable author helps you discover the area’s key historic sites and gain new insight into Puerto Rican culture. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the many stories of the people who helped to define this unique neighborhood. Your walking trip’s length is flexible based on your needs, and also includes bottled water.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$41.03
From
$41.03
Taking safety measures

San Juan Catamaran Sunset Sail

San Juan Catamaran Sunset Sail

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191
Sail the calm, azure waters of San Juan Bay at sunset during a cocktail cruise. Enjoy a warm welcome aboard from your friendly captain and crew, then settle in for a scenic ride. Watch the island coastline glide by as the sun sinks toward the horizon. Sip a complimentary rum punch or sparkling wine with your family and friends and listen as your captain points out landmarks like El Morro Fort and San Juan Gate. Arrive back at the dock in time to continue your evening in San Juan.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$90.00
From
$90.00
Taking safety measures

Old San Juan Sunset Sail

Old San Juan Sunset Sail

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111
Float past hundreds of years of history and picturesque scenery during this 2-hour sunset sailing excursion in Old San Juan Harbor. Climb aboard the "Amazing Grace," a topsail schooner fashioned in the style of 19th-century American sailing vessels, for an unforgettable ride past the wonders of this historic area. As you sail you’ll enjoy up-close views of Old San Juan sights like El Morro fortress, La Fortaleza, Paseo la Princesa and more, all set aglow by the fading late afternoon light. A guide and complimentary beverages and snacks are all covered.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$95.00
From
$95.00
Taking safety measures

Sunset Sail by San Juan Historical Bay

Sunset Sail by San Juan Historical Bay

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184
Go sailing and watch the sunset on a cruise from San Juan. Get great photo ops of Puerto Rico’s coastline and enjoy a comfortable sail on the Caribbean Sea. Your captain shares commentary about the region and provides complimentary drinks for your group of no more than six people.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$81.03
From
$81.03
Taking safety measures

Old San Juan Segway Tour

Old San Juan Segway Tour

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472
Experience the old and the new in the atmospheric neighborhood of Old San Juan on this 2-hour small-group tour by Segway. Effortlessly zoom around the 500-year-old colonial architecture of this ancient neighborhood as you visit 25 of the top attractions in the area, and learn about its evolution from Spanish colony to US territory. This intimate sightseeing tour is limited to just 8 participants and also includes all entrance fees, a helmet, secure storage, filtered water and sunscreen. Please note the weight restrictions on this tour, located in the 'additional information section'.
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  • 2 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From
$108.98
From
$108.98

San Juan Bay Day Sail

San Juan Bay Day Sail

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59
Set sail across the Caribbean on this 1.5-hour cruise from San Juan and enjoy unforgettable views of the Puerto Rican capital. Hop aboard a traditional sailboat and sip complimentary drinks as you cruise along the coast. Keep your camera to hand as you pass landmarks like San Juan Bay Marina and El Morro Fort, and spot dolphins and sea turtles swimming and playing around the boat.
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  • 1 hour 30 minutes
  • Free Cancellation
  • Taking safety measures
From
$85.00
From
$85.00
Taking safety measures

Frequently Asked Questions

The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
Q:
What's the best way to experience La Fortaleza (The Fortress)?