San Juan Cathedral, also known as the Cathedral of San Juan Bautista, is one of the most important monuments in the Old Town. Make this elegant landmark a stop on your walking tour of the historic district and step inside to see its collection of religious artifacts and historic curiosities.
Marvel at one of the oldest surviving church buildings on U.S. soil. The cathedral was built in 1540 after an earlier iteration from 1521 was destroyed in a hurricane. Since then, it has endured looting by the British Navy and a hurricane tearing off its roof.
Admire the elegant frontage of the building before you enter. This symmetrical, Gothic-style façade was added in the 1800s. Look for the statue of St. John the Baptist, the namesake of the cathedral.
Enter the cathedral to appreciate how the church has maintained many of the medieval details from its original construction. Look upward to see a vaulted ceiling and explore the wings of the nave to find a variety of religious statues.
Many come to the cathedral to visit the tomb of Ponce de Leon, the first governor of Puerto Rico. The conquistador was famed for hunting down the fountain of youth and has become a figure who is viewed with mixed feelings by island residents. His remains were moved here in the early 20th century.
Pay a visit to the mummy of St. Pio, a Christian who was martyred during the era of Roman persecution. This wax-covered figure is kept in a glass tomb, so it is visible to devotees visiting the cathedral.
Attend one of the morning Masses here, joining with local worshippers for prayer. The cathedral’s popular Christmas Eve service features performances of the Nativity.
San Juan Cathedral is located in the heart of Old San Juan, just moments away from other famous landmarks. Walk here in about 5 minutes from places such as Plaza de Armas, La Fortaleza and the Museum of Art and History. The cathedral is open daily and Mass is held every morning before the church opens to general visitors.