La Fortaleza Tours and Activities

La Fortaleza - Palacio de Santa Catalina
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The official residence of the governor of Puerto Rico is a vast mansion and fortress that is open to the public on guided tours.

La Fortaleza, the governor’s residence, also known as the Palacio de Santa Catalina, is a cross between a medieval fortification and a royal palace. The striking blue building sits on the waterfront in Old San Juan, bordered by picturesque gardens. Join one of the guided tours around the palace to learn about the fascinating history of the site and to get a glimpse of the life of the governor of Puerto Rico.

Marvel at the clash of military and royal architecture at La Fortaleza. It was built by the Spanish as a fortification between 1532 and 1540, as evidenced by the old walls and other features. UNESCO has recognized the fortress and other landmarks in Old San Juan for their historical value.

In 1845, the fortress was turned into a royal residence, leading to its current look and earning its second name, Palacio de Santa Catalina. The interiors were remodeled and it was given a palatial blue façade. Follow in the footsteps of 170 governors who have lived in the palace. Take plenty of photos of the classical Spanish-style palace.

Explore the grounds of what is said to be the oldest executive mansion in the Western Hemisphere. Several detached buildings make up the whole palace, where you can see the old living quarters, a swimming pool and a courtyard. From the top of the palace, admire the views of the old city walls and the Bay of San Juan.

Roam the corridors of the palace, admiring the period furniture that still decorates each room. Look for the mahogany clock that comes with its own story. The last Spanish governor of Puerto Rico struck it with his sword upon hearing of the defeat of Spain. The time on its face has never changed since.

The Palacio de Santa Catalina is located in western Old San Juan. Walk here along the Paseo de la Princesa, a scenic promenade, and explore the fortress for a minimal fee. Metered parking is available nearby. La Fortaleza is open on weekdays. If you want a guided tour, book it in advance.

Plan a trip to see La Fortaleza

Casa Pelayo
Hyatt Regency Grand Reserve Puerto Rico
AC Hotel by Marriott San Juan Condado

Reviews of La Fortaleza

4.5
Top Destination
5 - Excellent
592
" "5 - Excellent 58.613861386138616%
4 - Good
365
" "4 - Good 36.13861386138614%
3 - Okay
44
" "3 - Okay 4.356435643564357%
2 - Disappointing
5
" "2 - Disappointing 0.49504950495049505%
1 - Terrible
4
" "1 - Terrible 0.39603960396039606%

3/5 - Okay

Verified traveler
Aug 12, 2019

No umbrellas the two days we were there!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler
Jul 28, 2019

We went during the RICKY RENUNCIA monumental time. So proud I could be a part of that!

5/5 - Excellent

Brownie
Nov 12, 2018

Very friendly environment and the renovations are living along wonderfully. New colors to the buildings have this area life.

4/5 - Good

Verified traveler
Oct 11, 2018

Nice shopping. Craft shops. Lots of hills

5/5 - Excellent

DaleandPeggy
Sep 11, 2018

Worth a visit.  We learned a lot about the history and local government of PR taking the free tour for Fortaleza.The place is stunning!

5/5 - Excellent

Verified traveler
Aug 22, 2018

Camera ready

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