El Morro (El Castillo San Felipe del Morro)#3 in Best Things To Do in Puerto Rico
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El Morro juts out of San Juan harbor and beckons to cruise ships. Construction for the hulking six-story fortress started in 1539. It was originally built to deter sea attacks, and went on to withstand two world wars and several other scrimmages. Now, El Castillo San Felipe del Morro (known simply as "El Morro") is Puerto Rico's go-to tourist attraction, both for its extensive history and its outstanding vistas of the Atlantic Ocean. You can also walk through the fortress' depths, which include a maze of tunnels, barracks and prison cells. Exhibitions and a park film offer a more in-depth look at the fort's history, and park rangers are stationed around the site to answer questions and lead interpretative programs.
You'll enjoy exploring more if you wear comfortable walking shoes, as the site is quite big. Travelers tend to agree the site is worth visiting, whether you're a history buff or not. In addition, they report that it can take up to three hours to explore the entire fort on foot. For a little guidance on the fort's history, consider signing up for one of the best tours in Puerto Rico.
El Morro is one of two forts inside the San Juan National Historic Site. Its sister, the Fort San Cristóbal, is one of the largest Spanish fortresses in the Americas. Both forts are open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Admission to the entire site costs $10 for visitors 16 and older; travelers 15 and younger tour free. For more information about visiting the San Juan National Historic Site, check out the National Park Service website.
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#1 Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay (Vieques)
This south Vieques beach might not sound like much, but it's one of travelers' favorite experiences in Puerto Rico. During the day, Bioluminescent Mosquito Bay is your stereotypical Caribbean hideout but at night, the waters emit a blue glow from the organisms, called dinoflagellates, that live there. More than 600,000 bioluminescent dinoflagellates live in each gallon of bay water, and recent travelers have been amazed by just how much visibility these tiny creatures provide.
Avoid visiting the bay during a full moon; the microorganisms aren't as visible then. Also aim for a quiet approach. Recent travelers recommended going out in a kayak to get the full effect of the glow and to prevent disturbing the dinoflagellates.
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