Thursday, January 3, 2013

San Juan, founded by Spanish colonist Ponce de León, is Puerto Rico's capital and the second oldest European-established city in the Americas, after Santo Domingo, in the Dominican Republic. Old San Juan is the nearly 500 year old walled quarter of seven square blocks of hilly cobblestone streets flanked by two immense forts, El Morro (see title photo above) and San Cristobál.

A centuries old sentry lookout.

Puerto Rico was ceded by Spain to the United States in 1898, under the Treaty of Paris that ended the Spanish-American War. Its status remains a self-governing U.S. territory, making it an easily accessible tourist magnate for stateside sun worshipers; no passport is necessary, there are no customs formalities, the U.S. dollar is the local currency, and U.S. Post Offices and retail stores are found everywhere.