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Re: EL MORRO LIGHTHOUSE Old San Juan Pr
SAN JUAN revisited by way of the internet!
What It’s Like to Visit San Juan Now
After Hurricane Maria, parts of the Puerto Rican capital are back in business, including many hotels and restaurants. Tourism is down but the scene can be lively.
By Paola Singer
- Jan. 30, 2018
Hurricane Maria's devastating effects on Puerto Rico, along with the political face-offs and logistical problems that ensued, have been widely reported. There are still important problems to address. But it seems that San Juan, the capital, is starting to regain its stride as a travel destination.
I first came to San Juan in the late ’80s, when my stepfather was transferred here for work. My most vivid memories of that time include swimming in the ocean at night during St. John’s Eve (one of Puerto Rico’s biggest festivals), developing a serious crush on the shaggy-haired members of the band Poison, and experiencing Hurricane Hugo, which ripped into the island on Sept. 19, 1989, and was considered the worst disaster in 50 years.
We spent the night of the storm with a family that lived in a sturdy old house about a mile away from the coast (our apartment was practically on the sand). While I realized we were properly sheltered, the furious rattle of the wind against the home’s metal shutters left me cold with fear. I didn’t know that surviving the brunt of a hurricane is only part of the ordeal, and the days that followed were not difficult enough to make me think otherwise. Brushing my teeth with bottled water and reading magazines by flashlight for a couple of weeks felt more like an adventure than a hardship. I was just a kid — and so, it turns out, was Hugo.
I left San Juan after graduating from high school, but I come back every year to visit my mother and stepfather, who are still living here as retirees. When I learned that Maria would make landfall as a possible Category 5 hurricane, memories of Hugo came flooding back, especially the eerie rattle of those shutters. Texting with my mother on the evening of Sept. 20, I felt irrationally worried that she would be scared during the storm, not guessing that the scariest part would come later.
Maria’s impact was brutal: bridges crumbled, street signs toppled over, trees were stripped bare, and practically every building suffered some sort of damage, from minor flooding to structural deterioration. Worst of all, the island’s aging power grid was wrecked, causing prolonged blackouts. Recent reports indicate that about 1.5 million Puerto Ricans, particularly those living in small towns and rural areas, are still without electricity. I booked a flight to San Juan earlier this month, somewhat unsure of what to expect.
As the airplane began its descent, the city looked unchanged, its odd mix of high rises and strip malls still surrounded by emerald-green vegetation and turquoise waters. And on the ground, I saw bruises but mostly recovery and a strong willingness to get on with life.
San Juan’s hotels, which were largely occupied by military and Federal Emergency Management Agency personnel after the hurricane, are welcoming travelers again.
On a recent afternoon, the beachfront Condado Vanderbilt, an Art Deco-style hotel founded by Frederick William Vanderbilt in 1919 and fully renovated in 2014, hummed with activity. A quartet was getting ready to play Latin jazz by the lobby’s Martini Bar, and dinner service was underway at the elegant 1919 Restaurant, whose chef, Juan José Cuevas, is helping local farmers restore their crops.
In Condado, Mr. Louzao’s Cocina Abierta, a casual restaurant with an eclectic menu of global staples, is still packed on weekend nights. And nearby Sabrina continues to serve a highly rated Sunday brunch.
“Tourism is vital to Puerto Rico’s full recovery, and the best way to support the island is by continuing to visit, stay at hotels, eat at restaurants, and buy from local businesses,” said Carla Campos Vida, the interim executive director of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company. The agency’s website, See Puerto Rico, has updates on open attractions.
Re: EL MORRO LIGHTHOUSE Old San Juan Pr
Dave, I loved this "virtual tour" and all the great photos & info you have shared RE El Morro Lighthouse in Old San Juan, PR. Thank you for a very interesting excursion! Pam
EL MORRO LIGHTHOUSE Old San Juan Pr- Revisited
When we were in Peuto Rico in 2007 we traveled to El Morro. First-time visitors like us to Old San Juan simply cannot leave without visiting El Morro. The fortress is one of the most impressive structures on the island, encapsulating Puerto Rico’s role as a guardian of the New World. Within these walls, you can feel the awesome power this bastion of defense once commanded, and you can bear witness to nearly half a century of military history that began with the Spanish conquistadores and ended with World War II.
- Puerto Rico's most picturesque military structure, El Morro took over 200 years to build.
- Designated a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983.
- Successfully repelled England's noted naval bully, Sir Francis Drake, in 1595.
- Used by the U.S. in World War II to track the movement of German submarines in the Caribbean.
- Its full name is the Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, but it is better known by El Morro, which means "promontory." Perched on the northwestern-most point of Old San Juan, this daunting citadel must have been an intimidating sight to enemy ships. In fact, in its long history, El Morro was never defeated by a naval attack. El Morro only fell once, in 1598, when the Earl of Cumberland took the fortress by land.
El Morro or Port San Juan Light, also known as Faro de Morro or Faro del Castillo del Morro or Puerto San Juan Light, is a lighthouse atop the walls of Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan. It's the first lighthouse built in Puerto Rico.
The first Port San Juan Lighthouse was built in 1846 and exhibited a light using five parabolic reflectors. In 1876, a new octagonal iron tower was constructed atop the walls of the fort . The tower was hit by U.S. artillery fire in the Puerto Rican Campaign of the Spanish-American War on May 12, 1898. The lighthouse was rebuilt in 1899 but developed structural problems and was demolished in 1906. The new and current lighthouse was constructed in 1908 as an Moorish Revival style "square tower on castle". Public admission tours into the tower are held, and the Castillo San Felipe del Morro, along with Castillo de San Cristobal and much of the city walls are part of the San Juan National Historic Site also open to the public.
Emma and Janice walking away from the fortress after our tour with lighthouse in the center
Our group with Michelle far left and her husband Armando in front,Janice standing in the back with Emma, Mark and Mary on right side of the canon. Armando's sister and his nieces and nephews in the left center.
San Jaun harbor opening in the back ground
EL MORRO LIGHTHOUSE - Old San Juan Pr
Until I saw this video below on one of my FaceBook groups I did not realize we had seen this lighthouse while touring the old fortress.
EL MORRO LIGHTHOUSE SAN JAUN PR video below.
Check it out:
My photo of Old San Jaun from our hotel showing the new growth of the old city
Web photo of fortress and Old San Jaun below with light house at left center
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