This was one of the first cruise ships to return to San Juan after the devastating hurricanes of 2017. The news was so full of the disaster, that some in our group were concerned about the readiness of the Island to host our ship. Those concerns were not needed, as the city of San Juan was up and running and ready to greet guests. Vendors had their pop-up shops, the town was decorated for Three Kings Day, and there were bands and people dancing in the streets. Everywhere we turned there was a friendly face and we can’t tell you how many times we heard “Welcome to Puerto Rico” and “We are so glad to have you here”.
I always enjoy a walking tour of San Juan and did a little shopping in the down town area that includes both Mom and Pop gift shops and TJ Maxx. One of the highlights of old San Juan is Paseo de la Princesa, a beautiful promenade that dates back to 1787. Along this pedestrian street visitors find a wonderful collection of sculptures culminating in the fountain at the end of the promenade know as Fuente Raices. This fountain has sculptures that celebrate the diverse ethnic heritage of Puerto Rico which include people of European, African and Taino-American heritage.
As we headed up the hill we could see the imposing walls of the El Morro fortress and the Rogativa sculpture. The Rogativa sculpture might be one of may favorites as it commemorates a women’s torch lit religious procession. Legend has it that the British were about to mount an attack on San Juan but turned away when they saw the torch lights, thinking that it was reinforcements coming to defend the city.