Colonial Spanish, Dutch, and English soldiers, pirates, and other assorted historical villains fought and died here throughout the 16th, 17th, and 18th centuries. When U.S. soldiers arrived and took over, they set up baseball diamonds, making sport amid the old battleground. Eventually, it even served as a public golf course.
Today, the famed El Morro Esplanade hides her secrets under an undulating carpet of utter green majesty; a vibrant expanse so wide, so intoxicatingly limitless it invites the type of carefree strolling and skipping – shoeless, of course – many of us grown folks rarely allow ourselves to enjoy.
The Spanish designed the entire area to be so open as a practical defense measure reasoning that it’d be a lot easier to shoot invading enemy troops if they didn’t have anything to hide behind. Turns out they were mostly right as Castillo San Felipe del Morro, as it’s officially known, was only ever captured once in its 400+ years in active military duty.
The only “fighting” you’ll likely find here today pits the young and young at heart against wayward kites refusing to stay aloft amid the generally persistent cooling breezes blowing in off Old San Juan’s extreme northwestern point. Vendors do a brisk business selling kites, snacks, and refreshing piraguas; basically everything you might need to enjoy a little slice of life in historic Old San Juan.