Note: I am a photographer, not a licensed tour guide, so my suggestions come from an aesthetic viewpoint. If you’d like to book a shoot with me – please inquire HERE.
Did you know Old San Juan is the oldest city under US jurisdiction? You will feel like you’ve traveled in time as you wander the cobblestone streets lined with colorful homes, visit the old forts and take in the architecture.
But where are the best places to take photos in Old San Juan? I’ve got you covered.
1. El Morro (Castillo San Felipe del Morro)
It should be no surprise that El Morro ended up first on our list of the most photogenic spots in San Juan. Not only is the fort one of the most recognized landmarks in Puerto Rico, boasting history and architecture from the 16th century and beyond, but it sits atop the highest hill at the Western most tip of Old San Juan overlooking the entrance to San Juan Bay and one of the deepest parts of the Atlantic Ocean all at once. The view to all sides is beyond photo-worthy!
2. Calle del Sol
A very popular photo op in Old San Juan is Calle de la Fortaleza, a street known for its ever-changing art installations usually in the form of umbrellas or a Puerto Rican flag painting the sky. As fun as this is, everyone knows about it, and you’ll be fighting for your turn to get a photo just to end up getting photobombed by 20 people at once.
You’re better off wandering the colorful streets and finding your own magic – I promise there is plenty. I love Calle del Sol because its quiet, shady and has tons of side alleys to duck off into for more photo ops.
3. Puerta de San Juan
This large gated archway was the main entrance into the walled city during its Spanish colonial era. Now, just through the archway and to the left, it leads you to the romantic Paseo La Princesa. This pathway is lined with lamps, colorful flowers and gorgeous trees that filter the most amazing light at any hour.
This is a great choice for family sessions because there are a ton of food vendors around. If it gets too hot, you’re not too far from a refreshing piragua – a traditional treat made with shaved ice and tropical flavored syrups.
4. Paseo del Morro
If you choose to visit Puerta de San Juan and decide to take a right through the archway instead of a left, you’re bound for even more beautiful sights.
You’ll pass joggers, people out for a walk and THOUSANDS of cats. No, I’m not exaggerating.
If you’re a cat lover, this place is for you. The Save A Gato Organization uses the TNR method (trap, neuter and return) in order to decrease the booming cat population around El Morro (and they also make sure they have food and water!)
For photos, you’ll have plenty of clean backgrounds at your disposable – a photographers dream – along with iconic Puerto Rico architecture and water views.
This is a beautiful place to catch the sunset!
5. Casa Blanca
Casa Blanca is a house museum built in 1521 as the main residence for Juan Ponce De Leon, who died before it’s completion. Now it boasts 16th and 17th-century artifacts and lush gardens perfect for picture-taking.
6. Castillo de San Cristóbal
Another fortress built by the Spanish to protect against attacks on the city, offering beautiful views of Old San Juan from an Eastern standpoint. You can also see La Perla and endless Atlantic ocean views from here.
It doesn’t receive as many visitors as El Morro, making it a relaxed, pressure-free spot to take photos.