Museo Casa Blanca, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Museo Casa Blanca, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Fort El Morro: is at the top of the hill of Old San Juan. At the other end of Norzagaray Street is the San Cristobal Fort, walk between the two forts, along the road at the top.   If you have a choice, see them on two different days.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro: Built between 1539 and 1589, with later expansions, rises 140 feet above the sea, looking over the entrance to San Juan Harbour, the fort is a maze of tunnels, dungeons, barracks, and canon ramps.    It consists of 74 acres of grounds and fort.   Open 9 am to 5 pm.

Castillo San Cristobal: was built in the 1700’s, one of the largest defense systems ever built in the Americas.    Guided tours are available Tuesday, Thursday and Fridays at 10, 11 am and 2 and 3 pm. You can wander around the mazes and tunnels on your own, 9 am to 6 pm.   tel. 729-6754.

Near the El Morro fort are the following museums:

Dominican Convent: built by Dominican friars in 1523.   Houses a small chapel museum. 98 Norzagaray St.   Open daily 8 am to 4:30 pm   tel. 721-6866

Museo de Las Americas, ‘Ballaja’, several different exhibits on the second floor, some changing, Cultures of North, Central and South America.   Large building with courtyard. Closed Monday.   Art films downstairs in the evenings. 10 to 4 weekdays & 11 to 5 weekends.   tel. 724-5052, 723-4481

Museo de Arte y Historia de San Juan: Contemporary Puerto Rican sculpture and clay, paintings and in impressive exhibit of hand carved ‘Santos’.   150 Norazagaray Street. Closed Saturday and Sunday. 8 am to 4:30 pm.   tel. 724-1875

Museo del Indio: Photographic exhibits of indigenous people, artifacts, tools and stone carvings.   First floor of Institute of Culture Norzagaray Street. 9 am to 4:30 pm.   tel. 724-0700 ext. 4223

African Heritage Museum:   On the San Jose Plaza, San Sebastian Street.   tel. 724-4294

Pablo Casals Museum: on the San Jose Plaza.   Original manuscripts of his work, his cello and piano.   Closed Sunday and Monday. 9:30 am to 5:30 pm.   tel. 723-9185 $1.

Walking down the cobble stoned Cristo Street:

Casa Blanca Museum: built in 1521 by the family of Ponce de Leon, who lived in it for 250 years.   It is now a historical museum with 2 sections, one of the Taino Indians and one of the history of the house.   Closed Mondays.   tel. 725-1454, 724-4102

Museum of Felica Rincon de Gautier:   Former home of first woman Mayor of San Juan.   Photographs, elaborate wigs, fans, keys to cities. 51 Caleta Street.   Closed Saturday and Sunday. Open 9 am to 4 pm.    tel. 723-1897

La Fortaleza ( the governors mansion) is open to the public on a limited basis, mostly the grounds.

Casa del Libro: Museum and Library with rare books and manuscripts, including two royal mandates ( signed by Ferdinan and Isabela) concerning the provisioning of Columbus’s second voyage, in which Puerto Rico was discovered.   Cristo Street. 11 am to 4:30 pm closed Sunday and Monday.   tel. 723-0354

Casa de la Familia Puertoriqueña:    tel. 977-2700

Casa Ramon Power y Giralt: Restored home in which the Puerto Rico Conservation Trust has a small exhibit about critical environmental concerns.   10 am- 4 pm, closed Sunday and Monday.   tel. 722-5834

Casa de los Contrafuertes:   Changing exhibits of Latin American Prints.   Closed Monday and Tuesday. 9 am to 4:30 pm   tel. 724-5477

Casa de Los Zaguanes: ( two foyers) 8 am to 4 pm.   Closed Saturday and Sunday    tel. 724-5477

Casa Rosada:   Built in 1812, Government tourist office with brochures, maps and a welcome cocktail.   Open daily 8 am to 5 pm   tel. 724-1454 $2.

La Casita: ( little yellow building by the waterfront) Government tourism office, brochures, maps, free cocktail.  Open late daily, hours vary.   tel. 722-1709

Greater San Juan

Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico: De Diego Ave.   Santurce, Puerto Rico’s’ most treasured works of art, including Francisco Oller and Jose Campeche.   Theater, restaurant and sculpture gardens.   Closed Monday. Open 10 am to 5 pm, later on Wednesday nights,   tel. 977-6277 $5.  Nice restaurant.

Museo de Arte Contemporano: on Ponce de Leon ave. at stop 18. Santurce. New museum with very good exhibits by Puerto Rican and Latin American contemporary artists.    tel. 977-4030/31

Museum of History, Anthropology and Art at the University of PR, main campus in Rio Piedras: History, archeology and fine arts.   tel. 764-3939

The Botanical Gardens are somewhat near the University and have a sculpture garden, many paths and areas planted with exotic plants and flowers.

Beyond Inner San Juan

Luis Muñoz Marin Foundation ( Trujillo Alto)   tel. 755-7979

Casa Museo Dr. Jose Celso Barbosa (Bayamon)   tel. 786-8115

Casa Jesus T. Piñero ( Canovanas)   tel. 977-2700

Caparra Ruins Historical Museum and Park (Guaynabo)    tel. 781-4795

Around the Island, Near San Juan

Museo de Arte de Caguas:    tel. 744-8833

Casa Alonso Museum of Art, History & Culture:    (Vega Baja) tel. 858-7113

Museo y Centro de Estudios Humanisticos de La Universidad del Turabo:   (Gurabo) tel. 743-7979

Casa Luis Muñoz Rivera:   (Barranquitas:)  tel. 857-0230

Really Out on the Island

Museo de Arte de Ponce:    tel. 848-0505

Ponce History Museum: is a lovely, restored, ‘art nouveau’ style home with lots of stained glass and a bathtub carved out of one piece of local marble.    History exhibits are all in Spanish.

Castillo Serralles Museum:   (Ponce) tel. 259-1770

Music Museum: (Ponce) tel. 848-7016

Museo de la Masacre:  (Ponce) tel. 844-9722  :  tel. 840-4115

Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Caguana:  (Utuado) tel. 894-7300

Coamo Museum: tel. 825-1150

Casa Cautiño Museum:   (Guayama) tel. 864-9083

Guayama Fine Arts Museum:   Unique finely carved gourd exhibit.

Porta Coeli Religious Art Museum:    (San German) tel. 892-5845

Dr. Juan A. Rivero Zoo:  (Mayaguez)  tel. 832-6330. Birds, monkeys, lions, tigers, giraffes, reptiles and amphibians.  closes 3:30 pm and closed Mondays and Tuesdays.

Tropical Agricultural Research Station: (Mayaguez)    tel. 831-3435. weekdays to 4 pm

Museo Fort Conde del Mirasol:  (Vieques Island) tel. 741-1717    Art & artifacts exhibits,  great views of Isabel II.

Lighthouse Museum: (Vieques Island)

Historical and Conservation Trust:   (Vieques Island) Nature oriented.   Small fish tanks.   tel. 741-8850.