The income generated from tourism is especially vital to the local economy of island nations in the Caribbean. The US territory of Puerto Rico is no exception. I’ve been here for only 2 days and I’m already asking myself, “why did it take me so long to visit?”

Long before this beautiful island became our Commonwealth, there existed 400 years of conquest, colonization and colonialism. An ancient military history earmarks the city of San Juan with impenetrable citadels, artillery sites and masonry city wall. It’s no wonder that the U.N. declared it a National Historical Site and World Heritage Site as early as 1983.

On Tuesday, my date and I walked the 2 mile oceanside boardwalk that extends from the Caribe Hilton to the Old City. We explored several fortifications including El Morro and San Cristobal, the elaborate tombstones of Santa María Magdalena de Pazzis Cemetery and other buildings of notable medieval significance.

We marveled at the inside of the second oldest cathedral in the Western Hemisphere (San Juan Cathedral) where island founder/governor Ponce de León is entombed and then tried to visit the house where he and his descendants lived for 250 years – the Casa Blanca (White House). Turned out the museum is closed on Tuesdays.

In any event, here are a few more picts that highlight the culture, life and history of Old San Juan:

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