La Fortaleza means “The Fortress”. It was definitely intended to be so when it was built in 1540 as part of the massive effort to strengthen its defences. The construction didn’t go as planned, but the Earl of Cumberland subsequently occupied it in 1598 and the Dutch Commandant Boudewyn Hendrick in 1625.
In 1846, the building was renovated and converted to permanent use as the governor’s residence. The structure, also called El Palacio de Santa Catalina (Santa Catalina Palace), has been home to more than 170 governors from Puerto Rico.
Visitors aren’t allowed to wander around the governor’s mansion without permission. Walking tours with guides are available Monday through Friday between 8:15 and 3:30 p.m. The tour lasts for 30 minutes, covers the beautiful gardens, and enters the mansion if the government isn’t in session. Wear appropriate attire. A photo I.D. is required for anyone aged 21 or more.
La Fortaleza is a functioning government building and is open to closure without notice. It is recommended to contact ahead to find out the schedule for the next day.
La Fortaleza Contact Details
Address: 63 C. de la Fortaleza, San Juan, 00901, Puerto Rico