Post summary: National Parks in Puerto Rico
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the United States located in the Caribbean Sea. This former Spanish colony is home to a unique Hispanic creole culture that is a mix of indigenous, African, and European elements. Head over to San Juan to check its only National Park in Puerto Rico.
In this article, we will explore the only National Park in Puerto Rico. We will provide a brief overview of the park, things to do in the Puerto Rico National Parks, and provide a map of the National Parks of Puerto Rico.
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Map of National Parks in Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico National Parks
San Juan National Historic Site
San Juan National Historic Site protects the three Spanish colonial forts and the city walls of Old San Juan. The island of Puerto Rico was important to the Spanish control of the Caribbean. As such, they need to ensure the protection of the harbor in San Juan. To this end, they built the forts of Castillo San Felipe del Morro, Castillo San Cristóbal, Fortín San Juan de la Cruz.
These masonry forts were built in the 1500s, 1600s, and 1700s. All three forts saw action against the British pirate Sir Frances Drake in 1595 and against the United States in 1898. The forts were captured by the United States and Puerto Rico became part of the United States. These forts were in active military use until the 1960s.
Today, visitors can explore the forts at their leisure. Look closely at the forts and you will be able to see a mix of the Spanish masonry combined with World War II armament.
San Juan National Historic Site was created on February 14, 1949. On December 6, 1983, the site was declared a World Heritage Site.
Things to do: Ranger Led Programs, Tour the Forts, Junior Ranger Badges, Bird Watching, Walking, Fly a Kite, Stargazing
How to get to there: San Juan National Historic Site is located in Old San Juan. Parking is available at the Ballaja-Barracks.
Where to Stay: There are many lodging options in San Juan.
Entrance Fee: $10 per person or free with an America the Beautiful Pass.
Official Website: Click Here
List of National Parks in Puerto Rico
There is 1 National Park in Puerto Rico and it received 357,000 visitors in 2020 and generated over $27 million in tourism economic benefits.
- San Juan National Historic Site
Puerto Rico National Parks also provides support and management to Ohio and Erie National Heritage Canalway, 3 Wild and Scenic Rivers (Big & Little Darby Creeks, Little Beaver Creek, and Little Miami River) as well as 3,957 National Register of Historic Places Listings.
There are 6 National Historic Landmarks, 5 National Natural Landmarks, 172 Places recorded by the Heritage Documentation Program, and over 600,000 objects in the Puerto Rico National Parks Museum Collections. There are 4 Archaeological Sites in the Puerto Rico National Parks.
Puerto Rico is home to 36 Nature Reserves and 19 State Forest
Frequently Asked Questions about Puerto Rico National Parks
How many national parks are there in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico has one national park. It is San Juan National Historic Site does not hold the title of National Park but it is managed by a National Park Service and is consider to be a national park by them. El Yunque National Forest is a popular tourist spot in Puerto Rico but it is managed by the US Foresty Service and is not part of the National Park System.
What is the name of the national park in Puerto Rico?
The name of the only National Park in Puerto Rico is San Juan National Historic Site.
What parks are in Puerto Rico?
Puerto Rico has a rich collection of National Parks, State Forest, Nature Reserves, and National Forests. Plus about 3,000 beaches. The most well-known parks in Puerto Rico include
- San Juan National Historic Site
- El Yunque National Forest
- Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Reserve
- San Cristóbal Canyon Natural Protected Area
- State Forest of Guajataca
- Guanica State Forest
- Tres Picachos State Forest
What is the name of the Fort in Old San Juan?
There are three forts in Old San Juan. They are
- Castillo San Cristóbal
- Castillo San Felipe del Morro
- Fortín San Juan de la Cruz (El Cañuelo)
Which fort is better in San Juan?
Castillo San Felipe del Morro (or El Morro) is the more well known of the forts in San Juan. El Morro is an imposing fortress located at the northwestern point of the islet of Old San Juan. This fort is alos the oldest fort in San Juan. Its construction started in 1539 and its main purpose was to defend the port of San Juan.
How much does it cost to visit El Morro?
It cost $10 per person to visit El Morro and includes entrance to the other forts in San Juan National Historic Site. If you have an America the Beautiful Pass entrance is free for up to four adults.
What does El Morro mean in Puerto Rico?
Translated from Spanish, El Morro means promontory or headland.
Why is El Morro important?
El Morro was built to protect the port of San Juan.
Puerto Rico’s Nearby States
Planning to visit a few of the National Parks in Puerto Rice and wondering about what national parks are in neighboring states. Here are the list of National Parks in surrounding states.
- Florida National Parks – Florida has 3 National Parks (Biscayne, Dry Tortugas, and Everglades) and 8 other units.
- Virgin Islands National Parks – The US Virgin Islands is home to Virgin Islands National Park and 4 other NPS units.
Check out this great list of the 63 National Parks and get a FREE National Park Checklist. Count how many National Parks you have visited.
Final Thoughts on the National Parks of Puerto Rico
I hope this guide to the National Parks of Puerto Rico is helpful as you plan to explore these amazing National Parks. Do you have any questions about Puerto Rico National Parks or need help planning your National Park trips. Let me know in the comments below or join me in my National Park Trip Planning Community!
Monday 28th of February 2022
PR is not a nation even though the people think it is. The US National Parks run and maintain the national parks.
Monday 28th of February 2022
The National Park Service maintains national parks in several of the US territories including Puerto Rico, Guam, US Virgin Island, and American Samoa. Both US Virgin Islands and American Samoa have NPS units that hold the title of National Park. Puerto Rico is home to San Juan National Historic Site which is managed by NPS so its a US national park.