9 Places to Experience History in Puerto Rico - Atlas Obscura Lists

9 Places to Experience History in Puerto Rico

Take an awe-inspiring trip through time without leaving the Island.

Puerto Rico’s long and vibrant history can be intimidating to the uninitiated. Luckily, everywhere you turn here, there are relics, ruins, and historic buildings to really spell out the Island’s many stirring chapters. 

Take the 400-year-old Puerta de San Juan, for example. It’s the oldest standing gateway into the even older city of Old San Juan—celebrating its 500th anniversary this year, in fact—which once functioned to fend off pirate attacks. Of course, there’s plenty of history beyond the capital city, as well.

There’s a museum that pays tribute to Indigenous Taíno communities in Jayuya; a beachy set of ruins in Quebradillas rumored to have served as a pirate hide-out; remnants of the first Spanish settlement in Guaynabo; an unassuming 19th-century bridge that played an important role in the Spanish-American War; and much, much more. 

The number of historical sites to visit in Puerto Rico is immense, but this list presents a century-spanning cross-section of its past that is a helpful introduction to this one-of-a-kind Island.

San Juan, Puerto Rico

La Puerta de San Juan

This colorful gate stands as an entrance to the walled city of Old San Juan.
Sponsored by Discover Puerto Rico
Isabela, Puerto Rico

La Cara del Indio

La Cara del Indio honors the Taíno chief who fought bravely against the Spanish invasion of Puerto Rico.
Sponsored by Discover Puerto Rico

 Learn more and plan your visit here.