Fort San Juan de la Cruz, better known among the locals as “El Cañuelo” got it’s nickname because it was built on a tiny islet called Cañuelo Island (la isla del cañuelo). This tiny square fort, built in the 1630’s, had only one mission: harbor defense. Ships attempting to enter San Juan Bay would be caught in a merciless crossfire between El Cañuelo and the larger Fort San Felipe del Morro at the other side of the bay entrance.
Today El Cañuelo is part of the San Juan National Historic Site and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While it is closed to the public, it offers a stunning view of the Old San Juan skyline and Fort San Felipe del Morro’s massive structure.
El Cañuelo is the only Spanish military structure built outside of the San Juan islet. In fact, it is actually in a different town altogether. El Cañuelo is located in the town of Cataño, in a small area called “Isla de Cabras” (Goat Island) which is mostly a public beach area near Palo Seco ward.
The Palo Seco Ward is famous among islanders for its fish and seafood restaurants. Oh, and if you’re not sure how to pronounce the “ñ” in “Cañuelo” hit the red player below the headline.