Almost as you reach the “Raíces” fountain, at the end of “La Princesa Promenade” you’ll reach the main office of the Puerto Rico Tourism Company, a beautiful colonial building painted in gray and white. Don’t let the inviting looks of this recently restored structure fool you. In colonial times this was actually “La Princesa”, one of the nastiest and most feared prisons in the Caribbean.
The building was constructed in 1837 and operated as a penitentiary until 1960. More than 240 prisoners spent their agonizing days behind bars at “La Princesa”. And many were executed by hanging right there.
After the United States invaded the Island in 1898, the jailhouse held many famous Puerto Rican nationalists including world renown poets like Juan Antonio Corretjer and Antonio Matos Paoli. Nationalist leader Pedro Albizu Campos also did time at “La Princesa”.
Today “La Princesa” has a beautifully restored lobby and courtyard, as well as modern art exhibitions that you’re sure to enjoy. You can also find brochures and maps mostly produced by the Puerto Rico Tourism Company.