Paseo del Morro is a walkway that skirts the city walls from the San Juan Gate to Castillo de San Felipe del Morro, along the entrance to the San Juan Bay. The trail once served as a maintenance road for the west section of the city walls. In 1998 it was opened to the public and in 2001 it was designated as a National Recreational Trail.
The walkway offers spectacular views of a long section of the city walls, allowing visitors to imagine the immensity of the task that was the construction of the murallas, a project that began in 1630 and didn’t finish until 1790. Those working on the building included skilled stonecutters and masons, labourers, soldiers, convicts and slaves.
Today the historic walls are no longer under attack by foreign troops, but by plants. Along with the wind, rain and ocean waves, plants are one of the most powerful natural forces that can damage the fortifications.
Along Paseo del Morro a number of features have been installed to help protect the historic features of the fortification above from erosion. A breakwater was installed in 1949 and a rock pile along the shore, called a riprap, was started in the 1970s and completed in the 1990s. Concrete coating, known as shotcrete, was sprayed, or ‘shot’, onto the slope to further protect the National Historic Site.
The Paseo del Morro, from the San Juan gate to El Morro, is around 2.5 kilometres (1.5 miles) long and the walkway is open daily from 9:00 to 18:00. Visitors can follow the path around to the north of El Morro and climb a flight of stairs, which leads to the esplanade at the front of the fort.