Catedral de San Juan

Church in San Juan & Around

Image by Christopher Groenhout Getty Images

Although noticeably smaller and more austere than other Spanish churches, the Catedral de San Juan nonetheless retains a simple earthy elegance. Founded originally in 1521, the first church on this site was destroyed in a hurricane in 1529. A replacement was constructed in 1540 and, over a period of centuries, it slowly evolved into the neoclassical-inspired monument seen today.

Most people come to see the marble tomb of Ponce de León and the body of religious martyr St Pio displayed under glass. However, you can get quite a show here on Saturday afternoons when the limos roll up and bridal parties requisition the front steps. The main entrance to the cathedral faces Plazuela Las Monjas, a beautiful shaded park replete with antique benches and gnarly trees. On Sunday and holy days, you'll see worshippers in their finery.