Christian Science Monitor

Guarded iron gates mark La Fortaleza. This imposing building, dating from 1533, is the oldest executive mansion in continuous use in the western hemisphere. The original fortress for the young colony, La Fortaleza eventually yielded its military preeminence to the city’s newer and larger forts and was remodeled and expanded to domicile island governors for more than three centuries. You can take a 30-minute guided tour that includes the mansion’s Moorish gardens, the dungeon and the chapel.

Tour schedules change daily; call on the day you wish to visit to reserve a place, or stop by the Tour Guides Office near the west end of Calle Forteleza. Be prepared for a security gauntlet, including handing over your ID for the duration of the tour.