Plaza del Quinto Centenario

San Juan

This modern square is shoehorned in among several architectural landmarks and offers great views over El Morro and the ocean beyond. Built in 1992 to honor the 500-year anniversary of Columbus’ first voyage to the Americas, it is dominated by a stylized granite and clay totem pole – El Tótem Telúrico – by Puerto Rican artist Jaime Suárez. Using clay from across the Americas, it is meant to signify the origins of the people of the Americas.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby San Juan attractions

1. Cuartel de Ballajá

0.05 MILES

Built in 1854 as a military barracks, the cuartel is an impressive three-story edifice with large gates on two ends, a series of arches and a large…

2. Iglesia de San José

0.06 MILES

What it lacks in grandiosity it makes up for in age: the Iglesia de San José is the second-oldest church in the Americas, after the cathedral in Santo…

3. Plaza de San José

0.07 MILES

This small cobblestone plaza is dominated by a statue of Juan Ponce de León, cast from English cannons captured in the raid of 1797. It's a popular spot…

4. Museo de las Américas

0.07 MILES

This museum presents an impressive overview of cultural development in the Americas, including indigenous, African and European influences. Four permanent…

5. Instituto de Cultura Puertorriqueña


Constructed in the mid-19th century as a shelter for the poor, this bright-yellow building houses the executive offices of this institute that organizes a…

7. Museo de San Juan

0.11 MILES

Set in a former marketplace, this small museum offers the definitive take on the city's 500-year history. A permanent exhibit showcases well-laid-out…

8. Casa Blanca

0.13 MILES

First constructed in 1521 as a residence for Puerto Rico’s pioneering governor, Juan Ponce de León (who died before he could move in), Casa Blanca is the…