Visit Isla de Cabras, an islet situated at the entrance of the San Juan Bay. It’s the perfect place to take an afternoon stroll or have a picnic with loved ones and friends, or even by yourself so you can enjoy the wonderful views of El Morro. You will also see plenty of huge cruise ships and trade ships passing through the bay all the time.
Isla de Cabras is currently where you can find the El Cañuelo or Fortin San Juan de la Cruz, a new recreational park, and a local firing range used by the police.
A Short History
About 500 years ago, San Juan Bay was nearly impossible to enter because it was protected with the construction of the city walls (El Morro) as well as the El Cañuelo.
A leper colony was established on Isla de Cabras by the end of 19th century, when Puerto Rico governor Segundo de la Portilla set the very first stone of the building used to house lepers. The construction was completed in 1883. When American troops occupied Puerto Rico in 1898, the management of the building rested on the island’s government and during that time it had 35 residents. Finally, in 1926, they built a leper asylum on Trujillo Alto which is the main island, and they moved the lepers there, from Isla de Cabras.
The islet is a far cry from what it was a hundred years ago and it offers many of the amenities and facilities that people need. There is a snack bar, a picnic area and restrooms to ensure everyone is comfortable and enjoying their time on the island.
Among the things you can do here include taking pictures – there are so many scenic views from just about every area on the island so be sure to bring your camera. You can also walk around the park to visit the Fort San Juan de la Cruz which is a popular historical site. There are beaches around but you cannot swim there. Don’t worry though, you can always go to the Blue Flag Beach in Punta Salinas (which is close by) after spending a bit of time on Isla de Cabras.
Then of course there are picnic tables and gazebos here so you can have a picnic and just simply enjoy the views around you. But remember that the place is usually full during weekends and holidays so be sure to come early. Or you can just come here during week days when the park is nearly empty.
Finally, there is a restaurant on site and it’s open from Wednesday until Sunday from 10:00AM to 10:00PM.
Getting to Isla de Cabras is easy. It’s only a short drive from San Juan (approximately 20 minutes). Take Route 22 west and exit on 7A. Go to Route 165 until you get to Route 870 East then follow Route 870 until you get to the end. Parking costs $4 for the entire day but take note that they close at 5:30PM. It’s also about 5 minutes drive from the Bacardi Rum Distillery.