The history of Puerto Rico’s San Juan Bay is inevitably linked to that of the island’s capital city. The present-day metropolis has three distinct areas such as the resort and beach area, Old San Juan, and the outlying communities of Puerta de Tierra, Santurce, Hato Rey, and Río Piedras.
Río Piedras, founded originally in 1714, was formerly a municipality until it was incorporated into the capital city of San Juan in 1951. It has been home to the main campus of the University of Puerto Rico since 1903, nicknamed Ciudad Universitaria (University City), as well as to fish species such as snook, mackerels, jacks, and tarpon (the island is one of the world’s top fishing destinations for tarpon).
Rent a Fishing Charter
There are charters you can rent for fishing in San Juan Bay for either the whole day or half day. Bring appropriate clothing, a hat, sunscreen, a valid license to fish, your camera, sunglasses, a rain poncho if necessary, and some light lunch or snacks and beverage. Your chosen fishing charter should be able to tell you fishing-related info – lunar phase, tidal coefficient, etc. – before you fish.
You can go deep-sea fishing in San Juan Bay and catch sailfish, Allison tuna, mahi-mahi, wahoo, white and blue marlin, tarpon, and mackerel. Most charter arrangements are made with most resorts and major hotels, with many charters capable of carrying six to seven passengers exclusive of the charter crew. Half a day of fishing is typically four hours and costs may start at $650 while a full day charter may cost at least $1,050.
To better appreciate the significance of San Juan Bay in the history of Puerto Rico, visit the massive fortifications of La Fortaleza and the forts of San Cristóbal, San Juan de la Cruz, and San Felipe del Morro, as well as a large portion of the city’s wall constructed between the 16th and 19th centuries for protection of the city and San Juan Bay against foreign naval attacks such as the one mounted by Sir Francis Drake in 1595.
Fort San Felipe del Morro, located at the peak of rocky land on Puerto Rico’s western extremity, was built to protect the bay. Eventually developed into superb military engineering, the fort, fondly nicknamed El Morro, was remodeled with steps, stout walls, and ramps for transport of artillery and troops. By the end of the 18th century, El Morro had over 400 pieces of cannon, making it impregnable.
The relatively much smaller, Fort San Juan de la Cruz, a.k.a. El Cañuelo Fort, was constructed to defend the island’s western end’s entrance to San Juan Bay not only against naval war vessels of the English and Dutch but against Caribbean Indians and sea pirates as well. Not much information is found on this small fort except that it’s located on Goat Island, or Isla de Cabras, and it once protected San Juan Bay.