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San Juan de Ulua tour by tram

Discover the biggest star in Veracruz with this fun visit to the historic fortress of San Juan de Ulua. The star-shaped fort has dominated the city’s waterfront since Spanish colonial times and it offers a fascinating insight into Mexico’s past. Board a quaint tramcar and enjoy a 30-minute journey through the city before reaching the castle where a local guide will greet you and show you about this unmissable landmark.

Throughout its five centuries of existence, San Juan de Ulua has enjoyed incarnations as a fortress, prison, armoury, presidential residence and even a temple to worship the gods. Despite the ravages of time, and with the scars of war and revolution etched on its walls, the fort defiantly remains in place on an islet in Veracruz harbour.

The Spanish colonial authorities began building the fortress in 1535 with the intention of protecting the city from raids by pirates and buccaneers, and within a century Veracruz had become the most important trading outpost in Mexico, from where ships laden with treasure and commodities sailed to and from Europe.

Your guide will fill you in on all the important events and milestones, explaining what function each section served and regaling you with anecdotes about prisoners such as the witch known as ‘the Mulata of Cordoba’ and lothario bandit Chucho el Roto. San Juan de Ulua Prison had a reputation of being such a hellhole that once a prisoner entered, he never left. After the tour, you have free time to explore the fortress and take as many photos as you wish of this impressive attraction. Discover the biggest star in Veracruz with this fun visit to the historic fortress of San Juan de Ulua. The star-shaped fort has dominated the city’s waterfront since Spanish colonial times and it offers a fascinating insight into Mexico’s past. Board a quaint tramcar and enjoy a 30-minute journey through the city before reaching the castle where a local guide will greet you and show you about this unmissable landmark. Meeting/pick-up point: Ticket office at the tourist tram plaza outside Veracruz Aquarium.

Duration: Two-and-a-half hours.

Start/opening time: 10am on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Languages: Spanish.