• Hannah Ghafary

Sketches of San Juan

I just recently got back from my latest travel adventure to San Juan, Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a beautiful Caribbean island off the eastern coast of the United States. Between the short flight and the lack of need for a passport, this U.S. territory is quite a hidden gem. Although my trip took some unexpected turns, I found myself truly enamored by the local flavors, the stunning beaches, and the rich history and culture of Puerto Rico.


I loved bringing my art supplies out to the beach to work. I already have a travel easel on my Christmas wishlist for next year, so that I can make "arting" while traveling more accessible.

I found that sketching in the Old City was best done on early mornings, before the streets of San Juan found themselves teeming with tourists.

Puerto Rico is a diverse travel destination because the island has many sides to offer. Between the bustling city and nightlife to the white sand beaches and tranquil waterfalls of the tropical El Yunque rainforest, Puerto Rico has an adventure for everyone.


The colorful streets of Old San Juan are clustered with colorful buildings true to Spanish colonial architecture.

Historic San Juan overlooks crystal clear ocean waters that surround the walls of the city.

Doodle of hermit crab I befriended on the beach (top left). Sketches of the architectural intricacies of Escuela de Artes Plásticas y Diseño (Puerto Rico's esteemed visual arts school) (bottom left and right).

Sketch completed inside El Morro of the Torre Antigua, or Old Tower, which rises high above the rest of the fort.

Castillo San Felipe del Morro, often called "El Morro" for short, is a 16th-century fortress on the northeastern-most point of San Juan. This citadel is a central point in the city of San Juan and its rich history. The insight into political tensions and rich history of Puerto Rico that lie within El Morro attracts over two million visitors each year to the islet of San Juan.


Walkway to El Morro on The Esplanade of San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan.

The Esplanade of San Felipe del Morro is a large field that stands between El Morro and the rest of Old San Juan. This rolling stretch of green grass is always sprinkled with both tourists and locals. With a beautiful view of El Morro and the ocean on one side and historic San Juan on the other, the Esplanade is the perfect place to fly kites or picnic with authentic Piraguas on a sunny day.


Beachside path to El Cañuelo, another smaller historical defense to the entrance to the bay of San Juan.

Beautiful art installation made of umbrellas on Fortaleza Street, Old San Juan.

Scenes from the nooks and crannies of San Juan inspired from an afternoon stroll.

The unique colors, sounds, and tastes of the island of Puerto Rico left me feeling inspired. I am excited to see how those elements will infuse into my art style as I continue creating. I hope this peek into my sketchbook inspired you and that my drawings were able to take you, if only for a moment, to the tropical, color streets of Old San Juan.




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