Visit the Populous City of Ponce
Ponce, also known as La Perla del Sur (the Pearl of the South), is a city located in southern Puerto Rico. It is one of the most extensive and most populous cities in Puerto Rico, second only to San Juan. The city is rich in historical and cultural heritage, making it a popular tourist destination. There are various attractions to explore in Ponce, such as a famous castle, notable art museums, and the Fuente de los Leones, where visitors can toss a coin. Visitors to the city can also enjoy a stroll in the town square, Plaza Las Delicias. Additionally, the city is surrounded by beautiful southern beaches where one can soak up some sun or take a boat ride to an enchanting islet.
Museo de Arte de Ponce
Museo de Arte de Ponce (MAP) is widely considered one of the best art museums in Puerto Rico. It has gained international recognition for its permanent collection of 4,500 pieces, including paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, ceramics, photographs, video, and sound installations. The collection spans work from Puerto Rico, the Americas, and Africa and has a notable collection of 19th-century European art. MAP operates every day except Tuesday and offers guided tours throughout the day. Admission fee is $6.
Note: The Museo de Arte de Ponce is currently closed to the public due to reconstruction work.
Plaza Las Delicias is a popular gathering place in Ponce.
Plaza Las Delicias
The public square of Ponce is a delightful destination for both locals and tourists. Adorned with stunning colonial buildings and lush shade trees, it's no wonder it's a popular spot. Among the square's most impressive structures is the Parque de Bombas, an old fire station transformed into a museum. Additionally, the plaza boasts the grand Fuente de Los Leones, the mayor's residence, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Remember to visit the many charming coffee shops, restaurants, and boutiques that sell locally crafted products.
The Castillo Serrallés is the former residence of the Serrallés family, who owned the Don Q distillery.
Located on top of a hill and offering breathtaking views of Ponce, this grand estate used to be the residence of the Serrallés family, who were the owners of the Don Q rum distillery. During a guided museum tour, you can admire the intricate architecture, well-maintained gardens, and luxurious swimming pool while learning about the family's lifestle and business growth.
Behind the Serrallés Castle, you will find two famous attractions - the imposing Cruceta del Vigía, a tall tower situated on a hill that provides a panoramic view of the entire city, and the Jardín Japonés, a beautiful natural space filled with trees, bonsai, and ponds. The Cruceta was built in the 19th century during the Spanish rule over the island and served as a lookout point to spot pirate attacks or incoming commercial ships.
If you visit La Guancha, don't miss the opportunity to witness the beautiful sunset in Ponce.
The beautiful seaside boardwalk offers a range of restaurants and kiosks selling delicious food, beer, cocktails, and soft drinks. La Guancha is a popular spot for entertainment amongst the locals and is a perfect place to unwind after a busy day exploring the city. However, please note that La Guancha is closed to the public due to reconstruction work. If you're a coffee lover, Hacienda Buena Vista in Ponce is a great place to visit, with an abundance of coffee beans.
Hacienda Buena Vista
Exploring the coffee plantation nestled amidst the mountains is like taking a trip back in time. To visit Hacienda Buena Vista, book a guided tour in advance. During the tour, you will learn about how coffee was grown and processed back in the 19th century. Also, take advantage of the famous Salto Vives waterfall before you leave.