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Ponce, Puerto Rico

Ponce, United States

The sparkling, proud “second city” of Puerto Rico
Second in size only to San Juan, Ponce is part of a region known as Porta Caribe, “the Gateway to the Caribbean.” This historically significant town of about 195,000 people on the southern coast of Puerto Rico offers balmy coastal ambiance, diverse architectural styles and some of the best museums on the island. From the stately, sparkling city center to the breezy, bustling waterfront, Ponce gives San Juan a run for its money any day of the week.

Grand Architectural Style

Magnificent buildings grace all of Ponce, from the city center to the hills overlooking it, in styles ranging from Spanish Colonial and art nouveau to art deco and neoclassical. Start in the Plaza de las Delicias, the city's central square, where the red-and-black 1882 fire station’s Moorish mixed with Gothic Victorian style makes it instantly recognizable. Don’t miss Ponce Cathedral and the bubbling Fuente de los Leones (fountain of lions). Other interesting buildings include Casa Alcaldía (city hall), built in the 1840s, Centro Cultural de Ponce to see art exhibits and Casa Armstrong-Poventud, an example of Ponce Creole architecture.


Major Cultural Attractions

Make time to tour Ponce’s museums. In the city center, you’ll find the Museo de Arte de Ponce, a place to enjoy European and Puerto Rican art, while the Museo de la Historia de Ponce (Museum of the History of Ponce) displays documents, objects and relics that illustrate the origins and history of the city. Museo Castillo Serrallés (Serallés Castle) overlooking the city was once the home of a sugar cane baron and is now a museum of the history of the sugar industry. To explore the pre-Columbian culture of the Taino people, head to the Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center.


A Little Rest and Relaxation

If you want to a great dining experience, head to the beachfront boardwalk called La Guancha, which is lined with restaurants and street stalls. To get a sampling of Puerto Rico’s coffee culture, head to the hills and tour Hacienda Pomarrosa or Hacienda Buena Vista estates to see how the bean was harvested and roasted in colonial times. Scuba divers and fishermen can find numerous companies to take them on half- or full-day offshore excursions, or you can take a ferry to the uninhabited Coffin Island, where there is swimming and snorkeling.

Credit: Visit The USA

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