Parque de Bombas

Notable Building in Ponce

Image by Danita Delimont Getty Images

Ponceños (people from Ponce) claim that the eye-popping Parque de Bombas is Puerto Rico’s most frequently photographed building, which is not too hard to believe as you stroll around the black-and-red-striped, Arabian-style edifice and make countless unwitting cameos in family photo albums. Since 1990 the landmark has been a tourist information center, where pleasant, bilingual staff will sell you tickets for a trolley and direct you to local attractions.

Originally constructed in 1882 as an agricultural exhibition hall, the space later housed the city’s volunteer firefighters, who are commemorated in a small, tidy exhibit on the open 2nd floor. The many-coloured lions are a reference to the man who gave the city its name: Juan Ponce de León y Loayza (leon in Spanish means lion).