Welcome to Ponce
Ponce es ponce (Ponce is Ponce), runs a simple yet telling Puerto Rican saying: the explanation given as to why the nation's haughty second city does things, well, uniquely – and in defiance of the capital. Native son and author Abelardo Díaz Alfaro went further, calling Ponce a baluarte irreductible de puertorriqueñidad – a bastion of the irreducible essence of Puerto Rico. Strolling around the sparkling fountains... Read More
Top experiences in Ponce
Sights in PonceSee all sights
Ponce Historical and Cultural Tour from San Juan
Your day trip to Ponce begins with the 1.5-hour drive from San Juan, on Puerto Rico’s north coast, across the island and through the central mountain range to Ponce, which sits on the south coast. When you arrive with your guide, head to your first stop, the Parque de Bombas, which literally translates to Park of Pumps, aka the city’s old firehouse. The striking black-and-red-striped façade of the building — listed on the National Register of Historic Places — makes it one of the most iconic attractions in Ponce, if not all of Puerto Rico. Built in the late 1800s, the firehouse is now a museum that displays historic firefighting artifacts. If you don’t want to tour the museum or you finish quickly, you can simply admire and take photos from the outside while waiting for the rest of your group; the firehouse sits on Ponce’s main square, the shady and fountain-filled Plaza Las Delicias.Next up is the Ponce Art Museum (Museo de Arte de Ponce), one of the finest art museums in the Caribbean. After your guide gives you a brief introduction to the museum outside the entrance, you are free to enter and explore it on your own, checking out its collection of European and Puerto Rican art. Known for its pre-Raphaelite works, the museum houses pieces by such artists as Peter Paul Rubens and Eugéne Delacroix. Highlights include Flaming June by Frederic Leighton and The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. (Entrance fee to the museum is at your own expense.)Meet back up with your guide outside the museum and head to your final site, Serrallès Castle (Castillo Serrallès), a Spanish Colonial Revival home built in 1930. More sprawling mansion than true castle, the home was built for the Serrallès family, the founders of the Serrallès rum company, known for its Don Q rum. The beautifully manicured estate is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and now houses a museum. Tour the Moorish-style home with a docent, and then once again meet your guide, who will take you to a local restaurant for lunch. Restaurants vary daily, but you can expect local Puerto Rican cuisine. (Entrance fee to the museum and lunch are at your own expense.)After lunch, make the drive back to Puerto Rico, where you day trip ends.
Ponce Historical City Tour
Begin with pickup from your San Juan hotel, and travel in the company of your guide and small group to Ponce, roughly 1.5 hours away.Visit the Ponce Historic Zone, known for its unique architecture and downtown plaza. Admire Our Lady of Guadalupe Cathedral, the century-old red-and-black wooden firehouse Parque de Bombas, and the neoclassical and Spanish Revival facades as you go. Your day trip includes admission to some of Ponce’s top attractions, including Tibes Ceremonial Indian Park, an ancient Indian site that’s the oldest cemetery uncovered to date in the Antilles. Wander along its 12 stone structures, including ceremonial plazas and ball courts (nine of which are open to the public today). You’ll also pay a visit to the Ponce Museum of Art, the largest art museum in the Caribbean. Peruse more than 5,000 European and Latin American works — some dating back 500 years, as well as a growing collection of contemporary art. Admire iconic pieces such as Fredrick Lord Leighton’s gorgeous Flaming June, and Brushstrokes in Flight, a 28-foot-high painted metal sculpture by Roy Lichtenstein that marks the main entrance. When your day in Ponce is through enjoy a leisurely ride back to your San Juan hotel.