Ways to visit Ponce
Known as “Museum City,” Ponce is home to the candy pink Museum of Architecture, a Spanish Colonial Revival mansion that houses a museum relating to the island’s all-important sugar and rum industries, and the highly-recommended Ponce Museum of Art, as well as the lemon-yellow Teatro La Perla. Once a fire station, the Parque de Bombas is now a museum dedicated to the history of fire fighting and is painted with scarlet and black stripes, the predominant colors of the city’s coat of arms and flag. Guided historical tours of the city from San Juan are available.
Recent reviews from experiences in San Juan
Things to know before you go to Ponce
- Climb La Cruz del Vigia (an observation tower) to catch views of the surrounding mountains and the Caribbean Sea.
- Try Mallorca bread, a fluffy egg roll that can be topped with powdered sugar or stuffed with ham, egg, and cheese.
- Stroll down La Guancha boardwalk to take in the local culture and listen to live music.
How to get to Ponce
Ponce is on Puerto Rico’s southern coast, over an hour by car from the capital San Juan. Many of the city’s sights are in the compact Old Town, centered around Plaza Las Delicias, making it easy to explore on foot. Round-trip transportation from San Juan is typically included on guided tours.
When to visit Ponce
The Ponce Carnival, which coincides with New Orleans Mardi Gras, the Carnival of Venice, and Rio de Janeiro's Carnival, is an annual 1-week celebration that ends on the day before Ash Wednesday. It’s typically held in February or March and features floats, music, and elaborate costumes, similar to the other Carnival festivals.
La Calle Loiza
Back in San Juan, visit La Calle Loiza in the revitalized neighborhood of Santurce to see another side of Puerto Rican culture and to taste emerging local cuisine. Considered the “hipster” neighborhood of San Juan, this area boasts boutiques, street art, and plenty of restaurants serving new and traditional eats. It’s located between Condado and Isla Verde.
- Rio Camuy Cave Park (Parque Nacional de las Cavernas del Río Camuy)
- Cuevas Arenales Caves
- Bacardi Rum Factory (Casa Bacardi)
- Old San Juan
- Chapel of Christ (Capilla del Cristo)
- Castillo San Felipe del Morro
- Paseo de la Princesa
- San Juan Cathedral (Catedral de San Juan Bautista)
- Museum of the Americas (Museo de las Américas)
- San Juan National Historic Site (Sitio Histórico Nacional de San Juan)
- La Fortaleza (The Fortress)
- Castillo San Cristobal
- Mercado de Río Piedras
- Old San Juan Piers