The island’s southern region developed independently of San Juan and northern Puerto Rico, so it retains its own customs and traditions. Its unique cultural attractions include an ancient ceremonial center of the indigenous Taíno, plantations and mansions of the colonial Spanish nobility, and one of the most acclaimed centers of art in the Caribbean. Its varied geography includes beaches, mountains, rolling plains, coastal forests and lakes. And it has an agricultural and culinary tradition that boasts outstanding seafood, the country’s finest coffee, and the sugarcane fields that gave birth to Puerto Rico’s famous rum industry. A place of quiet grace and elegance, Ponce is the largest city in the south.
Parque de Bombas de Ponce
The Parque de Bombas de Ponce (Old Ponce Fire Station) was built as the main exhibit pavilion for the 1882 Exhibition Trade Fair. Architect Lt. Col. Maximo Meana of the Spanish Army designed the pavillion; he later served as Ponce’s mayor. In 1885, the building was dedicated as Ponce’s official firehouse–a function which it served for more than 100 years. The woodframe, Gothic structure exhibits a Moorish influence and is painted in bands of red and black. Today, the building serves as a museum honoring and commemorating Ponce’s firemen.
It is open 9:30am to 6:00pm, Wednesday-Monday. Call 787-284-4141, ext. 342 or 787-284-3338 for more information
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/La9rdXBZtPG2
Ponce Museum of Art.
The Museo de Arte de Ponce’s internationally renowned collection is comprised of more than 4,500 works of art from many cultures, dating from the ninth century C.E. to the present. This dynamic, wide-ranging collection includes paintings, sculptures, prints, photographs, drawings, decorative arts, pre-Hispanic and African objects, Puerto Rican folk art, contemporary ceramics, video, and sound art.
Address: 2325 Boulevard Luis A. Ferre Aguayo, Ponce, PR
Phone: 787-848-0505 | 787-840-1510
Google Map: https://goo.gl/maps/EAtrYG2c5A42
Built in the 1930s, the opulent Serrallés Castle was the home of the rum barons who created Don Q Rum. The mansion is now a museum with authentic furnishings from the era, lovely gardens and, across the street, a second attraction in the Vigía Cross.
Plaza del Caribe Mall
Plaza del Caribe is the largest shopping mall in the southern region of Puerto Rico with a 641,000 sq. ft. indoor facilities and an extra 188,965 sq. ft. of outdoor areas. Located in the city of Ponce, it has two stories which include:
- More than 130 stores
- Department stores like JCPenney, Sears, and Macy’s
- Over 3,500 parking spaces
Exclusive stores like Forever 21, Zara, Puma, Old Navy, The Children’s Place, American Eagle Outfitters, Bath & Body Works, Starbucks, and Victoria’s Secret.
- 17 quick-service and table-service restaurants
- a 10 screen movie theatre
- 2 valet parking locations
Cruceta del Vigía & Japanese Gardens
On this site a small watch house was built and to its side a cross that was used to raise the flag of any incoming ship. That way, local commerce could be advised of the arrival of ships and the authorities could prevent possible attacks. The “El Vigía” hill (or “the Watch”) was a vital part of the life of all ponceños. In 1738 it served as a refuge during a terrible storm, and in 1787 it served as a safe haven after a earthquake on that year. In recent years, a new structure was built on that same place to commemorate that small “bohío” house that served as watch and protector of the people of the city of Ponce. The new cross, with a height of around 100 feet, raises to almost 300 feet above sea-level, offering a breathtaking view of the city of Ponce and the Ponce harbor below.
Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/WUcMG7wS2aC2