A yellow building in Old San Juan
PEARL OF THE SOUTH

Cruise to Ponce, Puerto Rico

Ponce may be Puerto Rico’s second-largest city, but this lesser-known gem rivals the island’s capital in captivating history and vibrant culture. It exudes a laid-back vibe and nostalgic charm with Ponce Creole architecture flanking gas lamp-lit streets, as horse-drawn carriages clop past pink marble sidewalks. Cruise to Puerto Rico and unwind like a true Ponceño along La Guancha boardwalk. Explore an archaeological site that includes an ancient cemetery at Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center. Offshore cays with pristine beaches are a ferry ride away— and an afternoon museum crawl leads to remarkable exhibits. Or ascend El Vigia Hill to stand atop the 100-foot Virgin’s Cross observation tower and view the city in all its glory.
National Language Spanish
Currency Accepted U.S. Dollar (USD)

Things To Do in Ponce

A woman looking at the local art in a museum in Ponce, Puerto Rico

Creative Canvas

A woman looking at the local art in a museum in Ponce, Puerto Rico

A woman looking at the local art in a museum in Ponce, Puerto Rico

Creative Canvas

Feast your eyes on one of Puerto Rico’s most impressive art collections while perusing the Museo de Arte de Ponce. These galleries house some 4,500 masterpieces including paintings, pottery and sculptures by famous local artists, as well as the finest assembly of European works in the Caribbean.

Painted statues of lions on the streets in Ponce, Puerto Rico
Painted statues of lions on the streets in Ponce, Puerto Rico

City Of Lions

Take a stroll around Plaza de las Delicias, the main square where local ponceños gather, to see the old colonial City Hall and prominent Lions Fountain. Pass the stark-white façade of Ponce Cathedral before admiring the 100-year-old, red-and-black Parque de Bombas fire house.

A plate of mofongo, a local cuisine specialty in Puerto Rico
A plate of mofongo, a local cuisine specialty in Puerto Rico

Local Cuisine

Cocina criolla is a blend of Spanish, Taino, American and African flavors. Las Cucharas’ waterside restaurants serve seafood dishes, while roadside stalls— kioskos— are known for deep-fried fritters and fresh fruit juices. Puerto Rico’s national dish mofongo (fried plantains mashed with garlic and olive oil) is a must-try. For dessert, get a scoop at King’s Cream, where they’ve churned tropical-flavored ice cream since 1964.

Necklaces and jewelry found while shopping in Ponce, Puerto Rico
Necklaces and jewelry found while shopping in Ponce, Puerto Rico

Shopping

Plaza del Caribe mall has department stores galore. Local merchants sell jewelry and clothing at the Atocha Pedestrian Mall downtown, while voodoo charms and vintage vinyl salsa records are sold at bustling Mercado Juan Ponce de Leon. Stop by Mi Coqui or Utopia, right on Plaza Las Delicias, for high-quality carnival masks and santos.

Insider's Tips
Insider's Tips
1 A 15-20% gratuity is customary, and most restaurants won’t include it in the bill.
2 Many of the city’s museums are not air-conditioned and will close early during hot weather. It’s best to arrive early to ensure admission.

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