Cities Of Puerto Rico - Ponce

The Pearl of the South

"Ponce is Ponce" is a famous saying that involves pride, history and tradition. Named after Juan Ponce de León, the Island’s first governor, the city was found­ed in 1692 by Ponce de León’s great-grand­son. Today Ponce is the second largest city on the Island and a major contributor to the political, social, economic, and cultural development of Puerto Rico. Ponce is known as "La Perla del Sur" (the Pearl of the South) and the "Ciudad Señorial" (the Noble City) because of its beautiful facades, neoclassical architecture and European touch.

Ponce is strategically located in the Cordillera Central foothills, to the west of the Llano Costanero del Sur (South Plain Coast), facing the Caribbean Sea and approximately in the center of the south coast. In its early days, this strategic location acted as a magnet for immigrants. People from England, France, Italy, Germany and Spain came to develop an international city that to this day maintains its rich African heritage. The African personality, beliefs and music add colorful flavor and rhythm to Ponce's culture. Part of this is the bomba and plena rhythms, a combination of African and Caribbean musical influence.

The historic, beau­ti­ful down­town Plaza is a must-see, with love­ly foun­tains and the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de la Guadalupe. Behind the cathe­dral is the red and black, cen­tu­ry-old wood­en fire­house, Parque de Bombas. This ­unique fire­house is open to the pub­lic, with exhib­its on the sec­ond floor.

Free transportation operating out of the historic plaza includes trolley tours through the historic zone (daily), horse & carriage rides (weekends only) and the Chu-Chu Train with tours to Paseo Tablado La Guancha (the boardwalk across from the Ponce Yacht and Fishing Club).
For an incred­ible vista of how the moun­tains meet the sea at Ponce, drive to the sum­mit of El Vigía Hill, where ­scouts once ­scanned for attack­ing ships. Visitors can ­ascend La Cruz del Vigía, a 100-foot obser­va­tion tower. Nearby is the Castillo Serrallés, which is a magnificent example of the Spanish revival architecture popular in the 1920s.

You might also investigate the world-class Museo de Arte de Ponce, with the fin­est col­lec­tion of European art in the Caribbean as well as impor­tant Puerto Rican works.
Just out of Ponce, the Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes is the site of the old­est ceme­tery uncov­ered to date in the Antilles. This ­ancient Indian site ­includes seven bat­eyes (ball ­fields), dance ­grounds, a pre-Columbian astro­nom­i­cal obser­va­to­ry and a recon­struct­ed Taíno vil­lage.

On route 123 from Ponce to Adjuntas is the Hacienda Buena Vista (by reservation only). This cof­fee plan­ta­tion was built in 1833 and ­restored to its orig­i­nal con­di­tion by the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico.

















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