Last Updated on

← Back to ‘Discover the Best Things to Do, Everywhere’

Ponce is a historic city that lies on the southern coast of Puerto Rico. The city of Ponce, which is known as “La Perla del Sur” or “The Pearl of the South”, was named after Loíza Ponce de León (great-grandson of Juan Ponce de León), and is home to a beautifully preserved old-town, Creole-style architecture, delicious restaurants, and interesting museums and galleries. Many visitors think it rivals that of San Juan, the country’s capital city! Here are the best things to do in Ponce, Puerto Rico:

By Anders Wideskott / Unsplash

1. Explore the Museo Castillo Serrallés

Museo Catillo Serrallés is an agricultural museum set in an impressive Spanish colonial-style mansion that was built in the 1930s. It’s also known as the Museum of Sugar Cane and Rum, as the museum showcases history about the sugar cane industry — something that was a big part of Puerto Rican history — and also the rum industry, which was fed by the sugar cane industry. The mansion that houses the museum was actually built for the owner of Don Q rum, one of Puerto Rico’s largest rum distilleries, and it was also home to a sugar factory before being converted into a museum. Museo Castillo Serrallés displays the history of the family behind Don Q rum, the industry, and the workers. It’s also known for its beautifully manicured lush gardens, where you can relax after exploring the museum.

By MI ISLA BELLA / Facebook

2. Visit Parque de Bombas

Parque de Bombas is a historic fire station, best known for its unusual building. It was built in 1882 with the intention to be a pavilion, however, it was converted into the city’s first fire station that was in use for over a century. It has since been converted again into a museum and is known as one of the most important landmarks in Ponce. Today, its exterior boasts brightly colored red and black candy stripes. Parque de Bombas is located on Plaza Las Delicias, where you can see locals sitting in the evening, soaking in the warm air and cool breeze. It’s listed on the National Register of Historic Places in Puerto Rico. 

The best vacation rentals for the lowest price

By Wallace Rivera / Facebook

New inspirations, destinations, adventures.

Discover more with our weekly newsletter.

3. Visit Hacienda Buena Vista

If you’re interested in finding out more about the historical significance of coffee plantations, visit Hacienda Buena Vista, which was once a large working coffee plantation in the 19th century. The hacienda was first built as a corn mill to produce food for slaves working in nearby plantations, before being converted into a coffee plantation after the Vives family acquired the machinery and structures to plant the coffee bean.

The hacienda sits on around 90 acres of lush land, and in its heyday, would ship around 10,000 pounds of coffee to Europe yearly. If you want to try your hand at picking coffee beans and roasting them, visit in October when there are group tours.

At the hacienda, you can see a historic hydraulic turbine that’s over one-hundred years old and was a marvel of engineering. You can also find out more about the relationship between slaves and the land, hear harrowing tales of slavery, and find out more about coffee production. There are also slave quarters, a small museum, a manor house, and stables that you can explore on a group tour. Equally be sure to look around the Vives family house, much of which still includes period furnishings.

By Puerto Rico Historic Building Drawings Society / Facebook

4. Catch a Performance at La Perla Theatre

Ponce is home to the historic theater La Perla theatre, which is known to be one of the oldest in Puerto Rico. It’s still in good shape and hosts regular performances, shows, and music concerts. If you can, try to catch a show with traditional Puerto Rican music.

The best vacation rentals for the lowest price

By Mari Negron‎ / Facebook

5. Stroll Around the Ponce Museum of Art

Ponce Museum of Art, or the Museo de Arte de Ponce, is the largest art museum in the Caribbean. It’s home to an excellent collection of international art, as well as art by local Puerto Rican artists. It’s thought to be the finest art museum in Puerto Rico and home to one of the most extensive collections of European art in the Latin Americas, with around 4,000 pieces of art dating back to the 14th century and covering periods such as Baroque, Pre-Raphaelite, and the Spanish Golden Age. It’s known as one of the best art museums in the Americas and is a must-visit for anyone in Ponce.

The best vacation rentals for the lowest price

By Museo de Arte de Ponce / Facebook

6. Attend the Carnival in Ponce

If you can, time your visit to Ponce with the lively Carnaval Ponceño that takes place annually in February. It’s a fantastic display of color, flamboyant costumes, and music and is like a week-long party in the city.

By My Ballet Boutique / Facebook

7. Visit Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center

The Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center is located in Barrio Tibes, which is a Ponce municipality. It’s home to an archeological discovery of high importance and is thought to be the largest indigenous cemetery in the Antilles, containing 186 skeletons. You can also see pre-Columbian and pre-Taino artifacts on display at its museum.

The best vacation rentals for the lowest price

By Paradise Puerto Rico / Facebook

8. Explore the Caja de Muertos Island

Caja de Muertos, literally translated as ‘Coffin Island’, gets its name from its strange, coffin-like shape. The island is easily accessible from Ponce city — just a short boat ride — and is known for its beautiful white sand beaches and hiking trails. The island is uninhabited, and protected by the Reserva Natural Caja de Muertos natural reserve, as it has a large population of native turtles.

By Sailing Satori / Facebook

9. Walk Down La Guancha Boardwalk

A walk down La Guancha boardwalk is a must when in town. You’ll see tourists and locals alike slowly strolling down the boardwalk, enjoying its view of the sea and the city. Grab an ice cream, or a Puerto Rican dessert, and take in the view.

The best vacation rentals for the lowest price

By AI News Service Puerto Rico / Facebook

10. Visit the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe

The Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe is located in Ponce’s historic center, right in the heart of  Plaza Las Delicias. The cathedral was built in the early 20th-century to replace the current temple that sat in the same spot since the 17th century and suffered a lot of damage from earthquakes. It’s painted an egg-shell blue color and is very picturesque. 

By Wallace Rivera / Facebook
Share this post now:


  1. Ashli Ferguson

    Our honeymoon was in PR and it was GORGEOUS!!! It wasn’t here but I would love to go here now!

  2. Tracy Gnann

    The beaches are calling me! I want to visit Puerto Rico. There seems to be such a rich culture!

  3. Ashley K.

    What a beautiful place with so much to do! I would love the beach and board walk and my husband would enjoy the art museum. We are looking for somewhere to go for our 10 year anniversary next year, so we will have to seriously consider Puerto Rico.

  4. Arrows + Attitude

    Ok booking a trip ASAP! Looks so beautiful!

  5. shnooks GF

    OMG those pictures are magical 😍 I would definitely love to visit the museums as I love learning about ancient traditions plus the carnival really looks amazing ❤

  6. I would looooveee to go to Puerto Rico. You’ve offered some fab suggestions too. I’m sure if I followed your advice I would have an amazing time.

  7. Wow they all look like wonderful places to check out! Seeing a number of these would make for a fantastic vacation.

  8. wow! wow! wow! these pictures are so beautiful! im convinced. I need a trip to ponce! just beautiful

  9. Pool Operator Talk

    Puerto Rico is one of my absolute favorite places to visit, but I have not been to Ponce. I will have to make this a must-see on my next trip.

  10. Hackytips

    A city with beautiful architecture! Carnival picture is amazing 🙂

  11. You’re giving me major wanderlust, I’ve always wanted to visit Puerto Rico and it’s on my travel list

  12. Ivan Jose

    Beautiful Puerto Rico! Some of the sites here are similar to what we have here in the Philippines.

  13. blair villanueva

    Though I’m not yet scheduled to explore Puerto Rico, my bestfriend is! I will share your awesome guide to her 😀

  14. Elizabeth O

    It reminds me of my mother’s village in West Africa… Lush, beautiful, and very inviting. I’d love to visit.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.