"The Pearl of the South" Top 5 Page for this destination Ponce by VdV
Ponce Travel Guide: 93 reviews and 210 photos
My friend and I rented a car in Isla Verde/San Juan to spend a day in Ponce. We originally wanted to take a day tour from our hotel, but at least three tour operators said they did not have enough tourists to do a tour! They offered a private tour (i.e., private driver and guide), but it would cost about $300 USD. So, we opted to rent a car (for about $57 for one day, including rental, taxes and insurance), and be our own tour guides.
We departed Isla Verde around 9:30am, and arrived into Ponce about 10:45am. It was an easy drive, hardly any traffic (getting there.) Once we entered Ponce, however, the downtown traffic was pretty congested (similar to Old San Juan.)
Once there, here was our itinerary:
* Park car about 3 blocks from Plaza Delicias to avoid further traffic.
* Stroll around Plaza Delicias; visit Tourism Office and pick up map of Ponce
* Visit the Mueso de la Historia de Ponce
* Shop around the downtown area
* Have leisurely and delicious lunch at El Sabor Cafe, located in the Fox Delicias Hotel lobby
* Walk around Plaza more
* Tried to take Trolley, but no driver in sight.
* Walk back to our car via Plaza Atoche, pedestrian mall (and shop some more!)
* Retrieve car and head up El Vigia Hill
* Park car just below El Vigia, marvel at the view
* Take 45-minute tour of Museo Castillo Serralles
* Decide it's too late to get to the Museo del Arte de Ponce (it's around 4:30pm when we leave the Castillo, the Art Museum closes at 5:00pm.)
* Head back to San Juan (lots of traffic coming into Ponce/south from San Juan, luckily we are driving against traffic.)
* Spend evening at the Feria Artesanias at the Paseo de la Princesa in Old San Juan
After spending much of the day in Ponce, I soon realized that I wish we had planned to stay in Ponce overnight. There are so many little museums to browse, and we didn't even get a chance to head to the waterfront. Ponce would be a great 2-day getaway...now I know! Heard they have a great Carnaval festival in February, so maybe that is when I will return! :)
In sum, if you're planning a trip to Puerto Rico, do plan to spend at least a day (preferably 2 or more) in Ponce.
- Pros:Change of pace from San Juan; nice colonial architecture; lots of history
- Cons:None really
- In a nutshell:A good day trip from San Juan, or alternative place to stay for a few days
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