Ponce

Catedral de la Guadalupe

Ponce is a city in the Porta Caribe region of Puerto Rico.

Understand

Ponce is the second largest city in Puerto Rico. The city was founded by Ponce de Leon's grandson Juan Ponce de León y Loayza in 1692, but not much seems to have happened since then, and it's far less touristy in character than San Juan. Ponce's draw is its rich history and unique architecture. The atmosphere is charmingly laid-back, a stark contrast to the bustling economic and nightlife districts of San Juan. Even as the island's second largest city, tourists may be shocked or refreshed to find that Ponce's downtown is a single quaint city square with no steady nightlife.

Get in

By plane

Mercedita International Airport, a quick cab ride from downtown, offers daily flights to the mainland US. JetBlue has direct flights to New York JFK and Orlando airports.

By car

Ponce is reachable via the main island expressway. It's located about 64 miles from San Juan. The drive takes about 1 hour and 15 minutes. The road (highway #52) is modern and convenient and restaurants and shops are readily available throughout the trip.

By público

Ponce has a large público terminal (787-842-1222) at the intersection of Calle Union and Calle Vives, a few blocks north of Plaza las Delicias. Públicos to San Juan (2 hrs, $20) depart from pier 5A, mostly early in the morning. Call Chóferes Unidos de Ponce at 787-764-0540 to make a reservation; they can also pick you up for a small extra fee.

Get around

The downtown area is compact and very attractive to explore on foot. Cabs are cheap and plentiful, should you need one, although many museums and restaurants are within a very short distance of the central plaza. The historic center has quality sidewalks. Public transportation in Ponce is pretty much non-existent, although there's a touristy "train" that does a loop of the downtown. Parking can be quite a challenge at times.

See

Parque de Bombas

Most of Ponce's sights are tightly packed around the main square of Plaza las Delicias.

Do

Buy

Eat

Drink

Central Ponce has a number of bars around the main square. Note that many are closed Monday nights and Holidays.

Sleep

Most hotels are clustered around Plaza Degetau, easy walking distance to the downtown sites and museums but far from the water and beach. Most have private parking.

Budget

Mid-range

Splurge

Guests at the Hilton Ponce usually enjoy day trips to Caja de Muertos (Coffin) Island for a snorkel or Scuba Diving adventure, visit "La Guancha" nearby boardwalk for a friendly interaction with Ponce's people, and explore the museums and spanish revival architectural jewels in downtown.

Go next

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, October 10, 2015. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.