Ponce, Puerto Rico, is one of the best places to visit on the island if you want to enjoy a fascinating variety of historical architectural styles. The city dates back to 1692 and over the centuries the buildings that have been erected have been influenced by Spanish, neoclassical, contemporary and Caribbean designs. The wide balconies on the homes and the distinctive masonry work on the exterior are captivating and the subject of many photographs. With more than 1000 historic buildings, this city is a history buff’s dream when it comes to choosing a vacation destination.
There is more to see and do in Ponce than just walk around viewing the architectural styles. The Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadeloupe is the best known church on the island. A small chapel was built on this site in 1660, but the present church dates back to the 1930’s.
To learn more about the history of Puerto Rico, spend some time at the Casa de la Masacre de Ponce. This museum may be small, but the exhibits pack a punch in providing details about one of the bloodiest periods of history in Puerto Rico. It provides an insight into the background, details and aftermath of the police crack-down on a march held by the Nationalist Party on March 21, 1937. The Museum of the History of Ponce will take you back in time to learn about the natives of the island – the Taino Indians. The exhibits trace the history of the town and with the interactive displays you can also locate other tourist attractions in which you may be interested.
Museo de Arte de Ponce is the place to go if you are interested in exhibits of art from all over the world. It contains over 400 works of art by pre-Raphaelite and Italian Baroque artists and the works of two masters of Puerto Rican art – Francisco Oller and Jose Campeche.
El Vigia Hill is the highest point in Ponce. Along the way to the top you will pass by many buildings dating back to the 19thcentury and there is a castle at the top. From this vantage point you will have a close-up view of the Virgin’s Cross. The observation tower at this location will give you an astounding view of the countryside. Spend a few minutes of quiet in the Japanese garden where you can take in the sights and scents of bonsai gardens and delight in the sight of bridges over ponds and streams.
Ponce is a legend in Puerto Rico and one city that you should not exclude on your visit to the island.