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Ponce Travel Guide, Puerto Rico

Situated in Puerto Rico, Ponce lies at 5 km from the Southern Coastal Plain area. Its neighbours are Peñuelas in the east, Juana Díaz in the west and Adjuntas, Utuado and Jayuya in the south.

Known as "La Ciudad de los Leones" and comprising 194,636 people, Ponce is the second largest city in Puerto Rico, after San Juan. Also known as the Pearl of the South, the city, nowadays a trading centre, is the main shipping port. Ships bring here coffee, tobacco, sugar cane and rum.

The average temperature in the region where Ponce lies is 75F.

Loíza Ponce de León, was the one to lay the basis of Ponce in 1692. Until 1898 the city was the capital of the southern region. The core of the city with its decorative colonial buildings dates from the late 17th century.

Ponce gained the name of "Ciudad Señorial" (majestic city) because of its neoclassical buildings and façades that are following the Catalonian heritage.The architecture of over 1000 buildings dates from the 19th century and it’s known under the name of Creole architecture, a mixture of neoclassical and rococo.

The best moment for visiting the city is in February. In this period takes place the Carnival; the streets are full with parades of musicians and vejigantes, masked revelers. If you decide to enjoy the carnival, you will find it similar to Mardi Gras. Or you can visit Ponce in November during the Fiesta Nacional de Bomba y Plena, a competition between dancers and drummers.

You can visit here the Ponce Museum of Art. It is the only international museum on the island with exhibits of art collections. The building designed by Edward Durrell Stone, is made up of seven interconnected hexagons. Housing more than 400 sculptures and 1,000 paintings, the museum includes Inca pottery and Thai pieces beside the works of Velasquez or Rubens.

There is also available to tourists The Museum of Puerto Rican Music. Here are displayed Indian, Spanish and African musical instruments and the memorabilia of famous musicians who are part of the island’s musical history.

Another interesting museum is Parque de Bombas, located in a firehouse since 1990.

An impressive building is Casa Alcaldía (which is the city hall). Dating to the 1840s. Among the heritage of this island there is to be found Casa Armstrong-Poventud, with neoclassical architecture. Other sites that worth visiting are the Serralles Castle and the Cruceta El Vigia; the latter, an observation tour, is said to have been used by scouts who were looking after attacking ships.

Are in search for a place where to relax? Then go to Plaza de las Delicias. Situated in downtown, you can sit on a bench and look at the cathedral and the fountains.

On the outskirts of Ponce tourists can visit Hacienda Buena Vista and Tibes Indian Ceremonial Park with Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center. The site was discovered in 1975 due to the hurricane which brought to light the oldest cemetery found in the Antilles with 200 skeletons of the natives Indians. The site includes seven ball fields which seem to have been used to play a game similar to soccer.

The most famous hotel in Ponce is the Holiday Inn. Other accommodations include Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort with Costa Caribe Golf & Country Club, where you can play golf.

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