Things to do in Ponce, PR

Get Your Bearings in Ponce

By Kristopher Neild
Ponce Expert

Stay
Eat
See & Do
Party
Shop

Where to Stay

Ponce is a relatively small, manageable city. Most of the hotels are sprinkled around Plaza Degetau, within walking distance of the major tourist attractions. The Hilton Gold & Casino Resort is the crown-jewel of the city and is nearest to the coast. Staying here will allow you quick access to the off-shore island Caja de Muertos, perfect for day trips. 

Caution:

The south side of Puerto Rico is not known for its beaches. Staying in nearby Guanica will allow you access to the best ones.

Hot Tips:

Take the guess work out of the hotel choice and choose Ponce Hilton.

What to Eat

When in Puerto Rico, eat Puerto Rican. To sample the scrumptious local fare, you won't have to venture too far outside your hotel in the city's center. Rationally situated on the city's coast are some solid seafood dining establishments serving up locally seasoned catch and spectacular views of el mar

Hot Tips:

Try El Ancla for seafood with a view.

Be Sure to Sample:

Hand-made ice cream from King's Cream.

Things to See

Ponce is a city of deep culture and legacy, having been founded by the grandson of famed explorer Juan Ponce de Leon. In the city center you can find many great museums and Spanish architecture. The "wow" inducing exterior of "Parque de Bombas" must be experienced. The coastline access offers visitors a variety of water activities such as snorkeling and jet skiing. An underrated attraction are the nearby "Camuy Caves".  

Caution:

Depending on the route, driving to the Camuy Caves can be tough for those with fear of heights and narrow roads.

Hot Tips:

Take a ferry off the pier to Coffin Island. Spend the day snorkeling above beautiful reefs.

Places to Party

Ponce has a respectable nightlife scene led by the cluster of bars around the center square. "La Gauncha" (a boardwalk lined with cheap drink dispensaries) is popular with locals and tourists, filling to the brims on weekend nights. The area around the Tuque Water Park is good for midweek imbibing. 

Take It or Leave It:

You'll be in Puerto Rico, so expect to dance to some Reggaeton. Virus is a good place for dancing to this niche genre.

Hot Tips:

On Wednesdays, the Hollywood Cafe has a "party of the broke a**," which rationally includes cheap drinks.

Where to Shop

Traditional malls and local craft stores dominate the shopping scene in Ponce. "Centro del Sur" is a shopping center/mall located in the heart of Ponce. There you will see traditional mall stores just like in the States. Drive down "Pso Perla Del Sur" and you will bump into three more shopping centers including the "Fox Delicias" mall. Finding local crafts, will involve scoping out the boardwalk and keeping the old eyes peeled for street vendors. 

Hot Tips:

Mi Coqui is where to go to find great souvenirs and local novelties.

Best Local Souvenir:

A Vejigante mask.

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