Ponce's attractions are as extraordinary as they are diverse. In this charming southern city, you can visit a famous castle, tour standout art museums, toss a coin in the Fuente de los Leones, and stroll the streets of the town square, Plaza Las Delicias. Outside of the city, soak up some sun on Puerto Rico’s beautiful southern beaches, or take a boat ride to an enchanting islet.

Here’s a look at some of the must-see attractions in Ponce:

Inside staircase of museum.

The Museo de Arte de Ponce has more than 4,500 works of art.

Museo de Arte de Ponce

Widely known as one of the best art museums in Puerto Rico, Museo de Arte de Ponce (MAP) has gained international recognition for its permanent collection of 4,500 pieces, consisting of paintings, sculptures, decorative arts, ceramics, photographs, video, and sound installations. MAP’s collection spans work from Puerto Rico, the Americas, and Africa, and has a notable collection of 19th-century European art. This important institution operates every day except Tuesday and offers guided tours throughout the day. Admission is $6.

Note: The Museo de Arte de Ponce is currently closed to the public due to reconstruction work.

man smiling by a fountain at Plaza Las Delicas in Ponce

Plaza Las Delicias is a popular place to gather in Ponce.

Plaza Las Delicias

The public square of Ponce is popular among locals and tourists alike; with its ornate colonial buildings and lush shade trees, it’s easy to see why. One of the square’s most striking structures is the Parque de Bombas, an old fire station which has been converted into a museum. Around the plaza you will also find the magnificent Fuente de Los Leones, the mayor's residence, and the Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Be sure to stop in at the many charming coffee shops, restaurants, and boutiques selling locally made products.

Read More: Where to Eat in Ponce

Aerial view of the Castillo Serrallés

Castillo Serrallés: former home of the Serrallés family, owners of the Don Q distillery. 

Castillo Serrallés

Perched on a hilltop with sweeping views of Ponce, this grand estate was formerly the home of the Serrallés family, owners of the Don Q rum distillery. On a guided tour of the museum, you can appreciate the ornate architecture, manicured gardens, and lavish swimming pool, as well as learn about how the family lived and grew their business.

Behind the Serrallés Castle is the imposing Cruceta del Vigía, a high tower located on a hill overlooking the whole city; and the Jardín Japonés, a beautiful natural space with trees, bonsai, and ponds. The Cruceta was built in the 19th century when the Island was under Spanish rule and was used to monitor and alert of possible pirate attacks or the arrival of commercial ships.

La Guancha at sunset in Ponce

La Guancha at sunset in Ponce.

La Guancha

This picturesque seaside boardwalk is lined with restaurants and kiosks selling food, beer, cocktails, and soft drinks. La Guancha is a popular entertainment destination for locals and an ideal place to kick back after a day of strolling around the city.

Note: La Guancha is currently closed to the public due to reconstruction work.

The red-and-black-striped Parque de Bombas, a former fire station in. Ponce, Puerto Rico, is illuminated at night.

Parque de Bombas, a former fire station, is one of Ponce's most iconic sights.

Parque de Bombas

You'll find this old fire station in Ponce's enchanting town square, Plaza Las Delicias, directly behind the town's cathedral. Now a humble museum, the building was once the city's main fire station — and the first ever in Puerto Rico. This photography hotspot was listed on National Register of Historic Places on July 12, 1984.

Isla Caja de Muertos is a secluded island off Puerto Rico's southern coast.

Isla Caja de Muertos is a secluded island off Puerto Rico's southern coast.

Caja de Muertos

The vibrant Caja de Muertos island, located eight miles off the coast of Ponce, is a nature reserve. Find crystalline beaches, gorgeous hiking trails, a lighthouse, and a cave. To reach this islet, book a private boat trip in advance.

Hacienda Buena Vista in Ponce.

Coffee beans for days at Hacienda Buena Vista in Ponce. 

Hacienda Buena Vista

Visiting this coffee plantation hidden between mountains is like traveling back in time. Take a guided tour of Hacienda Buena Vista (must be booked in advance), learn about how coffee was grown and processed in the 19th century, and don’t leave without visiting the famous Salto Vives waterfall.