Puerto Rico's southern region is also known as Porta Caribe, or Gateway to the Caribbean. Guayanilla, Ponce, Santa Isabel, Salinas, Guayama, Arroyo, and Patillas comprise the coastal towns of Porta Caribe, offering visitors often-isolated beaches facing the calm waters of the Caribbean and marinas for boating.
Further inland, the towns of Yauco, Peñuelas, Villalba, Juana Díaz, Coamo, and Guayama are primarily agricultural communities, many of which retain charming vestiges of colonial life under Spanish rule.
Because of its diverse landscape, Porta Caribe is a natural destination for outdoor recreation. It is also a historical destination featuring cultural richness. The Toro Negro Forest, Coamo Springs, and many protected reserves offer a variety of eco-tourism adventures.
The island's southern region developed independently of San Juan and northern Puerto Rico, so it retains its own customs and traditions. Its unique cultural attractions include an ancient ceremonial center of the indigenous Taíno, plantations and mansions of the colonial Spanish nobility, and one of the most acclaimed centers of art in the Caribbean. Its varied geography includes beaches, mountains, rolling plains, coastal forests and lakes. And it has an agricultural and culinary tradition that boasts outstanding seafood, the country's finest coffee, and the sugarcane fields that gave birth to Puerto Rico's famous rum industry.
A place of quiet grace and elegance, Ponce is the largest city in the south.
Any exploration of Ponce must begin in its lovely Plaza de las Delicias, the city's central square and home to its iconic red-and-black fire station, lovely cathedral, and bubbling fountain of lions. From here you can take the Ponce trolley, which offers two routes that canvass the city and stops at its major attractions, including the outstanding Ponce Museum of Art, the wide beachfront boardwalk, and Castillo Serrallés, the spectacular mansion belonging to the family behind Don Q Rum.
If you're here around Christmas, head down to the town of Juana Díaz on January 6, or Three Kings Day. This is one of the most folkloric holidays in Puerto Rico, and no other town celebrates it like Juana Díaz. Known as the "City of the Three Kings," January 6 festivities date back to 1884. There's even a museum dedicated to its history.
The fertile soil and tropical climate of Puerto Rico's mountains are ideal conditions for coffee production. Once the island's principal export, we now have a fine artisanal industry. If you want to take home some of Puerto Rico's best brew, look for the Yauco Selecto brand from Yauco, which is known as El Pueblo del Café, or "The Coffee Town.". If you are passionate about coffee, do not miss a visit to try the artisanal coffee of Hacienda Pomarrosa or Café Lucero in the mountains of Ponce.
The city of Ponce has its own international airport, which offers several direct flights to many cities in the United States, including New York City and Orlando. If you’d like to travel directly to southern Puerto Rico, look for the PSE airport code. Carretera 10 Ponce. Call (787) 840-3151 for more information.
Caja de Muertos
Caja de Muertos, or Coffin Island, is one of Ponce’s natural treasures. It’s a pristine environment with crystalline beaches a short ferry ride away from the coast of Ponce. It’s also a great place to hike and kayak. To secure your trip, reserve the ferry or tour in advance.
Built in the 1930s, the opulent Serrallés Castle was the home of the rum barons who created Don Q Rum. The mansion is now a museum with authentic furnishings from the era, lovely gardens and, across the street, a second attraction in the Vigía Cross.
These sulfur water springs have been open since the 19th century. The pools are surrounded with beautiful gardens and a small inn.
Hacienda Buena Vista
This unique 19th century landmark combines history and nature in a single tour. Guided tours will take you to the historic estate of the original owners, to walk through the natural protected areas, and will show you how coffee and other products were harvested and roasted using the latest technology in the 1800s. Hacienda Buena Vista is located north of Ponce.
A gateway to the Caribbean Sea, the port of La Guancha features a recreational part with an observation tower, a boardwalk, restaurants, food stands, and live music on weekends.
Museo de Arte de Ponce
Home to the finest collection of European art in the Caribbean, the Ponce Museum of Art boasts 4,500 pieces and includes works by Roy Lichtenstein, Lord Frederic Leighton, Peter Paul Rubens, El Greco and Velázquez, as well as works by Puerto Rico native José Campeche.
Parque de Bombas Museum
The most whimsical building in Ponce is a red-and-black Moorish fire station located in Plaza Las Delicias. Built in 1882, the striking Parque de Bombas was the city’s primary fire station for over a century. In 1990, it was decommissioned and converted into a museum commemorating the history of Ponce’s firefighters.
Salinas Olympic City
This 1500-acre park is dedicated exclusively to sports. It hosts top-notch facilities for almost every Olympic sport, a museum of Puerto Rico’s Olympic history, and even a family water park.
A Day in Paradise: Caja de Muertos Island
Island Ventures, Ponce
Attractions: Caja de Muertos Island
Activities: Snorkeling, Swimming, Beachcombing
All-Day Trip to Ponce
Travel Services, Inc., Ponce
Attractions: El Vigía, Serrallés Castle, Ponce
Bar Hopping Tour
VIP Tours, Ponce
Ponce City Tour
Amador Island Tours, Ponce
Attractions: Tibes Ceremonial Park, Plaza Las Delicias, Cruceta El Vigia, La Guancha
Ponce City Tour from Ponce
VIP Tours, Ponce
Attractions: Castillo Serrallés, Cruceta del Vigía, Ponce, La Guancha
Water Fun at Playa Santa
Pino's Boat & Water Fun, Inc., Guánica
Attractions: Playa Santa
Activities: Jet Ski Rentals, Paddle Boats Rental, Kayaking, Bannana Boat Riding
Salinas Beach Tour
Acampa Nature Adventure, Salinas
Attractions: Salinas Cays
Activities: kayaking; pad
Coffee ‘all process’ tour & tasting
Café Lucero, Ponce
Attractions: Café Lucero, Ponce
Activities: Agrotourism, walking, sightseeing, coffee tasting
Scuba Diving Trip to Guayanilla
Island Scuba, Guayanilla
Activities: Scuba Diving, Snorkeling
Frank Ocean Trips (Parguera Sport Fishing & Boat Tours)
Activities: Fishing Trips
Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort
Howard Johnson Hotel Ponce
Marina De Salinas & Posada El Nautico
Ponce Plaza Hotel & Casino
Holiday Inn Ponce
Costa Bahía Hotel & Convention Center