Ponce, Puerto Rico

Ponce, Puerto Rico Ponce, Puerto Rico

On the southern coast of Puerto Rico is the city of Ponce.

Outside of San Juan it’s Puerto Rico’s most populated city. Ponce is names after Juan Ponce de León y Loayza, the great-grandson of Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce de León.

Founded in 1692, Ponce is full of magnificent architecture and is considered one of the most beautiful places to visit in Puerto Rico.

Some of the highlights include From the Plaza Las Delicias, the Parque de Bombas (an old fire station which has been converted into a museum), Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Serrallés Castle, and Museo de Arte de Ponce.

In the Plaza Las Delicias sits The Ponce Cathedral (Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe) which dates back to the 17th century. The centuries old plaza is full of vendors selling food, coffee, and different crafts. At night it is full of live music.

The Serrallés Castle was formerly the home of the Serrallés family, owners of the Don Q rum distillery. As I’ve found during my many trips to Puerto Rico , Don Q seems to be the favorite rum of Puerto Rico. On my last trip I enjoyed much Vermouth Cask Don Q which was incredible, but sadly not available in the continental states yet. You can take a tour of the mansion and check out the extraordinary architecture and gardens while you learn a bit about the Serrallés family.

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Castillo San Felipe del Morro in Old San Juan - Puerto Rico

Castillo San Felipe del Morro Castillo San Felipe del Morro

Castillo San Felipe del Morro, also known as El Morro, is a fort that was built in San Juan in the 16th century when Puerto Rico was under Spanish rule.

A trip to San Juan isn’t complete without visiting this iconic structure. Castillo San Felipe del Morro is named in honor of King Philip II of Spain. The fort was designed to guard the entrance to the San Juan Bay, and defend the Spanish colonial port city of San Juan from enemy ships.

In 1898, as a result of the Spanish-American War, the island changed hands from Spain to the United States. El Morro was designated as part of Fort Brooke and actively used as a military installation during the First and Second World Wars.

In 1961, the US Army retired El Morro, passing it on to the National Park Service to establish as a museum. And in 1983, El Morro and the walled-city of Old San Juan were declared Unesco World Heritage Sites.

The Gate of San Juan The main entrance of Old San Juan when it was entirely walled in is a giant doorway carved right into the city wall. From there you can head right to Paseo del Morro or left to Paseo de La Princesa.

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