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 Diaz, 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.
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.
Phone #: (787) 999-2200
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.
Phone #: (787) 259-1774
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. Guided tours are conducted daily, but tours in English are held only at 1:30 from Wednesday to Sunday by appointment.
Phone #: (787) 722-5882
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.
Phone #: (787) 848-0505 (787) 840-1510
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.
Phone #: (787) 824-3338
Tibes Ceremonial Center
The original inhabitants of Tibes actually pre-date the native Taíno, who reached Puerto Rico around 1,000 AD. The center includes remains of several ball courts, ceremonial plazas and a museum with artifacts excavated at the site.
Phone #: (787) 840-5685 (787) 840-2255
Text from seepuertorico.com