Puerto Rico is full of rich Latin culture and Caribbean influence, making this destination a true cultural journey. Ponce, Puerto Rico is an island favorite, known for its historical landmarks, excellent food, and an abundance of activities and things to do. This city is surprisingly packed with hidden gems for you to explore, and luckily we know where to find them! Read on for an insider’s guide to Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Parque De Bombas. Photo courtesy of Matador Network

Things to do in Ponce

Take a walk through Old Town and get your explorer on. This historic part of Ponce is an excellent way to get up close and personal with the city’s culture. The architecture alone is a huge reason why so many tourists come to explore this part of the city.

Parque de Bombas is the most colorful building in the city. With a bright red and black design, this historical site is hard to miss while exploring Old Town. Parque de Bombas was originally a firehouse and now serves as a museum to commemorate the firefighters who have fought for Puerto Rico in the past.

Ponce Cathedral is one of the oldest churches on the island and marks the center of its historic zone. Dating back to the 17th century, this architectural phenomenon is a simple must-do on our trip to Ponce Old Town. After you are done aweing at its exterior structural beauty, head inside to admire the dome ceilings and the cathedral’s famous pipe organ.

Another thing Puerto Rico is internationally recognized for is its delicious coffee. Hacienda Buena Vista is a 19th century coffee mill that doubles as a museum for the history of coffee in Puerto Rico. This Coffee mill is nestled within the mountains and features some breathtaking mountain top views. You can enjoy the sounds of waterfalls as you sip on the world famous, rich coffee. This location is a dream for coffee lovers, perfect for family excursions, and even weddings and events.

Guanica State Forest

Get up close with nature

A short drive from Ponce Puerto Rico, you’ll find Bosque Estatal de Guanica & Biosphere Reserve. Unlike El Yunque Rainforest, this is a dry forest. The sensation of feeling like you are on the desert and beach simultaneously is incredibly unique and hard to find nearly anywhere else. This 1000-acre-wide forest is a paradise for bird watchers and trail seekers. There are more than 10 trails to choose from, offering incredible scenery for your adventure. You can venture through limestone caves, sugar mill ruins, and even out onto the beach.

Just south of Bosque Estatal de Guanica is the interestingly nicknamed Gilligan’s Island. Unlike the popular show, however, getting stranded is not expected. Plenty of locals and tourists alike come here to paddle board, swim, snorkel or just catch some sunshine on the shore. There are day trip tours available where a tour guide will take you through the town of Yauco, where you can visit the lovely artisan markets and soak in the colorful culture like a true local. Close by Gilligan’s Island, you’ll stumble upon an incredible photo op in a sunflower farm that you simply cannot miss.

The weather in Ponce remains in the low 70s to high 80s all year long, so it’s fit for a getaway any time of year.

Restaurants in Ponce, Puerto Rico

Brunch Spread

Start off your day with Brunch at Proscenium, a hidden gem in Ponce. Located right in the city center, this cafe has entertainment every weekend including music, comedy and short plays. The entertainment is a mere complement to the delicious food at Proscenium. Their menu features traditional breakfast items such as pancakes, waffles and scrambled eggs. They even have a $5 buffet with traditional Puerto Rican and Caribbean specialties. It’s a great way to sample different flavors all at once.

If you are looking for a casual atmosphere with Italian fare, Campioni is the place to eat. Located in Downtown Ponce, Campioni is open for both lunch and dinner and is well known for their delightful wood fired pizza.

If you venture just outside the city, you will find El Negocio de Panchi, and we guarantee your tastebuds will not be disappointed. The cuisine at El Negocio de Panchi is full of Latin and Caribbean influence, including the fan favorites off the menu; the filet mignon, salmon puff pastry, and duck. The service is excellent and pairs well with the very cozy atmosphere. This local gem features amazing daily specials and dietary-restriction-friendly options.

The pool at Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort. Photo courtesy of Matador Network

One of the many reasons you will enjoy staying at Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort is the fact that you are right next to one of Ponce’s best restaurants. La Cava provides award winning cuisine in a modern atmosphere. You can sit and take in the romantic ambiance, or choose to enjoy a tasty hand crafted cocktail at the cozy La Cava bar. The food radiates with Latin, Caribbean and Mediterranean influences, as does much of the traditional food on the island.

Now that you are a true insider to Ponce, Puerto Rico, it would be hard not resist booking a trip to this amazing city. It takes you on a cultural journey and is packed with endless things to do and incredible new food options. Enjoy your stay here in style at the Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort.

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