Ponce is the second largest city in Puerto Rico, but cruisers often overlook it for the capital of San Juan. Ponce has its own charm and is a more laid-back alternative to the busy port of San Juan. During Ponce shore excursions, visitors can easily experience the beauty and history of Ponce’s old town and the surrounding scenery.
In addition to its rich history (it’s named after Ponce de Leon, whose great-grandson founded the city), the area around Ponce is rich in agriculture and produce. Ponce cruise excursions can show you this side of Puerto Rico, which is one not seen by as many travelers.
Once of the main agricultural crops of the Ponce area and one that is fun to experience on Ponce cruise excursions is coffee. Discover local brews and learn how the coffee growing process works in Puerto Rico by visiting Hacienda Buena Vista, a 19th century coffee mill powered by a waterfall, or one of the other coffee haciendas in the area.
In addition to a fresh steaming cup of joe, Ponce cruise passengers won’t want to miss the architectural wonders of the city center, which has a beautifully preserved old town called Ponce Pueblo. While in Ponce Pueblo, stop into the early 20th century building that houses the Museo de la Historia de Ponce, which has interesting galleries about the development and history of Puerto Rico.
Other highlights of Ponce Pueblo you’ll see during Ponce shore excursions are related to fire. The most iconic is Parque de Bombas, a red and black checkered firehouse and museum located in Plaza Las Delicias (Ponce’s main square). Not far from there is Calle 25 de Enero, meaning January 25 Street in English, which is a street memorial to the fire that occurred on that date in 1899 and nearly destroyed the city. The houses are painted in red with black trim to honor the firefighters who saved the city, and the houses were actually bestowed upon those firefighters as a place to live. The descendants of those firefighters still live there.
Those whose perfect day in port includes beach time and relaxation will not be disappointed. Two popular options are a beach break to Caja de Muertos or a day pass to the nearby Hilton resort. After a day on one of our Ponce shore excursions, you’ll be glad your Caribbean cruise ship stopped in this less-visited region of Puerto Rico.