Ponce is a city on the south coast of Puerto Rico.
Ponce is the second largest city in Puerto Rico. The city was founded by Ponce de Leon's grandson Juan Ponce de León y Loayza in 1692, but not much seems to have happened since then, and it's far less touristy in character than San Juan. Ponce's draw is its rich history and unique architecture. The atmosphere is charmingly laid-back, a stark contrast to the bustling economic and nightlife districts of San Juan. Even as the island's second largest city, tourists may be shocked or refreshed to find that Ponce's downtown is a single quaint city square with no steady nightlife.
Mercedita International Airport, a quick cab ride from downtown, offers up to 4 daily flights to the USA. Spirit,and Jet Blue offer low fares and service to the airport. For intra-island service, Cape Air has many daily flights to the capital in San Juan.
Ponce is reachable via the main island expressway. It's located about 64 miles from San Juan. The drive takes about one hour. The road is modern and convenient and restaurants and shops are readily available throughout the trip.
Ponce has a large público terminal at the intersection of Calle Union and Calle Vives, a few blocks north of Plaza las Delicias. Públicos to San Juan (1-2 hrs, $15) depart from pier 5A, mostly early in the morning. Call Chóferes Unidos de Ponce at 787-764-0540 to make a reservation; they can also pick you up for a small extra fee.
The downtown area is compact and very attractive to explore on foot. Cabs are cheap and plentiful, should you need one, although many museums and restaurants are within a very short distance of the central plaza. The historic center has quality sidewalks. Public transportation in Ponce is pretty much non-existent, although there's a touristy "train" that does a loop of the downtown. Parking can be quite a challenge at times.
Most of Ponce's sights are tightly packed around the main square of Plaza las Delicias.
Caribbean Images Tours, La Guancha,Ponce ☎ 787 244-6283, . 9AM-6PM. 1/2 day guided snorkeling excursions to Caja De Muertos. All snorkel equipment is provided. For the novice and non swimmer, we offer instruction and an actual 'hand holding’ experience, if necessary, as safety and education are our top priorities which in turn makes an enjoyable day for everyone. $55.
*Caribbean Water Sports, La Guancha, Ponce, ☎ "787, . 9AM-6PM. Jet ski tours and snorkel excursions. We guide you on an exciting jet ski ride to near by cays to snorkel or explore the lagoons of these deserted mangrove covered islands. Reservations required. $80 per hr.
Central Ponce has a number of bars around the main square. Note that many are closed Monday nights and Holidays.
Most hotels are clustered around Plaza Degetau, easy walking distance to the downtown sites and museums but far from the water and beach. Most have private parking.