10 Things to do in Puerto Rico – South Side

There are so many things to do in Puerto Rico on the south side of the island.  Here are some great options:

1. Guayama
Once Guayama was the unofficial capital of the area. Today you can check out the main central plaza with its beautiful grand Catholic Church designed based on Notre Dame in Paris.

2. Jobos Bay Visitor Center
The second largest estuarine area in Puerto Rico, Jobos Bay consists of 15 tear shape mangrove islets known as Cayos Caribe and the Mar Negro area. It is home to the endangered brown pelican, peregrine falcon, hawksbill sea turtle and West Indian manatee
Rd. 705, km 2.5, Aguirre
Open Monday – Saturday; 787-853-4617

3. Coamo Thermal Springs
Taino Indians and Franklin D. Roosevelt have all taken dips in these warm soothing waters. Man-made pools that filter the fresh warm spring water for you soak in at your leisure.
End of Rd. 546, Coamo
Open daily; 787-825-1150

4. Ponce
Ponce, the second largest city in Puerto Rico outside of the San Juan metropolitan area. The city is known locally as the ‘The Pearl of the South’ due to its close proximity to the Caribbean Sea.

5. Parque de Bombas
This is the city’s original firehouse built in 1882, that is now a museum. Just look for the famous red and black building near the plaza.
Plaza Las Delicias; 787-284-3338

6. Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center
See how the indigenous people of Puerto Rico lived before the Spanish arrived. 1 hour bilingual tours are available for the museum and the grounds.
Rd. 503, Km 2.5
Open Tuesday – Sunday & holiday Monday’s; 787-840-2255

7. Hacienda Buena Vista
This coffee plantation is a century old farm that was part of the coffee processing center of Ponce. The farm is fully restored and showcases estate buildings and water-powered machinery.
Rd.123, Km 16,8
Open Wednesday – Sunday (reservations required); 787-284-7020

8. Castillo Serralles
This 3-level, 14,000 sq. ft. mansion belonged to the Serralles family, who dominated the sugar industry at the time. Fully restored and decorated with furniture and paintings from the Serralles family. Visitors can also see a documentary about the rum and sugar industry in Ponce.
17 El Vigia Hill
Open Tuesday – Sunday & holiday Mondays; 787-259-1774

9. La Cruceta del Vigia
A cross shaped observation tower just up the hill from Castillo Serralles and well worth the hike up. You can go to the top floor inside the cross and experience a spectacular view.
17 El Vigia Hill
Open Tuesday – Sunday & holiday Mondays; 787-259-1774

10. Japanese Gardens
Fairly recent addition to Ponce and located close to La Cruceta del Vigia. The gardens include trees, ponds, elevated bridges and a Japanese tea house.
17 El Vigia Hill
Open Tuesday – Sunday & holiday Mondays; 787-259-1774

This article was written by Captain Tim and the Crew of Caribbean Trading Company.

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