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Ponce Travel Guide

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Catholic Church, Ponce © El Yunque Travel Guide

Lying a few miles inland, in the centre of Puerto Rico's south coast, the attractive city of Ponce is rich in Spanish colonial heritage and architecture, with a well-preserved 17th century historic heart. Pretty colonial homes and majestic churches surround the lovely city plazas where fountains gurgle in radiant sunshine.

The preservation of its neo-classical architectural heritage and several interesting attractions makes Ponce a worthy port of call for Caribbean cruisers and holidaymakers. The city has a busy port: the nearby Playa de Ponce Port is Puerto Rico's principal trade port. Tobacco, coffee, rum and sugar cane from all over the Caribbean are loaded aboard vessels here, and floods of sightseers are disgorged regularly from an increasing number of cruise liners that have added Ponce to their itineraries.

The city, dubbed 'the pearl of the south', also offers some interesting excursions, and a short drive out of town will take you to the lovely white sandy Playa de Ponce, where the clear waters are ideal for snorkelling. The city's built-up beachfront promenade area, a few miles south of the centre, is called La Guancha. The boardwalks, bars, souvenir shops, restaurants and snackeries surround hundreds of yachts and small boats moored in a saltwater estuary, and the area becomes very crowded with locals and visitors at weekends and holiday periods. Despite this, Ponce is determinedly laid-back and fairly quiet in the evenings, making it a great Caribbean holiday destination for visitors of all ages.

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