Puerto Rico

Published on October 9th, 2010 | by Mark Chesnut

ExpressGuide: Ponce, Puerto Rico

Fast City Guides for Time-Pressed Travelers
Not your father’s Ramada: The Ramada Ponce is set in a restored historic building.

1. STAY: Hilton Ponce Golf & Casino Resort http://www.hilton.com ($144 and up, with special weekend rates as low as $79; luxury resort-style hotel with large pool, adjacent golf course); Ramada Ponce http://www.ramadaponce.com ($94.50 and up; set partly in a refurbished building that dates to 1882; the best hotel in the historic city center); Hotel Bélgica http://www.hotelbelgica.com ($70 and up, best low-priced hotel in the historic city center)

Fresh shrimp at Archipiélago.

2. EAT & DRINK: Archipiélago http://www.archipielagopr.com (Ponce’s newest trendy restaurant, on a rooftop in the heart of downtown); Lola http://www.ramadaponce.com/eng_restaurant.html (fusion cuisine in a stylish environment; it may be inside the Ramada Ponce, but this is the best Ramada I’ve ever seen); El Rincón Argentino http://www.rinconargentinopr.com (Argentine-style beef in a lovely former home downtown) 

The historic city center in Ponce.

3. SHOP: Pick up colorful Carnaval masks at the shops surrounding Plaza Las Delicias, the main square (Ponce is home to the island’s largest pre-Lenten festivities)

Parque de Bombas, the historic firehouse in Ponce.

4. DO: Must-sees for first-timers include a visit to Plaza Las Delicias, the peaceful city square dominated by a 19th-century cathedral and the iconic Parque de Bombas, a black- and white-striped former firehouse that dates to 1882. The Museo de Historia de Ponce provides interesting background on the history of this architecturally gorgeous city, while the Edward Durell Stone-designed Museo de Arte de Ponce — now reopening, following a $20 million renovation and expansion — is the most impressive and largest art museum in Puerto Rico and quite likely the entire Caribbean.

Plaza Las Delicias, Ponce’s main city square.

5. MORE: Puerto Rico Tourism Company: http://www.gotopuertorico.com (and check out all the great Puerto Rico info on LatinFlyer.com)

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About the Author

The founder and editor of LatinFlyer.com, Mark has more than 15 years of experience as a writer, editor and manager. He's worked with some of the biggest consumer, in-flight and travel trade publishers that cover Latin America.

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