Ponce: pretty pastel colours on the Carribean coast.

Known as the “Island of Enchantment”, Puerto Rico is one of those countries that has something for everyone. It ticks all the boxes for a picture-perfect Caribbean island holiday, with beautiful beaches that could compete with any in the world. But there’s more to this tropical island than just sun, sea and sand…

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There are a hoarde of easily accessible diving and snorkelling spots along the coast lines, plus numerous places to hire kayaks, jetskis and boats. For those interested in nature and conservation the bioluminescent bays are a must, and if you’re outdoorsy there are 28,000² acres of El Yunque National Rainforest to explore.

For culture vultures, the Spanish-American influence in Puerto Rico makes for a fun melting pot of culture. There’s an abundance of heritage to learn about, as well as some tasty local dishes to sample.

Adrenaline junkies will love the ziplining and adventure parks dotted across the island, and for those wanting something a little tamer, there are plenty of charming cities worth visiting.

Obviously, there’s the capital, San Juan (home to the country’s largest colony of feral cats). But outside of this I’d definitely recommend taking a trip to Puerto Rico’s second capital, Ponce. It offers a distinctly different feel from its big brother, despite being just an hour away.

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The municipality of Ponce is Puerto Rico’s southern jewel, with one of its many nicknames being “La Perla del Sur” (the pearl of the south). Ponce’s actual name gives away its Spanish roots: the great-grandson of Spanish conquistador Juan Ponce De León founded the hamlet from which the city later sprung.

Though the people of Ponce – also know as Ponceños – are not afraid of modernity and are keen to keep up with the times by developing hotels, casinos and malls, there is an abundance of buildings from different historical periods scattered throughout the city.

These buildings are what I loved so much about Ponce. They add a touch of colour to the corners of a city that would otherwise be grey and undistinguished.

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One of the most notable buildings in Ponce is the Parque de Bombas, a red and black striped historic fire station. It was built in the town’s plaza in the Spanish architectural style of immigrants from Cataluña. Nowadays though it’s a museum and tribute to the bravery of its firefighters, closely guarded by colourful lion statues (another nickname for the city is “Ciudad de los Leones”, or city of the lions).

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Other buildings around Ponce’s main plaza include the Casa Alcaldía (Ponce City Hall), which is the oldest colonial building in the city, dating back to the 1840s. And the Armstrong-Poventud Residence is a great example of the neoclassical architectural heritage of the island. The architecture of Ponce really is beautiful:

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But don’t be fooled by the colonial style glamour shown in these photos – there are plenty of neighborhoods in Ponce that aren’t so affluent,  which look somewhat run-down, dilapidated and almost shanty-esque.

There was still plenty of colour lining the streets though, in the form of pastel-painted concrete apartment blocks and multi-coloured murals:

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We spent a lovely day exploring Ponce, despite the weather being a bit grey and clammy. On the two-hour drive back to the hotel in Levittown however, the heavy dark clouds that had been looming burst open, refreshing the muggy air. Just as quickly as the downpour started though, it stopped, paving the way for a breath-taking sunset.

It rounded off our trip to picturesque Ponce nicely.

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74 thoughts on “Ponce: pretty pastel colours on the Carribean coast.

    1. That’s one of the things I liked about it too Lisa – none of the houses were the same, all different styles and colours (not like new build estates in the UK that all have the same look out the front!) x

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  1. I absolutely love the bold colours of the ‘city of lions’! Puerto Rico has been on my wish list ever since a few of my friends visited it couple of years back. Wish it wasn’t so far from where I live 😦 Have you been to other Caribbean islands and do you think you’d recommend Puerto Rico as one of the best to visit ?

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    1. Thanks for your comment Medha – it was a beautiful town, even the rundown areas were still pretty ❤ I have been to the Bahamas, Cuba and Puerto Rico – the Bahamas is very different, Cuba and Puerto Rico are similar. I must say though, I much preferred Puerto Rico – it's a diverse island with something for everyone x

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  2. I’d love to get to Puerto Rico one day, it got so much bad press after the Zika outbreak. Ponce looks so colourful, but yes you can see it’s run down in some areas from your photos. Still, an interesting neighbourhood and island, thanks for sharing!

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    1. You’re right Lisa, it did get a lot of bad press – I actually visited just before all of that, but I still had a fantastic time there, and of course, obviously didn’t contract the virus! 😉 I would recommend it to anyone though! x

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  3. S0 beautiful! I love the vibrancy of the buildings and those colourful lion statues are really cool! What was your favourite part of Puerto Rico as a whole?

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    1. It’s hard to pick just one part of such a diverse island! I loved so much of it – the people, the food, the colourful cities, the wide and winding roads, the street art, the history, the culture… The list goes on! x

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    1. Yeah, I agree Justine – but is it a South America vibe or do parts of South America have a Caribbean vibe? Because when I visited Colombia, I thought the city of Cartagena (on the Caribbean coast) was completely different to other parts of the country… It’s an interesting question which I don’t know the answer to! x

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  4. I Didn’t get a chance to go to Puerto Rico (Although definitely on my list) when I traveled through Central America however there seems to be a similar theme in building types and colors through the region. There are so many places throughout Central America where towns seems so vibrant due to the colors of their colonial building yet walk a few blocks and your into rundown townships, ghettos and you really get to see the contrast in what that town is really like.

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    1. This is so true Amit – I have found the same in other Caribbean coastal towns I’ve been to as well, such as Cartagena and Santa Marta in Colombia. It’s so interesting to see the different architecture types when travelling x

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      1. I love that, how diverse architecture is around the world but at the same time you can recognise it from what region they’re from…like if you’re in Asia you know those buildings are Asian…and the same for Europe and Latin countries ….just another thing to love about traveling 😁😁

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  5. It looks like a dream place to visit. I love nature and these pictures are clearly attractive. Also, being the lover of art, the architecture of the building and those amazing wall paintings are damn good!

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  6. Wow the pastel colors are so stunning! I’ve never heard of this place quite honestly and I love the difference it is compared to strongly colored buildings. I feel like I could get lost in this dreamy town!

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  7. Never been to Puerto Rico but would love to think that some day I will get to travel there. It looks like my kind of place with all that amazing colour everywhere. My insta and my blog would be spoiled for choice what with colourful lions and amazing street art.

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  8. I can’t help but think about the current state of Puerto Rico as I read this. The people there have really suffered so much and have not gotten the help that they deserve. It’s such a beautiful place.

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