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Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center

Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center (Rte. 503, Tibes, at km. 2.2)(2 miles north of Ponce) — Bordered by the Río Portuguéz and excavated in 1975, this is the oldest cemetery in the Antilles. It contains some 186 skeletons, dating from A.D. 300, as well as pre-Taíno plazas from A.D. 700. The site also includes a re-created […]

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Parque de Bombas

Parque de Bombas (Plaza Las Delicias, Ponce) — Constructed in 1882 as the centerpiece of a 12-day agricultural fair intended to promote the civic charms of Ponce, this building was designated a year later as the island’s first permanent headquarters for a volunteer firefighting brigade. It has an unusual appearance — it’s painted black, red, […]

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Hacienda Buena Vista

Hacienda Buena Vista (Rte. 123, Barrio Magüeyes Km 16.8, Ponce) — Built in 1833, this hacienda preserves an old way of life, with its whirring water wheels and artifacts of 19th-century farm production. Once it was one of the most successful plantations on Puerto Rico, producing coffee, corn, and citrus. It was a working coffee […]

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Casa Wiechers-Villaronga

Casa Wiechers-Villaronga (106 Calle Reina e/Calle Méndez Vigo, Ponce) – In a city filled with neoclassical confections, this is one of the most elaborate. Alfredo B. Wiechers, who returned to his native Ponce after studying architecture in Paris, designed the house. Though small in scale, it makes a big impression with details like huge arched […]

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Plaza de Colón

Plaza de Colón (Old San Juan) — The tallest statue of Christopher Columbus in the Americas stands atop a soaring column and fountain in this bustling Old San Juan square, kitty-corner to Castillo San Cristóbal. What was once called St. James Square was renamed in 1893 to honor the 400th anniversary of Columbus’s arrival in […]

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OLD SAN JUAN (VIEJO SAN JUAN)

The U.S. National Parks Service maintains this huge colonial military complex, comprising Castillo El Morro and Castillo San Cristóbal. These fortresses were constructed throughout the 17th and 18th centuries to defend the San Juan coastline from other European powers who at one time or another attempted to invade Puerto Rico. It’s an area that rises […]

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Casa Bacardí Visitor Center

Casa Bacardí Visitor Center (Bay View Industrial Park, Rte. 165, Km 2.6, at Rte. 888, Cataño,)– Exiled from Cuba, the Bacardí family built a small rum distillery here in the 1950s. Today it’s the world’s largest, with the capacity to produce 100,000 gallons of spirits a day and 21 million cases a year. You can […]

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Parque Histórico Juan Ponce de León

Parque Histórico Juan Ponce de León (Rte. 2, Km 6.4, Guaynabo) — In 1508, Ponce de León established the island’s first settlement here. The Caparra Ruins—a few crumbling walls—are all that remain of an ancient fort. The small Museo de la Conquista y Colonización de Puerto Rico (Museum of the Conquest and Colonization of Puerto […]

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Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte

Museo de Historia, Antropología y Arte (Universidad de Puerto Rico, Avenida Ponce de León, Río Piedras) — The Universidad de Puerto Rico’s small Museum of History, Anthropology and Art offers rotating exhibitions in three areas. Its archaeological and historical collection covers the Native American influence on the island and the Caribbean, the colonial era, and […]

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Jardín Botánico

Jardín Botánico (Botanical Garden)(Intersection of Rtes. 1 and 847, at entrance to Barrio Venezuela, Río Piedras) — This 75-acre forest of more than 200 species of tropical and subtropical vegetation is the Universidad de Puerto Rico’s main attraction. Gravel footpaths lead to a graceful lotus lagoon, a bamboo promenade, as well as orchid and palm […]