South Region
 

SOUTH REGION

The South region developed with more autonomy from the Metropolitan Area of the island. Its cultural attractions include an antique ceremonial indigenous (Taíno) cultural center, plantations, Spanish colonial era mansions, and one of the most famous art museums in the Caribbean.

Its varied geography includes beaches, mountains, coastal forests and lakes. It has an agricultural and gastronomic tradition that produces excellent seafood, the best coffee in the country and sugarcane fields that gave birth to the famous Puerto Rican rum industry. Due to its importance in the region, the city of Ponce deserves a special mention.

In Ponce, you will find the Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico, the Ponce University of Health Sciences, and the University of Puerto Rico and Inter American University campuses, among other institutions. The annual Athletic Games of the Inter University Athletic League (Justas anuales de Atletismo de la Liga Atlética Interuniversitaria) also take place here. It is the biggest and most important university celebration of the year, and brings together students from all higher-education institutions in the country.

  1. Ponce
  2. Places of interest

Known as “La Ciudad Señorial”, Ponce is the largest city in the South region. It is a place that deserves special attention for its geographic and cultural richness.


PLACES OF INTEREST

Hacienda Buena Vista

Situated in the North of Ponce, this legacy from the 19th century combines history and nature. In its guided tours, you will learn about its history, its landscapes, and everything related to the coffee harvest: another star product on the island.

Paseo La Guancha

It is a boardwalk over the coastal shore where you can find various restaurants, food stands and live music during the weekend.

Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center

Tibes’ original inhabitants lived in this area much earlier than the Taínos. In the park, you will be able to visit an archeological museum, in addition to learning about other ancient findings that represent their recreational activities, customs and daily life.

Caja de Muertos Natural Reserve

It is a small island off the South of Ponce. This hidden gem is surrounded by beautiful and peaceful turquoise beaches and has a reserved area for sea turtles.

Art Museum of Ponce

This museum houses the best European art collection in the Caribbean. It has 4,500 art pieces that include works by Roy Lichtenstein, Frederic Leighton, Peter Paul Rubens, El Greco, Velázquez, and the Puerto Rican artist José Campeche, among other artists.

Plaza Las Delicias

Located in front of Ponce’s City Hall, it is famous for its fountains and monuments dedicated to famous personalities of the municipality. The Cathedral and the historical Parque de Bombas are found there. The public square is divided in two: the Northern section, named Luis Muñoz Rivera, and the Southern one known as Plaza Federico Degetau.

Parque de Bombas

It is the most picturesque building in Ponce, a red and black fire station located in Plaza Las Delicias. Built in 1882, it was the main city’s fire station for more than a century. In 1990 it became a museum that commemorates the history of firefighters in the Municipality of Ponce.

Serrallés Castle

Built in 1934, it is a beautiful house with Arabic-Spanish architecture that belonged to the founding members of the Serrallés Distillery, which was famous back then for their sugar production, and now for the production of the Don Q rum. You can visit its facilities, check out the family’s original furniture and visit its beautiful garden that offers a wonderful view to the city of Ponce and the Caribbean Sea. In front of the Castle you will find the Cruceta del Vigía.

Cruceta del Vigía

This attraction with the shape of a gigantic cross symbolizes the watchman lookout station established in 1825. It served as a watchtower to look out after ships approaching the port, facilitating commercial and defensive activities of the city. In the surroundings, you will visit unusual Japanese gardens of singular beauty for the visitors.

Plaza del Caribe Shopping Center

It is the biggest shopping center of the South region. It has more than 140 stores, food court, movie theatres and other entertainment places.

Mercedita International Airport

Ponce has its own international airport. It offers various direct flights from many cities in the U.S. including New York and Orlando.

The coastal towns in this region are Ponce, Guayanilla, Santa Isabel, Salinas, Arroyo and Patillas. In the inland region, you will find the following towns: Yauco, San Germán, Peñuelas, Villalba, Juana Díaz, Coamo and Guayama, which are mainly farming communities. In this area there is a great diversity of landscapes and protected reserves that offer a great variety of eco-tourist adventures. It is part of the island’s coffee zone. In San Germán, you can study in the Inter American University historical campus, the first one established by this institution more than 100 years ago.


PLACES OF INTEREST

Albergue Olímpico (Olympic Home)

Located in the town of Salinas, this huge and modern complex is exclusively devoted to the development of local athletes. It houses great facilities for almost every Olympic sport, a museum of the Olympic history of Puerto Rico and a water park for families.

Yauco

Besides having a solid artisan industry, Yauco is known as the “Pueblo del Café”. Its fertile land and the tropical climate of its mountains are the perfect conditions to produce an internationally renowned quality coffee. To the North of the town you can visit Luchetti Lake, a picturesque artificial lake with a visitors’ center, picnic and camping areas and several fishing facilities.

San Germán

Located in the South West, San Germán is the second oldest town in Puerto Rico, after San Juan. It is one of the towns with more architectural patrimony from the colonial period, including beautiful religious buildings such as the San Germán de Auxerre Cathedral (originally from the 16th century) or the Porta Coeli church (1606), which is one of the first examples of Gothic style churches in Latin America.

Baños de Coamo

This recreational area has thermal pools with water rich in minerals that come to the surface from an extinct volcano. Many people go there to benefit from its medicinal and healing properties. In the surrounding area, you will find beautiful garden, and a view of the Coamo mountains.

Juana Díaz

If you are in Puerto Rico during the holiday season, you cannot miss the Juana Díaz Three Kings’ Festivity. It is one of the most folkloric festivals on the island and it has traditionally been celebrated every January 6th since 1884.

Guánica

The main attractions of this municipality are its spectacular beaches and the Guánica State Forest. This is a dry subtropical forest that has more than 700 flora and fauna species, of which 16 are unique in the world. It also has several beaches such as Tamarindo, Punta Ballena and Balneario Caña Gorda. You can practice snorkeling or kayaking in the Cayo Aurora or Guilligan’s Island. Playa Santa is the most visited beach of the municipality. It has a long coast of white sand and crystalline water, and young people go there frequently, particularly during the weekends. Lastly, you can visit Bodegas Andreu Solé, learn about all the elaboration process of its excellent wines and walk around its vineyards, unique in Puerto Rico.

Contact Information

State Department of Puerto Rico
P.O. Box 9023271
San Juan, PR 00902-3271
1 (787) 722-2121 ext. 4292, 4295, 4350
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.