Ponce Historical and Cultural Tour from San Juan

3 Reviews

  • Location: San Juan, Puerto Rico
  • Duration: 9.5 hours (approx.)
  • Tour code: 4170PONCE
Discover some of the top cultural attractions in Ponce, Puerto Rico’s second-largest city, often called the Pearl of the South (La Perla del Sur) due to its stately beauty. With a local guide, visit three landmarks, all of which are now museums: the old firehouse (Parque de Bombas), the Ponce Art Museum and Serrallès Castle. You’ll also stop at a local Ponce restaurant, where you can buy lunch.
Your day trip to Ponce begins with the 1.5-hour drive from San Juan, on Puerto Rico’s north coast, across the island and through the central mountain range to Ponce, which sits on the south coast.

When you arrive with your guide, head to your first stop, the Parque de Bombas, which literally translates to Park of Pumps, aka the city’s old firehouse. The striking black-and-red-striped façade of the building — listed on the National Register of Historic Places — makes it one of the most iconic attractions in Ponce, if not all of Puerto Rico. Built in the late 1800s, the firehouse is now a museum that displays historic firefighting artifacts.

If you don’t want to tour the museum or you finish quickly, you can simply admire and take photos from the outside while waiting for the rest of your group; the firehouse sits on Ponce’s main square, the shady and fountain-filled Plaza Las Delicias.

Next up is the Ponce Art Museum (Museo de Arte de Ponce), one of the finest art museums in the Caribbean. After your guide gives you a brief introduction to the museum outside the entrance, you are free to enter and explore it on your own, checking out its collection of European and Puerto Rican art. Known for its pre-Raphaelite works, the museum houses pieces by such artists as Peter Paul Rubens and Eugéne Delacroix. Highlights include Flaming June by Frederic Leighton and The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon by Sir Edward Burne-Jones. (Entrance fee to the museum is at your own expense.)

Meet back up with your guide outside the museum and head to your final site, Serrallès Castle (Castillo Serrallès), a Spanish Colonial Revival home built in 1930. More sprawling mansion than true castle, the home was built for the Serrallès family, the founders of the Serrallès rum company, known for its Don Q rum. The beautifully manicured estate is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and now houses a museum. Tour the Moorish-style home with a docent, and then once again meet your guide, who will take you to a local restaurant for lunch. Restaurants vary daily, but you can expect local Puerto Rican cuisine. (Entrance fee to the museum and lunch are at your own expense.)

After lunch, make the drive back to Puerto Rico, where you day trip ends.

Schedule details

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Departure Dates:
Departure Point:
Tour starts with pickup from select San Juan hotels; please click on the Hotel Pickup tab and see the Additional Info below for more details

If you do not indicate your hotel for pickup at the time of booking, please call the tour operator and advise them of this information directly; the contact details will be on your confirmation voucher
Departure Time:
Isla Verde area: 8am
Condado area: 8:15am
Old San Juan area: 8:40am
9.5 hours
Return Details:
Tour returns at approximately 6:30pm

Pricing information

Click the link below to check pricing & availability on your preferred travel date. Our pricing is constantly updated to ensure you always receive the lowest price possible.

Pricing information

Ponce Historical and Cultural Tour from San Juan

Ponce the Pearl City from San Juan

  • Hotel pickup and drop-off at select hotels
  • Transport by coach
  • Guide
  • Food and drinks
  • Gratuities (optional)
  • Entrance fees to Serralles Castle (USD 8.50 for adults, USD 4.25 for children) and Ponce Art Museum (USD 6); Parque de Bombas is free to enter
Additional Information:
  • This tour must be booked at least 72 hours in advance of your travel date
  • Confirmation for this product will be received at time of booking
  • Pickup is not provided from the San Juan port; the closest hotel is the Sheraton
  • Pickup is not provided from Wyndham El Conqistador Resort , St. Regis Hotel, or the Golden Door Spa because the tour operates out of San Juan; the El Conquistador is located between San Juan and El Yunque Rainforest and is approximately a 1-hour-15-minute drive to the closest pickup location, the Ritz Carlton Hotel San Juan, where you can check in for the tour
  • Tour buses are air-conditioned but do not have bathrooms
  • Tour buses are wheelchair accessible but do not have a wheelchair lift. Persons in a wheelchair must be able to walk a little (with help from the driver) in order to get on and off the bus. The wheelchair must be foldable
  • Puerto Rico is a tropical island and the weather is unpredictable; it can be raining one minute and sunshine the next so please dress accordingly
Voucher Info:
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Local Operator Information:
Complete Operator information, including local telephone numbers at your destination, are included on your Confirmation Voucher. Our Product Managers select only the most experienced and reliable operators in each destination, removing the guesswork for you, and ensuring your peace of mind.

Traveler Reviews

Reviewed by: Mary R, USA, July 2010

We enjoyed the tour of the Serrales castle and the Indigenous Cultural Center. Our guide, however, did not seem very knowledgeable about Ponce and even said he did the tour only a couple times a year. He left us at the market for lunch with no recommendations for a restaurant. We spent so much time looking for somewhere to eat, we saw little of the city.

Reviewed by: lizajasmin, December 2011

We spent too much time in the museum we could have spent time at the Firefighter's park, and a little more local time. The castle was nice.

From USD $118.99

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Tour code: 4170PONCE