December 7, 2010

Tuesday’s Travel Tips – Ponce, Puerto Rico

This week’s Tuesday’s Travel Tips takes us to beautiful Ponce, Puerto Rico.

Ponce is known as La Ciudad Señorial, or the majestic city of Puerto Rico; and with close to 200,000 inhabitants, Ponce is the second largest city on the island, following San Juan. Keep reading for some invaluable local travel tips from Airport Operations Crewmember Jacksel.

If you are visiting Ponce you must stop by the La Guancha Beach Community Park to try one of its 24 local resturants.  All of the dining establishments in La Guancha have different names, but Kiosk 22, which is how locals refer to the restaurants, offers some of the best seafood in Ponce. Kiosk 22 also has beef and chicken options like the staple mofongo relleno de pollo o carne (mashed plantain filled with chicken or beef), or empanadillas, (little tortilla pouches stuffed with meat or seafood or some other delicious filling).  Right behind 22 is Kiosk 24 where you can taste the best Ponce and Puerto Rican drinks, including the locally-produced Don Q rum, as a post-aperitif.

Every Saturday and Sunday from the same La Guancha Beach Park, you can hop a ferry to nearby Coffin Island.  The ferry departs once a day at 8 a.m. and returns at 4:45 p.m.  Coffins Island is a paradise within a paradise, with white sands and clear water, making the island one of the best beach spots in Puerto Rico. Plus, from the island you can enjoy unmatched views of the big island of Puerto Rico.

Take a moment to practice your golf skills at the best golf course in the south of the island. Costa Caribe Golf & Country Club at Ponce Hilton offers visitors 18 holes with a gorgeous view of the island’s mountains, lakes and beaches, while enjoying a good match.  The club opens at 7 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. every day.  There is also a sushi bar and a restaurant on the premises where you can enjoy great food.

Be sure to head to Downtown Ponce on your visit and check out the Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe) and the famous Parque de Bombas (Park of Pumps). Just across the main drag from the park, you can taste some of the best homemade Puerto Rican ice cream at King’s Ice Cream.

Take a short ride to Villalba, the “Town of Lakes” just 20 minutes from Ponce, where you can enjoy the gorgeous view to the Toa Vaca Lake, the biggest lake in Puerto Rico. Just a short drive from there you’ll want to check out El Mirador, a pre-Columbian Mayan settlement located 3,000 feet above sea level that was specifically designed to be exactly in the center of Puerto Rico. Enjoy the amazing view of the north, south, east and west coasts and, on a day with good visibility, you can see all the way to Coffins Island.

In addition to sharing your Ponce travel tips below, you can also tweet them using the hashtag #TTPSE. And don’t forget to give and get some great travel tips from other travelers at our TrueBlue Community!

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