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Home > Destinations > Ponce & Porta Caribe
Ponce has many names; we call it the “Pearl of the South” and Puerto Rico’s “Second City.”
A place of quiet grace and elegance, Ponce is the largest city in the southern region of the island, which is known as Porta Caribe, or Gateway to the Caribbean.
This region developed independently of San Juan and northern Puerto Rico, and retains its own customs and traditions. Its unique cultural attractions include an ancient ceremonial center of the indigenous Taíno, plantations and mansions of the colonial Spanish nobility, and one of the most acclaimed centers of art in the Caribbean. Its varied geography includes beaches, mountains, rolling plains, coastal forests and lakes. And it has an agricultural and culinary tradition that boasts outstanding seafood, the country’s finest coffee, and the sugarcane fields that gave birth to Puerto Rico’s famous rum industry.
Guayanilla, Ponce, Santa Isabel, Salinas, Arroyo and Patillas comprise the coastal towns of Porta Caribe, offering visitors often-isolated beaches facing the calm waters of the Caribbean and marinas for boating. Further inland, the towns of Yauco, Peñuelas, Adjuntas, Jayuya, Villalba Juana Díaz, Coamo and Guayama are primarily agricultural communities, many of which retain charming vestiges of colonial life under Spanish rule.
Because of its diverse landscape, Porta Caribe is a natural destination for outdoor recreation, with the Toro Negro forest, Coamo springs and protected reserves offering a variety of eco-tourism adventures.