Masks Required (updated 13 Jan 2022)
😷 Indoors - Masks covering mouth & nose are required for everyone 2 years old and older, regardless of vaccination status, in public indoor spaces 😷 Outdoors - Masks covering mouth & nose are required for everyone 2 years old and older, regardless of vaccination status, in public outdoor spaces where you cannot socially distance, or where there are 50 or more people
Busness Closure & Dry Law (updated 13 Jan 2022)
🛒 All businesses that serve the public must remain closed from midnight until 5am. Exceptions to closure include supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies, health facilities, hospitals, among others. Restaurants, clubs, bars, etc ARE closed midnight to 5am. Effective through at least 02 February 2022, per executive order EO-2021-086, and extended by EO-2022-002.
🍺 Dry Law (no sale nor public consumption of alcohol) is in effect from midnight until 5am. Effective through at least 02 February 2022, per executive order EO-2021-086, and extended by EO-2022-002.
Restaurants, Bars & other Food Establishments (updated 13 Jan 2022)
🍔 ALL CUSTOMERS (2 years old and older) must show proof of vaccination or negative COVID test results - In order to be admitted to food establishments you are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test (molecular or antigen) results of test administered by an authorized health provider no more than 48 hours prior to arrival at the restaurant, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. Effective through at least 02 Feb 2022, per executive order EO-2021-081.
👪 The capacity of "any place that serves (and people consume) drinks or prepared food" will be limited to 50% if indoors, or 75% if outdoors/open-air. This applies to restaurants, bars, theaters, food courts, etc. Effective through at least 02 February 2022, per EO-2021-085 and extended by EO-2022-002.
Stores, Offices & similar places that serve the public indoors (updated 13 Jan 2022)
🛒 The capacity in all facilities that "serve the public indoors" will be limited to 75%. This applies to stores, malls, offices, etc. Effective 17 Jan 2022 through at least 02 Feb 2022, per EO-2022-002.
Hotels, Resorts & other Lodging (updated 13 Jan 2022)
🏨 In order to check-in to any lodging facility (short-term rentals, AirBNB, hotels, resorts, etc), all members of your party (5 years old and older) are required to show either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test (molecular or antigen) results of test administered by an authorized health provider no more than 48 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery. This applies to all people 2 (two) years old and older. If you are unvaccinated and staying more than a week, you are required to show new negative test results weekly. Per executive order EO-2021-062 and EO-2021-075.
Tours & Excursions (updated 13 Jan 2022)
⛵ Tour operators may require proof of vaccination or negative test results to participate. Check with the operator to make sure you have what they require.
Events, Stadiums & Theaters (updated 13 Jan 2022)
🏟️ All attendees at group activities of less than 250 people at facilities that encourage crowding, indoor or outdoor, must show proof of vaccination OR negative test (molecular or antigen) results of test administered by an authorized health provider no more than 48 prior to arrival at the event. Facilities include theaters, amphitheaters, stadiums, conference and activity centers, and any other place where events are held. This applies to everyone 5 years old and older. Kids under the age of 5 are not permitted to attend these events at all. Effective 22 December 2021, per EO-2021-080, and modified by EO-2022-002
👪 The capacity of "event or activity venues" will be limited to 50% if indoors, or 75% if outdoors/open-air. This applies to stadiums, coliseums, convention centers, theaters, etc. Effective through at least 02 Feb 2022, per EO-2021-085 and extended by EO-2022-002.
Cruise Ship Passengers (updated 30 Dec 2021)
🚢 All cruise ship passengers and crew who wish to disembark in Puerto Rico must be fully vaccinated, and must have a negative molecular or antigen COVID test performed within 48 hours before disembarking in PR. All passengers and crew who test positive, or have been in close contact to someone who has tested positive, will not be permitted to disembark in Puerto Rico, regarless of vaccination status.
Air Travelers Arriving in Puerto Rico (updated 20 Dec 2021)
✈️ DOMESTIC TRAVELERS (effective 27 Dec 2021, per EO-2021-081)
All DOMESTIC travelers (2 years old and older) arriving in Puerto Rico are are required to show BOTH
  1. negative COVID test results from test administerd by an authorized health provider no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in PR AND
  2. either (a) vaccination card showing that you are "fully vaccinated", (b) negative test results of test administered no more than 72 hours prior to your arrival, or (c) evidence of positive test in last 3 months along with documentation proving your recovery.
  • If you do not have your test results upon arrival, you have 48 hours to produce those results, or you will be fined $300 per person.
  • If you are un-vaccinated, you are required to quarantine for 7 days, even if you have negative test results.
✈️ INTERNATIONAL TRAVELERS (effective 06 Dec 2021, per CDC)
All INTERNATIONAL air passengers, regardless of vaccination status, must show (before boarding flight to the US) a negative COVID-19 test taken no more than 1 day before travel to the US. This applies to all travelers, 2 years old and up, flying from INTERNATIONAL (outside of the US) destinations. Flights between Puerto Rico and the States are domestic flights, so this does not apply to travelers arriving in Puerto Rico from the States.
📄 ALL TRAVELERS arriving in Puerto Rico are required to submit a travel declaration upon arrival via the PR Government Travel Safe website. This is where you will upload your COVID vaccination card and/or negative COVID test results.

The Beauty of Ponce’s Main Plaza

Ponce is a large town, in fact, it is the second largest city in Puerto Rico It has many interesting, historical and modern things to see and explore. The starting point for most people who want to check out the city will be Ponce’s main plaza. Called Plaza de Las Delicias, it is the center of the historic area, with many of the older buildings having been maintained and restored. The city name (Ponce) and its nickname La Ciudad de los Leones (City of Lions) are references the famous explorer Ponce de Leon and his descendants. You will see lions all around town.

Ponca Plaza

Overview

Ponce is located on the south coast of Puerto Rico, just west of middle of the island. The Spanish Crown officially founded the town of Ponce in 1692 by request of the grandson of Juan Ponce de León, though the area had been settled much earlier. The town grew, the main plaza was born, and, as was custom, the plaza became the center of the action.

The main plaza is actually two separate plazas (Plaza Degetau and Plaza Munoz Rivera), though everyone just calls the whole thing Plaza Delicias. Here, people came to socialize, promenade, to see and be seen, to do business, and attend religious services. The church and government offices were here on the plaza, as well the homes of many of the wealthy families. It was a the “in place” to sit, relax, see and be seen.

Today, the plaza continues to be a cool place to sit and relax. Though it is no longer the center of the business district, it remains an active and historic area, so many people come to enjoy its beauty. The plaza has benches located around and under some lovely trees, surrounded by fountains and statues. This is where the town holds concerts and festivals. And for scenery, there is the cathedral, a firehouse, some restored neoclassical buildings and homes, the mayor’s offices, restaurants, hotels, souvenir shops, banks, and more. It is well worth your time to walk around and explore the area.

Ponca Plaza

Some Things of Interest Around the Plaza

Parque de Bombas (the firehouse) — This striking red and black striped wooden building was built as an exhibition hall for a fair in 1882. It later became the firehouse. Today, it is a firehouse museum. It also houses a number of painted lion sculptures. It is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places. The museum is free, it is open 7 days a week, 8am-3pm.

Monuments — There are a number of monuments and statues of many historic and important Ponceños (people from Ponce) around the plaza. The monuments have plaques on them (in Spanish), with information about the person they honor.

Ponca Plaza

Teatro Fox Delicias — This art-deco buildin opened in 1931 as a Fox Studio movie theater. Today, it is a funky hotel. Very pretty details on the outside and the inside is really cute. Check it out!

Ponca Plaza

Catedral de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Ponce Cathedral) — The Cathedral started as a humble church in the late 1500s and kept growing. The current Cathedral has been built/rebuilt a few times since 1835. It was damaged again during the 2020 earthquakes, so it is now closed and they are deciding if/how to repair it. You can visit the outside and take photos. It is on the US National Register of Historic Places.

Ponca Plaza

Armstrong-Poventud Residence — This beautiful building is located directly across from the Cathedral. Built in 1899, as the home for the wealthy Armstrong -Toro Family. Today, it is owned by the The Institute of Puerto Rican Culture (ICP) and was open for tours, until it was damaged in 2020 by the earthquakes. It is listed on the US National Register of Historic Places.

Fuente de los Leones — One of the prettiest features of the plaza is the Lion Fountain. This marble fountain has “spitting” lions. It is illuminated at night.

Ponce City Hall — The mayor’s office and other municipal offices are housed here. Take a quick peek inside – it is a nice example of colonial architecture, with an open interior. They had some art exhibits and restrooms!

Banco de Ponce — This banking company built its main office on the square in 1924. It has beautiful architecture and is listed in the US National Register of Historic Places. Today, it is a Banco Popular branch.

Banco Crédito y Ahorro Ponceño — Built in 1924 as a bank and offices, it is a beautiful building, with great architecture. Today, it is a Santander Bank branch. It is registered in the US National Register of Historic Places.

Ponca Plaza

Callejon Amor (Lover’s Lane) — Located between the two banks, this street has some nice which now has some nice murals.

Kings Cream — This ice cream shop is a personal favorite of ours. They have delicious ice cream in some unusual flavors. Check it out.

Other sights located around the plaza are the Ponce Plaza Hotel & Casino, some places to eat, and gift shops to buy some souvenirs (like the famous Ponce paper mache vejigante masks).

From the plaza, you can walk a few blocks in all directions to find more historic buildings, museums, murals, etc. But the city is large and spread out, so you will need to drive to some of the other highlights in Ponce.

Ponce is super interesting, and while not 100% necessary, having a guide will really make it easy and more enjoyable. We did a walking tour with Isla Caribe on a recent trip and really enjoyed it. Having someone explain everything you are looking at makes the area come alive.

Details

For more tourism information, you can contact Ponce Tourism Office at 787-284-4141 ext 2234.

Street parking may be hard to find (or metered). We like to park in a parking deck close to the plaza.

It takes about 90 minutes to drive to Ponce from the San Juan area.

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PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

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