Our last exploring trip in Puerto Rico took us to the city of Ponce on the South Coast of Puerto Rico. Ponce has a beautiful colonial area. We were able to explore by foot. I had been sick the week before, and we discovered when we arrived in Ponce that we had missed Carnival, which is quite celebrated in Ponce. Along with the usual parade that occurs in most Caribbean or Latin countries, in Ponce they have a Masquerade. The colonial area still had a few decoration up from the celebration the week before. There were several lion statutes in the central park, wearing their “masks”. The Lions represent Ponce de Leon, who the city is named for. I guess in the Marina development nothing was said about carnival and local celebrations in the area. I was sick in bed for 4 days, but it would have been fun to see a parade. We loved attending Carnival last year in Mexico.
We visited a few of the local museums. One was about the city and its growth. Another museum was of local music and instruments used. We had a great time their learning about how important music is in cultures through out the history of Puerto Rico, and how they made their instruments out of hollow trees branches or gourds. To visit the Museum is free, and you are led around with a guide who explains all the different instruments. She even let the kids try out several of the instruments. They loved it!
We also went to see the home of the DonQ rum family. We weren’t interested in learning about rum, but the home is now a city landmark and has a display about sugar cane farming, which is what they originally did, till that industry died. The home also shows how the rich Puerto Ricans lived in the mid 19th century. The mansion is beautiful. It sits on a hill above the colonial city area, surrounded by a garden. We had to wait an hour before the English tour started, so we visited the Japanese botanical garden on the hill above the mansion.
The tour of the mansion begins with a short film about the DonQ family and the house. From there we went to the butterfly garden, where the tour guide asked about our kids—she noted we had 6 and asked if they were all mine. She had 10 herself. All grown now. WOW. We then toured a few of the rooms inside and got to look at some artifacts from the era of the house. We were then able to view some displays of the sugar cane fields. After the tour we were able to roam the grounds and beautiful gardens on the property.
This is the tree of Puerto Rico. It is a beautiful tree. All those branches… the kids wanted to climb it.