My days have been getting later but the extra sleep has been so nice. Rolled out of bed at around 9am, got ready, and drove up the hills to Castle Serralles, a giant mansion built by Don Serralles, owner of the famous Don Q distilleries. The mansion overlooks all of Ponce and has some of the most breathtaking views I’ve ever seen.
View from the balcony in the Serralles mansion
There’s a few types of tours available such as for the Japanese gardens or the Cruceta del Vigia but I opted for the mansion package which included views of the estate gardens and the butterfly house. The English tours began at 11:30am (Spanish one was at 10:30am) so I had about an hour to wander the grounds and grab some photos. Unfortunately they left the butterfly house locked so I had to peer through the perforated walls. Somewhere around this time I also realized I lost my credit card… Luckily, after a mini panic attack I tracked it down to the restaurant from last night. The tour began as soon as I finished my call. I was the only one on the tour so it was a bit awkward but the guide was friendly and we breezed through everything much more quickly (tours are approximately 45 minutes but we finished in about 35 minutes). Unfortunately no photos are allowed inside the mansion with the exception of the balcony where I got the panorama. That was a shame cause the mansion was beautiful with intricate wood ceilings with matching tables and hand painted chairs. The varying tiling in each room also added a nice effect that really transformed your location with each passing. At least I got some nice shots in the garden though.
Quick walkthrough of the gardens area of the Serralles estate.
After a very confusing car ride out of the mansion region (the GPS could not find my location so I had to wander the hill a bit), I ended up back at Lola where I grabbed my card and decided to get some takeout ceviche. The portions were huge (especially for an appetizer) and I still had leftovers from last night…
Orange and Lemon marinated ceviche w/ platano tostones.
After a quick lunch/lounging around session, I headed off to my second stop of the day Museo de Arte de Ponce. I always gotta squeeze in at least one art museum anywhere I go and this place was perfect. Great balance of featured Puerto Rican artists and classic European art sprinkled with a few more contemporary pieces. As far as museums go it’s just the right size too. Very do-able in about 2.5 hours including the special exhibition.
Entrance of the museum. I got a few great shots in the balcony area too but I’ll post those on my photo blog when I get around to updating that.
Final stop of the day post-museum was the Ponce shoreline at La Guancha de Ponce. This was the perfect place to ring in my final hours in Ponce. On Saturdays there’s a few more vendors out and about along with families filling the boardwalk with a lively energy. I wandered around for a bit and eventually found the tarpon feeding area on the pier part of the boardwalk. $1 for a whole bag of sardines. Best dollar I ever spent. I had a great time spending the next half hour trying to bribe tarpons for their love while dodging seagulls that would nab up the fish if you waited to long to toss it.
I tried to make a new friend but he just wanted me for my food :(
After some feeding, more exploring, and a moment to take in the sunset, I grabbed a watermelon frappe from one of the vendors along with an octopus empanadilla and plopped onto a seat to relax by the water.