- Puerto Rico
You can sense it around every plaza corner, in every old stone building, in every colorful work of art – Puerto Rico has a story to tell.
Puerto Rican culture blends elements from its original Taíno inhabitants with Spanish, African and U.S. traditions. Today, visitors savor Puerto Rico’s incredible beaches and lush rainforests right along with the fruits of this cultural fusion: African-rich folklore, Spanish language, European-inspired art and Caribbean-style music and dance. Get a deeper understanding of island culture at these must-see art and history museums.
Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
At one of the largest art museums in the Caribbean, you’ll discover a rich collection dating back to the 1700s throughout 24 exhibition galleries in both a historic and modern wing. Located in San Juan’s Santurce neighborhood, this is the place to appreciate Puerto Rican art. The surrounding gardens and walking paths are a work of art in themselves, perfect for creative meditation and reflection.
A colorful art installation by Pepon Osorio in the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico
Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Puerto Rico
Another San Juan staple, the contemporary art museum is housed in a brick building that once was a public school. Focusing on the second half of the 20th century, the museum showcases artists from Latin America, the Caribbean and Puerto Rico across its two floors of galleries.
Museo de las Américas
This art and heritage museum’s collection includes pieces from North, Central and South America and explores themes of African heritage, indigenous populations and colonization. The museum is located inside San Juan’s historic Cuartel de Ballajá, a former barracks for Spanish soldiers built in the mid-1800s.
Cuartel de Ballajá, the home of the Museo de la Américas, illuminated at night
Museo de Arte y Diseño de Miramar (MADMi)
Housed in a strikingly renovated circa-1913 building in the Miramar metro-district of San Juan, this museum will delight lovers of modernism. The permanent collection and special exhibits celebrate the relationship between form and function in modern art and objects, from kitchen appliances to graphic design.
Public art outside the Museo de Arte y Diseño de Miramar (MADMi)
Museo Casa Blanca
This beautifully preserved house in San Juan was originally built for Spanish explorer Juan Ponce de León. Though he died before he ever saw it, his descendants resided there for more than 200 years. Inside, you’ll see furniture and art that depict life in the 16th and 17th centuries. Soak in the serene outdoor garden and the fabulous views of San Juan Bay from the second story.
Museo de Arte de Ponce
Amazing art and cultural experiences await beyond San Juan as well. In Ponce, on the island’s southern coast, step into the grand foyer and climb the sweeping staircases of the Museo de Arte de Ponce, where more than 4,500 works of art dating from the 15th century to modern times await. In addition to Baroque art and Victorian paintings, you’ll discover ancient pottery and sculptures from Latin America, Puerto Rico and Europe.
Browsing the galleries in the Museo de Arte de Ponce
Museo de la Historia de Ponce
With exhibits dedicated to nearly every aspect of everyday life in the city – from finances and politics to ecology and urban development – the Museo de la Historia de Ponce tells the story of Puerto Rico’s second-largest city. It’s located just two blocks from Ponce’s popular Plaza las Delicias.
Museo Castillo Serrallés
Also in Ponce is this stunning 1930s mansion, a product of Puerto Rico’s lucrative sugar and rum industries. Today, it’s preserved as a museum of the era and includes picturesque gardens. Soak in the best views of the city and the Caribbean Ocean from the mansion’s sprawling grounds.
Aerial view of the mansion and its manicured grounds
Museo Casa Cautiño
Don’t overlook this gorgeous historic home in Guayama, also in the island’s southern region. It houses the impeccably preserved collection of 19th century art and furniture of the wealthy Cautiño family. Learn about the home’s local and family history, including how U.S. forces were headquartered at the home during the Spanish-American War.
Arrive at the Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport (SJU), via many airlines from destinations around the world. At the airport, you’ll readily find ground transport via bus, taxi or car rental.
Transportation around the island is abundant. Major city centers such as San Juan are quite walkable. Old San Juan has a free trolley to major attractions. There is also service via taxi, bus, rideshare and bike rental. Other transportation options include the Tren Urbano (electric train), water ferry, flights to outer islands and privately owned shuttles.