Top Museums in Puerto Rico You Need to Know

Castillo Serralles in Ponce
Castillo Serralles in Ponce | © Felix Lipov/Shutterstock
Mariela Santos

Every museum in Puerto Rico offers visitors a unique experience, exploring art and history. The top museums on the island in particular, are eye catching buildings with prominent and varied artifacts on display. These museums are perfect for a day of discovery in a tropical setting, often with an outdoor space to enjoy the year-round sunshine.

1. Serralles Castle Museum

Museum

Located in Ponce, a city known as the “Pearl of the South”, the castle where the museum is housed dates to the 1930s. It was built by the Serralles family, who made and sold rum, the most famous of all being Don Q. Still in the rum business, but no longer living in what was once the family’s summer home, visitors can take guided tours of the residence, and visit a gift shop and wine cellar. In addition, the grounds offer an outstanding view of Ponce from high on a hill, and the gardens are beautiful.

2. Ponce Museum of Art

Museum

Museo de Arte de Ponce
© Daniel Lobo/ Flickr
The Museo de Arte de Ponce is home to approximately 4,500 objects and works of art, spanning about 3,000 years. Explore the three regions that have shaped Puerto Rico’s past: Europe, Africa, and the Americas. Many artworks from the museum were exhibited internationally before the museum’s reopening in 2010, as the official website says. Visitors can enjoy pieces from the permanent collection and the temporary exhibits as well as a library and educational initiatives.

3. Puerto Rico Museum of Art

Museum

Perhaps Puerto Rico’s most famous museum, the Museo de Arte de Puerto Rico is in Santurce, an area of San Juan known for its street art and community of creatives. Opened in 2000, the museum exhibits artwork from some of Puerto Rico’s most accomplished artists and has educational programs for visitors. Along with other top museums in Puerto Rico, the Puerto Rico Museum of Art provides an inviting and prominent home for different forms of art, including paintings and sculptures.

5. El Cemi Museum

Museum

The museum is named after the cemi, a three-pointed object with religious significance for the indigenous people of Puerto Rico, the Tainos. The building is one-of-a-kind because its structure takes the shape of the cemi, which probably makes this the most unusual museum in Puerto Rico. Visitors can take a look at Taino artifacts and a mural of petroglyphs in the small museum, according to Atlas Obscura.

6. Museum of the Americas

Museum

On the second floor of the historic Cuartel de Ballajaor Ballaja Barracks in Old San Juan, the Museum of the Americas’focuses on exhibiting material and artifacts from the Americas, dating back centuries. The three roots of Puerto Rican heritage– Spanish, Indigenous, and African are also covered by the museum. This place is just steps away from El Morro Castle, and near other Old San Juan attractions. Conveniently for visitors, there are places to eat inside the cuartel, before or after visiting the museum, and there’s also a music school for anyone wishing to take lessons. It only costs about $2 to visit the museum.
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