If you’re staying in Caguas, Puerto Rico, you might want to try spending a few hours or even an entire day at Plaza Palmer.
This plaza was built in 1814, on a land donated by the descendants of Don Sebastian Delgado de Rivera. It was supposed to be a park and a place where the local militia performed its exercises. Through the years it has seen extensive renovations, and by 1906 it was renamed after Santiago R. Palmer, who was a renowned politician and a leading figure in the Puerto Rican Mason movement.
For those who are interested in culture and history, a short walk around the plaza can be very informative. The architecture is quaint and different from the city’s modern designs. You’ll find the King’s House which once functioned as the City Hall, and today it’s where you can find the offices of the mayor as well as the Museum. Then there’s also the Telegraph Building, which was built in 1842 and was once used as a jail.
But all in all you don’t even have to know the history of the place to appreciate its charm. The floral clock is quite interesting, especially when you notice the names and the poem on the bronze plate. There are a few bronze sculptures of pineapples, which is the official fruit of Caguas, and those can be found on the prominent 8-sided fountain. The marble base of the fountain also shows the City Shield.
Walk around some more and there’s also a pond and an aviary. If you have kids, they may take some interest in the carousels, but even if you don’t they do add to the atmosphere.
While you can get very busy in Caguas visiting all the tourist spots, the sole function of Plaza Palmer is to get you to relax. It’s more like a park where you can sit down and watch all the people come and go. It’s a very safe place even at night, as the grounds are well-lit and there are always lots of people.
You can take a look at some of the offerings of the vendors around you and perhaps buy a drink and a snack. This place is like a huge coffee shop, since the atmosphere is very light and airy. Try the local delicacies too, including the alcapurrias and the bacalaitos. There are also hamburgers and pizza as well.
You can even order a piña colada. Or maybe you can try the Mavi, which is a popular local drink made from a native tree.
So lean back and take a short nap, or perhaps take a stroll around the plaza. There’s no hurry here, and no schedule to keep. Have a nice chat with your friends, and talk about the beauty of Puerto Rico. Sometimes you can appreciate the beaches, the museums, and the nature parks the most when you have quiet times like this to reflect on your experiences.