Mayagüez is a living time capsule for the early 1900’s, specifically the Art Deco style architecture from the 1920’s. Blending the modern elements of Art Deco and the traditional Spanish architecture makes Mayagüez so uniquely special.
This self guided walking tour of the old city center is the perfect way to explore and enjoy the architectural gems.
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico is an architectural gem and absolutely worth a visit. Beyond the architecture, Mayagüez boasts incredible restaurants, small town charm, and incredible ocean views.
Founded on September 18, 1760, Mayagüez started with humble beginnings first as a simple Spanish town, then elevated to status of villa, and now it is the 8th largest population municipality of Puerto Rico. It is affectionately referred to as the Capital of the West.
While not my first visit, I was able to spend several days in the oldest part of the city. The highlight of this visit for me is touring the various styles of architecture, especially impressive is that most of these buildings are within a 2 block radius. It is fascinating how much there is to see simply walking around.
Casa Roig is more than a museum, it is a glimpse into the life of a wealthy sugar plantation owner, an architectural first in the region, restoration in progress, as well as a lovely exhibit hall for local artists.
Sugar production shaped the Caribbean culture in many ways including wealth distribution and overall agriculture. Casa Roig is a unique Prairie House style architecture build by renowned Czechoslovakian architect Antonin Nechodoma in the Frank Lloyd Wright influenced style of building. This house was unique to the region and would appear modern, futuristic even compared to the local buildings at the time.
The first time I saw Castillo San Felipe del Morro Fort in Old San Juan was by boat. Our cruise ship safely docked and I was mesmerized by the large stone fort. With only one day in Puerto Rico, we toured the smaller fort of San Cristobal, opting to spend more time exploring Old San Juan and dinner at the famous Barrachina restaurant. I loved San Juan immediately, and knew we would be back later to explore El Morro and Puerto Rico.
Puerto Rico is known for amazing beaches and a variety of rum drinks, including the famous Pina Colada. What about Art? Today, I set out to explore the art scene in Puerto Rico, starting with the capital of San Juan.
My first stop was the Centro de Bellas Artes de Puerto Rico. The building is surrounded by outdoor sculptures, murals, and paintings (FREE Activity). Early morning is the best time to visit, it is quiet, cool, and empty. I had the entire plaza to myself, with The Muses. These eight bronze female life-size sculptures are dedicated to the types of arts and culture found within the center; music, theater, literature, dance, films (my favorite pictured below), architecture, sculpture, and painting. Inside are three main concert and theater halls for plays, ballet, operas, symphony, concerts, and festivals. With a bit of planning, a performance here may be in my future.
Joined by Brenda from Traveleira, we ate a delicious brunch nearby, then walked to the Museo de Art de Puerto Rico, home to an eclectic assortment of local art. The docents (gallery workers) are polite, multilingual, knowledgeable, and passionate about the art. There are some beautiful, and thought provoking pieces which the docents are eager to discuss and admire with you. Paintings, sculpture, contemporary pop-art, modern art, impressionism, and more are represented in the gallery. With such a variety of styles, there are pieces that I immediately connected with and others that are not to my liking. The building itself is a simple design in a bright, whitewash surrounded by palm trees. The same air conditioners and humidifiers that protect the art, also are a cool refreshing break in the heat of the day. The cost of admission is very reasonable at $6 for an adult, with student, children, seniors, and other discounts. Continue reading “Museum of Art Puerto Rico”
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