Guayama features a lovely central plaza, Plaza de Recreo Cristóbal Colón, distinguished by rows of unique umbrella-shaped trees and Iglesia San Antonio de Padua, a neo-Roman-style church with twin towers. Across the street is Casa Cautiño, an architectural vision of white lacy ironwork on a cream-colored criolla-style house with colonial details. Just east of town is the Bellas Artes building, another 19th-century architectural gem. The rest of the town is a gritty jumble of densely packed homes and businesses, many of which are in need of repair, and steady streams of traffic slowly navigating the narrow one-way streets lined with parked cars.
Sights in Guayama
Centro de Bellas Artes de Guayama (Calle McArthur, 787/864-7765 or 787/864-0600, ext. 2306, Tues.-Sat. 9am-4pm, Sun. 10am-4:30pm, free) is an art center in a restored 19th-century building. It contains 11 exhibition galleries devoted to art and history.
Museo Casa Cautiño is on the main plaza in Guayama in a lovely 19th-century neoclassic criolla-style home distinguished by an ornately decorated exterior and lacy ironwork.Museo Casa Cautiño (1 Calle Palmer, 787/864-9083, Tues.-Sat. 9am-4:30pm, Sun. 10am-4pm, free) is on the main plaza in Guayama in a lovely 19th-century neoclassic criolla-style home distinguished by an ornately decorated exterior and lacy ironwork. The one-story, U-shaped house was built in 1887 and belonged to wealthy landowner General Cautiño Vázquez. During the Spanish-American War, the home served as headquarters for American forces. The home contains the family’s original, locally made furnishings and artwork.
Bosque Estatal de Aguirre (Carr. 7710, south of Carr. 3, 787/864-0105, daily 7am-3:30pm, free) is a pristine piece of undeveloped paradise containing mangrove forest, tidal flats, and large populations of birds and manatees. A wooden boardwalk provides easy access. Camping is not allowed.
Things to Do
El Legado Golf Resort (Hwy. 52, 787/866-8894) is an 18-hole course designed by local legend Chi Chi Rodriguez in a residential condominium community. It includes several lakes, a waterfall, and a putting green shaped like the island.
Club Náutico de Guayama (end of Carr. 7701, 787/866-3162) is a private marina that accepts visitors.
Feria Dulces Sueños (787/864-7765) is a Paso Fino horse competition held at the fairgrounds in early March. Other festivities include food kiosks and music. Fiesta de Reyes (787/864-7765) is held every year on January 6 to celebrate the traditional Puerto Rican holiday Three Kings Day. The royal pilgrims visit each barrio in the municipality before proceeding to Plaza de Recreo Cristóbal Colón for music, games, and more.
Getting There and Around
Guayama is off Highway 53, 89 kilometers (53 miles) south of San Juan. The tourism office (787/864-7765) is on Plaza de Recreo Cristóbal Colón. It operates a free trolley tour from Casa Cautiño or Centro de Bellas Artes to points of interest in the area.
Excerpted from the Fourth Edition of Moon Puerto Rico.