Cruceta del Vigía

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Cruceta del Vigía
Cruceta El Vigia Ponce Puerto Rico.jpg
View of the cross at night. The city of Ponce shines in the background below the hill. The Caribbean Sea is further to the right.
General information
Architectural styleModern arch style
LocationBarrio Portugues Urbano
AddressCerro del Vigía
Town or cityPonce
CountryPuerto Rico
Coordinates18°01′08.35″N 66°37′12.66″W / 18.0189861°N 66.6201833°W / 18.0189861; -66.6201833
Current tenantsPatronato de Ponce
Construction started1983
ClientMunicipality of Ponce
OwnerAutonomous Municipality of Ponce
Tip110 feet (34 m)
Other dimensions70 feet (21 m) across
Technical details
Structural systemSteel and Reinforced concrete
Floor count10
Design and construction
ArchitectRuben Colondres[2]
Architecture firmColondres & Laboy[2]
Structural engineerJose L. Irizarry[2][3]
Services engineerRamon Montero[2]
Civil engineerAxel Bonilla[2]
Quantity surveyorJose Raul Vazquez-Geli[2]
Main contractorVenegas Construction Corp.[2]
Other information
ParkingLighted Lot

Cruceta del Vigía (English: The Watchman Cross) is a 100 feet (30 m) tall cross located atop Cerro del Vigía in Ponce, Puerto Rico, across from Museo Castillo Serrallés. It houses a tourist center at its base, a ten-story vertical tower, and a horizontal sky bridge that has panoramic views of the city of Ponce and the Caribbean Sea. Visitors can reach the skybridge via glass elevators or a staircase. Made of reinforced concrete, the cross has withstood various natural disasters, including three major hurricanes. The arms of the cross measure 70 feet. It was inaugurated in 1984.[4]

One of many landmarks of the city of Ponce, the cross is owned by the Municipality of Ponce and is currently operated by the "Patronato de Ponce", a non-profit organization dedicated to preserving the city's cultural heritage.[5][a] It is visited annually by some 100,000 tourists.[6]

Historical background[edit]

View of Cruceta del Vigía.

The cross sits at the same spot on Cerro del Vigía where early settlers once looked out for merchant ships and would-be invaders, including marauding pirates. In 1801, the settlers built a much smaller cross made of two intersecting tree trunks where an observer would constantly watch the sea and the city's port, raising different flags to either notify local merchants of incoming trade ships or alert military authorities of possible threats (a replica of this wooden cross now sits behind the current monument). Originally a hut was built accompanied by a cross from where flags were raised to signal the approach of ships as well as their port of origin. This station was run by two brothers Ricardo and Alberto Lugo, they were honored with a plaque at the base of the cross in 1984. They are descendants of Alonso Fernández de Lugo last conquistador of Spain.[7]

One of the best remembered watchmen was named Luis Castro. Nearly 200 years ago, Luis would sit atop a huge wooden cross on this hill. On the lookout for ocean vessels, it was his responsibility to determine the nationality of approaching ships. If he recognized the vessel he would raise a flag, but if a ship was thought to be carrying contraband then no flag was raised and the Spanish military would investigate. The Cruceta was built in honor of Mr. Castro and all the other watchmen who so faithfully helped protect the city during its younger years.[4]

The Cerro del Vigía also served as a refugee camp for citizens during the storm of 12 September 1738, the earthquake of 10 May 1787, the tsunami of 18 November 1867, and the American invasion of 25 July 1898.[8]

Japanese Garden[edit]

In recent years, a Japanese Garden was built in the grounds nearby the Cruceta. The garden is located in a 2,223 square meter ground. Its purpose is to encourage spiritual peace and harmony by the means of nature and Zen music. The garden features small lakes, rivers, bonsais, and bridges.


  1. ^ Construirán Ponce La Cruz del Vigia. El Vocero. San Juan. Puerto Rico. 24 March 1983. Page 50.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Cruceta del Vigia Museum. Information posters.
  3. ^ Luis A. Irizarry Perez. Mi Vida. Published in Ponce, Puerto Rico. 2011. Printed in Colombia by Nomos Impresores. p. 201. ISBN 9781935892120
  4. ^ a b Ponce, Puerto Rico: The Pearl of the South. Sandra Scott. Central and South America. 2007. Retrieved 4 December 2009.
  5. ^ Reinaldo E. Gonzalez Blanco. El Turismo Cultural en Ponce durante el Plan Ponce en Marcha, 1900-2000. Neysa Rodriguez Deynes, Editor. Ponce, Puerto Rico: Professional Editions. 2018. p.75. ISBN 978-1-64131-139-7
  6. ^ Caen los donativos: Peligra el destino del Castillo Serrallés. Jason Rodríguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. 22 September 2010. Page 11. Year 28, Number 1399. Retrieved 15 November 2011.
  7. ^ La Cruceta del Vigía / Cross Watchtower, Ponce, Puerto Rico
  8. ^ La Cruceta del Vigia. By (In Spanish) Archived 2006-07-21 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved April 24, 2010.


  1. ^ The structured was managed by the Municipality of Ponce until 1995 when, under a public-nonprofit agreement, it came to be administered by the Patronato de Ponce.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 18°01′08.35″N 66°37′12.66″W / 18.0189861°N 66.6201833°W / 18.0189861; -66.6201833