When I was telling my Puerto Rican friends how much I enjoyed Bayamón, universally they lifted their eyes and pronounced, “What? Bayamón. It is an unusual town.” So I started to question myself. Is Bayamón so bad?
I did find locating the downtown area confusing. But here’s a hint, upon entering the city from Highway 5 you will see a huge sculpture called Estrella Del Norte (North Star) and on your right you will see the Bayamón Urban Train Station.
Turn right just after the station and proceed under the train. Once parked, you will be amazed at how interesting this downtown area has become.
Museo De Arte Francisco Oller (MAFO)
This neoclassical building was constructed in 1907 and was originally the City Hall. In 1984, it was converted into an art museum. This museum was named after Francisco Manuel Oller because he was born in Bayamón. Oller is one of the most famous artists of Puerto Rico. Historians claim he painted more than 900 works; however, only 233 exist today. Oller is considered to be important in the development of impressionism in Latin America. As part of the permanent collection on the second floor, there are seven portraits by Oller. The first floor and part of the second feature exhibitions that change every 4-6 months. Therefore, the experience is always new.
13 Degetau St., Bayamón
Tuesday—Saturday, 8:30 a.m. — 4 p.m.
Just down the street, this space highlights up-and-coming and important artists in Puerto Rico. There are two floors of eclectic art, modern works and installations. The new exhibition opened Nov. 1.
18 Rossi St., Bayamón
Tuesday - Saturday, 8:30 a.m.— 4 p.m.
Museo José Celsa Barbosa
Barbosa (1857-1921) became a physician, sociologist, political leader and an equal rights activist. He is best known as father of the statehood movement of Puerto Rico. His wooden house serves as a museum with many plaques describing his accomplishments. One of these was having employers pay a fee for the future healthcare needs of their employees (today’s health insurance programs!). Barbosa was the first Puerto Rican and first person of African descent to earn a medical degree from the University of Michigan. His museum felt like a doll house to me. I enjoyed looking at the period furniture and his medical instruments.
16 Barbosa St., Bayamón
Tuesday—Saturday, 8:30 a.m.—4 p.m.
Bayamón Art Museum
Located inside the Luis A. Ferré Science Park,
there are nine exhibition rooms and many objects on permanent display in this renovated building. This museum is devoted to Puerto Rican Art from the 1800s to present.
1500 Ramón Luis Rivera Ave., Bayamón
Tuesday—Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
On Saturdays, you can request free transportation between the Bayamón Art Museum and the Francisco Oller Museum. For more information, call (787) 740-6868.
All of these museums are free of charge. There are English speaking guides available at each museum.