Enjoy a Day of Family-Fun at El Tuque
The El Tuque Recreational Complex and beach in the Punta Cucharas sector of Ponce was developed in 2002. It features an aquatic park with three large pools, one of which has waves, a maze of high-speed water slides and a variety of water-related activities. This popular family-oriented park also has a small marina and offers snorkeling, scuba diving, fishing, kayaking and boating, while providing all the amenities for a day of relaxation and fun. An associated attraction is the Ponce International Speedway Park which boasts a circuit track and drag-racing track.
El Tuque was the name of the early 20th century farm on which the recreation complex now stands. In the mid-1960s the Puerto Rican government developed the previously unused beach into a recreational spot with gazebos, a restaurant, two Olympic sized swimming pools, children’s pool, and changing rooms complete with showers and lockers and some snack bars. This was part of a plan at the time to establish a number of recreational spots around Puerto Rico with the aim of encouraging tourism. Unfortunately, due to lack of proper maintenance El Tuque fell into disrepair and was closed in the late 1980s.
In 1996, at the request of the Municipality of Ponce, the US Corps of Engineers undertook the refurbishing of El Tuque beach. This involved replacing tons of beach sand which had been eroded and building a rubble breakwater and offshore breakwater to prevent the sand from washing away again. The USACE is the largest public engineering and construction agency in the world, with up to 38,000 civilian and military personnel. Its stated mission is to provide essential public engineering services to reinforce US security, strengthen the economy, and reduce disaster risk.
In May 2002 private investors negotiated a contract with the government of Puerto Rico allowing them to develop El Tuque into a tourist and family recreational center, reportedly at a cost of US$16 million. Today, visitors and locals alike, enjoy the vibrant family-fun atmosphere and activities of El Tuque.