La Guancha Recreational and Cultural Complex
If you’re looking for some entertainment or relaxation in the city of Ponce, be sure to make your way to the La Playa barrio where you will find the La Guancha Recreational and Cultural Complex. Opened in June 1998, the area boasts fine facilities that the whole family can enjoy.
La Guancha began as a simple road standing across from the Ponce Yacht Club. Offering scenic views along the shore, many families and couples would stroll along the walkway on the weekends. At the time of the administration of Mayor Rafael Cordero Santiago, the area received a boost with a number of facilities being added and the boardwalk being improved. Amongst the additions was the Dr. Enrique “Coco” Vicens Recreational and Cultural Center. This center includes an open-air amphitheater for an audience of up to 30 000 individuals. A variety of performances and concerts are held here. Further additions were the Jose Angel Zayas Colon Children’s Park aimed at the young ones, and the Chamorro-Franceschini Brothers Park that offers amenities for the handicapped. Popular amongst children is the amusement park section, with fun-filled rides. An attractive feature is the fountain that depicts Ponce’s coat-of-arms. Attention was also given to the beach, with 10 000 cubic meters of sand being added, along with improved lighting, ramps providing access to the sparkling waters of the sea, gazebos offering shade, and beach volleyball courts.
The popular La Guancha Boardwalk, also referred to as Paseo Tablado La Guancha, sees some 750 000 visitors each year who come to enjoy the beach, the view and the many fine facilities. A number of kiosks are available, offering food and beverages. Amongst the tasty local treats on offer are frituras and empanadillas. Many climb the observation tower, which offers an amazing view of the Port of Ponce and even Cardona Island Lighthouse. The bustling La Guancha Boardwalk is the ideal place to meet locals and other travelers. A number of events and festivals are held here on a regular basis. Though, much of the time the air is filled with the sounds of salsa, giving it a vibrant atmosphere all year round.
Many travelers also opt to take a 45-minute boat trip from La Guancha to Caja de Muertos, a small uninhabited island. This island is renowned for its spectacular snorkeling opportunities as well as its historic lighthouse.
La Guancha is just eleven kilometers from the center of Ponce and is easily reached by means of the small “chu-chu” train that runs between the boardwalk and the city’s historic center. There is also plenty of safe parking nearby.