La Guancha, San Juan, Puerto Rico | CruiseBe
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La Guancha

Natural sights
beach, nature beauty, swim

The La Guancha Recreational and Cultural Complex (Spanish: Complejo Recreational y Cultural La Guancha) is a sector located in barrio Playa in Ponce, Puerto Rico with family recreational and cultural facilities that opened on June 23, 1998. The highlight of the complex is La Guancha Boardwalk, which is flanked by a beach, an observation tower, an amphitheater, and 24 open-air kiosks. It was developed during the administration of Mayor Rafael Cordero Santiago.



Originally La Guancha consisted of a road alongside a dike built close to the easternmost shore of barrio Playa across from Ponce Yacht Club. The romantic area was frequented by families and sweethearts alike, especially on weekends, for relaxion and bonding. During the administration of Mayor Cordero, however, a number of facilities were added to the La Guancha area at a cost of over $18 million, developing it into a new recreational complex.


Seven new facilities were added to the existing boardwalk area:

  • The Dr. Enrique "Coco" Vicens Recreational and Cultural Center (Spanish: Centro Recreativo y Cultural Enrique "Coco" Vicéns), which consists of an open-air amphitheater for concert-type facilities and seating some 30,000 spectators. Its stage is known as "Tarima Hector Lavoe".
  • A rides and amusement park area, intended for the celebration of Patron Saint's Day Festivals, fairs, and similar festivities
  • The Jose Angel Zayas Colon Children's Park, with over 40 games for the youngters, plus the (Julio and Geraldo) Chamorro-Franceschini Brothers Park, with facilities for the handicapped
  • Several parking areas with parking for some 900 vehicles, and distributed throughgout the complex
  • A majestic fountain, as its main axis, displaying the city's Coat-of-arms and its iconic lion
  • A multi-use building providing facilities for the Ponce Municipal Police, medical emergencies and ambulance, and other related agencies
  • A nourished beach area with over 10,000 cubic meters of new sand that replenished and built up the previous beach area, and including five beach volleyball courts, gazebos, access ramps to the Caribbean Sea, and associated illumination.

This project complemented the recently inaugurated tourist pier in the nearby Port of Ponce, and which saw an investment of $4 million.


The Complex was developed by the Department of Community and Economic Development of the Autonomous Municipality of Ponce at a cost of $18.6 million. The breakdown of the cost included $3.6 million in the acquisition of the Paseo Tablado La Guancha, 6.5 million in the purchase of over 27 acres (110,000 m2) of land, $8.0 million in the construction of the project, $0.2 million for the bidding process, and $0.3 million for the upgrade of PR-12 (Avenida Santiago de los Caballeros) as infrastructure leading to the new complex.


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