La guancha ponce: La Guancha de Ponce | Discover Puerto Rico

La Guancha FEMA Will Recover with Multi-million Dollar Allocation from FEMA

The municipality of Ponce has close to $75.6 million in obligations as a result of Hurricane María

GUAYNABO, Puerto Rico — An obligation of more than $6.7 million from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) was recently assigned for repairs at the Recreational and Cultural Center Enrique “Coco” Vicéns, known as La Guancha. With these funds, permanent repairs will be made to the facilities of this iconic complex in Ponce.

In addition to being a meeting place, La Guancha is key in the economy of this city known as the stately city (Ciudad Señorial). During regular operations, the businesses located there generated around $6.2 million in revenue. After the repairs are finalized, business opportunities are expected to duplicate, and this amount is projected to increase to $12 million, per municipal data.

According to Puerto Rico’s Federal Disaster Recovery Coordinator, José G. Baquero, emblematic places like La Guancha are also important in the recovery of Puerto Rico. “It is a source of great satisfaction that, through these funding allocations, we are able to help restore sites that promote entertainment, family involvement and tourism, which are vital to the island’s recovery process. This is a holistic development that goes beyond the reconstruction of buildings; it is the recovery of our social, family and cultural environment.”, said Baquero.

For the Mayor of Ponce, Luis Irizarry Pabón, the Municipal Administration has the determination to accomplish what will lead to a boost to this damaged economy, including “all the viable alternatives that allow for that surge in commercial and tourist activity at La Guancha.” The mayor understands that this facility serves as a platform for creative, gastronomical and cultural businesses, and has such variety in creative alternatives that makes this “one of the most important tourist centers in the Caribbean. The La Guancha area is connected to Ponce’s vision of the future, that, with a port and an airport with potential for growth and expansion, represents a real opportunity for strength and change,” he said.

La Guancha sits on over 134,000 square meters, where concrete columns and panels, lighting poles and its renowned boardwalk will be replaced. Of the funds allocated, $1.2 million is for future damage mitigation efforts and includes work to increase erosion and storm surge protection. In addition, a total of 155 direct  and 42 indirect jobs are expected to be generated once it is in optimal condition.

For their part, Yanit Madera Laboy and her husband Edgar Rodríguez Plaza, owners of two kiosks in La Guancha, said they are hopeful that these federal funds will give the area a fresh start. They suffered major damage during hurricane María, including the roof and solar panels, among other damage, which later worsened with the earthquakes and the pandemic, causing them to shutter their operations for a year. At the moment, there are about 40 active business owners there.

In addition, the Southern Puerto Rico Chamber of Commerce stated though its president, Luis Alvarado Cintrón, the entity’s satisfaction and support for the adjudication of funds for the permanent work at La Guancha. “This recreational and cultural complex is iconic of our city and one of the most visited by thousands of people daily, being one the engines of economic development in our Southern Region through the Tourism program,” he said.

Similarly, Manuel A. Laboy Rivera, Executive Director of the Central Office for Recovery, Reconstruction and Resiliency (COR3), said that through these funds allocated by FEMA, a vital space is recovered for socioeconomic development that is of great interest for tourism in the southern part of Puerto Rico. «Currently, we have disbursed close to $7.2 million for permanent work, which include roads, bridges, buildings, equipment, utilities, parks and recreational facilities, among other assets of the Municipality of Ponce. We reiterate our commitment to be facilitators in the execution process of the recovery projects led by the municipality of Ponce,» he concluded.

For more information about the recovery of Puerto Rico after hurricane María, visit and Follow us on social media at, and Twitter @COR3pr.

10 Things to Do: Ponce, Puerto Rico

The Castillo Serrallés, once home to one of the most powerful rum families in the region, decorated for Christmas. Photo: Leani García

Located on the southern coast, Ponce—La Perla del Sur (the Pearl of the South)—is Puerto Rico’s second-largest city. Founded in 1692 by Juan Ponce de León y Loayza, the legendary Spanish explorer’s great-grandson, Ponce’s museums and colonial buildings date to when it was Spain’s capital for the island’s southern region.

1. Stroll through Plaza las Delicias. Constructed in 1670, the Plaza of Delights is the heart of Ponce’s historic zone. Visit the city’s oldest colonial building, the Casa Alcaldía (City Hall), cool off at the Fuente de los Leones (Fountain of the Lions), or hop on a trolley to other city attractions.

2. Get lost in the Museo de Arte de Ponce. Ponce’s art museum boasts a 4,500- piece permanent collection from Europe, Africa and the Americas, including works spanning 30 centuries. ($6)

3. Mingle with Ponceños at La Guancha. Ponce’s boardwalk overlooking the Caribbean is a great place to sample local cuisine at the kiosks. Try a cold malta (a nonalcoholic carbonated malt beverage) and cuchifritos (fritters), including bacalaitos (fried codfish) and pastelillos (meat or cheese turnovers).

4. Visit the house that rum built. Constructed in 1926 during the height of sugarcane production in Ponce, El Castillo de Serrallés (Serrallés Castle) was once home to the powerful rum-producing family of the same name. When the tour ends, buy a bottle of Don Q, Serrallés’ most popular rum. (Tour fee: $7)

5. See Ponce’s most iconic symbol. Constructed in 1882, the wood-framed, red-and-black-striped Parque de Bombas was the first fire station on the island. Today, it is a museum honoring Ponce’s firefighters. (Free)

6. Step back in time. The Tibes Indian Ceremonial Center site, about three miles from Ponce, pays tribute to the pre-Columbian Igneri and Taíno who originally inhabited the archipelago. It includes the largest known Indigenous burial ground in the Antilles, a reconstructed village and a museum. ($3)

7. Learn about Puerto Rico’s Independentistas. Once a shoemaker’s shop that served as a clandestine meeting place for the Puerto Rican Nationalist Party, the Casa de la Masacre de Ponce (House of the Ponce Massacre) commemorates the 1937 police killing of 19 peaceful protesters and chronicles Puerto Rico’s pro-independence activism. (Free)

8. Experience a hydro-powered coffee plantation. At its height, the nineteenth-century Hacienda Buena Vista produced 10,000 pounds of coffee per year. The restored plantation, about seven miles from Ponce, features the only existing model of the Barker hydraulic turbine. Reservations required. ($10.70)

9. Leave civilization behind. Take a ferry ride to the Isla Caja de Muertos (Coffin Island), where you can hike, visit the lighthouse constructed in 1887, snorkel, kayak, or just enjoy a day on the beach. Bring your own food and water. Reservations required. ($25)

10. Feel the island rhythm. The Museo de la Música Puertorriqueña (Museum of Puerto Rican Music) celebrates the island’s musical heritage, with special emphasis on traditional danza, bomba and plena. (Free)

View a slideshow of photos from Ponce, Puerto Rico.

All photos courtesy of the author.


Leani García is social media and production editor of Americas Quarterly and policy manager for Americas Society/Council of the Americas. Follow her on Twitter @LeaniGarcia.

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Any opinions expressed in this piece do not necessarily reflect those of Americas Quarterly or its publishers.

Hotel Belgica 1* Ponce — book a room from 85 USD!

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122 Villa Street, Ponce

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+7 (495) 727-20-00

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A few lines from our reviewers about Hotel Belgica — hotel description

This hotel is located in downtown Ponce, just 1 km from the Museum of Art. The hotel serves a continental breakfast. Free Wi-Fi and a business center are also available. All rooms have satellite TV.

In addition, each room at Belgica Hotel has a private bathroom, a seating area, toiletries and a telephone with a wake-up call.

La Guancha Boardwalk and Mercedita Airport are a 10-minute drive from Hotel Belgica. Plaza del Caribe Shopping Center is about 5 km away.

Hotel Information Hotel Belgica


  • Pets allowed
  • Free parking
  • Wi-Fi available throughout


  • Internet
  • WiFi
  • Free wireless Internet access


  • 24-hour reception

Public areas

  • Sun terrace

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  • Business center
  • Fax/Photocopying


  • Non-smoking rooms
  • Air conditioner

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  • 14:00


  • 11:00

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Upon check-in photo identification and credit card is required. Special requests can be catered for at check-in and cannot be guaranteed. Additional charges may apply.

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**** THE FOX HOTEL, PONCAY **** — ‹1 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 910 11 12 13 15 16

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  • 9000 Viechers Villaronga and a 10 minute walk from Bombay Park.

    This hotel is 5 minutes’ walk from downtown Ponce. The hotel offers quick access to La Guancha Paseo Tablado.

    Some rooms have a work desk, a seating area and a flat-screen TV with satellite channels.

    Breakfast is served every morning in the restaurant. Guests can also have fun in the lounge bar. Several restaurants can be found within a 5-minute walk, including Chef’s Creations and El Barril de la Mulata. Mercedita Airport, which is 0.5 km from this hotel, will take approximately 10 minutes.

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    The Fox Hotel

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    • Free Wi-Fi
    • 24 hour reception
    • Billiards
    • Restaurant
    • Air conditioning

    Internet access

    • Free WiFi


    • Parking


    • Billiards

    Services provided

    • 24 hour reception
    • Luggage storage
    • barbershop
    • Room service
    • Room cleaning
    • Laundry
    • Guide services / Ticket booking
    • welcome cocktail
    • Happy hours


    • Restaurant
    • Bar / seating area


    • Fax/photocopy
    • Entertainment
    • Lounge / Cinema


    • Air conditioner
    • Recreation area
    • Terrace
    • garden furniture
    • Ironing accessories

    In the bathroom

    • Free toiletries


    • flat screen TV
    • radio alarm clock


    • Carpeted floor


    • Smoking on the territory is prohibited
    • coffee house
    • Smoke detectors
    • fire extinguishers

    Useful information

    Railway Registration: from 15:00 to 23:59

    Exit registration: to 11:00

    • Additional bedrooms
    • are not provided with baby beds.

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