La Guancha: A Fun Weekend Spot for the Whole Family
Update- 2/1/18- The west end of the boardwalk was severly damaged in the hurricane, but the restaurants are open and the east end of the area is open for tarpon feeding and pelican watching.
If you are in the Ponce area on a weekend, and you want to go somewhere to hang out like a local, head to Paseo Tablado La Guancha (or simply “La Guancha”). This boardwalk area is a family-friendly place to enjoy local food, music, and the company of other people. There are also some other fun diversions like a beach, a playground for the kids, kayak rentals, tarpon feeding, and boat rides. It is a fun place to spend a weekend afternoon or evening.
Eat, Sit, Walk, Dance, or Feed the Fish
La Guancha is a family-friendly place where people of all ages come to play, eat, enjoy the day, and the meet their friends. It is at the marina in Ponce, and is a nice place to sit and enjoy the warm sea breezes while watching the sunset.
The biggest draw is probably the food kiosks, serving local fare and drinks (alcoholic and otherwise). While some of the kiosks are open during the week, the place comes alive on weekend afternoons and on into the night. You can enjoy your food at a bar, on a bench outside, as you walk along the boardwalk, or while standing at the railing. There is also a restaurant or two with indoor seating. Many of the kiosks will have music, but sometimes there is live music on the boardwalk.
It is a lively, fun atmosphere. You can pass the time people-watching and maybe break out into dance if the mood strikes you.
The food and drinks are not the only fun. You can just walk the boardwalk, getting your exercise while enjoying the view. One of the most fun parts of La Guancha was feeding the tarpon, and taking photos with the pelicans perched on the railing.
The tarpon will gather along the eastern end of the boardwalk anytime people stop at the railing. It’s no surprise that they are looking for food. They will eat almost anything (french fries, bread), but, if you want to, you can head to the Fisherman’s Club at the end of the boardwalk where you can buy small fish to feed the tarpon. The pelicans also take advantage of the people and will sit on the railing, waiting for some scraps. We got some great photos!
There is an observation tower where you can climb the steps to get great views of the boardwalk and bay area below. On weekends there are lots of artisans and other vendors.
Take a Boat Ride, Go to the Playground, or Walk on the Beach
Toward the western end of the boardwalk, you’ll find the dock for Island Flyer. They offer full-day trips to Isla Caja del Muertos
Caribe Rentals is also on the boardwalk, offering pedal boat, kayak, and SUP paddle board rentals. They are open Wednesday to Sunday, in the afternoon and evening.
In the eastern corner of the parking lot, there is a playground for the kids with lots of fun equipment to swing, slide, and climb on. Farther to the east (between the road and the beach) there is some nice exercise equipment for the whole family to use if you want to burn off a few calories!
Last but not least, the Ponce Beach is right there, too. I can’t say it is a really nice beach, but it is a nice place to cool off under the few trees with your feet in the water. While I didn’t like the dark sand, I will admit it has some great scenery, with views to Isla Caja de Muertos. We got some nice photos while we walking along the beach looking for shells and sea glass!
Restrooms are available along the boardwalk, but cleanliness is questionable, and bring your own TP. A few don’t have lights, so be prepared for that.
To get there, take exit 104A from Route 52, then follow Route 12 south. You’ll have to drive through an industrial/port area … just follow the road to the parking area, where there is plenty of free parking.
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PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it!