El Tuque

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Not to be confused with La Tuque, Quebec.
For homonymy, see La Tuque (disambiguation).
El Tuque Beach as seen from Puerto Rico Highway 2 (PR-2) in Barrio Canas in Ponce, Puerto Rico

El Tuque is a beach and family recreational and tourist complex in the Punta Cucharas sector of Ponce, Puerto Rico. It was designed in the early 1960s by Luis Flores, an architect from Cayey, Puerto Rico.[1] It is located on PR-2, Km 220.1, in the El Tuque sector of Barrio Canas in Ponce.[2] The sector of El Tuque is considered Puerto Rico's largest populated sector.[3]

History[edit]

The name El Tuque comes from the name of a farm that was located in that area in the early 20th century.[4] The once deserted beach was developed into a balneario (balneary or bathhouse) by the government of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico in the mid 1960s, as part of the central government's attempt to provide a network of such recreational spots throughout the Island.[5] It included gazebos and fire pits near the beach, a restaurant, changing rooms with showers and lockers, a children's pool, and two adult olympic size swimming pools with snack bars.

By the mid 1980s, however, the area had fallen into disrepair, starting with the swimming pools and parking areas, for lack of proper maintenance. As a result, the beach would opened only sporadically. Eventually the complex was permanently closed in the late 1980s.

New complex[edit]

Over a decade later, in 1996, the US Corps of Engineers picked up the El Tuque project again for purposes of re-furbishing the beach with new sand.[6][7][8] In May of 2002, private investors became interested in the area and entered into a contract with the Puerto Rico central government to develop the area into a family and tourist recreational center. The investors spent $16 million to develop the area into the El Tuque Beach Entertainment Center.[9]

Today[edit]

El Tuque Recreational Complex today includes an aquatic complex splash water park with three pools with waves, high speed water slides, and water sports. Some of activities the park makes available are hiking, swimming, boating, fishing, whitewater paddling, snorkeling, and scuba diving.[10] The complex has a pub and a Quality Inn hotel located on the beach, within the recreational complex facilities. A nearby Holiday Inn hotel that had opened a few years earlier, provides additional lodging facilities for beachgoers.

A second addition to the project, which opened in 2003, includes a new speedway called the Ponce International Speedway Park.[11] It includes a drag-racing track and circuit track. The speedway drag-racing sections has both 1/4-mile and 1/8th-mile sections, and the full circuit is 1.52 miles long and incorporates 12 turns.[12] A small marina has also been added. Boating and kayaking is promoted as part of the center’s eco-tourism activities.[13]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Periferia: Balneario El Tuque. Periferia: Internet Resources for Architecture and Urban Design in the Caribbean. Periferia: Architecture: Piscina Balneario El Tuque. (Piscina en el Balneario "El Tuque". Ponce, Puerto Rico, 1984. Marvel Flores Cobián & Asociados. Luis Flores with Magdiel Rodríguez and Antonio Suárez.) Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  2. ^ Tremendas Ofertas en el Hotel. ElTuque.com Ponce, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  3. ^ Como Centro de Emergencias: Renace en febrero el CDT de El Tuque. Jason RodrÌguez Grafal. La Perla del Sur. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  4. ^ Annual report of the Secretary of War. United States War Department. Volume III. 1915. Page 283.
  5. ^ Coastal study sites south coast Puerto Rico: El Tuque Beach, Ponce. University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez. Department of Geology. Mayaguez, Puerto Rico.
  6. ^ United States Corps of Engineers: El Tuque Project. United States Army Corps of Engineers. Jacksonville Office.
  7. ^ Digital Project Network. United States Army Corps of Engineers. Jacksonville Office. Programs & Project Management Division. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  8. ^ Water Resources Development in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands. By United States Army Corps of Engineers, Jacksonville (Florida) District. 1998. Page 26.
  9. ^ Investments Of $605 Million To Double Ponce’s Business Growth, Create Thousands Of Jobs, And Spearhead The Southern Region’s Tourism. Lida Estela Ruaño. Caribbean Business. 25 April 2002. Retrieved 19 September 2011.]
  10. ^ Balneario El Tuque. GoingOutside.com "Beaches". Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  11. ^ Ponce International Speedway Park. Ponce International Speedway Park. Ponce, Puerto Rico. Retrieved 21 October 2011.
  12. ^ Un recorrido por la Ciudad Señorial de Ponce. El Vocero. San Juan, Puerto Rico.4 April 2012. Retrieved 25 April 2013.
  13. ^ The New El Tuque Beach Puerto Rico Herald. San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Coordinates: 17°58′51″N 66°38′36″W / 17.98083°N 66.64333°W / 17.98083; -66.64333