The Covid-19 does not give truce, and meanwhile the economic and tourist development continues to be affected. With a view to keeping municipal coffers afloat, the different towns are looking for ways to reinvent themselves to attract visitors, as well as new strategies to continue fulfilling the activities and services to which the public is accustomed.
The municipality of Las Piedras is one of them. For a long time, the town located in the center-east of Puerto Rico, has been distinguished by offering educational services to visitors and those interested in participating in the artisan program that is part of the town’s tourist and cultural platform.
“As a town of artisans, we have always taken it upon ourselves to offer visitors and interested parties different types of workshops that are certified by the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company (Pridco, for its acronym in English). However, with the situation of the pandemic, in order not to have a group of people inside the Market Square – which was the place where the workshops were offered – we are working to carry them out virtually, ”explained Kimberly Martínez Rivera, director of the Office of Culture and Tourism of Las Piedras.
Without a doubt, social networks have become an ally of many in these times of pandemic. Whether it is to promote the attractions available, make appointments and even to maintain direct communication. But also, digital platforms like Zoom allow you to carry out activities for more specific groups, as is the case with these types of workshops.
“The way we are working on it, a workshop itinerary will be created where the student will register by calling the Office of Culture and Tourism, will select the workshop and the schedule that best suits them and will receive an access code”, he explained the tutelary.
Clay, leather and recycled art are some of the artisan workshops that will be offered in virtual mode in Las Piedras, which are scheduled for next October at the following times: 9:00 am to 12:00 pm or 5: 00 pm to 8:00 pm The official start date will be announced through the municipality’s social networks. It should be noted that these workshops will be validated by Pridco so that participants can register as artisans.
But this is not the only initiative that the Las Piedras Tourist Office is working on in the virtual mode. Well, although the city —also known as Come Guábaras— has continued to offer tourist and cultural tours through appointments —for small groups and families— in compliance with the latest executive order, for the month of October they hope to incorporate virtual tours into their offerings.
What to see
CUEVA DEL INDIO CEREMONIAL PARK. Located in the Arenas neighborhood. It is an open-air space that promotes contact with nature and delights the visitor with spectacular views. The park preserves three indigenous bateys and stones with petroglyphs. To get to the place you must make a reservation through the Tourist Office who will coordinate and assign a guide who will share valuable information about the place. For example; history of the cave, special treatment and care to the space to keep the petroglyphs free of damage, to name a few. Groups of 10 people or less are allowed and the use of masks is required.
LIGHT EARTH. It is the macromural project with a mosaic pattern painted in striking colors by the artist Samuel González Rodríguez and the Pintalto initiative, which aims to transform marginalized communities. The Pintalto Tierra Luz project in Las Piedras, was inaugurated in December 2019, in the Rivera neighborhood and covers 35 residences and 14 murals -including the tribute to the Pedrean artisan Eduardo Nieves by the artist David Zayas-. The samples of urban art cover several buildings in the town that include the old Town Hall of the so-called City of Artisans (founded in 1942), as well as a majestic evangelical church. As in the macro murals of Manatí, Yauco and Aguadilla, the Tierra Luz project was in charge of artists and volunteers from the community. Visitors can enjoy them without getting out of the car or by walking to take photos.
78 TOWNS 1 FLAG. Flag # 52 of the movement created by the Villalbeño artist, Héctor Collazo – better known as Héctor PR – adorns the building in the Plaza del Mercado, Juan Velázquez, in Las Piedras. The work also exhibits two hammock chairs -woven by hand- in homage to the artisans Eustaquio Hernández, Encarnación ‘Cano’ Díaz and Alejandro Lozada, who were recognized by the Institute of Culture of Puerto Rico (ICPR) and Pridco. Visitors can take photos to share via social media. Located in the Montones I neighborhood, near the Mayor’s House.
HACIENDA THE STORM. Although Las Piedras has presented an increase in the gastronomic variety with there are many businesses where they assure “you eat rich and have a good time”, this hacienda is one of the most acclaimed. Its emblematic dish is roast suckling pig, but the atmosphere and its mini-farm make it more attractive to Puerto Rican families.
For more information about tourism in Las Piedras, call 787-733-2160, extension 506.