The Tourism Co. has designated a 16-town cluster straddling Puerto Rico’s central mountain region from Lares to Cidra as the new “Porta Cordillera” tourism region, which joins five other areas where municipalities have banded together to develop travel and leisure-related economic activity.
Porta Cordillera comprises the towns of Aguas Buenas, Cidra, Cayey, Comerío, Aibonito, Naranjito, Barranquitas, Corozal, Orocovis, Morovis, Ciales, Jayuya, Florida, Utuado, Adjuntas and Lares — towns known for stunning nature reserves, forests, coffee plantations, lakes, rivers, caves and the protected karst area.
“The ‘Porta Cordillera’ region is the ideal place to develop ecotourism and agrotourism given its natural attributes,” Tourism Co. Executive Director Luis Rivera-Marín said. “It has the potential to become a favorite destination for sustainable tourism development in Puerto Rico, through nature tourism, adventure tourism, ecotourism and agritourism, among other modalities.”
At present, the region hosts five Tourism Co.-endorsed “paradores” (small inns) that together operate 136 rooms. However, there are nine more small hotels either under construction or seeking permits and financing that upon completion would add close to 400 rooms to the region.
The investment associated with the planned properties — Hotel Media Luna in Comerío, Hacienda Lealtad in Lares, Hacienda Negrón in Ciales, Hacienda Verde and Eco-Parque Tanamá in Utuado, Hacienda Brisas Frescas in Corozal, Club Caribe in Cidra, Hotel Media Luna, OroVerde Eco Resort and Adventure Park in Orocovis, and Los Aviones in Barranquitas — is pegged at about $57 million, the agency said.
Meanwhile, the central government is pumping $637.4 million into infrastructure projects in the region that are also expected to spur economic activity, Rivera-Marín said.
The concept of regional tourism does not focus on a specific town, but all of the towns that comprise the region and share a number of features such as natural, social, cultural, and infrastructure resources, among others, creating a distinctive homogeneity for the area, he said.
“We predict that ‘Porta Cordillera’ will become a prosperous region for tourism, which will promote a positive boost for the municipalities that compose it and for Puerto Rico as a destination,” Rivera-Marín said, noting the agency has earmarked $56,512 to strengthen its municipal tourism offices in Jayuya, Barranquitas, Corozal and Orocovis.
The other tourism regions are: Porta Caribe in the south, Porta del Sol in the west, Porta Atlántico in the north and the Eastern Region, which comprises the San Juan metropolitan area and the island municipalities of Vieques and Culebra.