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New Audio Tour Guide To Old San Juan

By Joanisabel Gonzalez-Velazquez of WOW News

JUNE 28, 2003
Copyright © 2003
WOW NEWS. All rights reserved. 

Mexican entrepreneur Laura Montes has lived in Puerto Rico since 1997 and has been in love with Old San Juan since then.

That spirit motivated her to create AudioGuiaPR (AudioGuidePR), a small business that recently opened that serves as a complement to the tourism promotion efforts made by the municipal government.

"Places like the Roman Coliseum and museums in France have this technology, but I believe this is the first initiative that covers an entire city," explained Montes.

Montes explained that tourists rent the unit, which resembles a TV remote control, and receive a numbered map with 24 points of interest and their locations. The map also offers a commercial guide to restaurants, jewelry stores, specialty shops, automatic teller machines, and the trolley route in the historic zone.

Montes demonstrated how to use the device, with which renters pick a desired location and listen to a historic briefing of the building, street, or plaza they are visiting. Rental fees are approximately $17 for a six-hour period.

Narrations are in Spanish and English with a musical background by known "cuatro" players Quique Domenech and Edwin Colon Zayas.

AudioGuide began operations at the end of April, and Montes said that after only seven weeks in the market, there are about 8 rentals per week.

Montes’ initiative was sponsored by the Small Enterprises Program of the city of San Juan, formed in 2001 to create jobs in the capital and revamp its economy.

Diego Robles, executive director of the Social Economic Development Office, told WOW News that the program conferred a $15,000 grant to Montes, who used the money to buy the necessary equipment for the business.

The municipal official added that since the program’s inception, the city of San Juan has invested almost $6 million sponsoring 100 new entrepreneurial initiatives, while the private sector has contributed $8 million.

New businesses have created nearly 1,500 new jobs in the San Juan area in the manufacturing, tourism, fashion, and services sectors.

Rentals are available at the new Tourism Office of the city of San Juan located at Tetuan and San Justo streets. The service is also available at some hotels in the San Juan metro area, including the Caribe Hilton, Wyndham Old San Juan, El Convento, and Marriott.

AudioGuide also has offices in the Covadonga Parking Building in front of Pier 4 in Old San Juan. Its telephone number is 787-507-2905.

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