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"Arecibo" redirects here. For other uses, see Arecibo (disambiguation).

Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Río Grande de Arecibo.

Coat of arms
Nickname(s): "La Villa del Capitán Correa", "Muy Leal", "Ciudad del Cetí", "Diamante del Norte" (the north diamond), "La Ribera del Arecibo" (the shore of the Arecibo)
Anthem: "Arecibo"

Location of Arecibo within Puerto Rico.

Coordinates: 18°22′30″N 66°37′30″W / 18.37500°N 66.62500°W / 18.37500; -66.62500Coordinates: 18°22′30″N 66°37′30″W / 18.37500°N 66.62500°W / 18.37500; -66.62500

Country United States
Territory Puerto Rico
Founded 1616
 • Mayor Carlos Molina (PNP)
 • Senatorial dist. 3 - Arecibo
 • Representative dist. 13, 14
 • Total
 • Land 125.99 sq mi (326.3 km2)
 • Water 45.23 sq mi (117.1 km2)
Elevation 23 ft (7 m)
Population (2010)[1]
 • Total 96,440
 • Density 794.8/sq mi (306.9/km2)
 • Racial groups
(2010 Census)[2]
85.5% White
5.1% Black
0.5% American Indian
0.2% Asian
8.6% Mixed or Other
Demonym Arecibeños
Time zone AST (UTC-4)
Zip code 00612, 00613, 00614, 00616, 00652, 00688
Area code(s) 787

Arecibo (Spanish pronunciation: [aɾeˈsiβo]) is a municipality on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, located north of Utuado and Ciales; east of Hatillo; and west of Barceloneta and Florida. It is about 50 miles (80 km) west of San Juan, the capital city. Arecibo is the largest municipality in Puerto Rico by area, and is part of the San Juan, Caguas and Guaynabo Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is spread over 18 wards and Arecibo Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). Its population in 2010 was 96,440.

Arecibo is also known as La Villa del Capitán Correa (Captain Correa's Villa) after the Puerto Rican hero Captain Antonio de los Reyes Correa who, as a member of the Spanish Army, defended Arecibo from a British invasion led by rear-admiral William Whetstone on August 5, 1702. With 2 British Navy ships and 40 men, Whetstone tried to take control of the city; Cpt. Antonio Correa ambushed his soldiers, killing 22 British seamen. The Spanish defenders suffered only one casualty and three wounded soldiers. Arecibo is also known as El Diamante Del Norte (The Diamond of the North) as well as La Ribera del Arecibo (The shore of Arecibo).

The Arecibo Observatory, known for housing the world's largest radio telescope, is located here. Arecibo is also home to the Roman Catholic Diocese of Arecibo.


Arecibo, settled in 1556, was the island's third Spanish settlement, after Caparra (which later became San Juan), and San German. It is named after the Taíno Cacique Xamaica Arasibo, who ruled the Taino Yucayeque (town), then named Abacoa.

Arecibo was officially founded as a city by the Spanish crown on May 1, 1616, under the governorship of Captain Felipe de Beaumont y Navarra, when the King of Spain granted the land (and the Taino living there) to Lope Conchillos.


Arecibo is located in the Northern Coastal Plain region of Puerto Rico, extending further inland into the Karst region. It lies south of the Atlantic Ocean; north of Utuado; east of Hatillo; and west of Barceloneta and Florida. The city occupies an area of 127 square miles (330 km2), of which, 45.23 sq mi (117.1 km2), is water.[3]

The Rio Grande de Arecibo is the main river in the municipality, running through the middle of it. South of the municipality, in the karst region, it forms the Dos Bocas Lake, a primary source of water for Northern Puerto Rico. Several rivers feed the Rio Grande, including the Tanama River. East of the river, lies Caño Tiburones, an important marshland area that provides habitat for many kinds of birds and wildlife.

Arecibo has two forest reserves. Cambalache State Forest is located along the Barceloneta city limits, while Rio Abajo State Forest is located between Arecibo and Utuado. Caves include Cueva Ventana, which overlooks a valley formed by the Rio Grande de Arecibo, and La Cueva del Indio (Cave of the Indian), where paintings made by prehistoric indigenous peoples have been seen.


Tropical monsoon climate, occasionally also known as a tropical wet climate or tropical monsoon and trade-wind littoral climate in climate classification, is a relatively rare type of climate. The Köppen Climate Classification subtype for this climate is "Am". (Tropical Monsoon Climate).[4]

Climate data for Arecibo, Puerto Rico
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °C (°F) 84
Average low °C (°F) 65
Precipitation mm (inches) 4.6
Source: Weatherbase [5]



  • Arecibo Pueblo[6]
  • Arenalejos
  • Arrozal
  • Cambalache
  • Carreras
  • Domingo Ruíz
  • Dominguito
  • Esperanza
  • Factor
  • Garrochales
  • Hato Abajo
  • Hato Arriba
  • Hato Viejo
  • Islote
  • Miraflores
  • Río Arriba
  • Sabana Hoyos
  • Santana
  • Tanamá


Landmarks and places of interest

  • Cathedral of Saint Phillip Apostle

Arecibo is one of the oldest colonial towns in Puerto Rico (1616) and as result has some antique structures, one of which is the Cathedral of Saint Phillip Apostle. The original church was built in the middle of the 17th century and was destroyed by an earthquake in 1787; construction of a new one began soon after, although it was not completed until 1846. Four days after its dedication, an earthquake seriously damaged it. By 1875 repairs had not been completed, although they were finished in 1882. The 1918 earthquake damaged the vault so badly that it was replaced by a flat concrete roof; a vaulted ceiling of composition board was placed inside.

The cathedral of Arecibo is Puerto Rico's second-largest church after the Cathedral of San Juan. The plan is rectangular with three naves; the side naves are cut short to allow large flanking chapels, which occupy almost half the length of the church. The apse is semicircular, and has an unusual half-dome covering it. The facade is a triangular composition of three stages, although the top stage, a short central tower, is a later addition, according to local architects and historians. Neoclassic ornamentation is used in an academic fashion on the lowest stage, but the other two show a less traditional use of bands and pilasters. The Renaissance-style windows are uncommon in Puerto Rican churches, but the central tower over the entrance is frequently seen throughout the island.

  • City Hall

The City Hall, built in 1866, served as jail to El Grito de Lares participants in 1868. In the 1918 earthquake, the frontal section of the building was destroyed. When repairs were made, a tower and clock were added to the building. In 1978, the building was restored to its original form.

The City Hall of Arecibo is typical of these regional seats of government. It is relatively modest in size, of stuccoed masonry, with an academically correct composition, having a pedimented center pavilion which projects slightly. The lower story is rusticated, with arched openings; the three doorways in the center giving the effect of a loggia. The upper windows all have segmental pediments and balconies; the central trio share one long balcony. Architectural detailing is modest, but the building is graceful and charming.

In 1898 the Spaniards built the Arecibo Lighthouse; automated in 1964, it is still in use. A small park, Arecibo Lighthouse and Historical Park, surrounds the lighthouse.

The Arecibo Observatory is the largest single-unit radio telescope ever constructed and one of the world's most powerful radar-radio telescopes. While the observatory exists to support scientific studies, a number of Hollywood movies have been filmed there as well, most recently GoldenEye and Contact. The radio telescope was used in 1974 to send the Arecibo message to space.

  • Cambalache Forest Reserve

Forest between Arecibo and Barceloneta.

  • Casa Ulanga

Originally a residence built by Spanish immigrant Francisco Ulanga, it was later used as a bank, store, city hall of Arecibo, hospital, jail, tribunal, and now the Arecibo Cultural Center.

  • Cueva del Indio Cavern

Archeological site where Taíno drawings can be found

Reservoir between Arecibo and Utuado.

  • Paseo Victor Rojas(Victor Rojas' Walk)

Also known as Paseo de Damas or simply El Fuerte, it was built in 1881 where Fort San Miguel's ruins once were.

  • Manuel "Petaca" Iguina Coliseum

Home of the Arecibo Captains basketball team.

  • Beaches

Nearby beaches include Los Morillos, Los Negritos, Poza del Obispo, and Las Tunas.

  • Museum of Art and History of Arecibo

Shows art from local artists and shows the city's history.

Also nearby (18°29′N 66°26′W / 18.483°N 66.433°W / 18.483; -66.433) is a facility for launching sounding rockets. Since 1966 many rockets of the Nike Apache, Nicke Javellin, Nicke Iroquois, Nike Tomahawk, Black Brant, Taurus Orion, and Terrier Orion types have been launched from this facility.


Festivals and events

  • Bicycle Competitions - January
  • Arecibo Carnival - February
  • Patron Festivities San Felipe Apóstol - May
  • Playero Festival - July
  • Folklore Festival - July
  • Craftsman Fair - September
  • Ceti Festival - November
  • Puerto Rico's Flag Centennial - December
  • Yesenia Montero's Horse festival - December


Arecibo has two professional sports franchises, the Lobos de Arecibo in baseball and the Capitanes de Arecibo in BSN basketball. The Lobos won the 1983 national baseball championship and the 1983 Caribbean World Series, the only time the franchise won both titles. At that time, they had MLB prospect Dickie Thon, then also of the Houston Astros, on their roster. Thon then suffered a life-threatening and career-affecting eye injury during an Astros game in 1984. The Lobos won a championship again in 1996.

The Capitanes won their first ever championship in 1959. After that, the Capitanes have not had much luck in their basketball tournaments, but in 2002, they started to turn things around, reaching the semifinals. However, they lost the series to the Vaqueros by losing 4 straight games, after having a 3-0 game lead in the series. The Capitanes won the National Superior Basketball championship on 2005 beating the Vaqueros of Bayamón in 4 games. This was the first championship in 46 years. In 2007 they got to the finals, losing in the overtime on the seventh game of the series against Los Cangrejos de Santurce. In 2008 Arecibo won the tournament championship again, against the Gigantes of Carolina. In 2010, they won again against Los Vaqueros of Bayamon.

Radio stations

  • WCMN-FM - Toca De To' 107.3 FM
  • WCMN-AM - NotiUno 1280 AM
  • WNIK-FM - Super K 106 FM
  • WNIK-AM - Radio Unica



Arecibo's main shopping mall is Plaza del Atlantico as well as the one situated in the neighboring town of Hatillo, Plaza del Norte.


Arecibo is home to Fortune 500 corporations such as Merck, General Electric. Another important company is Thermo King Corporation.


The municipality of Arecibo, Puerto Rico is 60.24% white (of European descent), 26.23% mixed (multi-racial, including European, African and Native American, as individuals self-identify), 9.7% black (African-American or African descent), and 3.8% Asian (south Asian or east Asian). The majority of the population in Arecibo is white, mostly of Spanish descent, with some having Middle Eastern, French, Italian, American or of other descent. People who are multi-racial may have ancestors among any or more than one of the European groups, just as Africans were of different ethnicities. Those of Asian descent are mostly from China and India.


Main article: Mayoralty in Puerto Rico

All municipalities in Puerto Rico are administered by a mayor, elected every four years. The current mayor of Arecibo is Carlos Molina, of the New Progressive Party (PNP). He was elected at the 2012 general elections.

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district III, which is represented by two Senators. In 2008, José Emilio González and Angel Martínez were elected as District Senators.[7]



The flag of Arecibo derives its composition and colors from the coat of arms of the City. It is divided vertically in two equal parts. The left side is blue having a belt that stands for "Captain Correa", a local military hero from Spanish times. The right side is made up of blue and yellow diamonds alternating in a checkerboard pattern referring to the coat of arms of Felipe de Beaumont y Navarra governor of Puerto Rico (1614–1620) and founder of the city.The crown represents The Cacique (chieftain) Arasibo (Fransico Jamaica Arasibo).The Turtles represent the ancientness of the city (the third city of Puerto Rico) also because of the indigenous people of the region and that the hunting of turtles was a source of wealthness. The Towers was a form to describe the population of a settlement. Towers represent: 3 Towers (Municipality), 4 towers (Village) and 5 Towers (City).

Coat of arms

The shield is divided by diagonal lines in golden and blue rhombuses with a blue stripe in the superior part, in which resides an opened five-point crown and which is adorned with drawings characterizing the art of the Taínos. The people of Arecibo also honored Captain Antonio de los Reyes Correa by including a gold colored belt in their Coat of Arms with the words "Muy Leal", which means "Very Faithful", in representation of Correa.[8] This combination of symbols represents the Indian Cacique (Chieftain) from whom the population's name derives, the governor that erected the town and the hero Captain Correa who defended the town from a British invasion.


Arecibo has a small noncommercial airport, named Antonio (Nery) Juarbe Pol Airport, which has not had airline flights in about two decades.

PR-22 (unsigned Interstate PR-2) passes through the city, but bypasses downtown. Downtown can be accessed via PR-2, PR-10 and PR-129.


Arecibo is home to several public and private schools distributed through several regions. Public education is handled by the State Department of Education.

There are also several colleges and universities located in the city. Some of them are:

It also has several other technical institutions like the National College of Business and Technology and the ICPR Junior College.

Notable people from Arecibo

The following is a list of notabe people from Arecibo:

Due to space limitations it is almost impossible to list all of the people of Arecibo who have distinguished themselves, therefore a category has been created to this effect:

See also

Puerto Rico portal
Geography portal


External links

  • Arecibo and its barrios, United States Census Bureau, 2000
  • Welcome to Puerto Rico Arecibo
  • Arecibo Observatory Home
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