Aibonito, Puerto Rico

The municipality of Aguas Buenas, also known as the «City of Clear Waters» and the «Oasis of Puerto Rico,» is located in the extreme eastern end of the central mountain range. It has an area of 79.3 square kilometers (30.6 square miles) and its population is 29,032 residents (2000 census). The territory is divided into ten sectors: Aguas Buenas Pueblo, Bairoa, Bayamoncito, Cagüitas, Jagüeyes, Juan Asencio, Mula, Mulita, Sonadora, and Sumidero. The patron saint festival, in honor of Our Lady of Monserrate, is held in early September.

Today, agriculture has diminished markedly. The economy is mainly based on certain industrial businesses and the service sector.


This municipality is located in the center of the island and is part of the region known as the eastern humid mountains. It is about 259 meters above sea level. It is bordered on the north by Bayamón, Guaynabo and Río Piedras; on the south by Cidra; to the east by Caguas and to the west by Comerío. The humid tropical climate provides precipitation of between 64 and 78 inches each year. However, it rains less than in the towns of the western humid mountains. The land is fertile, very appropriate for growing coffee and fruit.

The topography of this upland municipality is, in general, mountainous, with very few plains. However, the mountains are low elevation. The most notable are the slopes of the central mountain range and are found in the Mulitas sector, in the west, and in the Cagüitas sector, in the south. The highest peaks are La Peña with 1,811feets (552 meters), located in the Juan Asencio sector, Santa Bárbara with 1,673 feets (510 meters), in Bayamoncito, and Chícharo with 1,607 feets (490 meters) in Sonadora.

They hydrographic system of Aguas Buenas consists of various rivers and streams. The rivers are the Bayamón, which runs from south to north, as well as the three branches of the Grande de Loíza River, the Bairoa, Cañas, and Cagüitas rivers. The latter passes underground through Sumidero, where the Aguas Buenas caves are found. Among the streams that complete the hydrographic system are tributaries of the Bayamón River such as: La Zapera, Pueblo Viejo, Jácana, Vicente, Grande, Las Piedras, Las Chorreras and Sonadora and other tributaries of the Grande de Loíza River, such as: Horno, Sanjuelo and Los Muertos.

The territory that makes up the municipality of Aguas Buenas has many natural springs, which is one reason that a growing number of people settled in the area from the late 18th century on. In the beginning, the settlements were a sector of Caguas known as Aguabuena, but in 1798 the residents chose to change the name to Aguas Claras.

By 1832, the population had grown considerably. That same year, the residents held an assembly and elected Francisco de Salas Torres and Ramón Díaz to be in charge of performing the necessary steps to convert Aguas Claras into a municipality. Another resident, Julián López, granted ten cuerdas of his property for the construction of a church, a parish house, a government house or city hall, and a plaza. In 1834, the decree was issued that authorized the creation of the municipality, but it was not until May 25, 1838, under the government of Miguel López de Baños, that Aguas Claras became the municipality of Aguas Buenas, with Francisco de Salas Torres as the first captain of the settlement, or mayor.

In 1842, the first public school was established under the direction of teacher José Marcelino Alvarez. The church was built in 1845. Later, in 1850, the sectors of Juan Asencio and Mulas were annexed. Until then, they had belonged, respectively, to Bayamón and Sábana del Palmar.

Originally, the routes of communication were in very poor condition. Under the command of GovernorMéndez Vigo, a road was built across the sector known today as Jagüeyes, as well as part of Guaynabo, to connect to the central highway. In 1858, Governor Fernando Cotoner y Chacón ordered the construction of a road to Caguas that would also connect with the central highway. Roads were also built to Cidra and Comerío.

In the beginning, economic activity in the town was scarce and was limited to growing fruit. By the end of the 19th century, coffee had become the main crop. In 1894, there were 108 farms in Aguas Buenas dedicated to growing coffee and 191 producing fruit. In that era, the population had grown to 7,000 residents.

After the change of sovereignty in 1898, demand for coffee dropped. After the destruction of many crops from the passage of Hurricane San Ciriaco, the residents of Aguas Buenas concentrated on growing and improving the town. During the first decades of the 20th century, the first theater, a hospital and more schools were built. Public lighting and water and sewer service were also installed and more roads were built. The economy was mainly based on planting and processing tobacco.

Today, agriculture has diminished markedly. The economy is mainly based on certain industrial businesses and the service sector.



The flag of Aguas Buenas consists of four triangles. On the left side is a blue triangle with a star in the center. Then follows a yellow triangle and, on the right side, two green ones. The yellow and the green represent agriculture, tropical flora and the commercial and industrial development of the municipality. The blue triangle and the solitary star, like the national flag, represent Puerto Rican nationality. The union of all these symbols and colors demonstrate the virtues and qualities of the Aguas Buenas residents.

Coat of Arms

The figures that make up the coat of arms symbolize the history, tradition and culture of the town. The coat of arms consists of four quarters or sections divided by a white cross in the center, which represents the Christian faith of the town. In the upper right quarter, there is a representation of the Virgin of Monserrate, the patron saint of the municipality. In the upper left corner is an image of a Taino Indian, symbolizing the first settlers of the region. In the lower left quarter is a cornucopia or vase in the form of a horn, filled with fruits produced in the territory. It represents abundance.

The last section shows some of the typical Puerto Rican folk music instruments: the guitar, the güiro and maracas. In the center of the cross is an illustration of a circle with a body of water that flows from the mountains, which represents the spring that gave the town its original name of «Aguas Claras.» In the lower part of the coat of arms is a band with the words «Municipality of Aguas Buenas, Puerto Rico.» A walled crowned with three towers, representing Aguas Buenas’ status as a town, finishes the coat of arms.

Places of Interest

• City Hall
• Lecture House
• Christ Redeemer House
• La Charca Recreational Center
• Aguas Buenas Caves
• Jagüeyes Country Club
• Monte La Tiza
• Maximiliano Merced fire station
• Juan Nieves Cotto baseball park
• Holy Spirit parish
• El Mirador Walkway
• Luis A. Ferré Plaza

Illustrious Citizens

Luis T. Baliñas – Businessman and inventor. He created a new type of de-pulping machine for coffee.

Jacobo Córdoba Chirino – Journalist, writer, researcher and author of Los que murieron en la horca.

Víctor Coll y Cuchi – Politician and exponent of Puerto Rican letters.

Ramón de las Bárcenas – Politician and educator. At the end of the 18th century, he was in charge of education in the municipality.

Víctor M. Fontánez Alicea – Baseball player

Jesús «Pichín» Hernández Ortiz – Orator and poet

Gustavo Muñoz Díaz – Physician and unionist politician.

Rafael Nicolau – Lawyer and autonomist politician.

Padre Andrés Pacheco – First priest born in Aguas Buenas.

Josefa Pastrana López 
– Professor

Pío Rechani – Pathologist, director of Forensic Medicine, Medical Center, and former mayor.

Luis Rechani Agrait – Poet, journalist, playwright and author of Todos los ruiseñores cantan.


• Patron Saint Festival in honor of the Virgin of Monserrate – early September
• Salsa, Bomba and Plena Festival – summer
• Buruquena Festival – July and August
• Town and Country Folk Festival – January
• Guayabo Marathon – August or September


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