Arroyo, Puerto Rico 

Arroyo was founded in 1855. It covers 39 square kilometers or 15 square miles. It is known as Pueblo ingrato (The ungrateful town), el Pueblo grato (The pleasant town), and Los bucaneros (Buccaneers). Its patron is Virgin of Our Lady of Carmen. According to the Census of 2000, the municipality has 19,117 residents and is divided into eight areas: Cuatro Calles, Pueblo Este, Pueblo Oeste, Ancones, Guásimas, Palmas, Yaurel, and Pitahaya.

According to some historians, the name of the town comes from a small stream that travelers visited to refresh themselves and continue on their way. According to popular tradition, its nickname “the ungrateful town” comes from a shipwrecked man who arrived on the coast of the town at the beginning of the 19th century and was thrown into the sea by the residents because they feared he was infected with cholera. Another version of history tells the story of a foreigner who lived in the town and was known for his great generosity but was burned alive at the Arroyo bay when he caught the plague.

Today, this town has some pharmaceutical companies and part of its land is used as dairy farms.


Arroyo is located on the south of the island. It borders with the municipality of Patillas on the north; the Caribbean Sea to the south; to the west with Guayama and to the east with the municipality of Patillas. Geographically, it belongs to the Ponce-Patillas alluvial plain subregion in the region known as the southern coastal plain. It is a very arid area, although its alluvial plains are very productive because of their artificial irrigation. On the eastern area, on its border with Patillas, are the hills: Bandera, Magdalena or Juan Amaro, and Yaurel. Monte Verde is located in the area between Ancones, Yaurel, and Pitahaya. Corazón hill is located in the mountain range that serves as border with the municipality of Guayama.

Its hydrographical system is made up by the following bodies of water: the Nigua or Laurel River, which crosses the municipality from north to south and flows into the Caribbean Sea, and the ravines Corazón, Antigua, Jácana, Yaurel or Zanjón. In addition, Arroyo has a mineral water spring in the old Colonia Virella, as well as a gush of thermal waters. Other geographical features in Arroyo are Figuras and Guilarte hills and Puerto Arroyo.

Some historians maintain that the first settlers were the Tainos, while others assure that it was a group of Spaniards who arrived in Guayama in search of a port for receiving and sending their merchandise. However, others assure that it was a group of fishermen.

The founding dates to 1855, although there are documents that show that five years earlier the request had been submitted to separate Arroyo from the town of Guayama. According to documents from the Puerto Rico Department of Transportation and Public Works, it was in 1855 that the borderline between Guayama and Arroyo was established. However, in 1868, Gaceta de Puerto Rico published that Arroyo was founded in 1852.

The town’s public works as well as its communication system had significant development during the last decades of the 19th century. In 1859, the town council made an agreement to build roads, and a year later, for the construction of a town square and a sewer on the town’s Marina Street. That same year, Samuel Morse visited the town for family reasons and installed the first telegraph line in Puerto Rico and the second in the Caribbean and the United States. The line communicated Hacienda Enriqueta, his daughter Susan Morse de Lind’s property, with Eduard Lind’s warehouses in the docks at Arroyo beach -a distance of approximately two miles.

In 1894, there were 62 small crop estancias (farms) in Arroyo, two iron mines, and one bronze mine. By then, fishing was also fundamental for Arroyo’s economy. Fishermen from different parts of the world, including Africa, Spain, and Denmark arrived on its coast.

In 1878, Arroyo had 5,575 inhabitants. At the time, the municipality was divided into these areas: Pueblo (east and west), Pitahaya, Yaurel, Ancones, Cuatro Calles, Palmas, and Guásimas. In 1898, Cuatro Calles area was included as part of the urban zone and the rural zone included Ancones, Palmas, Guásimas, Yaurel, and Pitahaya.

In Arroyo, there was a separatist organization called La Torre del Viejo (The Old Man’s Tower), which fought for the independence of Puerto Rico from Spain. On August 1, 1898 U.S. troops arrived in the municipality under the command of Captain Higginson. In March 1902, Puerto Rico’s Legislative Assembly approved la Ley para Consolidación de Ciertos Términos Municipales de Puerto Rico (law to consolidate municipal terms). The law stipulates that the entire territory of the Arroyo municipality would be annexed to the municipality of Guayama. Three years later, in March of 1905, Puerto Rico’s legislature approved a law that would revoke the law approved in July 1902. The town of Arroyo was reorganized and it again became an independent municipality with the same boundaries it had before.

Towards mid-20th century, this municipality’s economy depended mostly on growing agricultural products such as yam, plantain, yautía (root vegetable), and sugarcane; one of its main sugarcane producers was Central Lafayatte.


Arroyo’s flag  has two horizontal stripes of equal size that divide it into two horizontal rectangles. Its orange and black colors allude to a past full of adventure. Arroyo’s coat of arms is in the middle of the flag.

Coat of Arms

Arroyo’s Coat of Arms  was officially approved by municipal authorities on March 31, 1970. It has a blue background, a church, a scapular, and a pomegranate flower. There is a green mountain on its base that has a tower between two telegraph poles, and in the lower part, it has undulating blue waves and a fish. As a stamp, the coat of arms has a crown of three towers in saber, blue in its openings and lined in purple. In addition, it has a flounce with the motto ‘Arroyo Pueblo Grato’ (Arroyo Pleasant Town).

Places of Interest

• Central Lafayette
• El Malecón
• La Cora Estate
• La Torre del Viejo
• Windmill
• Monument of Enrique Huyke
• Monument of Samuel Morse
• Las Palmas beach
• Punta Guilarte beach
• Ruins of the Lighthouse

Illustrious Citizens

Guillermo V. Cintrón
– Poet, theatrical author, short-story writer, and journalist during the first decades of the 20th century.

Miguel Saavedra García 
– Director of Revista Farmacéutica de Puerto Rico and legislator in the House of Representatives at the beginning of the 20th century.

Francisco Javier Amy
– Poet and prose writer.

Carmen Bosello Guzmán de Huyke-
 Wrote and published her first collection of poems in the book titled Ecos y Notas.

Juan B. Huyke– Educator, journalist, lawyer, politician, and writer of children’s topics and literature.

Marcelino Cintrón- He was the first mayor of Arroyo in 1855.

Galio Ortiz– Was part of the secret society, Torre del viejo, and committed suicide during the times of the compontes (tortures by a military tribunal) prior to being jailed.

Max E. “Chuma” Sánchez– First athlete from Arroyo to obtain a medal in the Central American and Caribbean games in Panamá in 1938.

María Socorro Lacot –Secretary of the Department of Public Education 1979.


  • The carnival – February
  • Black fest – March
  • Los Rosarios de Cruz – May
  • Patron saint in honor to Virgen del Carmen – July
  • Fished festival – November
  • Christmas festival- December


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