Ciales, Puerto Rico

This town is located in the northern side of the Central Mountain Range and measures 171.53 square kilometers (66.23 square miles). The town is known as the «cojoba town,» «the land of coffee,» and «the town of the brave.» According to the 2000 census, there are 19,811 cialeños living in nine wards: Ciales Pueblo, Cialitos, Cordillera, Frontón, Hato Viejo, Jaguas, Pesas, Pozas, and Toro Negro. The patron saint is Our Lady of the Rosary. Recreational fishing may be practiced in El Guineo Lake, where there are sunfish and large mouth bass.

The economy is largely agricultural, the main crop being coffee. Tobacco and produce are also grown and there is some dairy farming. The government industrial development program has sponsored factories in the town —for example, Thermo King de Puerto Rico, the leading manufacturer of refrigerated trailers in the world. Another source of employment is the tobacco factory.


Ciales is located on the northern side of the Central Mountain Range. It is bordered on the north by Arecibo, Florida and Manatí; on the south by Orocovis; on the east by Morovis and Orocovis; and on the west by Utuado and Jayuya. Three geographic regions converge in the municipality: the humid hills of the North; the humid mountains of the East; and the rainy mountains of the West. The moderately fertile soil is relatively deep. The terrain is largely mountainous which means that cultivated land is very steep. There is very little flat land, mostly on the eastern side of the town along the Río Grande de Manatí.

Elevations include Rosa Peak at 4,156 feet (1,267 meters) and Tres Picachos at 3,949 feet (1,205 meters); both elevations are shared with Jayuya, since they are located on the border between the two municipalities. Mount Vista Alegre, at 1,903 feet (580 meters), is located in Toro Negro ward. Other peaks at lower elevations include Cedro, Gordo, and El Gato. The Toro Negro Forest Reserve is located in the higher part of the municipality.

The water bodies of Ciales are part of the Río Grande de Manatí system, with the exception of the Yunes River, which drains into the Río Grande de Arecibo, so that all water flows north towards the Atlantic Ocean. The Río Grande de Manatí runs through the eastern part of Ciales and its tributaries include Toro Negro and Cialitos rivers and Saliente, Cojo Vales, Ventana, Los Quiñónez brooks. The Toro Negro River, which marks the border between Ciales and Orocovis, receives water from the Bauta River (and its brooks Cangilones, El Gato, and Riachuelo) and the Matrullas River (and its brook, Novillo) and from the La Mina, Pozas, Muda, Llanada, La Chorreta, Blancho, Minguillo, and Manicaboa brooks. The Cialitos River is fed by the Barbas River and the Honda, Maquina, and Puente books. The Yunes River marks the border between Utuado and Ciales and part of the border with Jayuya, and receives waters from the De las Vacas River and the Muro, Del Bellaco, Yeguadilla, and Sumidero brooks. There is also a lake, El Guineo, the origin of Toro Negro River, located to the south of the town.

The origin of the name of this municipality has been subject to debate. Some believe that the name comes from the Taino word saibales, which means «the place of rocks.» Others assert that it is derived form the name Celis, a family of early settlers in the region. In 1816, several settlers petitioned to have Ciales separated from Manatí to found the new town. Four years later, the provincial government authorized the town, which was constituted with four wards: Alto de la Jagua, Ciales Pueblo, Cuadrillera, and Pozas. By 1828 there was a population of 1,004 and there were nine houses and five bohíos set along two poorly traced streets. There were 28 houses and 82 bohíos in the surrounding fields.

By the mid 19th century, Ciales had seven wards: Hato Viejo, Cordillera, Frontón, Cialitos, Toro Negro, Pozas, Pesas, and Jaguas, and the population had grown to 3,074. This growth allowed the town to have an urban guard and five public schools by 1879. At the end of the 19th century there were 18,115 residents.


The Ciales flag  is an abstract composition that draws its colors and symbols from its coat of arms. The colors come from the coat of arms of General Luis de Lacy’s family. It is divided into seven vertical stripes, the first, third, fifth, and seventh of which are yellow; the second and sixth are red; and the fourth, or center stripe, is purple. The yellow is an allusion to gold.

Coat of Arms
The coat of arms  has a gold field. At the center there is a purple lion rampant with a red tongue and silver claws, holding a silver colored parchment roll. This symbolizes General Luis de Lacy, whose name was originally borne by the town (Villa Lacy). There are three red heraldic roses with green leaves over the lion’s head, representing Our Lady of the Rosary, the patron saint of the town. The coat of arms is surrounded by green coffee boughs and bearing red berries, in reference to the rich vegetation of the area. The ends of the boughs are crossed and tied with a red ribbon. A floating banner with the «LACI-ES,» an anagram of the name of the municipality, Ciales, is at the bottom of the coat of arms. The coat of arms is crowned by a turreted castle as a symbol of the municipal status of the town.

Places of Interest
• Caves: Las Golondrinas, Yuyú, and Las Archillas. The latter appears in the history and legends of Ciales.
• Negrón Plantation
• Casa Corretjer Museum and Library
• Coffee Museum
• La Parada Choferil – local food restaurant
• Toro Negro Forest Reserve

Illustrious Citizens

Juan Antonio Corretjer – poet, essayist, journalist and pro-independence activist. During the 1930s Corretjer belonged to the Nationalist Party, representing the Party abroad. He was jailed for his political activities in San Juan and then in Atlanta, Georgia. Corretjer published 22 books of poetry and in 1978 the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture published an anthology of his work. He directed the newspaper La Palabra and in the 1950s he was an editorialist at the newspaper El Mundo.

Carmelo Díaz Soler – musician, arranger, and composer. Díaz had his own band that played at many dances. He also played with the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra in 1934 – 1935.

Antonio J. González – born in Manatí, but raised in Ciales, Gonzalez was an economist, attorney and college professor. He was one of the founders of the Puerto Rican Independence Party (PIP), which was founded in 1946. In 1968, he was candidate for Governor on that party’s ticket. In 1972 he founded the Puerto Rico Union Party and ran as its candidate for Governor.

Diego O. Marrero – poet

Miguel Martorell Torrens – representative to the House for District 6 between 1917 and 1920

Luis A. Miranda – poet, journalist, and essayist. Miranda was a member of the Puerto Rico Academy of the Spanish language.

Jorge Luis Morales – poet, educator, editor, and essayist. Morales was awarded first prize at the 19th Cultural Olympics held in Mexico City in 1968.

Antonio Pacheco Padró – journalist, writer, and political figure. A supporter of independence, Pacheco was one of the founders of the Popular Democratic Party in 1940 and served as a Representative to the House for District 26 in 1945 – 46 and 1947 – 48.

Humberto Padró – story writer, poet, and journalist.

Jorge Luis Porras Cruz – essayist and educator. Porras headed the Department of Hispanic Studies at the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico.

Carmen Loreina Santos Silva – poet, writer, and college professor.

Fernando Sierra Berdecía – journalist, novelist, and playwright.

Enrique Vicens Sastre – senator-at-large from 1973 to 1978.

Juan (Pachín) Vicens – during the 1950s and 60s he was an outstanding basketball player. He was on the Puerto Rico national team several times and in 1959 he was elected the best player in the world at the World Games held in Chile. He also competed at the 1964 Olympics in Japan, where Puerto Rico came in fourth.

Nimia Vicens – poet

• Corretjer Cantata – March
• Fresh Water Festival –July
• Cliff Festival – July
• Saint Elias Festival – July
• Patron Saint’s Festival in Honor of Our Lady of the Rosary and Saint Joseph the Patriarch – October


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