Dorado, Puerto Rico

The town of Dorado is located on the north coast of Puerto Rico and has an area of 60.9 square kilometers (23.5 square miles). It is known as the «cleanest town in Puerto Rico» and the «golden city.» According to the 2000 census there are 34,017 doradeños, living in Dorado Pueblo, Espinosa, Higuillar, Maguayo, Mameyal, and Rio Lajas wards. The patron saint is Saint Anthony of Padua.

Dorado’s economy is currently based on tourism and manufacturing. The town is famous for its lavish hotels, while pharmaceuticals and electric and electronic equipment are the main industrial products. There is still some agricultural activity including some produce farming as well as traditional cattle raising for meat and dairy products. Construction is also an important source of employment.


The town is located on the north coast in the northern coastal plains. Its bordered on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by Toa Alta, on the east by Toa Baja, and on the west by Vega Alta. The terrain is mostly flat, at a height of less than 328 feet (100 meters). The Higuillar hills (Higuillar ward) are only 262 feet (80 meters ) above sea level. Towards the southern part of the town there are hills that are as high as 656 feet (200 meters). The principal feature of the Dorado landscape is the karst hills known as haystacks or towers. There are three important points on the coast: Mameyes, Fraile, and Boca Juana. Las Golondrinas cave is located inside a 100 feet (30 meter ) high karst hill in Maguayo ward.
The hydrographic system of the town is comprised of the La Plata River (formerly called the Toa) and its tributaries, the Cocal, Nuevo and Lajas rivers. There are red, black, and white mangroves at the mouths of these rivers, which extended between about 100 to 300 acres (42 to 118 hectares).The Mata Redonda lagoon and Punta Fraile marsh are located in Higuillar ward, very close to the coast.

The origin of the name Dorado is not clear, there being at least two theories about the name. According to one of them, the town bears the name in honor of one of the families of the town, according to the second theory, the name is an allusion to the golden sands of its beaches.

In 1831, Dorado was part of the municipality of Toa Baja. The ward had grown enough to establish its own town center, which was called «new town» to distinguish it from the older center of Toa Baja. Some years later the residents of Dorado, Iguillar, Mameya, and other sectors that were a part of Toa Baja petitioned thegovernor to establish an independent municipality. In 1842, Governor Santiago Méndez-Vigo authorized the founding of the town on the condition that the necessary public works be carried out and the boundaries be established for Dorado Pueblo, Espinosa, Iguillar, Maguayo, Mameya and Rio Lajas wards. By 1878, there were changes in the wards comprising Dorado. Mameya ward had disappeared and Iguillar began to be called Jiguillar. Years later, Mameya ward reappeared under the name of Mameyal and Jiguillar ward became Higuillar. While it was developing, Dorado had an economy based on agriculture, principally sugar cane and produce, as well as cattle ranching and fishing. There were several sugar mills and tile and brick factories.

In 1902, under a law to consolidate certain municipalities, Dorado became part of the municipality of Toa Alta. Later, the Legislature of Puerto Rico provided that Dorado should recover its status as an independent municipality with the same wards and boundaries that it had before 1902.


The official flag  of the municipality of Dorado is comprised of three equal stripes, the upper and lower of which are golden. The center stripe is brown and ends with an isosceles triangle at the left side. There are five silver fleurs-de-lis on the brown stripe. The gold color symbolizes the name of the town Dorado; the silver color alludes to the La Plata River; while the brown color represents the patron saint, Saint Anthony of Padua.

Coat of Arms
The coat of arms  of Dorado has a gold field with five brown roundels in a T formation, alluding to the Greek letter tau, which in turn represents Saint Anthony of Padua. There is a silver fleur-de-lis at the center of each roundel. The gold color directly represents the name of the town while the brown color and the fleurs-de-lis refer to the patron saint of the town. The silver color of the flowers symbolizes the Plata River, which borders the town of Dorado on the east. The coat of arms is surrounded by a silver ribbon with the words «Municipal Government of Dorado». The coat of arms is crowned by a turreted castle that symbolizes the status as a municipality.

Places of Interest

• Ojo del Buey Recreational Area – located at the mouth of the La Plata River
• Dorado Public Beach (Sardinera Beach)
• Bazar del Parque square
• Dorado del Mar golf course
• Hyatt Dorado east course
• Hyatt Dorado west course
• Art and History Museum
• Marcos Juan Alegría Residence and Museum – the former residence of the painter Marcos Juan Alegría, it includes an art school and an exhibition of the painter’s works.
• Casa del Rey (Spanish Government House) Museum and Cultural Center
• Parish of Saint Anthony of Padua
• Aviation park
• Artisans square
• Illustrious Citizens of Dorado square
• Dorado town square
• Del Plata Exhibition Hall
• Sanctuary of Christ the Reconciler
• Juan Boria Theater

Illustrious Citizens

José S. Alegría – attorney, political figure, and writer. Member of the House of Representatives from 1937 to 1940 for District Number 1.

Juan Boria – reciter of Afro-Puerto Rican poetry

Marcelino Juan Canino-Salgado – Professor at the Department of Hispanic Studies at the Río Piedras Campus of the University of Puerto Rico. Dr. Canino-Salgado has been visiting professor at other universities, including Yale University. His many publications include El cantar folclórico de Puerto Rico (1974).

Esteban A. de Coenaga – dentist

Juan Meléndez-Báez – political figure, one of the founders of the Popular Democratic Party. He was a member of the Constitutional Assembly, 1951 – 1952, and representative to the House, between 1949 and 1968.


• Three Kings’ Day Festival – January
• Del Plata Carnival – February
• Minin Kuilan Gold Cup – April
• Patron Saint’s Festival – June
• Cocolía Crab Festival– August
• Town and Country Festival – September
• Discovery of Puerto Rico-Puerto Rican Culture Festival – November
• Christmas Festival – December


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