Naguabo, Puerto Rico

Naguabo is located on the east coast of the island and measures 135 square kilometers (52 square miles). It is known as the town of «The Drenched» because of its numerous rivers and brooks, as well as the constant rain. It is also known as «The Birthplace of Stars» and «Diplo`s Town». According to the 2000 census, there are 23,753 naguabeños, who live in Daguao, Duque, Húcares, Maizales, Mariana, Naguabo Pueblo, Peña Pobre, Río, Río Blanco, Santiago, and Lima wards. The patron saint`s festival is held in honor of Our Lady of the Rosary around October 7 of each year. Homage is also given to Our Lady of Mount Carmel, the patroness of fishermen, on July 17, on the coasts of Naguabo.

The economy is based on agriculture, including coffee and fruits and vegetables such as plantains, bananas and root vegetables. The dairy industry produced $8,102,458 in 2002, and cattle are also used to produce meat. Pork and fowl are raised, and there is a fishing industry. There are about a dozen factories, principally producing electrical and electronic devices, light steel, pipes, women`s clothing, and other products.Naguabo has small deposits of minerals such as copper, iron, and gold. Tourist attractions are Punta Húcares and the Tropical Beach public beach, where there are many restaurants and housing developments. There is a promenade along the coast where many festivals are held. Visitors and residents alike also bathe in the Blanco and Daguao rivers.


Naguabo is on the east coast of Puerto Rico. It is bordered on the north by Río Grande and Ceiba, byHumacao and the Vieques passage on the south, Ceiba and the Vieques passage on the east, and Las Piedras on the west. Topographically it is part of the eastern coastal valley region, where the Naguabovalley is located. The soil is largely alluvial soil, brought down by the different streams descending from the mountains.

Part of the municipality is in the Luquillo Range (El Yunque Forest), to the north of the Blanco River. Two of the highest peaks of the range, the East and West peaks, are located on the boundaries of the Blanco (Naguabo) and Río Abajo (Ceiba) wards, measuring 3,448 feet (1,051 meters ) and 3,346 feet (1,020 meters ) above sea level respectively. Mount La Mina, at 3,018 feet (920 meters ) above sea level, is located to the west of the Blanco River. Other elevations of the range occupy most of Peña Pobre ward and the north end of Duque ward. The remainder of the municipal territory is flat.

The town of Naguabo is irrigated by the Daguao, Santiago, and Blanco rivers (also known as the Naguabo River). The Blanco River is the largest of its water bodies and springs from Blanco ward, running approximately 17 kilometers (10.5 miles) until emptying into the Caribbean Sea. Its tributaries are the Cubuy River (also a tributary of the Sabana, Icacos, and Prieto rivers) and Peña Pobre, Sonadora, Vaca, and Maizales brooks. The Santiago Riveroriginates in Duque ward, running for about 9 kilometers (5.5 miles) and the Daguao River is its tributary. Quebrada Grande stream is the boundary withCeiba. The Palma brook and its tributary, the Del Plátano brook, as well as the Botija brook run through Naguabo.

Being a coastal town, Naguabo has a bay called Algodones. Algodones key, Lima and Algodones promontories, the port and beach are all located in the northern area of the bay. There are mangroves at the Daguao River mouth and in Algodones bay, having a total area of 300 hectares (122 acres). There is a smaller mangrove at Punta Lima.

According to scholars, the name Naguabo is derived from the territory which was governed by a cacique, and extended from Humacao to Fajardo. The territory was known as Daguao and headed by cacique Yukibo. In the mid-1490s the Caribs came to the region from other parts of the Caribbean. By 1511, after a Taino uprising, the conqueror Juan González Ponce de León built a fortified house in Daguao that was eventually abandoned.

In 1513, Viceroy Diego Colón, ordered a settlement to be founded at the mouth of the Daguao River, under the name of Santiago de Daguao. The purpose of the settlement was to serve as a frontline against attacks from the Indians. A year after it was founded, King Ferdinand, the Catholic King, ordered the settlers to leave. Peace was made with the caciques of the area in 1516, and settlers once again came to the territory of Naguabo, with a view to raising cattle. The Caribs attacked, killing the settler Cristóbal de Guzmán, seizing his cattle and destroying his ranch. The sparse population left the region open to contraband with the Dutch, French and British who had settled in other parts of the Caribbean. In order to prevent this trade from continuing, the Spanish government encouraged settlements on the eastern end of the island. The Luquillo Range was a refuge for Indians well into the 16th century.

In 1794, Naguabo was founded as a town, in an area now called Pueblo Viejo (Old Town). In 1821, the town was officially founded for a second time; a few years later the residents requested authorization to move to a flatter area, and they were granted permission to do so. There are a few remains of the original settlement, the hermitage of the cemetery, some mausoleums, and the church, founded in 1856. A year after it was founded, there was an attempted uprising directed at making Puerto Rico independent. It is said that the idea came from abroad through Pedro Bignet and Pedro Dubois, the latter being an emissary of Simón Bolívar, who in spite of being a French citizen, resided in Naguabo. Bignet and Dubois, with the help of some supporters, were able to incite the slaves to revolt, although the Spanish authorities quelled the uprising. In spite of these difficulties, by 1828, the population of Naguabo was 3,078, including 378 slaves.

By 1878, according to Manuel de Ubeda y Delgado, the town of Naguabo comprised Daguao, Duque, Húcares, Maizales, Mariana, Naguabo Pueblo, Peña Pobre, Quebrada Palma, Río, Río Blanco, Santiago, and Lima wards. Quebrada Palma ward disappeared towards the end of the 19th century, and Río Blanco ward was divided into Río Blanco Abajo and Río Blanco Arriba, although it was later reunited. During the 20th century there were other changes, including the expansion of the urban area in parts of Maizales, Húcares, and Río wards.

During the early years, the economy of Naguabo included mining operations and sugar cane plantations. The town depended to a degree on cattle and fruit and vegetable production. By 1828, it was estimated that agricultural production consisted of about 1,400 hundredweight of sugar (from 21 small mills), rum produced at five stills, and coffee for export. This activity continued until the end of the 19th century. Those years were marked by the cholera epidemic of 1885, which according to some historians was brought to the island by ships that stopped at Naguabo.

At the end of the 19th century a full-scale sugar mill was established (1894), and as the 20th century began, there were further advances including two other sugar mills (1901 and 1917), an aqueduct (1910), electric power (1914), a public hospital, a modern town hall, schools (1917) an other works. Although the town saw significant progress, in 1912 a large part of the settlement was burnt to the ground in a devastating fire. The town hall was only finally finished in 1924.


The flag  of Naguabo is comprised of its coat of arms on a blue field, which symbolizes the blue skies of Puerto Rico

Coat of Arms
The blue center of the coat of arms  symbolizes the blue skies of Puerto Rico Puerto Rico, a color which also represents the virtues of justice, sweetness, beauty, nobility, perseverance, vigilance, zealousness, and loyalty of the natives of the town. The three silver waves represent the sea that bathes the coast of the region and provides part of the livelihood of the residents. Silver may represent innocence, happiness, purity, evenness of temper, cleanliness, honesty, eloquence and bloodless victory over adversaries. The crown above the waves symbolizes Cacique Naguabo, from whom the town derives its name. The gold color in turn, symbolized justice, goodness, clemency, nobility, generosity, splendor, sovereignty, love, health, and prosperity. The red border (gules in heraldry) on which there are links of a broken chain, represent bravery, audacity, fury, and struggles in which there is bloodshed, an allusion to the slave uprising. The broken silver chains symbolize the yearning for freedom of the slaves. The crossed silver machetes represent the pact made under the slave leader Daguey to rid themselves of their oppressors. The black handles of the machetes symbolize the pain, silence, and death of the rebels. The golden palms, on the other hand, represent the abundance of the coconut plantations along the coast of the town. The three turrets of the castle that crowns the coat of arms allude to the municipal status of Naguabo.

Places of interest

• El Yunque National Forest
• Algodones Key
• Centro Yudelmi
• Monument to Ramón Rivero «Diplo»
• Naguabo Beach
• Punta Lima Beach

Illustrious Citizens

Carmen Delia Dipini – Singer and composer.

Plácido Figueroa – Folksinger who uses the décima espinela and poet.

Pedro Flores – Prolific composer of Puerto Rican popular music, in New York he founded the Flores Sextet in 1926. His best known compositions include Bajo un palmar, Obsesión, Amor perdido, Ciego amor, Despedida, Margot, Perdón, Sin bandera, Venganza, and Se vende una casita.

Fernando Gallego – Attorney, judge and poet.

Matías González García – Journalist, short-story writer and novelist. His works include a novel, Carmela, and stories, «Cosas de antaño,» and «Cosas de ogaño».

Ramón López – Poet.

Inés María Mendoza (widow of Muñoz Marín) – Essayist and educator.

Ramón Ortiz del Rivero «Diplo»– Famous comedian, actor, writer, and composer, he worked in the theater, radio, films, and television. He was best known as a «black face» character.

Joaquín R. Parrilla – Poet.

Pedro Carlos Timothe Morales – Attorney, educator, short story writer, essayist, and textbook writers.


• Pedro Flores Week – March
• Festival del Chapín – June
• Diplo Festival – June
• Festival in Honor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel – July
• Patron Saint’s Festival – October


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