Arecibo is the largest city in geographical size on the island. Located in the Northern Coastal Valley region, adjacent to karst zone characterized by the presence of caves and wooded hills. Arecibo is bordering the Atlantic Ocean, north of Utuado and Lares; east of Hatillo; and west of Barceloneta and Florida.

The city is bathed by two rivers, Grande de Arecibo, which runs through the middle of the city and the Tanamá River.

Arecibo is known as La Villa del Capitán Correa, in memory of a battle fought successfully on its shores by Captain Antonio de los Reyes Correa and a handful of Spanish Army soldiers to repel a British invasion by sea lead by Admiral Whelstone in August 5, 1702.

Settled in 1556, Arecibo became the third Spanish settlement. Founded sixty years later, in 1616, when the King of Spain granted that section of land and the Indians on it to Lope Conchillos, under the governorship of Captain Felipe de Beaumont y Navarra. The leader (Indian chief) of these Indians was called Jamaica Aracibo, their yucayeque was named after him and ultimately the town was called by that same name.

The town is also known as La Muy Leal Villa (very loyal).

Points of Interest

You can visit Cueva del Indio, an archeological site, the cave is located on the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, in Bo. Islote. It it is called The Cave of the Indian, because drawings of the Indians that lived in this area in the Prehistoric Era were found in the walls of the cave. Rt 681 Km 7.8.

The town has an official U.S. port entry. Located 16 km (10 mi) south of Arecibo, Arecibo Observatory is a astronomical observatory, which is one of the world's most powerful radar-radio telescopes, and the largest single-unit radio telescope in the world. This instrument, inaugurated in 1963, employs a 1,000-foot (300 meter) spherical reflector consisting of perforated aluminum panels that focus incoming radio waves on movable antenna structures positions about 500 feet (168 meter) above the reflector surface. The antenna can be moved in any direction, making it possible to track a celestial object in different regions of the sky. It collects radio astronomy, terrestrial aeronomy, and planetary radar data for scientists around the world. The telescope was featured in the movies GoldenEye (1995) and Contact (1997).

The National Astronomy and Ionosphere Center developed the observatory and it is operated by Cornell University under a cooperative agreement with the National Science Foundation. Conceived in 1958 by William E. Gordon, a Cornell professor of electrical engineering, the radio observatory has been operated, since its completion in 1963. The Arecibo Observatory owned by Cornell University, is powerful enough to receive signals transmitted by a comparable telescope located 1,000 light-years away. The facilities are open to the public Wednesday-Friday noon-4 p.m., Saturday and Sunday 9am - 4pm. Route 625, Bo. Esperanza, (787) 878-2612.

Arecibo is also home of the Cambalache Forest Reserve known as vivero or nursery because it contains plantations of eucalyptus, teak, and mahoe trees. Camping allowed in two areas. Water and showers, 8 trails and nearby beach. Rd #682 km 6.6., (787) 724-3724.

The City Hall built in 1866, served as jail to "El Grito de Lares" participants in 1868. In 1918, the frontal section of the building was destroyed by a earth tremor. Repairs were made and a tower and clock were added to the building. In 1978, the building was restored to its original form.

The Antonio Nery Juarbe Airport is located five miles southeast of the central business district of Arecibo and 50 miles west of San Juan. Originally utilized for military purposes, today, the airport is utilized for the general aviation, with a daily average of eight takeoffs and landings. On March 31, 1947, the airport and all its installations were transferred by the Navy U.S. to the Authority of the Ports along with the Airport of Mayagüez and the old airport of Santa Isabel.

The Arecibo Lighthouse built by the Spaniards in 1898. This lighthouse still in use and was automated in 1964. In the premises, you'll find a museum with exhibits, a recreation area, a restaurant and sports facilities. Open Tue-Fri 9am-6pm, Sat-Sun 10am-7pm. Admissions: Adults $9, Children $7 and Parking $2. Carr. #655 Bo. Islote Sector El Muelle, (787) 880-7540.

Arecibo produces agricultural machinery, clothing, plastics, paper and sporting goods.

There are many well-known "arecibeños", among them:

  • María Cadilla de Martinez, writer
  • Luisa Capetillo, Puerto Rico's most famous labor organizers
  • Cayetano Coll y Toste, historia
  • José Gomez Brioso
  • Francisco Gonzalo Marín, poet and politician
  • René Marquéz, dramatist
  • Antonio de los Reyes Correa, Captain of Infantry of the Spanish Army
  • Victor Rojas
  • Manuel Zeno Gandia, writer
Barrios (wards) (19):
  • Arenalejos
  • Arrozal
  • Cambalache
  • Carreas
  • Domingo Ruiz
  • Dominguito
  • Esperanza
  • Factor
  • Garrochales
  • Hato Abajo
  • Hato Arriba
  • Hato Viejo
  • Islote
  • Miraflores
  • Pueblo
  • Río Arriba
  • Sabana Hoyos
  • Santana
  • Tanamá

Anthem: Arecibo


Arecibos Flag Flag
The flag of Arecibo derives its composition and colors from the Shield of the City. It is divided vertically in two equal parts. The left side is blue having a belt that stands for "Captain Correa", a local military hero from Spanish times. The right side is made up of blue and yellow diamonds alternating in a checkerboard pattern.

 Coat of Arms
The shield is divided by diagonal lines in golden and blue rhombuses with a blue stripe in the superior part, in which resides an opened five-point crown and which is adorned with drawings characterizing the art of the Taínos. This combination of symbols represents the Indian Cacique (Chieftain) from whom the population's name derives, the governor that erected the town and the hero Captain Correa who defended it.


Arecibo annual precipitation is around 53.01 inches and the average temperature is 77.8°F. June is the warmest, February is the coolest, and May is the wettest month.

10 Day Forecast

Land Area: 330 sq km (127 sq mi) (2000)
Water Area: 45.23 sq mi (2000)
Population: 104,600 (2000)
Density: 303.2 per sq km (823.6 per sq mi) (2000)
Housing Units: 38,974 (2000)
Housing Density: 309.3 (2000)
Per Capita Income: $7,290 (2000)
Driving Distance: 54.5 miles (from San Juan)
Driving Time: 1 hour, 16 minutes · Get Directions (from San Juan)

What to Do and See?

  • Arecibo Lighthouse and Historical Park
  • Las Tunas Beach
  • Arecibo Observatory
  • Cambalache Forest Reserve
  • Dos Bocas Lake
  • View All

Where to Stay?

Where to Eat?

Festivals and Events

  • Carnaval del Capitán Correa - February
    It's held in the Arecibo central plaza, where salsa groups and other groups mingle.
  • Fiestas Patronales de San Felipe Apóstol - May
  • Festival Playero - July
  • Festival Folklorico - September
  • Festival del Ceti - November
    The festival it's a tribute to fishermen.

Other Resources


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Did You Know?

Medalla Light, Puerto Rico's top-selling light beer, won first prize in 2005 for light beer in Brussels awarded by Monde Selection. Produced by Cervecera de Puerto Rico, a family-owned business founded in 1937. Medalla Light has a thin, white head and a clear, fairly bubbly, straw appearance.