Mayagüez, Puerto Rico

Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
Mayagüez, Puerto Rico
—  Municipality  —


Coat of arms
Nickname(s): "La Sultana del Oeste", "La Ciudad de las Aguas Puras", "El Pueblo del Mangó"
Anthem: "Mi patria es un oasis"
Location of Mayagüez in Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18°12′04″N 67°08′23″W / 18.20111°N 67.13972°W / 18.20111; -67.13972Coordinates: 18°12′04″N 67°08′23″W / 18.20111°N 67.13972°W / 18.20111; -67.13972
Country United States
Territory Puerto Rico
Founded September 18, 1760
Founder Faustino Martínez de Matos
Juan de Silva
Juan de Aponte
 – Mayor José Guillermo Rodríguez (PPD)
 – Senatorial dist. Mayagüez
 – Representative dist. 18 and 19
 – Municipality 274.1 sq mi (709.89 km2)
 – Land 77.6 sq mi (201.07 km2)
 – Water 196.5 sq mi (508.82 km2)
Population (2010)
 – Municipality 89,080
 – Metro 115,048
 – CSA 251,260
Demonym Mayagüezanos
Time zone AST (UTC-4)
ZIP codes 00680 - 00682
Area code 787, 939
FIPS code 72-52431[1]
GNIS feature ID 1611495[2]

Mayagüez (Spanish pronunciation: [maʝaˈɣwes]) is the eighth-largest[3] municipality of Puerto Rico. Originally founded as "Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria" it is also known as "La Sultana del Oeste" (The Sultaness of the West), "Ciudad de las Aguas Puras" (City of Pure Waters), or "Ciudad del Mangó" (City of the Mango). On April 6, 1894, the Spanish crown gave it the formal title of "Excelente ciudad de Mayagüez" (Excellent City of Mayaquez).[4][5] Mayagüez is located in the center of the western coast on the island of Puerto Rico. It is both a principal city of the Mayagüez Metropolitan Statistical Area and the Mayagüez–San Germán–Cabo Rojo Combined Statistical Area.



Taíno Indians who inhabited the territory, called the island Boriken or Borinquen which means: "the great land of the valiant and noble Lord" or "land of the great lords". Today this word -used in various modifications- is still popularly used to designate the people and island of Puerto Rico. The Taíno Indians, who came from South America, inhabited the major portion of the island when the Spaniards arrived. The Taíno Indians, lived in small villages, organized in clans and led by a Cacique, or chief. They were a peaceful people who, with a limited knowledge of agriculture, lived on such domesticated tropical crops as pineapples, cassava, and sweet potatoes supplemented by seafood.

Mayagüez was officially founded on September 18, 1760 by a group led by brothers Faustino and Lorenzo Martínez de Matos, Juan de Silva and Juan de Aponte, at a hill located about one kilometer inland from Mayagüez Bay and the outlet of the Yagüez River. The Spanish Crown granted the founders the right to self-government in 1763, formally separating the town from the larger Partido de San Germán. Originally the settlement was named Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria de Mayagüez (Our Lady of Candelaria of Mayagüez) to evoke an apparition of the Virgin Mary on the island of Tenerife, one of the Canary Islands. Most of the town's settlers, including its founders, originally migrated from the archipelago, whose patron saint is the Virgin of Candelaria.

On May 7, 1836, the settlement was elevated to the royal status of villa, and Rafael Mangual was named its first mayor. At the time, the villa's principal economic activity was agriculture. The famous patriot, educator, sociologist, philosopher, essayist, and novelist Eugenio María de Hostos was born in Mayagüez in 1839.

On July 10, 1877 the villa formally received its city charter from the Royal Crown of Spain.

Mayaguez's Plaza Colón and Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria church (later cathedral), 1898

The city's main Roman Catholic church, "Our Lady of the Candelaria" (plot consecrated on August 21, 1760, first masonry building erected in 1780, current church originally built in 1836) was rebuilt in 1922. The original redesign by architect Luis Perocier sought to restore the building to its original splendor. Not only had the 1918 Puerto Rico earthquake destroyed the temple's ceiling, but a lightning bolt also struck and tore down a wedge-shaped corner of one of its two bell towers. However, lack of proper funding and the extent of the damage of the original structure forced the actual rebuilding of the to be scaled-down considerably.

In 1911, the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was founded in Mayagüez. Today it is known as the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez (UPRM) — the Caribbean's leading science and engineering institution.

Between 1962 and 1998 Mayagüez was a major tuna canning and processing center. At one time, 80% of all tuna products consumed in the United States were packed in Mayagüez (the biggest employer, StarKist, had 11,000 employees working three daily shifts in the local plant's heyday). Mayagüez was also a major textile industry hub; until very recently, almost a quarter of all drill uniforms used by the United States Army were sewn in the city.Today, Mayagüez is the fifth-largest city and is considered one of the most important cities in the island. The city itself is centered around the impressive Spanish-style Plaza Colon, a tribute to Christopher Columbus, whose stature stands in the middle of the square, surrounded by 16 bronze statues. In addition, Mayagüez has become a major college town because with the establishment of the UPRM, the Eugenio Maria de Hostos Law School and the Pontiff Catholic University of Puerto Rico.


Sunset of the Mona Passage, November 2006

Mayagüez is located near the geographical center of the west coast of Puerto Rico about two hours by automobile from San Juan. Its land area is 77.6 square miles (201.06 km2).[6] The city's terrain includes; coast plains, river valleys, marshland, hills and mountains. Of its multiple rivers and streams, the two most important are the Río Yagüez, which flows from the Central Mountain Range through downtown until it empties into the Mona Passage; and the Río Guanajibo, which flows through several neighborhoods in the southern portion of the municipality until it empties in the Mona Passage as well.


Mayaguez has the most extreme weather of the island. The high frequency of severe storms in the summer can produce tornadoes, waterspouts, strong winds, floods and even hail. The average annual temperature is 75 º F (24C). Winter is usually quite dry and cool with temperatures between 80 º F (26) to 55 º F (13C). Summer is usually very hot and humid with temperatures reaching 95 º F (35C) with heat index of up to 115 º F. During May to October, most evenings experience severe thunderstorms, due to heat, humidity and the topography of the area.

Barrios (Districts/Wards)

The municipio has an estimated population of just over 100,000 spread over 21 wards (barrios) including Mayagüez Pueblo (The downtown area and the administrative center of the city). One of the wards is Isla de Mona e Islote Monito, which consists of the offshore islands of Mona Island and Monito Island.[7] This is the largest ward by land area, and at the same time the only one without any permanent population. Also, uninhabited Desecheo Island belongs to the municipality, as part of Sabanetas barrio.

  • Algarrobo
  • Bateyes
  • Guanajibo
  • Isla de Mona e Islote Monito
  • Juan Alonso
  • Leguízamo
  • Limón
  • Malezas
  • Mayagüez Arriba
  • Mayagüez Pueblo
  • Miradero
  • Montoso
  • Naranjales
  • Quebrada Grande
  • Quemado
  • Río Cañas Abajo
  • Río Cañas Arriba
  • Río Hondo
  • Rosario
  • Sábalos
  • Sabanetas

Mayagüez Pueblo is further subdivided into these wards:

  • Candelaria
  • Cárcel
  • Marina Septentrional
  • Marina Meridional
  • Rio
  • Salud

The sectors that comprises Mayagüez City are:

  • Balboa
  • Barcelona
  • El Seco
  • El Liceo
  • El Pueblo
  • La Mineral
  • La Quinta
  • Paris
  • Trastalleres

Other notable neighborhoods or sectors:

  • El Mani - community in Sabanetas
  • Mayagüez Terrace - development in Algarrobo, near the UPRM Campus
  • Alturas de Mayagüez - development in Algarrobo, near the Holiday Inn Hotel and the Regional Distribution Center
  • El Cerro de las Mesas - known for being the home of "CROEM" and for its picture perfect views of the City from Camino Berrios.
  • Buena Vista - a hilltop pintoresque community next to downtown
  • Colombia - a famous former slum, now aside Government Center
  • Columbus Landing - the second oldest public housing project (caserio) in Puerto Rico
  • Dulces Labios - a pintoresque community aside PR-2 famous by its history and its musical activities
  • Ensanche Martinez (La Bosque) - student area, near the UPRM Campus
  • Ensanche Ramirez - a hilltop high class development, near the UPRM Campus
  • Ensanche Vivaldi - student area, near the UPRM Campus
  • La Riviera - student area
  • Ponce de Leon - development in Mayaguez Arriba next to Luis Munoz Rivera Park (eastern outskirts)
  • Santurce - community next to the Old Municipal Cemetery
  • Vadi-Cristy - community aside PR-2 and downtown

National protected area


Historical populations
Year Pop. ±%
1772[8] 1,800
1782[9] 1,791 −0.5%
1797[10] 2,210 +23.4%
1828[11] 18,267 +726.6%
1836[12] 19,356 +6.0%
1877[8] 26,446 +36.6%
1899[13] 38,915 +47.1%
1910 42,429 +9.0%
1920 41,612 −1.9%
1930 58,270 +40.0%
1940 76,487 +31.3%
1950 87,307 +14.1%
1960 83,850 −4.0%
1970 85,857 +2.4%
1980 96,193 +12.0%
1990 100,371 +4.3%
2000 98,434 −1.9%
2010 89,080 −9.5%

According to 2009 U.S. Census Bureau estimates, there are 92,156 people (down from 98,434 in 2000) in 38,469 housing units residing in Mayagüez. The population density was 1,187 inhabitants per square mile (458 /km2).[14][15] The city has a considerable "college population" adding approximately 10,000 people to the year around population of Mayagüez. People of Hispanic or Latino origin, who may be of any race, comprised 98.9% of the population.

Of the 31,877 households in 2007 in Mayagüez, 38.6% were married couples living together, 22.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 33.7% were non-families. 33.3% had children under the age of 18 living in them. Of all households 27.8% are made up of individuals and 9.8% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.75 and the average family size was 3.41.

In Mayagüez, the population was spread out with 26.9% under the age of 18, 10.3% from 18 to 24, 30.8% from 25 to 44, 20.6% from 45 to 64, and 11.5% who are 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. Mayagüez has more women, with 88.4 males for every 100 females.

Race - Mayagüez, Puerto Rico - 2010 Census[16]
Race Population  % of Total
White 70,091 78.7%
Black/Afro-Puerto Rican 7,345 8.2%
American Indian and Alaska Native 679 0.8%
Asian 189 0.2%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 10 0.0%
Some other race 7,664 8.6%
Two or more races 3,102 3.5%


Although the city has seen its share of natural disasters, it faced a major economic downturn due to the closure of its textile factories and tuna industry, which were the principal industries of the city for the greater part of the 20th century. Over 11,000 permanent jobs in these two industries were lost in the city during the 1990s, and because of this, Mayagüez became the jurisdiction of the United States with the second largest number of industrial job losses during the time period, second only to Flint, Michigan. Once the third city in population and importance in Puerto Rico, population numbers for it have been relatively stagnant, and it has actually lost population in recent years.

However, due to ancillary infrastructure developments and a renewed effort to repopulate the city's Guanajibo Industrial Park[citation needed], the local economy has seen a slow turn for the better. In 2005 Winston-Salem Industries for The Blind was the first industry to move into the park in many years. In July 2007 Honeywell opened a customer support service center for its aerospace and information technology divisions in the city. Other industries, such as Lockheed, are expected to follow suit in 2009. :)


Contributions to Puerto Rican gastronomy

Mayagüez's contributions to Puerto Rican gastronomy have been many, and a few of these are known outside Puerto Rico. Besides being host to one of the largest concentrations of mango (spelled locally as "mangó") trees in the island, the city has been a host to various food enterprises whose products are popular in Puerto Rico (and some elsewhere):

  • Brazo gitano - literally "gypsy arm", is the locally produced Swiss or jelly roll, originally from Spain. E. Franco & Co., a bakery, food importer and restaurant established in the late 1850s, is the best-known provider of brazos gitanos in town. Another (more recent) provider is Ricomini Bakery, whose central store in downtown Mayagüez has been open for over 100 years.
  • Sangría de Fido - the heirs of Wilfrido Aponte still bottle "Sangría de Fido", a powerful concoction inspired on sangria, but actually made with fruit juices, Bacardi 151 rum and burgundy wine (technically not from Bourgogne, but produced by E & J Gallo Winery in Modesto, California). Originally bottled by hand by the bartender since the mid-1970s, "Sangría de Fido" has a sizeable reputation outside Puerto Rico, and can claim tasters from as far away as California and Spain. E & J Gallo once awarded Aponte with a "Customer of the Year" award and flew him to their headquarters. Aponte was reportedly offered $250,000 by Bacardi to sell his original recipe once, to which he refused.
  • Bolo's Sorullitos - a now-defunct operation that originated at "Bolo's Restaurant", a seaside eatery next to Mayagüez Bay, which produced sorullitos, or fried cornsticks, along with mayo-ketchup, a dip made of mayonnaise, ketchup and garlic extract. The restaurant was popular in Puerto Rico between the late 1970s and mid-1980s (its custom made building now houses WORA-TV, one of the local television stations). For a while the frozen cornsticks were sold commercially in stores.
  • Flan-Es-Cedó' - Elmec Industries, Inc. has been the local flan producer for over thirty years
  • India / Medalla beer - the only remaining mass-produced Puerto Rican beer is brewed by "Cervecería India", one of the largest employers in town. "Mayagüezanos" are queued into morning rush hour, lunch and afternoon rush hour by the company's whistle, which rings at 7:00 am, 8:00 am, 12:00 pm, 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. (all times AST)
  • Rex Cream's Ice Cream - established in the mid-1960s by Chinese migrants who came to Puerto Rico by the way of Costa Rica, Rex Cream is a chain of ice cream parlors that had its heyday in the late 1970s. The two flagship stores in Mayagüez, however, are still popular (particularly on Good Friday, since one of the stores is the endpoint for a Good Friday religious procession) for producing alternative ice cream flavors, particularly a corn sherbet.
  • Tuna fish - At one time, StarKist, Chicken of the Sea and Bumble Bee produced 80% of their collective production for consumption in the United States in Mayagüez. As of the time of writing, the only tuna fish cannery remaining in town is that for Bumble Bee.
  • El Meson Sandwiches - a Puerto Rican fast food sandwich chain based in Mayaguez. The company sells sandwiches, breakfast, salads and other Puerto Rican foods. There are over 30 shops in the chain, which employs 400 employees.[17]
  • A new distillery was founded in Mayagüez in 2009 by the name of Destilería Coquí, the production is limited to 100 bottles a day, their main product is artisan rum called Pitorro.[18]

A defunct cola bottling operation in town produced "Vita Cola", a popular soft drink in Puerto Rico between the late 1940s and early 1960s.

Mayagüez was a major rum producing city in Puerto Rico between the 1930s and 1970s[citation needed]. Several brands were produced by the city's three rum distillers. The most successful rum producing operation at the time was that of "José González Clemente y Co.", the bottlers of "Ron Superior Puerto Rico", an award-winning dark rum that was bottled between 1909 and the late 1970s.

Festivals and events

  • Three Kings Festival - 5–6 February
  • Black and White Festival - January
  • Danza National Festival - February
  • Matron Celebrations - February
  • Mayagüez Carnival - May
  • Festival Gastronomico Porta del Sol- 26 June
  • Seco Festival/El Festival de la Cocolia - July
  • Mango Festival - August
  • Artisan Fair - November
  • Christmas Festivities - December


Mayagüez hosted the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games for which the local and commonwealth governments have provided an investment of $250 million[19] for, among other things, building two new stadiums (the first a re-built Isidoro García Baseball Stadium the second next to it a track and field and soccer stadium.[20] Mayagüez will also host the 2011 Caribbean Series.[21]

Mayagüez's National Superior Basketball League (BSN) professional basketball team, the Indios de Mayagüez, are named in honor of the city's Indian heritage. Its baseball winter league team (LBPPR), the Indios de Mayagüez, honor both[citation needed] their Indian heritage and the home town's Cervecería India brewery. The professional volleyball team Indias de Mayagüez from Liga de Voleibol Superior Femenino, plays locally at local Palacio de Recreación y Deportes.

The "Justas" or Inter University Games of the Liga Atlética Interuniversitaria de Puerto Rico were celebrated in Mayagüez in 2010 in preparation for the Central American and Caribbean Games.[22]

Landmarks and places of interest


Mayaguez City Hall, 2005

As one of Puerto Rico's 78 municipalities, Mayagüez's government has two branches, the executive and the legislative. Those citizens eligible to vote, directly elect a mayor and the municipal assembly for four-year terms. The municipal government is housed in Mayagüez City Hall or Casa Alcaldia, which faces the south-side of the Plaza de Colon.

The executive branch is headed by a popularly elected mayor. The office is currently held by José Guillermo Rodríguez. In addition to running the city's day-to-day operations and supervising associated departments, the mayor is also responsible for appointing a secretary-auditor and a treasurer.

Mayagüez's Municipal Assembly is made up of sixteen elected officials, as defined in the Puerto Rico Law of Autonomous Municipalities of 1991.

Fire & Safety

Law enforcement in Mayagüez is the joint responsibility of the Mayagüez Municipal Police Department and the Puerto Rico Police Department. The first Fire Fighters corps in the city was created in 1876.[8]


The wide cross represents Christianity brought to the New World by Christopher Columbus,[23] who signed his documents with the phrase and the motto Christ Ferens, which means: "He who has Christ." The blue and white waves between the third and fourth quarters recall the coat of arms granted to Columbus by kings Ferdinand and Isabella. The waves represent the ocean (and particularly Mona Passage) through which he sailed to bring the gospel to these new lands. The blue and white waves symbolize the Yagüez River and evokes the nickname City of Pure Waters. The red and white flames on the flag symbolize the traditional bonfires of Day of Our Lady of Candelaria ("Día de La Candelaria"), ignited in honor of the city's patron saint(a tradition started for Spanish settlers from the Canary Islands).[23] The flag was officially adopted with the signing of City Ordinance 38, signed December 3, 1996.[23]

Coat of arms

According to the Puerto Rican historian Federico Cedó Alzamora, the original version of the coat of arms of Mayagüez was given to the city 19 December 1894 by the Queen Regent of Spain Maria Christina of Austria.[8] The upper half of the coat of arms shows the columbine coat of arms recalls and commemorates the discovery of the Island of Borinquén (Puerto Rico) by Columbus in his second trip to the New World in 1493. The lower half of the coat of arms shows a stylized dissembarkment of Columbus on Puerto Rico. The explorer's crew disembarked at the western coast of the island,[8] where several rivers spill their waters in the Mona Passage, among them the Yagüez, from which the name of Mayagüez is derived. The present version was reinterpreted by heraldist Roberto Biascochea Lota.


The city's anthem was written by pianist and former music teacher Luciano Quiñones,[24] a long-time resident and now "adopted son" of the city. Until this song's adoption, the plena "A Mayagüez", written by César Concepción, was used by many as an unofficial city song. Quiñones' composition was the winner of a contest sponsored by the city's municipality in 2003.[25]

Mayor Jose Guillermo Rodriguez and the Municipal Legislature entrusted the Advisory Board of Art and Culture of Mayagüez tp hold a contest to select an anthem for the city.[25] The selected composition was a danza by Mr Luciano Quiñones, who has a Bachelor's degree in music, a piano professor the Escuela Libre de Musica de Mayagüez, he is a music composer already winning nineteen awards in competitions held by the Institute of Puerto Rican culture, and the Circulo de Recreo de San Germán.[25] The lyrics alludes to the emblematic symbols of Mayagüez; its nicknames, to its Patron Saint, its taste of mango, to its sunsets in the bay, to the Taíno, to Eugenio María de Hostos, their role as cultural cradle, the sympathy of the ladies and the dream of its valleys and its mountains.[25]

The anthem was presented to the people in a memorable concert held in commemoration of the 239 anniversary of the founding of the city on the night of September 18, 1999, interpreted by tenor, Mayagüez adopted son, Rafael José Díaz, Mayagüezana lyric soprano, Hilda Ramos, accompanied by the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra conducted by its Associate Director, Mayagüezana Roselyn Pabón, in the same place where such Symphony Orchestra offered his first concert forty years earlier: the Plaza Colón.[25] This danza was recognized as the official anthem of Mayagüez through the Municipal Ordinance number 58, series 1999-2000, adopted on 20 December 1999 by the City Council, which was signed by the Mayor, Honorable José Guillermo Rodríguez on December 24, 1999.[25]

MIDI and recorded versions of the anthem can be listened to here.[26]


UPRM Central Administration Building.

Public schools

The Residential Center for Educative Opportunities of Mayagüez, (CROEM) is one of only two public boarding schools in Puerto Rico. The largest public high school in town is Eugenio María de Hostos High School. The other public high school in Mayaguez is Dr. Pedro Perea Fajardo Vocational High School. The former José De Diego High School was finally closed in 2009.

Private schools

The non-profit Southwestern Educational Society, (S.E.S.O.) maintains the Southwestern Community School, an English language college preparatory school. Other private schools include: Colegio San Benito, (CSB) (Saint Benedict College), the "Academia de la Inmaculada Concepción" (Academy of the Immaculate Conception), Colegio Episcopal San Andrés", (San Andres Episcopal College), Colegio Presbiteriano Pablo Casasús, Academia de La Milagrosa (Academy of Our Lady of Miracles),the Academia Adventista del Oeste (Western Adventist Academy) and Academia Adventista de Bella Vista, (Bella Vista Adventist Academy).

Colleges and universities

Today, Mayagüez has become a major college town, due in part to various secondary education institutions in the city.

There are also a number of junior colleges in the city.


Mayaguez Tramway, 1872

Roads and highways

The major form of transport in Puerto Rico is the automobile. Mayagüez, in fact, is served by two highways linking it to other parts of the island. Puerto Rico Highway 2 existing as an arterial highway is the main route between Ponce to the south-east and Aguadilla and Arecibo to the north and north-east respectively. PR-2 is currently undergoing a conversion to a freeway between Ponce and Mayagüez. Another important route in Mayagüez is PR-102. It begins at an intersection with PR-2, about 2 miles north of Mayagüez Pueblo at the Mar y Sol development and runs along Mayagüez's coastal industrial areas to Joyuda, where it then turns east and terminates in Sabana Grande. The portion of the highway adjacent to the Estadio Isodoro Garcia was upgraded from a two-lane road into an urban boulevard in anticipation of the 2010 Centro-American and Caribbean Games celebrated in Mayagüez. In addition to this upgrade, an elevated by-pass was constructed from the coastal park site over the Yagüez River ending at the Concordia Housing Project.

Public transportation

Transportation in Mayagüez is limited only to a single trolley service, various private taxi companies and an irregular daytime syndicated público service named "Mayagüez Urbano" (Urban Mayagüez) who provide transportation between the main points of the city at a cost of $2.00 per route. Passenger transportation between Mayagüez and San Juan is operated by the Linea Sultana, another syndicated service.[27]

The city operates three trolleys, free of cost, which run as shuttle between the downtown area and the Palacio de Recreación y Deportes.[28] The University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez also runs an internal network of trollies to carry its students inside campus and between UPRM, Mayagüez Terrace development and Palacio de Recreación y Deportes,[29] linking here with the city's trolley service. There are some proposals to expand the municipal trolley service to serve inside the UPRM.[30]

AMA electric bus in Mayagüez, 2010

For the 2010 Central American and Caribbean Games the Puerto Rico's Department of Transportation and Public Works released an express public bus system operated with Autoridad Metropolitana de Autobuses (San Juan's Metropolitan Bus Authority) buses specially assigned to serve in the city of Mayagüez. During the Mayagüez 2010 Games, this bus network was transporting passengers in a corridor along the Highway 2 and some main roads. The UPRM trolley bus network was integrated into this service too. Although suspended after the Mayagüez 2010 Games ended, is expected its re-establishment in the near future.[31]


The Port of Mayagüez is the third busiest port on Puerto Rico.[32] It is located northwest of the central business district along Puerto Rico routes 64, 341, and 3341, and stretches for 3.8 miles (6.1 km) along the coast. Its main canal is 0.4 miles (0.64 km) wide and its depth ranges from 47 to 120 feet (14 to 37 m), the water's depth along the piers ranges between 28 and 29 feet (8.5 and 8.8 m). The port is protected from rough seas by reefs which run along its northern and western sections.[33]

Starting in March 16, 2011 a new ferry service to Dominican Republic will be launched by America Cruise Ferries.[34]


Mayagüez's airport, Eugenio María de Hostos Airport, also known as El Mani Airport, has had regular airline services for more than thirty years.[35] It is located 4 miles north of the central business district in the Sabanetas Barrio. Prior to being inaugurated in 1955, the airport served as a military base. In the 1970s it had domestic service from Prinair, then from American Eagle and Eastern Air Lines's regional carrier Eastern Metro Express in the 1980s. After Eastern went bankrupt in 1991, American Eagle remained the only airline serving the airport until it ended service to the city on April 30, 2005, due to poor loads.[36] For a while, Fina Air served flights to the Dominican Republic before the airline went bankrupt. Cape Air currently serves the airport with 5 daily flights to San Juan during the high season and three daily flights during the low season.[37]

Notable Mayagüezanos


Well-known living "mayagüezanos" (as of December 2010) include: NBA Dallas Mavericks player Jose Juan Barea, singer Chucho Avellanet (Armando Hipólito), his nephew, former Menudo bandmember Roberto Avellanet, singer, composer and wine maker Wilkins Vélez, jazz flutist Nestor Torres, Puerto Rican independence leader Rafael Cancel Miranda, television hostess Gricel Mamery, baseball players José Vidro and Wil Cordero, Associate Secretary of the United States Navy William A. Navas, Jr., former WWE diva Nidia Guenard and her sister Lourdes Guenard, and salsa percussionist and bandleader Roberto Roena. Two major Latino television stars in the United States, singer and show host Rafael José (Diaz) and anchorwoman María Celeste Arrarás, as well as horror film director and writer Ana Clavell, were raised in Mayagüez. United States Congressman José Serrano, who represents Congressional District NY-16 (which covers The Bronx in New York City) was born in Mayagüez. New York Surrogate's Court Judge Margarita López Torres was also born in Mayagüez.

Arguably the best known native of Mayagüez ever is educator and philosopher Eugenio María de Hostos(1839–1903).

Roselyn Pabon is a musician, educator and orchestra director. Born in Mayaguez, he was raised in El Barrio Trastalleres and then in El Barrio El Seco or El Ensanche Miramar, Marina Septentrional sector.

Other Puerto Rican personalities born in Mayagüez are: journalist Carmen Jovet, news announcer Luz Nereida Vélez, comedic actors Adrián García and Shorty Castro, Latin Grammy® Winning Award Producer Miguel Márquez "Escobar", local senator Orlando Parga and puppeteer (Antulio) Kobbo Santarrosa. Journalist Julio Victor Ramirez, hijo was raised in the city.

Iván "FlipZ" Vélez, a professional dancer better known for dating Geri Halliwell of the Spice Girls (and participating in their reunion tour in 2007), was born in Mayagüez.

Former mayor of San Juan, Hernán Padilla was born in Mayagüez, but raised in the nearby town of Cabo Rojo. Television actor Armando Riesco was born in Mayagüez, but raised in San Juan. Porn star Gina Lynn, born in the city, was raised in Jackson Township, New Jersey.

For a while (since his then-wife Herlinda Gómez was a native of the city) Colombian folk singer and actor Carlos Vives was a part-time resident. So were Spanish journalist and adventurer Miguel de la Quadra Salcedo, local media personality Silverio Pérez, and Ponce mayor Francisco Zayas Seijo when each got a degree from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez. Hugo Savinovich lived in Mayagüez during the early years of his wrestling career.

Major League Baseball players who played with the Indios de Mayagüez include Iván (Pudge) Rodríguez, Tommy Lasorda, Ron LeFlore, Denny McLain, John Wesley (Boog) Powell, Dave McNally, Phil Niekro, Roberto Hernández, and Wally Joyner. Current San Francisco Giants pitcher Jonathan Sánchez, who threw a no-hitter against the San Diego Padres in 2009, was born in Mayagüez.

Puerto Rican folk singer Roy Brown Ramírez is a current resident. José Alfredo is a singer and composer who was born in Mayagüez but was raised in San German.[38]


Well-known "mayagüezanos" who have died include: Pedro Gerónimo Goico, founder and the first president of the first political organization on the island of Puerto Rico known as the Partido Liberal Reformista ((Liberal Reformist Party (Puerto Rico)), Commander-in-chief of the Cuban independence forces (and participant in the Grito de Lares) Juan Rius Rivera, Puerto Rican independence leader Juan Mari Brás, actresses Alicia Moreda, Lucy Boscana and Madeline Willemsen; radio disc jockey, announcer, musicologist and marketing impresario Gilbert Mamery, plena singer and band leader Mon Rivera (The Younger), former Speaker of the Puerto Rico House of Representatives Ernesto Ramos Antonini, María Luisa Arcelay, the first woman in all of Latin America to be elected to a legislative government body, and former Mayagüez Mayor, Benjamin Cole, who held his office for 24 consecutive years. His brother, composer Roberto Cole was also a native. Pilar Defilló i Amigüet, the mother of cellist Pablo Casals, was born in Mayagüez. PFC.Humberto Acosta-Rosario, U.S. Army, is the only Puerto Rican still listed as Missing in Action from the Vietnam War. Oscar Garcia Rivera, Sr. (1900–1969), the first Puerto Rican to be elected to public office in the continental United States as a member of the New York State Assembly in 1937. Simón Madera, was an excellent musician and his compositions were distinguisehed in their use of the violin and clarinet. His best and most popular composition was “Mis Amores” which he composed at age 18. In addition to danzas, he composed waltzes and works for chamber music. He lived his last years in Guayama and died there on August 18, 1957.

Latino crooner and salsa singer (of one of Tito Puente's orchestras) Santos Colon was born in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico, but since he was raised in Mayagüez since early childhood he considered himself a (rather proud) mayagüezano. Salsa artist Frankie Ruiz, born in Paterson, New Jersey, was also raised in Mayagüez.

Salvador Agrón, a notorious murderer turned youth counselor whose life became the basis for the Broadway play The Capeman, was born in Mayagüez (for a while he was a resident of the local Asilo de Beneficencia, on Ramón E. Betances Avenue) and raised in New York City. Former Puerto Rico governor Roberto Sánchez Vilella was born in Mayagüez, but was raised in Ponce, Puerto Rico, former New York State senator Olga A. Méndez was also born in Mayagüez.

Ramón Emeterio Betances, Lola Rodríguez de Tio, Luis Lloréns Torres and Rafael Martinez Nadal were one-time residents.

The late Rafael Lopez Martinez, teacher and orchestra conductor for the Escuela Industrial de Mayaguez, gave Roselyn Pabon (conductor and director of the Puerto Rico Symphony Orchestra) his first lessons in music.


Mayagüez serves as a host city for two foreign consulates with business in Puerto Rico:

Sister cities


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  5. ^ Loida Figueroa, "Escudo de Mayagüez" Anuario de las Fiestas Patronales, 1977
  6. ^ Mayagüez and its barrios United States Census Bureau
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  16. ^ Ethnicity 2010 census
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  • Gaudier, Martín, Genealogías, Biografías e Historia del Mayagüez de Ayer y Hoy y Antología de Puerto Rico, 1957.

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