Humacao, Puerto Rico

Humacao (Spanish pronunciation: [umaˈka.o]) is a city and municipality in Puerto Rico located in the eastern coast of the island, north of Yabucoa; south of Naguabo; east of Las Piedras; and west of Vieques Passage. Humacao is spread over 12 barrios and Humacao Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Municipio Autónomo de Humacao
Downtown Humacao from its city hall
Downtown Humacao from its city hall
Flag of Humacao
Coat of arms of Humacao
"La Perla del Oriente", "La Ciudad Gris", "Roye Huesos"
Anthem: "Humacao, Hijo del Taíno Bravío"
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Humacao Municipality
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Humacao Municipality
Coordinates: 18°08′59″N 65°49′39″W / 18.14972°N 65.82750°W / 18.14972; -65.82750Coordinates: 18°08′59″N 65°49′39″W / 18.14972°N 65.82750°W / 18.14972; -65.82750
CommonwealthPuerto Rico
FoundedApril 1722
 • MayorJulio Geigel (PNP)
 • Senatorial dist.7 – Humacao
 • Representative dist.35
 • Total55.46 sq mi (143.63 km2)
 • Land45 sq mi (117 km2)
 • Water10.28 sq mi (26.63 km2)
 • Total50,896
 • Density920/sq mi (350/km2)
 • Racial groups
(2000 Census)[2]
69.7% White
12.9% Black
0.4% American Indian/An
0.3% Asian
0.0% Native Hawaiian/Pi
9.7% Some other race
6.9% Two or more races
Time zoneUTC-4 (AST)
ZIP Codes
00791, 00792, 00741
Area code(s)787/939
Major routesPR primary 3.svg PR primary 30.svg PR primary 60.svg PR urban primary 3R.svg PR urban primary 198.svg
Toll plate yellow.svg
PR primary 53.svg


Statue of Cacique Jumacao

The region of what is now Humacao belonged to the Taíno region of Humaka, which covered a portion of the southeast coast of Puerto Rico.[3] The region was led by cacique Jumacao (also referred to as "Macao").[4] The Taíno settlement was located on the shores of what is called now the Humacao River. It is believed that the Taíno chief Jumacao was the first "cacique" to learn to read and write in Spanish, since he wrote a letter to the King of Spain Charles I complaining about how the Governor of the island wasn't complying with their peace agreement. In the letter, Jumacao argued that their people were virtually prisoners of Spain. It is said that King Charles was so moved by the letter that he ordered the Governor to obey the terms of the treaty.[5][6][self-published source]

During the early 16th century, the region was populated by cattle ranchers. However, since most of them officially resided in San Juan, a settlement was never officially organized. At the beginning of the 18th century, specifically around 1721–1722, the first official settlement was constituted in the area. Most of the residents at the time were immigrants from the Canary Islands, but due to attacks from Caribs, pirates, and other settlers, some of them moved farther into the island in what is now Las Piedras.[7] Still, some settlers remained and by 1776, historian Fray Íñigo Abbad y Lasierra visited the area and wrote about the population there. By 1793, the church was recognized as parish and the settlement was officially recognized as town.[5]

By 1894, Humacao was recognized as a city. Due to its thriving population, buildings and structures like a hospital, a theater, and a prison were built in the city. In 1899, after the United States invasion of the island as a result of the Spanish–American War, the municipality of Las Piedras was annexed to Humacao. This lasted until 1914, when the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico voted on splitting both towns again.[7]

Humacao was led by mayor Marcelo Trujillo Panisse for over a decade. A basketball star in his early years, Trujillo has pushed for the development of infrastructure facilities for sports and the fine arts in the city. In March 2008, a new Roman Catholic diocese was established as the Fajardo-Humacao diocese. Its first bishop is Monsignor Eusebio 'Chebito' Ramos Morales, a maunabeño who was rector of the Humacao's main parish in the 1990s.

In 2019, Luis Raul Sanchez became interim mayor of Humacao after Marcelo Trujillo Panisse died in September 2019.[8]


Humacao is located in the southeast coast of Puerto Rico. It is bordered by the municipalities of Naguabo to the north, Yabucoa to the south, and Las Piedras to the west. The Atlantic Ocean borders the city in the east. Humacao is located in the region of the Eastern Coastal Plains, with most of its territory being flat. There are minor elevations to the southwest, like Candelero Hill, and northwest, like Mabú. Humacao's territory covers 45 square miles (117 km2).[5] Two islands belong to Humacao: Cayo Santiago and Cayo Batata.[9]

Water featuresEdit

Humacao's hydrographic system consists of many rivers and creeks like Humacao, Antón Ruíz, and Candelero. Some of its creeks are Frontera, Mariana, and Del Obispo, among many others.[5]

In 2019, updated flood zone maps show that Humacao is extremely vulnerable to flooding, along with Toa Baja, Rincón, Barceloneta, and Corozal. Located where most cyclones enter the island, Humacao is one of the most vulnerable areas of Puerto Rico.[10] Humacao was working on flood mitigation plans and shared that its barrios located on the coast; Antón Ruíz, Punta Santiago, Río Abajo, Buena Vista and Candelero Abajo barrios, are extremely vulnerable to flooding and destruction.[11]


Humacao map with barrio subdivisions

Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Humacao is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a small barrio referred to as "el pueblo", near the center of the municipality.[12][13][14][15]


Barrios (which are like minor civil divisions)[16] and subbarrios,[17] in turn, are further subdivided into smaller local populated place areas/units called sectores (sectors in English). The types of sectores may vary, from normally sector to urbanización to reparto to barriada to residencial, among others.[18][19][20]

Special CommunitiesEdit

Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico (Special Communities of Puerto Rico) are marginalized communities whose citizens are experiencing a certain amount of social exclusion. A map shows these communities occur in nearly every municipality of the commonwealth. Of the 742 places that were on the list in 2014, the following barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods were in Humacao: Antón Ruiz, Obrera neighborhood, Cotto Mabú-Fermina, Buena Vista, Parcelas Aniseto Cruz in Candelero Abajo, Parcelas Martínez in Candelero Abajo, Cataño, Punta Santiago, Verde Mar, and Cangrejos.[21][22]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[23]
1899 (shown as 1900)[24] 1910–1930[25]
1930–1950[26] 1960–2000[27] 2010[14] 2020[28]

Puerto Rico was ceded by Spain in the aftermath of the Spanish–American War under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1898 and became a territory of the United States. In 1899, the United States conducted its first census of Puerto Rico finding that the population of Humacao was 14,313.


The beach at Palmas del Mar resort

There are 8 beaches in Humacao including Punta Santiago.[29] Palmas del Mar Beach in Humacao is considered a dangerous beach.[30]

Due to its location on the coast and relative short distance from the capital, Humacao is a frequent stop for tourists. One of the most notable tourist mainstays is the Palmas del Mar resort, which is the island's largest resort. This megaresort is composed of over 3,000 acres (12 km2) of land and occupies the entire southeastern portion of the municipal territory. The resort contains over 20 tennis courts, two world-class golf courses, beaches, several restaurants and a riding center.

Aside from the beaches at the Palmas del Mar resort, Humacao has other beaches. The most popular ones are Punta Santiago, Buena Vista, Punta Candelero, and El Morrillo.[7] The Candelero Beach Resort, built in 1973, with its 107 rooms, 25 which are suites, was purchased and revitalized by the Suarez family.[31]

Palmas Yacht Club in Humacao

Other landmarks found in Humacao are the Astronomical Observatory in the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao,[32] Casa Roig, the Guzmán Ermit, the Humacao Wildlife Refuge, and the Church Dulce Nombre de Jesús.

In the 1980s, the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources established the Humacao Nature Reserve (also called the Punta Santiago Nature Reserve) in the municipality.[33] The Palmas del Mar Tropical Forest is also located in Humacao.[34]


Burlington in Humacao employs under 100 people and reopened its doors in March 2019. The store had been shuttered since Hurricane Maria destroyed it on September 19, 2017.[35]


The co-cathedral of the Fajardo-Humacao diocese at the town square

Festivals and eventsEdit

Humacao celebrates its patron saint festival in December. The Fiestas Patronales Inmaculada Concepcion de Maria is a religious and cultural celebration that generally features parades, games, artisans, amusement rides, regional food, and live entertainment.[9]

The Breadfruit Festival (Festival de la Pana) is celebrated during the first weekend of September. It is organized by the Mariana's Recreational and Cultural Association (ARECMA), a community organization of the Mariana barrio. Its main theme is about the preparation of dishes whose main ingredient is breadfruit. Typical Puerto Rican music, crafts and foods as well as other cultural and sports activities can also be enjoyed. Most years it has been held at one of the highest elevations within the sector with views to Humacao, Las Piedras, Naguabo, Vieques and Yabucoa.

Humacao Grita is an urban art festival held in November.[36][37]

Other festivals and events celebrated in Humacao include:[38]

  • Three Kings’ Day- January
  • Festival of the Cross – May
  • Flat-bottom Boat Festival – June
  • Saint Cecilia Festival (patron saint of musicians) – November
  • Catholic Church Community Festival – December


The Grises basketball team (Humacao Grays), founded in 2005, belongs to Puerto Rico's National Superior Basketball league. In 2010, they changed their name to the Caciques de Humacao. They play at the new Humacao Coliseum.

The Grises is also a Double A class amateur baseball team that has won one championship (1951) and four time runners-up in (1950, 1960, 1965 and 1967).


Humacao District Jail

Like all municipalities in Puerto Rico, Humacao is administered by a mayor. In June 2022, Julio Geigel was elected mayor of Humacao.[39] Before then Luis Raul Sanchez got into office, after Marcelo Trujillo Panisse died in September 2019.[8] The former mayor was Marcelo Trujillo, of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD) was elected at the 2000 general election and served for many years. In the 2020 general election Luis Raul was defeated by Reinaldo (Rey) Vargas Rodríguez (PNP) by a margin of 4 points.[40][41] However, on May 5, 2022, Vargas was arrested by the FBI on corruption, bribery, and extortion charges.[42] and was subsequently removed from his position.

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district VII, which is represented by two Senators. In 2012, Jorge Suárez and José Luis Dalmau were elected as District Senators.[43]

FBI satellite officeEdit

There is an FBI satellite office located in Humacao.[44]


Humacao has three secondary care hospitals HIMA-San Pablo Humacao, Dr. Domínguez (Hospital Oriente), and Ryder Memorial Hospital.


The municipio has an official flag and coat of arms.[45]


It consists of three horizontal stripes: gold that stands for Chief Jumacao's crown, red that symbolizes the coat of arms and the green that represents the arrows used by the Taínos.[46]

Coat of armsEdit

The coat of arms mainly consists of two colors, gold and green but also has gules. The gold represents the sun, Humacao is located in the island were the sun rises. Green symbolizes the native Indian heritage as well as the natural tropical valley where the city is located. The shield itself represents Humacao's native and Indian name origin. The coat of arms was designed by Roberto Brascochea Lota in 1975 and approved by Humacao on November 13, 1975.[46]


Humacao's airport is no longer used for daily flights to Vieques and Culebra as it was in the past. It is now used for private flights.

Humacao is served by two freeways and one tolled expressway, therefore is one of a few cities in Puerto Rico with good access. Puerto Rico Highway 30, Autopista Cruz Ortiz Stella, serves as the main highway coming from the west (Caguas, Las Piedras), while Puerto Rico Highway 53 serves from the north (Fajardo, Naguabo) and south (Yabucoa). Puerto Rico Highway 60, the Carretera Dionisio Casillas, is a short freeway located entirely in Humacao, and has exits serving downtown Humacao and Anton Ruiz.

Puerto Rico Highway 3, the main highway bordering the east coastline of Puerto Rico from San Juan, passes through Humacao and has its only alt route in the town, known locally as the Bulevar del Rio (River Boulevard) where it has access to the main judiciary center of the city, as well as a future theatre that is being built, the Centro de Bellas Artes de Humacao (Humacao Fine Arts Center). The alt route allows people to pass by the downtown area, as PR-3 enters into the downtown and business center of the town.

Puerto Rico Highway 908 is another important highway, which begins at PR-3 and intersects PR-30 and has access to the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao, as well as some main schools in the municipality.

Humacao, together with San Juan and Salinas, is one of three municipalities in Puerto Rico that has controlled-access highways leaving its boundaries in all directions (in this case north to Naguabo and south to Yabucoa via PR-53 and west to Las Piedras via PR-30)

There are 68 bridges in Humacao.[47]


There are various elementary and high school facilities, three of which were recognized by the Middle States Association of Secondary Schools and each has its own National Honor Society chapters.

The University of Puerto Rico at Humacao, formerly the CUH, educates over 4,000 students and is well known for its sciences, producing many of the island's most skilled microbiologists, marine biologists, wildlife biologists and chemists at the undergraduate level. It also manages an astronomical observatory where many tourists and locals come visit and view the stars and planets and the Museo Casa Roig where arts expositions and cultural events are celebrated.

Notable natives and residentsEdit


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Bureau, US Census. "PUERTO RICO: 2020 Census". The United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  2. ^ "Ethnicity 2000 census" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on February 16, 2008. Retrieved April 30, 2008.
  3. ^ "Gobierno Tribal del Pueblo Jatibonicu Taíno de Puerto Rico". Archived from the original on January 22, 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2014.
  4. ^ Schimmer, Russell (2010). "Genocide Studies Program: Puerto Rico". Yale University. Archived from the original on May 20, 2013. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  5. ^ a b c d "Humacao... la Perla del Oriente". ProyectoSalonHogar. Archived from the original on July 13, 2014. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  6. ^ "El agua del paraíso (Spanish Edition)"; by: Benito Pastoriza Iyodo; Publisher: Xlibris (April 21, 2008); ISBN 1-4363-2567-6; ISBN 978-1-4363-2567-7[self-published source]
  7. ^ a b c "Enciclopedia de Puerto Rico: Humacao – Fundación e historia". Archived from the original on April 14, 2014. Retrieved April 14, 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Confirmadas las aspiraciones políticas de Luis Raúl Sánchez – Periódico El Oriental". Archived from the original on June 8, 2019. Retrieved September 16, 2019.
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  12. ^ Picó, Rafael; Buitrago de Santiago, Zayda; Berrios, Hector H. Nueva geografía de Puerto Rico: física, económica, y social, por Rafael Picó. Con la colaboración de Zayda Buitrago de Santiago y Héctor H. Berrios. San Juan Editorial Universitaria, Universidad de Puerto Rico,1969. Archived from the original on December 26, 2018. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
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  32. ^ "Observatorio Astronómico". Universidad de Puerto Rico en Humacao. Archived from the original on June 29, 2014. Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  33. ^ Fotogalería: Paseo por la Reserva Natural de Humacao. Archived March 2, 2020, at the Wayback Machine Jose E. Maldonado. Mi Puerto Rico Verde. September 19, 2012. Accessed March 2, 2020.
  34. ^ "Tropical Forest at Palmas del Mar". Para la Naturaleza (in European Spanish). May 9, 2013. Retrieved January 5, 2022.
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  40. ^ "CEE Event". Retrieved June 19, 2021.
  41. ^ "Juramenta Reinaldo Vargas como nuevo alcalde de Humacao | Metro". Retrieved June 19, 2021.
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  43. ^ Elecciones Generales 2012: Escrutinio General Archived January 15, 2013, at the Wayback Machine on CEEPUR
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External linksEdit