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Loíza (Spanish pronunciation: [loˈisa]) is a town and municipality on the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico, north of Canóvanas; east of Carolina, Puerto Rico; and west of Río Grande, Puerto Rico. Loíza is spread over five wards and Loíza Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Municipio de Loíza
Río Grande de Loíza.jpg
Flag of Loíza, Puerto Rico
"El Pueblo de la Cacica"
Anthem:"Loiceños en Acción"
Location of Loíza in Puerto Rico
Location of Loíza in Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18°25′11″N 65°52′23″W / 18.41972°N 65.87306°W / 18.41972; -65.87306Coordinates: 18°25′11″N 65°52′23″W / 18.41972°N 65.87306°W / 18.41972; -65.87306
Country United States
Territory Puerto Rico
 • MayorJulia M. Nazario (PPD)
 • Senatorial dist.8 - Carolina
 • Representative dist.37
 • Total65.71 sq mi (170.19 km2)
 • Land19.44 sq mi (50.36 km2)
 • Water46.27 sq mi (119.83 km2)
 • Total30,060
 • Density460/sq mi (180/km2)
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
Zip code
Major routesPR secondary 187.svg PR secondary 188.svg



Some say its name comes from a female cacique, named Loaíza or Yuíza, who governed the region formerly called Jaymanío, on the shores of the Río Grande de Loíza. It is said that this cacique might have married a mulatto conquistador called Pedro Mejías, but there is no evidence of this.[1] Other sources point to a Spanish landlord named Iñigo López de Cervantes y Loayza, who owned a lot of the territory, and was renowned among governors and colonists of the time.[2]

It is said that a crown decree from Spain in the 1600s, instructed slaves to be sent to the region of Loíza. Many people believe this might account for the high ratio of Black people in Loíza.

In 1692, Loíza was officially declared an urban area due to its population (100 houses and 1,146 residents), but it was in 1719 that the Spanish government declared it as an official town. It was founded by Gaspar de Arredondo. After being demoted, it was again established as a municipality in August 16, 1970.

In the 1970s, an Aero Virgin Islands DC-3 plane crashed in a Loíza beach, with no fatalities.

In 2017, Loíza suffered a catastrophic hit from Hurricane Maria like the rest of Puerto Rico.[3] In 2018, it was featured in an episode of Bar Rescue called Operation: Puerto Rico where bar consultant and native Puerto Rican Jon Taffer visited Loíza to rescue an area bar and turned it into a community rescue, repairing a local community center, playground, baseball field and basketball court as well as the bar.


Loíza[4] belongs to the geographical region called the Coastal Plains of the North. Its terrain is uniformly plain, since it doesn't exceed 100 meters above water level.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 65.71 square miles (170.2 km2); of which 19.44 square miles (50.3 km2) of it is land and 46.27 square miles (119.8 km2) of it is water.


Subdivisions of Loíza.

Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Loíza is divided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a barrio referred to as "el pueblo".[5][6][7][8]

  1. Canóvanas
  2. Loíza barrio-pueblo
  3. Medianía Alta
  4. Medianía Baja
  5. Torrecilla Alta
  6. Torrecilla Baja

Hurricane MariaEdit

Broken kitchen in Loíza after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico

On September 20, 2017 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and bought destruction to Loíza.


The population of the municipality was 39,565 at the 2006 census. As of the census of 2006, there were 32,537 people, 10,927 households, and 6,140 families residing in the municipality. The population density was 1,673.4 inhabitants per square mile (646.1/km²). There were 10,927 housing units at an average density of 562 per square mile (217/km²). There were 10,927 households out of which 45.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 29.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.3% were non-families. 14.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.39 and the average family size was 3.77. In the town the population was spread out with 39.3% under the age of 19, 7.8% from 20 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 17.3% from 45 to 64, and 8.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. The median income for a household in the town was $8,962, and the median income for a family was $9,911. Males had a median income of $14,076 versus $12,903 for females. The per capita income for the town was $4,707. 67% of the population and 64.7% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 62.3% of those under the age of 18 and 59.5% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line. The municipality has the highest concentration of Afro-Puerto Ricans on the island.

Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[9]
1899 (shown as 1900)[10] 1910-1930[11]
1930-1950[12] 1960-2000[13] 2010[7]
Race - Loíza, Puerto Rico - 2010 Census[14]
Race Population % of Total
White 7,974 26.5%
Black/Afro-Puerto Rican 19,314 64.3%
American Indian and Alaska Native 144 0.5%
Asian 36 0.1%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 2 0.0%
Some other race 1,825 6.1%
Two or more races 765 2.5%


Landmarks and places of interestEdit

  • Aviones Beach
  • Ayala Family Artesan Centre
  • Julia de Burgos Walk
  • María de la Cruz Cavern
  • Piñones Lagoon
  • San Patricio Parish
  • Vacía Talega Beach
  • Samuel Lind Estudio De Arte
  • EL Mocambo Pub*


Vejigante Mask and Costume on display at the Musical Instrument Museum of Phoenix

One of Loíza's barrios, Loíza aldea, is famous across Puerto Rico because it has been a talent pool for dancers and artisans. Formerly a center for black Puerto Rican music, it is said to be the traditional birthplace of the musical form known as plena along with Ponce.

Each year there is a celebration in Loíza where people parade around wearing Máscaras de Vejigante, a type of mask made from coconuts and painted in multiple colors.

Loíza is known as "La Capital de la Tradición"- "The Capital of Traditions"- for its "bomba" music, traditional Taíno and African dishes, folk art, and distinct culture.

Festivals and eventsEdit

  • Mayombe Carnival - February
  • San Patricio Patron Festivities - March
  • Santiago Apóstol Festivities - July[15][16]



Coconuts, fruits, sugar canes, and apples


  • Fishing

Special communitiesEdit

Since 2001, when law 1-2001 was passed,[17] measures have been taken to identify and address the high levels of poverty and lack of resources and opportunities affecting people living in specific places (barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods) of Puerto Rico. In 2004, the following places in Loíza were on the list of Comunidades especiales de Puerto Rico or marginalized communities:[18]

  • La 23 in Honduras barrio
  • Sector Pompeya (Los Pizarros) in Honduras barrio
  • Sector Villa del Carmen in Honduras barrio
  • Calle Melilla
  • Colobó[15]
  • El Ceiba
  • El Jobo
  • Miñi Miñi[19][20][21]
  • Piñones
  • Pueblo del Niño
  • Tocones
  • Villa Cañona 1
  • Villa Cañona 2
  • Villa Colobó
  • Villa Kennedy
  • Villa Santos
  • Zapatería Pizarro

In 2017, Governor Rosello created a new government agency to work with the Special Communities of Puerto Rico Program and Jesús Vélez Vargas, its director stated that the program was evolving.[22][23]


Julia Nazario Fuentes, Mayor of Loiza walking past damaged house in Loíza, Puerto Rico

Like all municipalities in Puerto Rico, Loíza is administered by a mayor. The current mayor is Julia María Nazario Fuentes, who was elected at the 2016 Puerto Rican general elections.

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district VIII, which is represented by two Senators. In 2016, Nayda Venegas Brown and Eric Correa Rivera were elected as District Senators.[24]



Red and gold and green with three undulating stripes - The silhouette of a bell tower in the first stripe represents religious tradition and also serves as a symbol of the Church of Saint Patrick as an historical monument.

Coat of armsEdit

The mounted figure of Santiago Apostle, dominant in the shield, proclaims the devotion to the saint that the Loiceños profess, manifested in a special way during the celebration of traditional festivities every July 25. The flames are emblem of the Holy Spirit, bearer of the seven gifts, a title of the old church of Loíza. The undulating stripe represents the Grande de Loíza River, notable in geography, history and literature of Puerto Rico. The crown symbolizes the famous Taína Chief Yuisa, who lived in Loíza territory where he died. The trebols represent San Patrick, Apostle of Ireland and patron of the population.


Students at Belen Blanco De Zequeira, Loiza, Puerto Rico

Like all other municipalities, education in Loíza is administered by the Department of Education of Puerto Rico. Loíza has several elementary schools, but only two junior high and two high schools.


Service to Loiza is available from San Juan by AMA route D45. This route provides service to Pinones and Isla Verde and connects to the Tren Urbano at Sagrado Corazon.

There is no public transportation connecting Loiza to the eastern cities of PR, and there are few if any hotels and guest houses in Loiza itself, but there are resorts in Rio Grande.

There are 5 bridges in Loíza.[25]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Loíza on ElYunque
  2. ^ Loíza Capital de la Tradición on
  3. ^ "Diggers to rescue survivors". FEMA. Retrieved 28 December 2018.
  4. ^ "Loíza Municipality - Municipalities - EnciclopediaPR". Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH).
  5. ^ 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.
  6. ^ Gwillim Law (20 May 2015). Administrative Subdivisions of Countries: A Comprehensive World Reference, 1900 through 1998. McFarland. p. 300. ISBN 978-1-4766-0447-3. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  7. ^ a b Puerto Rico:2010:population and housing unit counts.pdf (PDF). U.S. Dept. of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration U.S. Census Bureau. 2010.
  8. ^ "Map of Loíza at the Wayback Machine" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  9. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  10. ^ "Report of the Census of Porto Rico 1899". War Department Office Director Census of Porto Rico. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  11. ^ "Table 3-Population of Municipalities: 1930 1920 and 1910" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  12. ^ "Table 4-Area and Population of Municipalities Urban and Rural: 1930 to 1950" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  13. ^ "Table 2 Population and Housing Units: 1960 to 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  14. ^ Bureau, U. S. Census. "American FactFinder - Results". Factfinder Census Gov.
  15. ^ a b David Ungerleider Kepler (2000). Las fiestas de Santiago Apóstol en Loíza: la cultura afro-puertorriqueña ante los procesos de hibridación y globalización. Isla Negra Editores. pp. 73–. ISBN 978-1-881715-64-1.
  16. ^ "Guía de wikén: celebran las Fiestas Tradicionales de Loíza". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). 17 July 2019. Retrieved 22 July 2019.
  17. ^ "Leyes del 2001". Lex Juris Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  18. ^ "Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). 8 August 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  19. ^ "Rescue in Loíza |". FEMA.
  20. ^ "Joven es baleado en Loíza". WAPA TV.
  21. ^ "Comunidad Miñi Miñi en Loíza cuenta con renovado parque gracias a Ricky Martin Foundation y firmas deportivas". February 2, 2019.
  22. ^ "Evoluciona el proyecto de Comunidades Especiales". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). 24 February 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  23. ^, Por. "Ya es ley Oficina para el Desarrollo Socioeconómico y Comunitario". El Vocero de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  24. ^ "Escrutinio General", Comisión Estatal de Elecciones de Puerto Rico, 2018-07-08
  25. ^ "Loíza Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Retrieved 20 February 2019.

External linksEdit