Río de la Plata (Puerto Rico)

The La Plata River (Spanish: Río de la Plata) is the longest river in the island of Puerto Rico. It is located in the north coast of the island.[1] It flows from south to north, and drains into the Atlantic Ocean about 11 miles (18 km) west of San Juan. The mouth of the river is a resort area with white sandy beaches.[2][3]

La Plata River
La Plata River in 2007
Native nameRío de la Plata
CommonwealthPuerto Rico
MunicipalityToa Baja[1]
Physical characteristics
 • locationGuayama, Puerto Rico
 • location
Atlantic Ocean, at Dorado
Length46 mi (74 km)

La Plata has a length of approximately 46 miles[3] with its origin in the municipality of Guayama, Puerto Rico, at an altitude of approximately 2,625 feet (800 meters) above sea level. It crosses the municipalities of Guayama, Cayey, Comerío, Naranjito, Toa Alta, Toa Baja, and Dorado forming two lakes in its path: Carite Lake and La Plata Lake.[4][5][6]

There are many crossings of the river.[7] The Arenas Bridge, in Cayey, is one of the most notable. It is a steel bridge built in 1894 and is still in use. It was the longest bridge built in Puerto Rico by the Spanish.[8]:E-12

The United States Army Corps of Engineers is undertaking a major flood control project in the river basin.


La Plata River (2005)

The Taíno Indians referred to the river as "thoa" which means mother, which itself gave the name to the towns of Toa Alta and Toa Baja located in the mouth of the river to the Atlantic Ocean.

Cultural referencesEdit

The river is referenced on the anthem of the town of Toa Baja.

Hurricane MariaEdit

The river which runs through the heart of Comerio, rose more than 11 feet on September 20, 2017 (Hurricane Maria) causing major flooding and irreparable destruction to areas along the river.[9] It destroyed the school, the police station, countless homes and businesses in Comerio[10] and other municipalities along the river.

Flood control projectEdit

In mid 2018, the United States Army Corps of Engineers announced it would be undertaking a major flood control project of the river basin, with a $500 million budget.[11] By mid 2019, a project by the USACE to mitigate the flooding risk to Toa Baja by The Plata River had not yet begun.[12]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System:
  2. ^ Soler-López, Luis R. "Sedimentation Survey of Lago La Plata, Puerto Rico, July 2006". USGS National Geologic Map Database. Retrieved 23 February 2019.
  3. ^ a b "La Plata River". Encyclopaedia Britannica. Retrieved 24 February 2019.
  4. ^ Suarez, Victor. "Inventario de los ríos más importantes de Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). Archived from the original (PDF) on October 23, 2008.
  5. ^ "Jacksonville District Navigable Waters Lists" (PDF). saj.usace.army.mil. SAJ. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2015-03-31. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
  6. ^ "Los Ríos" (PDF). Hojas de Nuestro Ambiente. Puerto Rico: DRNA. February 1, 2007. Archived from the original (PDF) on April 1, 2012. Retrieved February 22, 2019.
  7. ^ "Cayey Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
  8. ^ Luis F. Pumarada O'Neill (July 31, 1994). National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation: Historic Bridges of Puerto Rico, c. 1840-1950 (pdf). National Park Service.
  9. ^ Almukhtar, Sarah; Bloch, Matthew; Fessenden, Ford; Patel, Jugal K. (18 September 2017). "Maps: Hurricane Maria's Path Across Puerto Rico" – via NYTimes.com.
  10. ^ ""El río nos destruyó, pero nos unió" ["The river destroyed us, but united us"]". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish).
  11. ^ "USACE: $3.348 billion go toward reducing flood risk in Florida, Puerto Rico and USVI". Caribbean Business. 6 July 2018.
  12. ^ "Moving Forward from Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico". Urban Land Magazine. 14 April 2019.

Coordinates: 18°28′33″N 66°15′19″W / 18.47583°N 66.25528°W / 18.47583; -66.25528

External linksEdit