Mayaguez, Puerto Rico
Mayaguez (mah-yah-GWES) is the eighth-largest municipality of
Puerto Rico. Also known as "La Sultana del Oeste" (The Sultaness of the West) the Spanish crown gave it the title
of "La excelente ciudad de Mayagüez".
It is located in the center of the western coast on the island of Puerto Rico. Originally named "Our Lady of the
Candelaria of Mayagüez", but dwindling tradition from the Indian name of its river, the Yagüez River (the word means "clear waters") the
city was eventually named just Mayagüez.
Famed for the size and depth of its harbor (the 2nd largest on the island, after
San Juan's harbor), Mayaguez, Puerto Rico was built to control the Mona
Passage, a route essential to the Spanish Empire when Puerto Rico and the nearby Dominican
Republic were vital trade and defensive jewels in the Spanish crown.
Today this waterway is notorious for the destructiveness of its currents, the ferocity of its sharks, and the
thousands of boat people who arrive illegally from either the Dominican Republic or Haiti , both on 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
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 Pontifical Catholic University of Puerto Rico.
In 1911, the College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts was founded in Mayagüez. Today it is known as the University
of Puerto Rico - Mayagüez Campus (UPRM) — the Caribbean's leading science and engineering
Between 1962 and 1998 Mayaguez, Puerto Rico 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.
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.
Mayagüez is home of the only Zoo in the island, Juan A. Rivero
Zoo (commonly known as Mayagüez Zoo), home of numerous birds, mammals and reptiles (including Bengal tigers, and
Andean condors among others).
Cages and open compounds stand in an attractively landscaped setting of small islands, a lake, tropical vegetation
and children's playground.
The zoo is open Wednesday - Sunday from 8:30am - 4:00pm. There is an
admission fee of $6 for adults and $3 for children (prices subject to change). Contact Compañía de Parques Nacionales at 787-622-5200 for more information.
Mayaguez itself is not much of a tourist town, however it is an excellent "base camp" to explore
the south and west coast of Puerto Rico. You definitely want to visit the beaches in Cabo Rojo (Combate, Joyuda, Boqueron).
The fishing village of La Parguera in Lajas, where you can
take a boat ride to visit the mangroves and see the bio-luminescent bay at night, or "Isla Mata La Gata".
You can go to Guanica and visit the Dry Forest and the coastline near the
Copamarina hotel. You can also take a short boat ride to "Gilligan's Island" and have a picnic there.
From Mayaguez, Puerto Rico there is about an one hour drive to Ponce,
which has the old Fire Station (And do not forget to visit King's Ice Cream across the street from the old fire
station, best ice cream ever!).
In Ponce you may also visit "La Cruceta del Vigia" which overlooks the city,
the Tibes Ceremonial Park built by the Taino Indians and Hacienda Buena Vista, which is an old coffee plantation
that has been restored as a museum.
North of Mayaguez there are the towns of Rincon known for its famous surfing beaches, Guajataca, Aguadilla, and Isabela which has excellent beaches and restaurants.
Where to stay:
Conveniently located, with all the spectacular attractions of Porta Del Sol within easy reach, Holiday Inn
& Tropical Casino Mayaguez, is the ideal place to stay when your vacation or business trip takes you
to the city of Mayaguez and Puerto Rico's stunning west coast.
From Holiday Inn & Tropical Casino Mayaguez you can drive to an incredible water park, bowling alleys, golf
courses and some of the most beautiful beaches in the Caribbean. Puerto Rico's only zoo is minutes away from the
comfort of your room. Holiday Inn & El Tropical Casino welcomes you!
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Mayaguez, Puerto Rico information as accurate as possible but keep in
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