Vega Alta, Puerto Rico

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Vega Alta, Puerto Rico
Flag of Vega Alta
Nickname(s): Pueblo de los Ñangotaos", "Los Maceteros
Anthem: "En la costa norte de mi islita"
Location of Vega Alta in Puerto Rico
Location of Vega Alta in Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18°24′44″N 66°19′53″W / 18.41222°N 66.33139°W / 18.41222; -66.33139Coordinates: 18°24′44″N 66°19′53″W / 18.41222°N 66.33139°W / 18.41222; -66.33139
Country United States
Founded 1775
 • Mayor Isabelo Molina (PNP)
 • Senatorial dist. 3 - Arecibo
 • Representative dist. 11,12
 • Total 27.75 sq mi (71.87 km2)
Population (2010)
 • Total 39,951
 • Density 1,400/sq mi (560/km2)
Demonym Vegalteños
Time zone AST (UTC-4)
Zip code 00692

Vega Alta (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈbeɣa ˈalta]) is a municipality of Puerto Rico. Vega Alta is located on the northern coast of the island, north of Morovis and Corozal; east of Vega Baja; and west of Dorado with an area of 28 square miles (73 km2). Vega Alta is spread over seven wards and Vega Alta Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Vega Alta is west of San Juan, the capital of Puerto Rico. It is the home of the Hyatt Regency Cerromar, although many consider it part of the neighboring city of Dorado. Vega Alta is the home town of New York Yankees All Star Bernie Williams. Vega Alta is also known for the beautiful Cerro Gordo, one of the most visited beaches in Puerto Rico. Another point of interest is the town's Catholic church, known as Inmaculada Concepción, founded in 1813. For naturalists and hikers, the Vega Alta Forest offers plenty of opportunities to stretch your legs. In fact, the Vega Alta Forest is the first forest reserve you will encounter as you travel west from San Juan.

During the first week of December, Vega Alta celebrates its patron, The Immaculate Conception.


Vega Alta was founded in 1775 by Francisco de los Olivos. It was first named La Vega de Espinosa and known as el pueblo de los Ñangotaos ("the squatters", in reference to the "jíbaros" country folk who would squat due to lack of benches to wait for the train). Before this it was part of a group of towns known as "Las Vegas." It was then that one area was named Vega Baja and the other Vega Alta.

On October 12, 1898 the city's mayor, Francisco Vega, received U.S. troops as part of the Spanish–American War. On that same day, for the first time in Vega Alta's history, the U.S. flag was lifted on city hall. From 1902 to 1905, Vega Alta became once more part of the neighbor city of Vega Baja. In 1905, the government of Puerto Rico passed a law, allowing Vega Alta to become a municipality with its own limits.



According to the Weather Channel's website, June is the warmest month, March is the coolest month, October is the wettest month, and June is the driest month. Records:

  • The highest recorded temperature was 98 °F in July 2007.
  • The lowest recorded temperature was 40 °F in January 1945.




  • Bajura[1]
  • Candelaria
  • Cienegueta
  • Espinosa
  • Maricao
  • Mavilla
  • Sabana
  • Pueblo (downtown)
  • Corea
  • Manantial
  • Las colinas
  • Breñas


Landmarks and places of interest[edit]

  • Cerro Gordo Beach
  • The Gallery at Gran Caribe
  • Bosque de la Vega (Forest of Vega Alta)
  • Hyatt Regency Cerromar (no longer in operation)
  • Central Carmen Sugar Mill Smokestack (closed in 1945, smokestack still standing and preservation work done in 2001 to repair damage from lightning strike)



  • Banana, fruits, grains, and sugar cane.
  • Flowers and ornamental plants.
  • Dairy and meat cattle, pigs, and poultry.


  • The Gallery at Gran Caribe
  • Cooperativa de Ahoro y Crédito [VEGACOOP]
  • General Electric, dmall manufacturing plant of electrical components
  • Margo Caribe, Inc
  • Owens-Illinois
  • El Morro Corrugated Box Corporation
  • Terraza Aggregates, Inc.
  • Raices Irrigation & Landscape Corp.
  • El Cemi Irrigation & Landscape Inc.
  • Gasolina (drink) Urban Blends
  • AGN Enterprises


  • Manufacture of chemicals, electrical and electronic machinery, furniture, food, and plastics.
  • Logistics Center



Vega Alta Maceteros[2] (Double A Baseball League)

Vega Alta is known for having amateur ball players as well as professional. Basketball is played in local communities. Other sports practiced include tennis, volleyball, handball, cock fighting, and amateur surfing among others.

Vega Alta is also known for having famous Major League Baseball players such as The Molina Brothers which consist of Yadier Molina, Bengie Molina and José Molina. Other famous sport personalities include former New York Yankees center fielder Bernie Williams and professional boxer Ángel Chacón.


The Jukebox is a tribute band created to honor the English rock band The Beatles. Heriberto "Heri" Palos formed The Jukebox in his hometown of Vega Alta, Puerto Rico about 10 years ago. After playing in the Puerto Rican rock scene for about 10 years, he followed his heart, got together a couple of friends, and The Jukebox was born.[3] Band members are Heri Palos, bass, piano and vocals; Jacob Rodríguez, guitar, piano and vocals; Juan Carlos del Valle, drums and vocals; Francisco Cairol, guitar and vocals.

Another well known musician from Vega Alta was Ladislao Martinez a.k.a. "El Maestro Ladi" (June 27, 1898–February 1, 1979), a master cuatro musician. He became the first Puerto Rican to play a cuatro solo on the radio.

Fiel a la Vega, a rock en español (rock in Spanish) band, was formed in 1994. Band members Tito Auger and Ricky Laureano are from Vega Alta, while brothers Pedro Arraiza and Jorge Arraiza come from next-door Vega Baja. Their first album spawned hits like "Salimos de Aquí" and "El Wanabí", both of which were released with videos.

Festivals and events[edit]


  • Population: 37,910 as of 2000 U.S. Census
  • Density: 527.5 per km² (1,366.1 per sq mi)
  • Housing units: 13,526
  • Housing density: 188.2 per km²
  • Per capita income: $7,356


Past and present mayors[edit]

  • Teodomiro Ramirez
  • Antonio Navas Rumoroso
  • Lorenzo Cabrera
  • Emilio Escalera
  • Arturo Rivera
  • Ramon Cestero
  • Emilio Davila Diaz
  • Jose Vega Nevarez
  • Francisco Chinea
  • Carmelo Mercado
  • Jacinto Seijo
  • Jose Rosado Negron, (1977–1980; b. 1934, d. 1999)
  • Manuel "Manolin" Chinea (PDP, 1981–1993)
  • Isabelo "Chabelo" Molina (PNP, 1993–2001)
  • Juan "Mane" Cruzado (PPD, 2001–2002) resigned, Vice-Mayor Jose Colon assumed post.
  • Jose Colon (PPD, 2002–2004)
  • Isabelo "Chabelo" Molina (PNP, 2004–present)


Puerto Rico's Highway 22 provides access to Vega Alta from the far away city of Mayaguez, or from San Juan. Highway 2 also provides access from the western cities of Manatí, Arecibo and the eastern cities of Bayamón and Guaynabo bordering the shore to the Atlantic Ocean. It takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the town from San Juan.


Public schools[edit]

  • Antonio Paoli/Elementary
  • Elemental Urbana/Elementary
  • Elisa Davila Vazquez/Elementary
  • Ignacio Miranda/high school
  • Dr. Cañaco Stalingrad III/ High School
  • Jose D. Rosado/Elementary
  • Jose M. Pagan/Elementary
  • Rafael Hernadez/Elementary
  • Apolo San Antonio/Middle School
  • Nueva Escuela Brenas/Middle School, Second Unit
  • Adelaida Vega/Middle School, Second Unit
  • Ileana de Gracia/High School
  • Ladislao Martinez (Maestro Ladi)/first High School

Private schools[edit]

  • Academia Dicipulos de Cristo (Disciples of Christ)/Elementary and Middle School
  • Colegio de la Vega
  • Academia Cambu

Further reading[edit]

  • Leonardo Santana-Rabell. Historia de Vega Alta de Espinosa. 2da edición, Editorial La Torre del Viejo, Río Piedras, Puerto Rico, 1995.
  • Domingo Figueroa Ramirez. Memorias y versos: Desde algun rincón de Vega Alta. 1era edición Vega Coop y Econo Mendez Class

See also[edit]