Dorado, Puerto Rico

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Municipio Autónomo de Dorado
Main square in Dorado
Main square in Dorado
Flag of Dorado
Coat of arms of Dorado
"La Ciudad Ejemplar", "Ciudad Dorada", "La Más Limpia de Puerto Rico"
Anthem: "Por fin, en las riberas"
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Dorado Municipality
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Dorado Municipality
Coordinates: 18°27′32″N 66°16′04″W / 18.45889°N 66.26778°W / 18.45889; -66.26778Coordinates: 18°27′32″N 66°16′04″W / 18.45889°N 66.26778°W / 18.45889; -66.26778
Commonwealth Puerto Rico
 • MayorCarlos A. López Rivera (PPD)
 • Senatorial dist.3 – Arecibo
 • Representative dist.11
 • Total60.16 km2 (23.23 sq mi)
 • Total35,879
 • Density600/km2 (1,500/sq mi)
 • Racial groups
(2000 Census)[2]
74.1% White
12.2% Black
0.5% American Indian/AN
0.2% Asian
0.0% Native Hawaiian/PI
9.4% other
3.6% two or more races
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)787/939
Major routesPR urban primary 165.svg PR secondary 2.svg PR secondary 142.svg PR secondary 693.svg
Toll plate yellow.svg
PR primary 22.svg

Dorado (Spanish pronunciation: [doˈɾaðo]) is a town and municipality in the northern coast of Puerto Rico, 15 miles (24 km) west of San Juan and is located in the northern region of the island, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, north of Toa Alta, east of Vega Alta, and west of Toa Baja. Dorado is subdivided into five barrios and Dorado Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The Dorado Airport was operated from 1942 to 1996. The airport began as a military landing strip, then became a civilian airport in the 1960s with Caribair and Dorado Wings flights operating until 1980 and 1982 respectively. The airport operated as a private landing strip throughout the 1980s and then fell into disrepair. In 1996, the airport was rezoned as residential land and redeveloped.

Dorado has upscale neighborhoods and a small downtown area with a plaza (main town square), as other Puerto Rican municipalities. The town's patron saint is Anthony of Padua, and patron saint celebrations are held at the plaza every year on June 13.


During the early 18th century, there were already mentions of a "Sitio de Dorado" (meaning a golden place) in some San Juan registers.[3]

Since the beginning of the Spanish colonial period and until 1831, Dorado existed as a barrio (or ward) of the town of Toa Baja. Over several years, the ward grew and established its own town center called the "new pueblo" to differentiate itself from Toa Baja, which became known as the "old pueblo." Over several years, the barrios that currently make up Dorado grew and the people of the "new pueblo" wanted to separate themselves from Toa Baja.

On November 22, 1842, Jacinto López Martínez, the Sergeant at Arms for the ward of Dorado, petitioned the Spanish Governor of Puerto Rico, Santiago Méndez Vigo, to establish the municipality of Dorado. The governor authorized the founding of the town pending the construction of public works, including an administrative building and a church near the town square. In 1848, the construction of the public works were completed and López Martínez became the first mayor of Dorado.

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 Dorado was 3,804.[4] In 1902, four years after the Spanish–American War, Dorado was again appended to Toa Baja. However, in 1905 it regained its status as a separate town.

The 2nd G7 summit was held at the Dorado Beach Resort between June 27 and 28, 1976.[5]

Hurricane Maria (2017)[edit]

House with blue tarp after Hurricane Maria in Dorado, Puerto Rico

Like the rest of the island, homes in Dorado were damaged by the rain and winds of Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017.

Flood control project[edit]

In mid 2018, the United States Army Corps of Engineers announced it would be undertaking a major flood control project of a river that often causes flooding in Dorado, Río de la Plata.[6]


La Plata River in 2007

Dorado is located in Puerto Rico's Northern Karst region. Much of its geology consists of alluvial and coastal/estuarine sediments of Quaternary age and limestones of Tertiary age.[7] The limestones are mostly in the south part of the municipality, in Espinosa, Maguayo and Rio Lajas barrios. These limestones exhibit mature karst topography of great beauty. It has been subjected to extensive quarrying, which have left unsightly scars in the landscape. Some local communities have gathered efforts to minimize quarrying and improve land management to protect the remaining karst topography and the fauna and flora that lives in it.


Some of the rivers of Dorado are:


Subdivisions of Dorado.

Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Dorado is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a barrio referred to as "el pueblo".[10][11][12]

  1. Dorado barrio-pueblo
  2. Espinosa
  3. Higuillar
  4. Maguayo
  5. Mameyal
  6. Río Lajas


Barrios (which are like minor civil divisions)[13] in turn are further subdivided into smaller local populated place areas/units called sectores (which means sectors in English). The types of sectores may vary, from normally sector to urbanización to reparto to barriada to residencial, among others.[14]

Special Communities[edit]

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 Dorado: El Caño, Kuilan Barrio Espinosa, La Hormiga, Sector Calondrias, Sector El Cotto, Villa 2000, Villa Iriarte, and Villa Plata.[15]


Dorado's climate is very hot in the summer months and warm in the winter. Temperatures range around 60 °F (16 °C) to 80 °F (27 °C) in the winter and 75 °F (24 °C) to 95 °F (35 °C) in the summer.

Climate data for Dorado, Puerto Rico
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 90
Average high °F (°C) 78
Average low °F (°C) 63
Record low °F (°C) 50
Average precipitation inches (mm) 3.55
Source: The Weather Channel[16]



A rocky beach in Dorado

In the early 20th century the Rockefeller family purchased plots of land in the northwest region of the municipality of Dorado where they built a huge private vacation compound. Laurance Rockefeller would later use this land to create Dorado Beach Hotel and Golf Club, which later became the Dorado Beach Hyatt Hotel which closed in 2007. Dorado Beach Hotel became a Ritz Carlton hotel in 2012, which got the top spot in the 2019 Conde Naste Readers' Choice.[17]

Dorado has long been known as a golf haven. Its tourist industry includes the Dorado Beach Resort (Ritz-Carlton Reserve & Plantation), the Hyatt Hacienda del Mar, and Embassy Suites in the Dorado Del Mar neighborhood. As of 2014 there are three operating golf courses in the municipality, the Dorado Beach East Course, the Plantation Sugarcane Course and the Plantation Pineapple Course. The Dorado del Mar course closed in 2014.

Landmarks and places of interest[edit]

Beach chairs on a beach in Dorado

Dorado has 24 beaches, including Balneario Manuel Nolo Morales.[18]

Some of the places to visit in Dorado are located downtown. For example, the Museum Casa del Rey is the house built in most towns controlled by Spain during their colonization, which was intended for the King and Queen to stay if they visited. The museum includes several artifacts from the era. There's also the Distinguished Doradeños Square, and the Juan Boria Theater. The last one was recently reopened after a long period of restoration.

Some of the most visited beaches in Dorado are Sardinera, Kikita and El Unico are other beaches frequented by surfers. The Ojo del Buey Park is a park located at the base level of the La Plata River. The name comes from a rock formation that has the shape of an ox.

Dorado also has a church called the Sanctuary of Christ of the Reconciliation, that has the third largest statue of Jesus Christ in the Caribbean, inside its temple.

Festivals and events[edit]

Dorado celebrates its patron saint festival in June. The Fiestas Patronales de San Antonio de Padua is a religious and cultural celebration that generally features parades, games, artisans, amusement rides, regional food, and live entertainment.[7][19]

Sign for Carnaval del Plata in Dorado

Other festivals and events celebrated in Dorado include:

  • Three Kings’ Day Festival – January
  • Del Plata Carnival – February
  • Minin Kuilan Gold Cup – April
  • Cocolía Crab Festival– August
  • Town and Country Festival – September
  • Discovery of Puerto Rico / Puerto Rican Culture Festival – November
  • Christmas Festival – December


Dorado has its own Double A baseball team called Los Guardianes (The Guardians) and it's still one of the main places in the island to play golf or tennis.


Shrimp boats acquired by the Dorado Fishing Cooperative in Puerto Rico in 1965


In 2007, there were ten farms in Dorado, producing plantains, coffee, vegetables or melons, bananas, root crops or tubers, grains, grasses and other crops, poultry and eggs, cattle and calves, milk products, hogs and pigs, aquaculture, other livestock, and other livestock products. The top livestock produced in Dorado are cattle and calves, horses, hogs and pigs. The top crop items were lawn grass (sod), coffee, pigeon peas, cassava, and other vegetables.[20]


Commerce Tourism and pharmaceuticals.


Dorado is the site of several industries dedicated to the manufacturing of clothing and medical equipment, among others. Companies like Boston Scientific, Pfizer and Heraeus are among some of the ones located in the city.

Housing developments[edit]

In recent years, Dorado has been known for its development of upscale neighborhoods. Several known politicians and artists (e.g. Ricky Martin, Carlos Romero Barceló) live or own properties in the city.


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[21]
1899 (shown as 1900)[22] 1910-1930[23]
1930-1950[24] 1960-2000[25] 2010[26] 2020[27]

Dorado's population has steadily increased during the past century. According to the 2000 census, the population consist of 34,017 with a population density of 1,479.0 people per square mile (568.8/km2) more than doubling the town's population of 17,388 in 1970. The 2020 census indicated the first decline (6%) since the U.S. census has been carried out on the island. According to the 2020 census the town has a population of 35,879.

As a whole, Puerto Rico is populated mainly by people from a Criollo (born on the island of Spanish descent) or European descent, with small groups of African and Asian descent. Statistics taken from the 2000 census shows that 74.1% of Doradeños identify with Spanish or White origin, 12.2% identify as black, and 0.5% as Amerindian.

Race – Dorado, Puerto Rico – 2000 Census[28]
Race Population % of Total
White including Hispanic 25,219 74.1%
African American 4,147 12.2%
American Indian and Alaska Native 157 0.5%
Asian 60 0.2%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 7 0.0%
Some other race 3,214 9.4%
Two or more races 1,213 3.6%


All municipalities in Puerto Rico are administered by a mayor, elected every four years. The current mayor of Dorado is Carlos López Rivera, of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD). He was elected at the 1988 general elections.

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district III, which is represented by two Senators. In 2012, José "Joito" Pérez and Angel Martínez were elected as District Senators.[29]


The municipio has an official flag and coat of arms.[30]


The official flag of the Municipality of Dorado is made up of three stripes of equal width and the symbols from the coat of arms are within the brown stripe, in a sideways position. A first stripe of gold is followed by a stripe of brown which is followed by a final stripe of gold. The gold or golden stripes symbolize the town's name, Dorado; and the brown stripe represents the patron Saint of Dorado, Saint Anthony of Padua. A brown, equal-sided triangle is placed with its base at the hoist and leads to the second stripe, inside of which are the disks in the shape of a T and with the lily flowers represented with the Fleur-de-lis.[31]

Coat of arms[edit]

The Dorado coat of arms was officially adopted on March 27, 1978. Its colors are gold, silver and brown. The three towers at the top are enameled in gold with brown background for windows. The triple tower represents that Dorado is a town, and a municipality.

Below the mural crown, are five disks which form a letter "T", called Tau. This represents Saint Anthony of Padua, who is associated with the lily flower. Saint Anthony of Padua is depicted with a lily, heraldically with the Fleur-de-lis. They have a brown background and the lily flowers are silver because they represent the majestic Río La Plata ("plata" is Spanish for silver), which borders the town of Dorado to the east.

The golden background with the brown disks are like speaking souls (Spanish: almasparlantes). The shield directly represents the name of the town "Dorado" which means "gold" in Spanish and the brown relates to the Patron Saint Anthony of Padua, whose habit is brown.[31]


Dorado has several public and private schools distributed through several regions. Including TASIS, Dorado Academy, New Testament Christian Academy of Dorado, and Public education is handled by the Puerto Rico Department of Education.

José S. Alegría is the public High School, located in the town center. Ricardo Arroyo Laracuente is the Middle School 7th through 9th Grade. In the town next to the town square is the elementary School named Jacinto López Martínez.

Schools and academies[edit]

  • Dorado Academy
  • TASIS Dorado
  • José S. Alegría High School
  • Pedro López Canino Elementary and Middle School
  • Luis Muñoz Marín Elementary School
  • Ricardo Arroyo Middle School
  • Marcelino Canino Canino – Middle School
  • Jacinto López Martínez – Elementary school and first school building to be founded in Dorado. It is over a hundred years old and still in use and one of the biggest schools.
  • Luisa Valderrama Martínez – Elementary school
  • The Jane Stern Dorado Community Library, founded in 1974, is Puerto Rico's first public bilingual library. Recipient of a 2008 National Medal for Museum and Library Service.

Health care[edit]

Dorado's main health facility is a Center for Diagnostic and Treatment located at Road 698. The facility is able to handle emergency cases, but severe cases are transferred to bigger hospitals in nearby towns such as Bayamón or Manatí.[32]


Puerto Rico Highway 22 provides access to Dorado from the far away city of Mayagüez, or from San Juan. Road 165 also provides access from Cataño and Bayamón bordering the shore to the Atlantic Ocean. It takes approximately 30 minutes to reach the town from San Juan.

Like most other towns in the island, it has a public transportation system consisting of public cars. Taxis are also available around the town. There's also a public trolley system around town and a shuttle service for handicapped people.

There are 19 bridges in Dorado.[33]

Dorado Airport was a commercial airport that served the city with flights to San Juan and to the United States, but it has since been closed.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bureau, US Census. "PUERTO RICO: 2020 Census". The United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  2. ^ 2000 Census of Population and Housing: Puerto Rico. Profiles of General Demographics Characteristics, 2000. May 2001. U.S. Department of Commerce. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived 2008-02-16 at the Wayback Machine Ponce Census Statistics: U.S 2000 census. Retrieved November 23, 2009.
  3. ^ "Dorado - Municipio de Puerto Rico". Portal PRFrogui. Archived from the original on March 3, 2016. Retrieved June 29, 2016.
  4. ^ Joseph Prentiss Sanger; Henry Gannett; Walter Francis Willcox (1900). Informe sobre el censo de Puerto Rico, 1899, United States. War Dept. Porto Rico Census Office (in Spanish). Imprenta del gobierno. p. 161.
  5. ^ Japan, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA): Summit Meetings in the Past; Archived 2009-04-30 at WebCite Shabecoff, Philip. "Go-Slow Policies Urged by Leaders in Economic Talks," Archived 2018-07-22 at the Wayback Machine New York Times. June 29, 1976; excerpt, "SAN JUAN, P.R., June 28 President Ford and six other leaders of industrial democracies announced here today that they had agreed to pursue the objective of sustained economic growth.... The leaders met at the palm fringed Dorado Beach Resort near here."
  6. ^ "USACE: $3.348 billion go toward reducing flood risk in Florida, Puerto Rico and USVI". Caribbean Business. 6 July 2018. Archived from the original on 1 June 2019. Retrieved 1 June 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Dorado Municipality". Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH). Archived from the original on 2019-06-10. Retrieved 2019-03-20.
  8. ^ "GNIS Detail - Laguna Mata Redonda". U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Retrieved 2021-07-04.
  9. ^ "GNIS Detail - Punta Fraile". U.S. Board on Geographic Names. Retrieved 2021-07-04.
  10. ^ 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 2018-12-26. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ "Map of Dorado at the Wayback Machine" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-03-24. Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  13. ^ "US Census Barrio-Pueblo definition". US Census. Archived from the original on 13 May 2017. Retrieved 5 January 2019.
  14. ^ "PRECINTO ELECTORAL DORADO 015" (PDF). Comisión Estatal de Elecciones. PR Government. 27 September 2019. Retrieved 19 June 2019.
  15. ^ Rivera Quintero, Marcia (2014), El vuelo de la esperanza:Proyecto de las Comunidades Especiales Puerto Rico, 1997-2004 (Primera edición ed.), San Juan, Puerto Rico Fundación Sila M. Calderón, p. 273, ISBN 978-0-9820806-1-0
  16. ^ "Ocala, Florida Weather". The Weather Channel. Archived from the original on 2011-09-27. Retrieved 2011-08-12.
  17. ^ Revel, Deanne. "The Best Resorts in the Caribbean: 2019 Readers' Choice Abarrios". Condé Nast Traveler. Retrieved 2020-07-24.
  18. ^ "Las 1,200 playas de Puerto Rico [The 1200 beaches of Puerto Rico]". Primera Hora (in Spanish). April 14, 2017. Archived from the original on December 12, 2019. Retrieved December 12, 2019.
  19. ^ "Puerto Rico Festivales, Eventos y Actividades en Puerto Rico". Puerto Rico Hoteles y Paradores (in Spanish). Retrieved 2020-07-17.
  20. ^ "2007 Census of Agriculture" (PDF). USDA. Retrieved 19 June 2020.
  21. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  22. ^ "Report of the Census of Porto Rico 1899". War Department, Office Director Census of Porto Rico. Archived from the original on July 16, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  23. ^ "Table 3-Population of Municipalities: 1930, 1920, and 1910" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 17, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  24. ^ "Table 4-Area and Population of Municipalities, Urban and Rural: 1930 to 1950" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 30, 2015. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  25. ^ "Table 2 Population and Housing Units: 1960 to 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on July 24, 2017. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  26. ^ Puerto Rico:2010:population and housing unit counts.pdf (PDF). U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Economics and Statistics Administration, U.S. Census Bureau. 2010. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2017-02-20. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  27. ^ Bureau, US Census. "PUERTO RICO: 2020 Census". The United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2021-08-25.
  28. ^ "Ethnicity 2000 census" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 2008-02-16. Retrieved 2009-04-03.
  29. ^ "Senadores por Distrito, Resultados Distrito Senatorial Arecibo III". State Elections Commission of Puerto Rico. 2012-11-09. Archived from the original on 2012-11-30. Retrieved 2012-11-11.
  30. ^ "Ley Núm. 70 de 2006 -Ley para disponer la oficialidad de la bandera y el escudo de los setenta y ocho (78) municipios". LexJuris de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 2021-06-15.
  31. ^ a b "DORADO". LexJuris (Leyes y Jurisprudencia) de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). 23 February 2007. Retrieved 16 September 2020.
  32. ^ "Emergency Medical Center". 2010. Archived from the original on February 23, 2016. Retrieved June 21, 2016.
  33. ^ "Dorado Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Archived from the original on 20 February 2019. Retrieved 19 February 2019.

External links[edit]