Dorado, Puerto Rico
Municipio Autónomo de Dorado
Town and Municipality
Main square in 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
|• Mayor||Carlos A. López Rivera (PPD)|
|• Senatorial dist.||3 – Arecibo|
|• Representative dist.||11|
|• Total||60.16 km2 (23.23 sq mi)|
|• Density||630/km2 (1,600/sq mi)|
| • Racial groups|
2% American Indian/AN
0.0% Native Hawaiian/PI
|Time zone||UTC−4 (AST)|
|Major routes|| |
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 (Spanish 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.
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.
The United States acquired Puerto Rico from Spain in the aftermath of the Spanish-American War under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1898. In 1899, the US conducted its first census of Puerto Rico, finding that the population of Dorado was 3,804. 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.
Hurricane Maria (2017)
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
Much of Dorado's geology consists of alluvial and coastal/estuarine sediments of Quaternary age and limestones of Tertiary age. 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:
- Rivers: Río Cocal, Río Lajas, Río de la Plata, and Río Nuevo.
- Mata Redonda lagoon
- Punta Fraile marsh
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".
Barrios (which are like minor civil divisions) 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.
Of the 742 places on the list of Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico (Special Communities of Puerto Rico), 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.
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|
|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|
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 Abarrios.
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
Dorado has 24 beaches, including Balneario Manuel Nolo Morales.
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 Plaza, 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
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.
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
In 2007, there were ten farms in Dorado, are 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.
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.
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.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
1899 (shown as 1900) 1910-1930
1930-1950 1960-2000 2010
Dorado's population has steadily increased during the past century. The current population, according to the 2000 census, is 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.
As a whole, Puerto Rico is populated mainly by people from a Creole (born on the Island of European descent) or Spanish and European descent, with small groups of African and Asian people. Statistics taken from the 2000 census shows that 74.1% of Doradeños have Spanish or White origin, 12.2% are black, 0.5% are Amerindian etc.
|Race – Dorado, Puerto Rico – 2000 Census|
|Race||Population||% of Total|
|White including Hispanic||25,219||74.1%|
|American Indian and Alaska Native||157||0.5%|
|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 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, San Antonio de 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.
Coat of arms
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.
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
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
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