Loíza, Puerto Rico

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Municipio de Loíza
Río Grande in Loíza
Río Grande in Loíza
Flag of Loíza, Puerto Rico
Coat of arms of Loíza
"El Pueblo de la Cacica"
Anthem: "Loiceños en Acción"
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Loíza Municipality
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Loíza Municipality
Coordinates: 18°25′11″N 65°52′23″W / 18.41972°N 65.87306°W / 18.41972; -65.87306Coordinates: 18°25′11″N 65°52′23″W / 18.41972°N 65.87306°W / 18.41972; -65.87306
Commonwealth Puerto Rico
 • MayorJulia M. Nazario (PPD)
 • Senatorial dist.8 - Carolina
 • Representative dist.37
 • Total65.71 sq mi (170.19 km2)
 • Land19.44 sq mi (50.36 km2)
 • Water46.27 sq mi (119.83 km2)
 • Total23,693
 • Density360/sq mi (140/km2)
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)787/939
Major routesPR secondary 187.svg PR secondary 188.svg

Loíza (Spanish pronunciation: [loˈisa]) is a town and municipality on the northeastern coast of Puerto Rico, north of Canóvanas; east of Carolina, Puerto Rico; and west of Río Grande, Puerto Rico. Loíza is spread over five barrios and Loíza Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo Metropolitan Statistical Area. It is renowned for its rich Afro-Puerto Rican culture and heritage.


Some say its name comes from a female cacique, named Loaíza or Yuíza, who governed the region formerly called Jaymanío, on the shores of the Río Grande de Loíza. It is said that this cacique might have married a mulatto conquistador called Pedro Mejías, but there is no evidence of this.[2] Other sources point to a Spanish landlord named Iñigo López de Cervantes y Loayza, who owned a lot of the territory, and was renowned among governors and colonists of the time.[3]

It is said that a crown decree from Spain in the 1600s, instructed slaves to be sent to the region of Loíza. Many people believe this might account for the high ratio of Black people in Loíza.

In 1692, Loíza was officially declared an urban area due to its population (100 houses and 1,146 residents), but it was in 1719 that the Spanish government declared it as an official town. It was founded by Gaspar de Arredondo. After being demoted, it was again established as a municipality on August 16, 1970.[citation needed]

In the 1970s, an Aero Virgin Islands DC-3 plane crashed in a Loíza beach, with no fatalities.

Hurricane Maria[edit]

On September 20, 2017 Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico and bought destruction to Loíza.[4][5][6]

Loíza suffered a catastrophic hit from Hurricane Maria like the rest of Puerto Rico.[7] In 2018, it was featured in an episode of Bar Rescue called Operation: Puerto Rico where bar consultant Jon Taffer visited Loíza to rescue an area bar and turned it into a community rescue, repairing a local community center, playground, baseball field and basketball court as well as the bar.



Loíza belongs to the geographical region called the Coastal Plains of the North. Its terrain is uniformly plain, since it doesn't exceed 100 meters above water level.[8]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 65.71 square miles (170.2 km2); of which 19.44 square miles (50.3 km2) of it is land and 46.27 square miles (119.8 km2) of it is water.


Subdivisions of Loíza.

Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Loíza is divided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a barrio referred to as "el pueblo".[9][10][11][12]

  1. Canóvanas
  2. Loíza barrio-pueblo
  3. Medianía Alta
  4. Medianía Baja
  5. Torrecilla Alta
  6. Torrecilla Baja


Barrios (which are like minor civil divisions)[13] in turn are further subdivided into smaller local populated place areas/units called sectores (sectors in English). The types of sectores may vary, from normally sector to urbanización to reparto to barriada to residencial, among others.[14][15][16]

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 Loíza: La 23 in Honduras barrio, Sector Pompeya (Los Pizarros) in Honduras barrio, Sector Villa del Carmen in Honduras barrio, Calle Melilla, Colobó,[17] El Ceiba, El Jobo, Miñi Miñi[18][19][20] Piñones, Pueblo del Niño, Tocones, Villa Cañona 1, Villa Cañona 2, Villa Colobó, Villa Kennedy, Villa Santos, and Zapatería Pizarro.[21]

In late May 2020, the mayor of Loíza announced that millions of dollars received from FEMA (Federal Emergency Management Agency) had been earmarked for 10 construction projects in Loíza. Of the ten, the largest project is for scheduled improvements to the Miñi Miñi Sector of Medianía Baja barrio.[22]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[23]
1899 (shown as 1900)[24] 1910-1930[25]
1930-1950[26] 1960-2000[27] 2010[11] 2020[28]
Race - Loíza, Puerto Rico - 2020 Census[29][30]
Race Population % of Total
White 1,376 5.8%
Black/Afro-Puerto Rican 7,533 31.8%
American Indian and Alaska Native 106 0.4%
Asian 21 0.1%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 0 0.0%
Some other race 3,689 15.6%
Two or more races 10,968 46.3%

The population of the municipality was 23,693 at the 2020 census.[29] Consisting of 8,508 households, and 6,140 families residing in the municipality. The population density was 1,673.4 inhabitants per square mile (646.1/km2). There were 8,508 housing units at an average density of 562 per square mile (217/km2). There were 8,508 households, out of which 45.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.1% were married couples living together, 29.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 16.3% were non-families. 14.9% of all households were made up of individuals, and 5.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.39 and the average family size was 3.77. In the town the population was spread out, with 39.3% under the age of 19, 7.8% from 20 to 24, 27.4% from 25 to 44, 17.3% from 45 to 64, and 8.2% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 27 years. The median income for a household in the town was $8,962, and the median income for a family was $9,911. Males had a median income of $14,076 versus $12,903 for females. The per capita income for the town was $4,707. 67% of the population and 64.7% of families were below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 62.3% of those under the age of 18 and 59.5% of those 65 and older were living below the poverty line. The municipality has the highest concentration of Afro-Puerto Ricans on the island. About 4,256 residents speak English as a native language (Census 2000).[31]


Landmarks and places of interest[edit]

There are 19 beaches in Loíza.[32]

In May 2020 the Parque Julia de Burgos (Julia de Burgos Park) was inaugurated.[33] Some other attractions of Loíza include:

  • Aviones Beach[34]
  • Ayala Family Artesan Centre
  • Julia de Burgos Walk
  • María de la Cruz Cavern
  • Piñones Lagoon
  • San Patricio Parish
  • Vacía Talega Beach
  • Samuel Lind Estudio de Arte (Samuel Lind Art Studio)[35]


Vejigante Mask and Costume on display at the Musical Instrument Museum of Phoenix

One of Loíza's barrios, Loíza aldea, is famous across Puerto Rico because it has been a talent pool for dancers and artisans. Formerly a center for black Puerto Rican music, it is said to be the traditional birthplace of the musical form known as plena along with Ponce.

Each year there is a celebration in Loíza where people parade around wearing Máscaras de Vejigante, a type of mask made from coconuts and painted in multiple colors.

Loíza is known as "La Capital de la Tradición" (Capital of Traditions) for its bomba music, traditional Taíno and African dishes, folk art, and distinct culture.

Festivals and events[edit]

Loíza celebrates its patron saint festival in March. The Fiestas Patronales de San Patricio is a religious and cultural celebration that generally features parades, games, artisans, amusement rides, regional food, and live entertainment.[8][36][17][37][38]

Other festivals and events celebrated in Loíza include:



Coconuts, fruits, sugar canes, and apples.


  • Fishing


Julia Nazario Fuentes, the mayor of Loiza, is seen walking past a damaged house in Loíza, Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria in September 2017.

Like all municipalities in Puerto Rico, Loíza is administered by a mayor. The current mayor is Julia María Nazario Fuentes, who was elected at the 2016 Puerto Rican general elections.

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district VIII, which is represented by two Senators. In 2016, Nayda Venegas Brown and Eric Correa Rivera were elected as District Senators.[39]


The municipio has an official flag and coat of arms.[40]


Green and gold and red with three undulating stripes - The silhouette of a bell tower in the upper left hand corner (Canton) of the first stripe represents religious tradition and also serves as a symbol of the Church of San Patricio as an historical monument.[41]

Coat of arms[edit]

The mounted figure of Saint James the Apostle, dominant in the shield, proclaims the devotion to the saint that the Loiceños profess, manifested in a special way during the celebration of traditional festivities every July 25. The flames are emblem of the Holy Spirit, bearer of the seven gifts, a title of the old church of Loíza. The undulating stripe represents the Grande de Loíza River, notable in geography, history and literature of Puerto Rico. The crown symbolizes the famous Taína Chief Yuisa, who lived in Loíza territory where she died. The shamrocks represent Saint Patrick of Ireland and patron of the population.[41]


Students at Belen Blanco De Zequeira, Loiza, Puerto Rico

Like all other municipalities, education in Loíza is administered by the Department of Education of Puerto Rico. Loíza has several elementary schools, but only two junior high and two high schools.


Service to Loiza is available from San Juan by AMA route D45. This route provides service to Piñones and Isla Verde and connects to the Tren Urbano at Sagrado Corazon station.

There is no public transportation connecting Loiza to the eastern cities of PR, and there are few if any hotels and guest houses in Loiza itself, but there are resorts in Rio Grande.

There are 5 bridges in Loíza.[42]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Bureau, US Census. "PUERTO RICO: 2020 Census". The United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  2. ^ Loíza Archived 2011-12-01 at the Wayback Machine on ElYunque
  3. ^ Loíza Capital de la Tradición Archived 2012-05-18 at the Wayback Machine on SalonHogar.net
  4. ^ "Medical team races to help most vulnerable in famed Puerto Rican beach town". NBC News. Archived from the original on January 3, 2020. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  5. ^ "In Loiza, the Afro-Boricua Population Won't Let a Hurricane Wipe Out Their Traditions". August 3, 2018. Archived from the original on July 1, 2019. Retrieved January 1, 2020.
  6. ^ Pasley, James. "20 photos show Puerto Rico's slow recovery 2 years after Hurricane Maria". Insider.
  7. ^ "Diggers to rescue survivors". FEMA. Archived from the original on December 28, 2018. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  8. ^ a b "Loíza Municipality". enciclopediapr.org. Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH).
  9. ^ 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 December 26, 2018. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  10. ^ Gwillim Law (May 20, 2015). Administrative Subdivisions of Countries: A Comprehensive World Reference, 1900 through 1998. McFarland. p. 300. ISBN 978-1-4766-0447-3. Retrieved December 25, 2018.
  11. ^ a b 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 February 20, 2017. Retrieved December 28, 2018.
  12. ^ "Map of Loíza at the Wayback Machine" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on March 24, 2018. Retrieved December 29, 2018.
  13. ^ "US Census Barrio-Pueblo definition". factfinder.com. US Census. Archived from the original on May 13, 2017. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  14. ^ "Agencia: Oficina del Coordinador General para el Financiamiento Socioeconómico y la Autogestión (Proposed 2016 Budget)". Puerto Rico Budgets (in Spanish). Archived from the original on June 28, 2019. Retrieved June 28, 2019.
  15. ^ Rivera Quintero, Marcia (2014), El vuelo de la esperanza: Proyecto de las Comunidades Especiales Puerto Rico, 1997-2004 (first ed.), San Juan, Puerto Rico Fundación Sila M. Calderón, ISBN 978-0-9820806-1-0
  16. ^ "Leyes del 2001". Lex Juris Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  17. ^ a b David Ungerleider Kepler (2000). Las fiestas de Santiago Apóstol en Loíza: la cultura afro-puertorriqueña ante los procesos de hibridación y globalización. Isla Negra Editores. pp. 73–. ISBN 978-1-881715-64-1.
  18. ^ "Rescue in Loíza | FEMA.gov". FEMA. Archived from the original on June 26, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  19. ^ "Joven es baleado en Loíza". WAPA TV. Archived from the original on June 26, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  20. ^ "Comunidad Miñi Miñi en Loíza cuenta con renovado parque gracias a Ricky Martin Foundation y firmas deportivas". February 2, 2019. Archived from the original on February 5, 2019. Retrieved June 26, 2019.
  21. ^ 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
  22. ^ Hernández, José Rafael (May 31, 2020). "Lluvia de millones para Loíza con 10 nuevos proyectos de construcción". Periódico Presencia (in Spanish). Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  23. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  24. ^ "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.
  25. ^ "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.
  26. ^ "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.
  27. ^ "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.
  28. ^ Bureau, US Census. "PUERTO RICO: 2020 Census". The United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  29. ^ a b "U.S. Census Bureau QuickFacts: Loíza Municipio, Puerto Rico". www.census.gov. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  30. ^ Searchlight, Redding Record. "Loíza Municipio, Puerto Rico Demographics and Housing 2020 Decennial Census". Redding Record Searchlight. Retrieved September 22, 2021.
  31. ^ "Data Center Results". apps.mla.org/map_data. Retrieved April 11, 2022.
  32. ^ "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.
  33. ^ Hernández, José Rafael (May 15, 2020). "Para 30 de junio inauguración de nuevo atractivo turístico en Loíza". Periódico Presencia (in Spanish). Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  34. ^ "Aviones Beach, Loíza, Puerto Rico". BoricuaOnline.com (in Spanish). July 9, 2019. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  35. ^ "Estudio de Arte Samuel Lind". Discover Puerto Rico. Archived from the original on June 14, 2020. Retrieved June 14, 2020.
  36. ^ J.D. (May 2, 2006). "Loíza". Link To Puerto Rico.com (in Spanish). Retrieved July 18, 2020.
  37. ^ "Guía de wikén: celebran las Fiestas Tradicionales de Loíza". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). July 17, 2019. Archived from the original on July 22, 2019. Retrieved July 22, 2019.
  38. ^ "What's On Our Nightstands: Re/visions of Santiago Apóstol". Repeating Islands (in Spanish). April 10, 2009. Archived from the original on November 8, 2019. Retrieved November 8, 2019.
  39. ^ "Escrutinio General", Comisión Estatal de Elecciones de Puerto Rico, July 8, 2018, archived from the original on December 21, 2016, retrieved July 8, 2018
  40. ^ "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 June 15, 2021.
  41. ^ a b "LOIZA". LexJuris (Leyes y Jurisprudencia) de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). February 19, 2020. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved September 17, 2020.
  42. ^ "Loíza Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Archived from the original on February 21, 2019. Retrieved February 20, 2019.

External links[edit]