Loíza, Puerto Rico
Municipio de Loíza
Río Grande in Loíza
"El Pueblo de la Cacica"
|Anthem: "Loiceños en Acción"|
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Loíza Municipality
|• Mayor||Julia M. Nazario (PPD)|
|• Senatorial dist.||8 - Carolina|
|• Representative dist.||37|
|• Total||65.71 sq mi (170.19 km2)|
|• Land||19.44 sq mi (50.36 km2)|
|• Water||46.27 sq mi (119.83 km2)|
|• Density||460/sq mi (180/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC−4 (AST)|
Loíza (Spanish pronunciation: [loˈisa]) is a city 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.
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. 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.
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.
Loíza suffered a catastrophic hit from Hurricane Maria like the rest of Puerto Rico. In 2018, it was featured in an episode of Bar Rescue called Operation: Puerto Rico where bar consultant and native Puerto Rican 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.
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.
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".
Barrios (which are like minor civil divisions) 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.
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, El Ceiba, El Jobo, Miñi Miñi Piñones, Pueblo del Niño, Tocones, Villa Cañona 1, Villa Cañona 2, Villa Colobó, Villa Kennedy, Villa Santos, and Zapatería Pizarro.
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.
The population of the municipality was 39,565 at the 2006 census. As of the census of 2006, there were 32,537 people, 10,927 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 10,927 housing units at an average density of 562 per square mile (217/km2). There were 10,927 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.
|U.S. Decennial Census|
1899 (shown as 1900) 1910-1930
1930-1950 1960-2000 2010
|Race - Loíza, Puerto Rico - 2010 Census|
|Race||Population||% of Total|
|American Indian and Alaska Native||144||0.5%|
|Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander||2||0.0%|
|Some other race||1,825||6.1%|
|Two or more races||765||2.5%|
Landmarks and places of interest
There are 19 beaches in Loíza.
- Aviones Beach
- 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)
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"- "The Capital of Traditions"- for its "bomba" music, traditional Taíno and African dishes, folk art, and distinct culture.
Festivals and events
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.
Other festivals and events celebrated in Loíza include:
- Mayombe Carnival – February
- Festival of Saint James the Apostle – July
Coconuts, fruits, sugar canes, and apples
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 Saint Patrick as an historical monument.
Coat of arms
The mounted figure of Santiago 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 trebols represent San Patrick, Apostle of Ireland and patron of the population.
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.
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.
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|Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Loiza.|