Moca, Puerto Rico

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Municipio Autónomo de Moca
Mountains and homes in Moca
Mountains and homes in Moca
Flag of Moca
Coat of arms of Moca
"Rebeldes", "Los Vampiros", "La Ciudad del Mundillo"
Anthem: "Doce barrios, doce estrellas"
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Moca Municipality
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Moca Municipality
Coordinates: 18°23′41″N 67°06′48″W / 18.39472°N 67.11333°W / 18.39472; -67.11333Coordinates: 18°23′41″N 67°06′48″W / 18.39472°N 67.11333°W / 18.39472; -67.11333
Commonwealth Puerto Rico
FoundedJune 22, 1772
 • MayorAngel “Beto” Pérez Rodríguez (PNP)
 • Senatorial dist.4 - Mayagüez
 • Representative dist.17,18
 • Total133.0 km2 (51.4 sq mi)
 • Land133 km2 (51 sq mi)
 • Water0 km2 (0 sq mi)
 • Total37,012
 • Rank28th in Puerto Rico
 • Density280/km2 (720/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
ZIP Code
Area code787/939
Major routesPR primary 2.svg PR secondary 111.svg Ellipse sign 110.svg Ellipse sign 112.svg Ellipse sign 125.svg

Moca (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmoka]) is a town and municipality of Puerto Rico, located in the north-western region of the island, north of Añasco; southeast of Aguadilla; east of Aguada; and west of Isabela and San Sebastián. Moca is spread over 12 barrios and Moca Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center). It is part of the Aguadilla-Isabela-San Sebastián Metropolitan Statistical Area.

The name comes from the Moca tree (Andira inermis) which are very common in this region.

The Moca tree was officially adopted as the representative tree of the town on February 19, 1972. Moca is famous for its Mundillo lace. Mundillo is a Puerto Rican-style of handmade bobbin lace. Mundillo almost synonymous with the small town of Moca.


The Labadie Mansion inspired Enrique Laguerre to write La Llamarada. The property was restored as a museum and renamed the Palacete Los Moreau, in honor of Laguerre's fictional characters.

Moca, known as La Capital del Mundillo (The Mundillo Capital), is famous for its lace or Mundillo. It was founded by Don José de Quiñones on June 22, 1772. Diverse versions exist on the date of its foundation. Manuel de Ubeda and Delgado, in his "Isla de Puerto Rico. "Estudio histórico, geográfico y estadístico", published in San Juan in 1878, says Moca was founded in 1774. On the other hand, Cayetano Coll y Toste, in the "Boletín histórico de Puerto Rico", maintains it was founded on June 22, 1772.

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 an unincorporated territory of the United States.In 1899, the United States Department of War conducted a census of Puerto Rico finding that the population of Moca was 12,410.[2]

On May 16, 2010, Moca was the epicenter of a strong 5.8 earthquake. The earthquake was felt in the entire island and also in the Dominican Republic and the Virgin Islands. Damage was reported in various towns.

On September 20, 2017 Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico. In Moca, landslides and the flooding of the Río Culebrinas caused major destruction to bridges, roads and homes.[3][4][5] About 1300 homes were impacted by landslides and flooding, bridges collapsed, and residents were left without access to electrical power, telecommunication services and basic necessities. Close to a month and a half later, 25% of the 31,117 residents of Moca had electrical power and access to drinking water and 75% did not.[6]


A street in Moca barrio-pueblo, August 2006

Moca is located on the northwest part of the island on the northern karst region of Puerto Rico.[7]

Climate: Tropical with hardly noticeable seasonal changes, temperatures in Moca range from highs of between76 and 98 °F (24 and 37 °C) and lows between 50 and 75 °F (10 and 24 °C).

Hydrography: The Río Culebrinas crosses its territory from east to west, and its tributaries include the gorges of Los Gatos, Lassalle, de las Damas, Vieja, Los Romanes, the Morones, Higuillo, Chiquita, Yagruma, Echeverria, Aguas Frias, Las Marias, de los Méndez, La Caraíma, Grande, y Dulce. Cerro Moca, Monte El Ojo, Monte Mariquita of the Jaicoa Mountain Range.[8]


Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Moca is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a barrio called Moca barrio-pueblo.[9][10][11][12]


Barrios (which are roughly comparable to minor civil divisions)[13] and subbarrios,[14] 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.[15][16][17]

Special Communities[edit]

Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico (Special Communities of Puerto Rico) are marginalized communities whose citizens are experiencing social exclusion. A map shows these communities occur in nearly every municipality of Puerto Rico. Of the 742 places that were on the list in 2014, the following barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods were in Moca: Aceituna, Sector Isleta in Cruz barrio, Parcelas Acevedo and Parcelas Mamey in Moca barrio-pueblo, and Loperena.[18]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[19]
1899 (shown as 1900)[20] 1910-1930[21]
1930-1950[22] 1960-2000[23] 2010[11] 2020[1]

In 2020, the U.S. Census indicated that Moca had a total population of 37,012 inhabitants, a 7.7% decline from 2010.[25]


  • Agriculture: Fruits, dairy farming, cattle and bovine ranching.
  • Business:
  • Industrial: Alarms, clothing, electronic machinery, footwear, plastic products.
  • Services: Lawyers, engineers, appraisers


Museo Hacienda La Enriqueta in Moca

Landmarks and places of interest[edit]


Lace baby clothing from the clothing collection in the Museo de las Américas in Old San Juan

Festivals and events[edit]

Moca celebrates its patron saint festival in late August or early September. The Fiestas Patronales Nuestra Señora de la Monserrate is a religious and cultural celebration that generally features parades, games, artisans, amusement rides, regional food, and live entertainment.[7][26]


Moca has a Double-A (baseball) team called the Moca Vampiros that play in the Superior Baseball League.

Moca also had a volleyball team named Los Rebeldes, which played in LVS (Liga de Voleibol Superior) from 1998 to 2005. The team went to the post season every year, and obtained a controversial second place in its 1998 final with Los Changos of Naranjito. In addition, Los Rebeldes were National Champions against Los Changos in the 2000 final. Los Rebeldes swept the Los Changos 4–0 in the finals.

Vampire myth[edit]

Moca is famous for El vampiro de Moca (Spanish for "Moca vampire"), considered a predecessor to the Chupacabra urban legend. Although there have been reports of vampire-like attacks on farm animals from as early as the 1930s, El vampiro de Moca legend officially began on February 25, 1975, when newspapers reported that fifteen cows, three goats, two geese and a pig were found with puncture marks on their blood-drained bodies in Rocha, Moca. These events were also connected to UFO sightings and other supernatural reports by residents of Moca. Similar events were reported throughout 1975 in the towns of Corozal, Fajardo and even rural parts of San Juan.[27][28] The legend resurfaced in the 1990s after similar reports came from Canóvanas.[29]


Like all municipalities in Puerto Rico, Moca is administered by a mayor. The current mayor is José Avilés Santiago, from the New Progressive Party (PNP). Avilés was elected at the 2000 general election.

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district IV, which is represented by two Senators. In 2012, María Teresa González and Gilberto Rodríguez were elected as District Senators.[30]


PR-462 bordering Moca and Aguadilla

There are 12 bridges in Moca.[31] Moca, like the rest of Puerto Rico, had a public share taxi system or Carros Públicos, with set routes.[32][33]


The municipio has an official flag and coat of arms.[34]


Erick De Jesus designed Moca's flag. The rectangular flag consists of a magenta equilateral triangular field, the color of the Moca tree flower. In this field appear five-point stars, silver-plated, surrounding a greater gold star, also with five points.[35]

Coat of arms[edit]

It has oblong form. Divided in a silver-plated field and blue sky united by a purple rhombus (diamond shape), the color of the Moca flower. The rhombus has religious symbolisms. The rhombus is surrounded, in its inferior part, by two branches of the Moca tree; in its superior part, an arc of eleven silver-plated five-point stars. Within the rhombus is a gold monogram (of the Virgin Mary) topped by a Christian crown of the same metal. A silver-lined crown in form of a three-tower castle crowns the shield. On the frontal portion of the crown, carved in gold, the word Moca. The stones of the castle are lined in blue. The doors and windows are purple.[35]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Puerto Rico: 2020 Census". The United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 25, 2021.
  2. ^ 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. 160.
  3. ^ "María, un nombre que no vamos a olvidar. Las inundaciones y deslizamientos causaron el estrago mayor en Moca" [Maria, a name we won't forget. Floods and landslides caused the greatest damage in Moca]. El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). June 13, 2019. Retrieved September 12, 2022.
  4. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico". USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS. Archived from the original on March 3, 2019. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  5. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico" (PDF). USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS. Archived (PDF) from the original on March 3, 2019. Retrieved March 3, 2019.
  6. ^ "María, un nombre que no vamos a olvidar. [Maria, a name we'll never forget.]". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). Archived from the original on August 22, 2020. Retrieved March 10, 2020.
  7. ^ a b "Moca Municipality". Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH). Archived from the original on April 4, 2019. Retrieved March 20, 2019.
  8. ^ "Download GNIS Data". Retrieved September 7, 2021.
  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 26, 2018.
  12. ^ "Map of Moca" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on June 8, 2011. Retrieved December 19, 2007.
  13. ^ "US Census Barrio-Pueblo definition". US Census. Archived from the original on May 13, 2017. Retrieved January 5, 2019.
  14. ^ "P.L. 94-171 VTD/SLD Reference Map (2010 Census): Moca Municipio, PR" (PDF). U.S. Department of Commerce – Economics and Statistics Administration U.S. Census Bureau. Archived (PDF) from the original on August 22, 2020. Retrieved August 22, 2020.
  15. ^ "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.
  16. ^ 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
  17. ^ "Leyes del 2001". Lex Juris Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Archived from the original on September 14, 2018. Retrieved June 24, 2020.
  18. ^ 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
  19. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ "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.
  22. ^ "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.
  23. ^ "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.
  24. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on December 27, 1996. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  25. ^ "Census of Population and Housing, 2000 [United States]: Summary File 4, Puerto Rico". ICPSR Data Holdings. April 28, 2004. Retrieved September 2, 2021.
  26. ^ "Puerto Rico Festivales, Eventos y Actividades en Puerto Rico". Puerto Rico Hoteles y Paradores (in Spanish). Archived from the original on February 26, 2020. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  27. ^ "1975, February~July: The Vampire of Moca". Anomalies: the Strange & Unexplained. April 4, 2014. Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  28. ^ "La Historia del Vampiro de Moca (1975)". Issuu. Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  29. ^ "Puerto Rican Spooky Legends- Popular Urban Legends ⋆ Local Guest". Local Guest. October 25, 2019. Retrieved October 14, 2021.
  30. ^ Elecciones Generales 2012: Escrutinio General Archived 2013-01-15 at the Wayback Machine on CEEPUR
  31. ^ "Moca Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Archived from the original on February 20, 2019. Retrieved February 19, 2019.
  32. ^ On becoming Nuyoricans Angela Anselmo, Alma Rubal-Lopez. Peter Lang, 2005. 172 pp. 0820455202, 9780820455204.
  33. ^ Heine, Jorge (March 31, 1985). "Puerto Rico's Quiet Edge". The New York Times. Retrieved January 9, 2021.
  34. ^ "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.
  35. ^ a b "MOCA". LexJuris (Leyes y Jurisprudencia) de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). February 19, 2020. Archived from the original on February 19, 2020. Retrieved September 17, 2020.

External links[edit]