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Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico

Coordinates: 18°26′27″N 66°02′50″W / 18.44083°N 66.04722°W / 18.44083; -66.04722
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Aerial view of Santurce in 2008
Aerial view of Santurce in 2008
Location of Santurce shown in yellow within San Juan shown in light gray
Location of Santurce shown in yellow within San Juan shown in light gray
CommonwealthPuerto Rico
MunicipalitySan Juan
 • Total8.70 sq mi (22.53 km2)
 • Land5.24 sq mi (13.57 km2)
 • Water3.46 sq mi (8.96 km2)
Elevation49 ft (15 m)
 • Total69,469
 • Density13,257.4/sq mi (5,118.7/km2)
 (US Census 2020)
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
ZIP Codes
00907, 00908, 00909, 00911, 00912, 00913, 00914, 00915, 00916, 00936, 00940

Santurce (Spanish pronunciation: [sanˈtuɾse], from the Basque Santurtzi which means Saint George) is a barrio of San Juan. Its population in 2020 was 69,469. It is also the biggest and most populated of all the barrios in the capital city with a bigger population than most municipalities of Puerto Rico and one of the most densely populated areas of the island (13,257.4 persons per square mile).[2]

Historical population
U.S. Decennial Census
1899 (shown as 1900)[3] 1910–1930[4]
1930–1950[5] 1980–2000[6] 2010[7]


A couple walks on a street in Santurce

Geographically speaking, Santurce is a peninsula that is attached to the mainland in the east, where it borders with the Isla Verde district of Carolina. It is 7.6 km long from west to east, and up to 3.0 km wide in the eastern part. The peninsula is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the north, with more than five km of beaches from the Condado peninsula in the west, to a point 600 m east of Punta Las Marías, where it borders on the Isla Verde area, and Laguna San José and its northern embayment, Laguna Los Corozos to the east.

To the south is the Martín Peña Channel, which separates Santurce from the northern barrios of former municipio Río Piedras: Hato Rey Norte, Hato Rey Central, and Oriente. To the west is San Juan Bay, where three bridges, Dos Hermanos Bridge (Ave. Ashford), G. Esteves Bridge (Ave. Ponce de León) and San Antonio Bridge (Ave. Fernandes Juncos) connect Santurce with La Isleta (small island) where Old San Juan is located. It has a total area of 8.70 square miles (22.5 km2) composed of 5.24 square miles (13.6 km2) of land and 3.46 square miles (9.0 km2) of water area.

The topography is mainly flat with low hills toward the central areas and swampy areas to the south along the Martín Peña Channel and to the east near the Laguna San José (San José Lagoon). The highest point is at Monteflores with 23 meters (75 feet).



Santurce is located along the north-eastern coast of Puerto Rico. It lies south of the Atlantic Ocean, east of Old San Juan and west of Isla Verde. The district occupies an area of 5.24 square miles (13.6 km2) of land and 3.46 (8.96 km2) of water. It is surrounded by six bodies of water: San Juan Bay, Condado Natural Lagoon, the Martín Peña Channel, San José Lagoon, Los Corozos Lagoon, and the Atlantic Ocean with its respective beaches and estuaries.[8]





In 1760, San Mateo de Cangrejos ("Saint Matthew" of the Crabs) is founded and later is named Santurce by Basque immigrants.[9] It was originally settled by the native Arawak and later by the enslaved people from Africa who were forcibly brought by way of the Atlantic slave trade from neighboring islands now known as the Danish West Indies. Throughout the centuries, the district continued to grow due to its location between San Juan and its southern suburbs.[10]

Spanish influence


In 1876, an engineer from the port town of Santurtzi in Spain's autonomous Basque Country region known as Pablo Ubarri arrived on the island to help in the construction of a railroad system and a steam tramway between San Juan and the town of Río Piedras through the center of San Mateo de Cangrejos which prompted the gentrification of the district. Many years after his arrival he was granted the title of Count of Santurce (which is the Hispanicized equivalent of Santurtzi) by the Spanish Crown. With his newly acquired title and influence, the district was renamed after his title (a decision that has caused controversy ever since). The tourist district of Condado within Santurce also received its present-name from Ubarri's title, as the district's name literally translates to "county" (which in medieval tradition is land granted by a monarch to a count).[11]

Treaty of Paris (1898)


In 1899, the United States Department of War conducted a census of Puerto Rico, finding that the population of Santurce was 5,840.[12] The survey was conducted in the aftermath of te Treaty of Paris which had Spain cede Puerto Rico to the United States in the aftermath of the Spanish–American War as an unincorporated territory of the United States.[12]

The United States Army established Camp Las Casas, in the area of Las Casas in 1904. The camp was the main training base of the Porto Rico Regiment of Infantry (on January 15, 1899, the military government changed the name of Puerto Rico to Porto Rico and on May 17, 1932, U.S. Congress changed the name back to "Puerto Rico") The Porto Rico Regiment of Infantry was a U.S. Army Regiment which was later renamed the "65th Infantry Regiment". The 65th Infantry Regiment was segregated. However, a separate division called the 375th Regiment enlisted Black soldiers. The base continued in operation until 1946, when it was finally closed and the Residencial Las Casas now stands.[13]

The 20th century

During its early years, the Ambassador Theatre was the place where kids went to see "Abbott and Costello" movies.

In the 20th century the conurbation of the San Juan metropolis expanded rapidly beyond its walled confines of Old San Juan to incorporate the boroughs of suburban Miramar, Santurce, Isla Grande, and Condado, along the coast, as well as industrial Hato Rey, with its large sports stadium and modern financial district, and the college town of Río Piedras, immediately to the southeast.[14] Between 1937 and 1948, Santurce along with neighboring district Miramar became one of the most vibrant areas of the capital.[15] However, by the 1970s, most of the district had fallen into decay, losing the luster and vibrancy it once had. Many residents left Santurce, fleeing to the suburbs.[16] By 1980 the San Juan metropolitan area included the surrounding municipalities to the east and west and had about one-third of Puerto Rico's total population; that proportion has grown to two-thirds of the population.[17]

The 21st century


In the early 21st century Santurce saw a period of economic decline coupled with the financial crisis of the local banking[18] & mortgage system.[19] In 2009, the district began a period of cosmopolitan revival and economic growth[20] as many local establishments such as bars, clubs, and restaurants opened their doors due to the importance of trade and tourism. What helped was the decrease in rent, it attracted artists to the area.[16]

Since then, Santurce began experiencing a new wave of gentrification and is now hailed by many as Puerto Rico's "hipster haven".[21][22] In 2018, twenty-two murals were painted in and around Santurce to illustrate Santurce's culture and history.[23]



Santurce is one of the top ten most-populated areas of Puerto Rico. It includes the neighborhoods of Miramar, Loíza, Isla Grande, Barrio Obrero, and Condado,[24] which are cultural hot spots for art, music, cuisine, fashion, hotels, technology, multimedia, film, textile and startups.

The 2010 U.S. Census recorded a total population of 81,251 people living in an area of 5.24 square miles (13.6 km2). It is the most populous borough (barrio) in Puerto Rico and one of the most densely populated areas of San Juan, at 15,447.0 residents per square mile (6,931.2/km2).[24]

Santurce is home to one of the largest Jewish communities in Puerto Rico and the Caribbean with over 1,500 people attending two local synagogues. Jews were officially prohibited from settling in the island through much of its history, but many managed to settle in the island as secret Jews.[25]

Many arrived from France, the Netherlands, Saint-Barthélemy and Curaçao after World War II. A minor portion are descendants of Jewish Cubans who came to establishment after Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution of 1959. Like in many former Spanish colonies founded soon after the Spanish Inquisition, there are some Puerto Ricans who are Crypto-Jews. Recent DNA ancestry has identified a number of Portuguese descendants who arrived in Puerto Rico after the start of the Portuguese Inquisition in 1536. These are descendants of Converso families. There are some who maintain elements of Jewish traditions, although they themselves are, or were raised as Christians.

Santurce also has a very big Dominican community, along with Cuban, Colombian, Argentine and Chinese communities.

Subdivisions of Santurce


Santurce has a community of 81,251 of inhabitants living in a land area of 5.24 square miles (13.6 km2). It is subdivided into 40 "subbarrios" (sub-districts).

  1. Alto del Cabro
  2. Barrio Obrero
  3. Bayola
  4. Bolívar
  5. Buenos Aires
  6. Campo Alegre
  7. Chícharo
  8. Condadito
  9. Condado
  10. Figueroa
  11. Gandul
  12. Herrera
  13. Hipódromo
  14. Hoare
  15. Isla Grande
  16. La Zona
  17. Las Casas
  18. Las Marías
  19. Las Palmas
  20. Loíza
  21. Machuchal
  22. Marruecos
  23. Martín Peña
  24. María Moczó
  25. Melilla
  26. Merhoff
  27. Minillas
  28. Miramar
  29. Monteflores
  30. Ocean Park
  31. Parque
  32. Pozo del Hato
  33. Pulguero
  34. Sagrado Corazón
  35. San Juan Moderno
  36. San Mateo
  37. Seboruco
  38. Shanghai
  39. Tras Talleres
  40. Villa Palmeras



For centuries "barrios" were the primary administrative division of Puerto Rico's municipalities, however, presently they primarily serve statistical purposes for both the U.S. Census Bureau & the Puerto Rico Planning Board. The most densely populated area lies to the southeast bordering the San José Lagoon and the Martín Peña Channel, while the least densely populated areas are found by the mangrove swamps to the south surrounding the Martín Peña Channel, and the western area of Isla Grande, a decommissioned United States Navy military base.[26][12][27]

Population density per sub-district of Santurce according to Census 2000.
Per capita income by sub-district of Santurce according to Census 2000.
Nr. Sub-barrio Land Area
(Census 2000)
1 Alto del Cabro 156717 1164 7427.4
2 Barrio Obrero 1034200 11467 11087.8
3 Bayola 71645 564 7872.1
4 Bolívar 163417 1223 7483.9
5 Buenos Aires 446986 1303 2915.1
6 Campo Alegre 123061 942 7654.7
7 Chícharo 75355 722 9581.3
8 Condadito 62470 748 11973.7
9 Condado 824791 6170 7480.7
10 Figueroa 350927 1016 2895.2
11 Gandul 167753 2035 12130.9
12 Herrera 123369 1841 14922.7
13 Hipódromo 268195 2017 7520.6
14 Hoare 363490 3 8.3
15 Isla Grande1) 2039968 753 369.1
16 La Zona 379687 1280 3371.2
17 Las Casas2) 803500 6775 8431.9
18 Las Marías 242223 1172 4838.5
19 Las Palmas 316171 2772 8767.4
20 Loíza 323012 2139 6622
21 Machuchal 140008 1212 8656.6
22 María Moczó 106196 1964 18494.1
23 Marruecos 267165 0 0
24 Martín Peña 185692 415 2234.9
25 Melilla 129544 926 7148.2
26 Merhoff 300801 2992 9946.8
27 Minillas 215963 1484 6871.5
28 Miramar 632154 5440 8605.5
29 Monteflores 172397 1657 9611.5
30 Ocean Park4) 520891 1976 3793.5
31 Parque 299804 3251 10843.8
32 Pozo del Hato 176987 137 774.1
33 Pulguero 131613 1196 9087.2
34 Sagrado Corazón 345472 1646 4764.5
35 San Juan Moderno 91500 1083 11836.1
36 San Mateo 168864 1989 11778.7
37 Seboruco 167887 2198 13092.1
38 Shanghai 686961 11331 16494.4
39 Tras Talleres 168076 2453 14594.6
40 Villa Palmeras 163389 2648 16206.7
  Santurce 13568557 81251 6932.7
1) recently named Puerto Rico Convention Center
2) including "Isla Guachinanga" in the "Laguna San José"
3) should be attributed to Merhoff Sub-Barrio (22)[28]
4) including "Isla Piedra" one km off the Atlantic coast


La Concha Resort



Structures of architectural value and historical importance are located mainly throughout Avenida Juan Ponce de León, Avenida Ashford and Avenida Fernández Juncos.

Public spaces

Plaza del Mercado in Santurce







Public transportation is provided by several bus lines (locally known as guaguas) operated by the Puerto Rico Metropolitan Bus Authority and circulate along the main avenues of Ponce de León and Fernández Juncos among others.

In the peripheries of Santurce there is a rapid transit system called Tren Urbano. The Sagrado Corazón station is the terminus of the sole metro system line of San Juan, located in the southeast section of the district in the neighborhood of Martín Peña.

Santurce is a few minutes away by car from the US territory’s main airport, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, and from San Juan's secondary commercial airport, Isla Grande Airport.


Puerto Rico Museum of Contemporary Art

Museums and galleries


Santurce is the main residence of two major museums on the island.

Performing arts



Academia Interamericana Metro

Santurce is home to some of the most prestigious private education institutions in Puerto Rico.

It also includes notable public schools:

Synagogues and cathedrals

Nuestra Señora de Lourdes Chapel



Santurce has the most modern swimming facilities in the Caribbean and fourth in the world. It is an Olympic aquatic sports facility used to host local and international events such as the 2nd A.S.U.A Pan American Masters Swimming Championship. The San Juan Natatorium is located in Santurce's Central Park. [citation needed]

The district also has a baseball and a basketball team both known as the Santurce Crabbers (Cangrejeros de Santurce) because of the original name of the township. They have been part of the community for over 70 years. Both teams have enjoyed great domestic success, the baseball team is regarded[by whom?] as the ‘New York Yankees of Puerto Rico’, largely in part to the accomplishments of its legendary players, such as Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays[citation needed].



Santurce has an extensive healthcare network which includes two of the finest hospitals on the island, Ashford Presbyterian Community Hospital and Pavia Hospital.



Santurce experienced significant economic growth following World War II. During this period the district underwent an economic revitalization. Tourism is also a key industry based on Santurce's proximity to Puerto Rico's main international airport, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, and the smaller Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport. The concentration of hotels are primarily located in the Condado area where there are numerous luxurious hotels including La Concha Resort, Marriott and the Conrad Hotel.

Notable natives and residents


See also



  1. ^ U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Santurce Barrio
  2. ^ "Link to Puerto Rico – San Juan". Proyecto Salón Hogar (in Spanish). Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  3. ^ "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.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ "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.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ 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 August 2, 2019.
  8. ^ Bliss, Peggy Ann. "A walking tour of Santurce". Puerto Rico Daily Sun. Retrieved March 29, 2010.
  9. ^ "Parroquia San Mateo/ Santurce – Arquitectura Histórica de Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). December 5, 2013. Retrieved October 10, 2020.
  10. ^ Bliss, Peggy Ann. "A walking tour of Santurce (Part II)". Puerto Rico Daily Sun. Retrieved April 5, 2010.
  11. ^ Cangrejos – Santurce – Authors; Aníbal Sepúlveda, Jorge Carbonell, Centro de Investigaciones CARIMAR, Oficina Estatal de Preservación Histórica.
  12. ^ a b c 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. 162.
  13. ^ "Historia Militar de Puerto Rico"; by Héctor Andrés Negroni; pg. 370; ISBN 84-7888-138-7
  14. ^ Teleview Productions (Emerson Yorke Studios). "Report on Puerto Rico, U.S.A. (1955)". Prelinger Archives. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  15. ^ A. Sepúlveda. Cangrejos: Historia ilustrada de su desarrollo urbano. (1987) p. 45.
  16. ^ a b Peffer, Randall (October 1, 2002). Lonely Planet. Lonely Planet Publications. p. 142.
  17. ^ Encyclopædia Britannica. "The Contemporary City". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved July 7, 2010.
  18. ^ Kotoky, Anurag (May 4, 2009). "U.S. banking regulators move to clean up the financial mess in Puerto Rico". Reuters. Retrieved May 4, 2010.
  19. ^ Dash, Eric (April 29, 2010). "Puerto Rican Lenders Face Their Own Crisis". New York Times. Retrieved July 13, 2010.
  20. ^ Peggy Ann Bliss. "$400,000 fund makes music for Santurce". Puerto Rico Daily Sun. Retrieved August 11, 2010.
  21. ^ Squires, Kathleen (January 12, 2015). "Neighborhood Guide: Santurce, San Juan's Hipster Haven". Fodors Travel Guide. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  22. ^ Travel (February 26, 2015). "Take a walk on Puerto Rico's hipster side | National Post". Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  23. ^ "Un proyecto urbano muestra a Santurce desde una nueva óptica". El Nuevo Día (in Spanish). February 13, 2018. Retrieved July 17, 2020.
  24. ^ 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.
  25. ^ Society For Crypto Judaic Studies, Harry Ezratty, Profile Archived April 30, 2008, at the Wayback Machine, cryptojews.com; accessed March 18, 2015.
  26. ^ 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.
  27. ^ 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.
  28. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on July 17, 2010. Retrieved March 14, 2010.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  29. ^ "La Plaza del Mercado in Santurce, San Juan: The Complete Guide". TripSavvy. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  30. ^ "6 Puerto Rico TripAdvisor Tips We Love | ViaHero". www.viahero.com. Retrieved December 21, 2018.
  31. ^ "La Placita de Santurce | San Juan & Around, Puerto Rico Nightlife". www.lonelyplanet.com. Retrieved December 21, 2018.

18°26′27″N 66°02′50″W / 18.44083°N 66.04722°W / 18.44083; -66.04722