Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico

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Trujillo Alto

Municipio de Trujillo Alto
City and Municipality
Carraízo, Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico - panoramio (2).jpg
Flag of Trujillo Alto
Ciudad de los Manantiales,
El Pueblo de las Ocho Calles,
La Ciudad En El Campo,
Los Arrecostaos
Anthem: "Duerme Mi Lindo Trujillo"
Location of Trujillo Alto in Puerto Rico
Location of Trujillo Alto in Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18°21′46″N 66°1′3″W / 18.36278°N 66.01750°W / 18.36278; -66.01750Coordinates: 18°21′46″N 66°1′3″W / 18.36278°N 66.01750°W / 18.36278; -66.01750
Country United States
Territory Puerto Rico
FoundedJanuary 8, 1801
 • MayorJosé Luis Cruz Cruz (PPD)
 • Senatorial dist.8 - Carolina
 • Representative dist.40
 • Total55.61 km2 (21.47 sq mi)
 • Land55 km2 (21 sq mi)
 • Water.61 km2 (0.24 sq mi)
Elevation21 m (69 ft)
 • Total74,842
 • Density1,300/km2 (3,500/sq mi)
Time zoneUTC−4 (AST)
Zip code
00976, 00977, 00978
Major routesPR urban primary 181.svg PR urban primary 199.svg Ellipse sign 175.svg Ellipse sign 176.svg

Trujillo Alto (Spanish pronunciation: [tɾuˈxiʝo ˈalto]) is a municipality of Puerto Rico (U.S.) located in the Northern Coastal Plain and in the karst zone, north of Caguas, and Gurabo; southeast of San Juan, and west of Carolina. Trujillo Alto is part of the San Juan Metropolitan Area, which includes the municipalities of Bayamón, Guaynabo, Cataño, and Toa Baja. The city is spread over 6 wards and Trujillo Alto Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is part of the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Trujillo Alto was officially founded in 1801, but gained more importance during the 20th century. Due to its proximity to the capital, San Juan, the city has become a suburb of the metropolitan area, which has sparked its growth during recent years. The population of Trujillo Alto has increased through the last century from 9,576 (1930) to 74,482 (2010). According to the 2010 Census, it is Puerto Rico's tenth-most populated municipality.[2]

In 1953-54, the Carraízo hydroelectric dam was constructed in Trujillo Alto by the Sumner Sollitt Construction Company of Chicago, under contract by the Puerto Rico Water Resources Authority. The dam forms the Loíza Lake, a reservoir which serves as the main source of the water supply for San Juan, Puerto Rico.[3]


The region of what is now Trujillo Alto belonged to the Taíno region of Cayniabón, which stretched from the northeast coast of Puerto Rico into the central region of the island.[4] The region was led by cacique Canobaná. Archeological findings have identified two sites within the municipality of Trujillo Alto with archeological significance: Las Cuevas, which was studied by Irving Rouse, and Quebrada Grande.[5]

After the Spanish colonization, families started settling at both sides of the Río Grande de Loíza. During the 17th Century, the Spanish crown granted Alonso Pizarro Hermona, from Trujillo in Spain, a vast ranch that covered the region. Residents began using his family name to refer to the location. Eventually, the inhabitants went to the Governor and asked for permit to build a chapel, which was a requisite to officially found a town. Despite some opposition, Trujillo Alto was founded on January 8, 1801 under the name of Santa Cruz de Trujillo. Around 1820, the name "Trujillo Alto" was more used to differentiate the town from that of Trujillo Bajo (which later became known as Carolina).[6]

Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico marker on PR-181

In 1826, communication to and from the town improved with the construction of two bridges: one into Río Piedras, and the other into Río Grande. In 1844, Trujillo Alto was composed of only five wards. A few years later, the first school was built. During that time, population decreased notably due to an epidemic of cholera.

In 1902, the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico approved a law for the consolidation of certain municipalities. As a result, Trujillo Alto was incorporated into the town of Carolina. However, in 1905 a new law revoked the previous one, turning Trujillo Alto into an independent municipality again.[7]

The proximity of the city to the capital, San Juan, has sparked significant growth and development in the region. During the 20th century, the population of Trujillo Alto increased dramatically.[8] As of 2010, the city is the tenth-most populous city of Puerto Rico. Mayor José Luis Cruz Cruz, who has been serving since 2009, has labeled the city as "The New Metropolis".[9]


The Carraízo Lake Dam in Trujillo Alto supplies potable water to the San Juan Metropolitan Area.

Trujillo Alto[10] sits on the Northern Coastal Plain region of Puerto Rico. It is bordered by the municipalities of San Juan, Carolina, Gurabo, and Caguas.[7] Trujillo Alto is a small municipality, covering only 21.47 square miles (55.6 km2).

Trujillo Alto's terrain is mostly plain in the north, while the south features small hills. Heights can range from 660-1,600 feet (200–500 meters) above sea level.

Hurricane Maria[edit]

Working to restore power to "the small, mountain village" of Trujillo Alto, Dec. 24, 2017

Hurricane Maria on September 20, 2017 triggered numerous landslides in Trujillo Alto with the significant amount of rainfall.[11][12]

Water features[edit]

Trujillo Alto's hydrographic system consists mainly of the Río Grande de Loíza (river), which crosses the municipality.[13] There are also several creeks in the city: Colorada, Infierno, Limones, Naranjo, Grande, Pastrana, Haya Fría, and Maracuto.[6]

Also, Trujillo Alto is the site of Puerto Rico's main water reservoir: The Carraízo Dam, at the Loíza Lake. Both were built in 1953 by the Puerto Rico Aqueducts and Sewers Authority (PRASA). Although it was originally built to generate hydroelectricity, it is now used solely as a public water-supply source.[14] The Loíza Lake is also used for sports and recreational fishing.


Subdivisions of Trujillo Alto.

Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Trujillo Alto is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a barrio referred to as "el pueblo".[15][16][17]

  1. Carraízo
  2. Cuevas
  3. Dos Bocas
  4. La Gloria
  5. Quebrada Grande
  6. Quebrada Negrito
  7. St. Just
  8. Trujillo Alto barrio-pueblo

Trujillo Alto's townscape is fairly simple. Most of the barrios are spread through the rural section of the city, while the downtown area (Trujillo Alto Pueblo) is small, consisting only of eight primary streets. This gave the city the nickname of the "City of the Eight Streets".[18] Also, there are no high-rise buildings and structures.


There are several places of interest for tourists to visit in Trujillo Alto. The Bicentenary Walkway, located in the entrance to the city at the PR-181, features the remodeled historic steel bridge as well as a gazebo. It was built in 2001 to commemorate the 200 years of the foundation of Trujillo Alto.

Also on the PR-181, is the Luis Muñoz Marín Foundation which was established in 1980. It includes a museum, a historic archive, and a park.[19]

The Carraízo Dam and the Loíza Lake are also frequently visited. Other places of interest are the Convent Carmelitas de San José, the Lourdes Gruta, and the Mountain Spring.


The economy of Trujillo Alto has relied mostly on agriculture, particularly sugarcane, coffee, tobacco, and minor fruits. Cattle ranching is also a source of economy in Trujillo Alto. In recent years, commerce and industry have become integral parts of the economy of the city. Trujillo Alto is the site of several factories of nutritional products, wood, metal, electrical machinery, and others. There are also stone quarries in town for the production of building materials.

As of 2013, Trujillo Alto's unemployment was 10.2%, making it the second municipality with the lowest rate after Guaynabo.[20]

Special communities[edit]

Since 2001, when law 1-2001 was passed,[21] measures have been taken to identify and address the high levels of poverty and lack of resources and opportunities affecting people living in specific places (barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods) of Puerto Rico. In 2004, the following places in Trujillo Alto were on the list of Comunidades especiales de Puerto Rico or marginalized communities:[22]

  • San Nicolás neighborhood
  • Bethania
  • Comunidad Talanco
  • El Hoyo II
  • El Resbalón
  • Parcelas Carraízo
  • Parcelas Ramón T. Colón
  • Sector Arayanes
  • Sector La Prá
  • Sector Las Cruces
  • Sector Los Nuñez
  • Villa Escondida
  • Villa Margarita
  • Villa Platanal

In 2017, Governor Rosello created a new government agency to work with the Special Communities of Puerto Rico Program and Jesús Vélez Vargas, its director stated that the program was evolving.[23][24]


A number of cultural events take place during the year, most prominently:[25]

In 2001, Trujillo Alto commemorated its bicentenary with the opening of a new park in the PR-181, which included a remodeling of the historical steel bridge.

Lourdes grotto


There are a number of churches and chapels from several denominations in Trujillo Alto. The main parish, Parroquia Santa Cruz, was built in 1817. Part of a related structure was damaged by Hurricane San Felipe in 1928.[6][27] The current structure was designed by Luis Perocier and built in 1933.[18]

Trujillo Alto has also been a place of pilgrimage for Catholics after a shrine to Our Lady of Lourdes was blessed in 1925. The site also features a grotto dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes. The Lourdes grotto is visited frequently by religious people and tourists.[28] There's also a convent in Trujillo Alto called the Convento Carmelitas de San José.

Trujillo Alto's patron saint is the Saint Cross. Its festivities are held each May.


Trujillo Alto doesn't have a professional sports team. However, there are several sports facilities in the city for amateur and novice leagues. In 2011, the Rubén Sánchez Montañez Court in Trujillo Alto, hosted the Cangrejeros de Santurce team of the Baloncesto Superior Nacional (BSN), which is the professional basketball league. The facility has a capacity for 2,250 people.[29]

In September, Trujillo Alto celebrates the Arrecosta'o Marathon, which is one of the most important events in the city. The race has been celebrated yearly since 1985. It originally covered a 6.2 mile (10 kilometer) trajectory around town, but in 2007, it was shortened to 3.1 miles (5 kilometers).[30] In 2010, the marathon was recognized as one of the best organized events of the year.[31]

The Loíza Lake is also a frequent spot for sports and recreational fishing.[32] The lake features a wide variety of fishes like: largemouth bass, peacock bass, sea chubs, tilapia, and beardfish.[33][34][35]


The macabeo is the most known typical food of Trujillo Alto. It is a fried dish made with green bananas and meat.[36] The popularity of the dish is such that a festival is celebrated annually on its honor. The Macabeo Festival began in the early 80s, and is held each year in December.[37]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[38]
1899 (shown as 1900)[39] 1910-1930[40]
1930-1950[41] 1960-2000[42] 2010[16]

The population of Trujillo Alto increased steadily during the 20th Century. Since 1920, the population has risen roughly more than 300%. According to the 2010 census, the municipality currently has 74,842 inhabitants. The decade from 2000 to 2010 is the only one that has shown a decrease in population during the last 110 years. Still, Trujillo Alto's current population makes it the tenth municipality in Puerto Rico in terms of population.

According to the 2010 Census, 72% of the population identifies themselves as White, and 14.6% as African-American. Also, 47.5% of the population identified themselves as males, and 52.5% as females. Finally, 25% of the population is under 18 years old. The next biggest percentage of population (20.7%) is between 35 and 49 years old.[43]


Trujillo Alto's City Hall.

Like all municipalities in Puerto Rico, Trujillo Alto is administered by a mayor. The first official mayor of Trujillo Alto was Juan Francisco Carazo, who was one of the residents that vouched for the foundation of the town back in 1801. The current mayor is José Luis Cruz Cruz (from the Popular Democratic Party), who was elected at the 2004 general election.

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district VIII, which is represented by two Senators. In 2012, Pedro A. Rodríguez and Luis Daniel Rivera were elected as District Senators.[44] Representatives Javier Aponte Dalmau (District 38) and Roberto Rivera Ruiz (District 39), both from the PPD, represent different regions of Trujillo Alto in the House of Representatives.


Flag and coat of arms[edit]

The flag of Trujillo Alto features a white background with the town's coat of arms in the center.

The coat of arms features a shield with a blue border, with eight spurts of water representing the many springs, creeks, and rivers that flow in town. Inside the shield, there's a silver field with three green mountains and a blue Latin cross above them.

The flag features a white banner below the shield with the name of the city, and a coronet in the form of a five-tower mural crown alluding to the Spanish crown. The banner and the coronet aren't featured in the flag.


Trujillo Alto is known by various names. It is known as the "City of Springs" for its many rivers and creeks. It is also known as the "Town of the Eight Streets" because the downtown area consists of eight streets. Trujillo Alto is also known as the "City in the Country", for its proximity to the San Juan Metropolitan Area despite being mostly a mountain town.[18] Finally, it is also called the "Laid-back Town".


Historic steel bridge in Trujillo Alto on the PR-181

The main road to Trujillo Alto is the PR-181 that crosses the municipality from north to south. Distance from the capital is roughly 15 minutes.[7] Other highways that lead to Trujillo Alto are the #852 of the Quebrada Grande neighborhood and Dos Bocas, the #175 of the neighborhood Carraízo, the Las Cumbres Avenue and the #851 from La Gloria neighborhood.

In the past, communication with the town was limited because of its location on the other side of the Río Grande de Loíza. The construction of two bridges in 1826 helped facilitate the trip to the town. In 1939, the United States Army built a steel bridge in the entrance to the town on the PR-181, to replace one of the older ones. Although the bridge is no longer used for vehicles, it has become a symbol of the city and still stands today.[5]

The northern part of Trujillo Alto is serviced by the Puerto Rico Metropolitan Bus Authority with various stops along the PR-181 and nearby neighborhoods.[45] Other public transportation in the city is provided by taxis, and independent public cars.

There are 11 bridges in Trujillo Alto.[46]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Geographic coordinates of Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico". Date and Time info. 2017. (with decimal minutes and elevation). Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  2. ^ "Población de Puerto Rico por Municipios, 2000 y 2010". Elections Puerto Rico.
  3. ^ "USGS - Lago Loíza at Damsite - 50059000". PR Water USGS Gov.
  4. ^ "Gobierno Tribal del Pueblo Jatibonicu Taíno de Puerto Rico". webring org. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  5. ^ a b "Historia de Trujillo Alto". Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  6. ^ a b c "Trujillo Alto". PR Frogui. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  7. ^ a b c "Trujillo Alto... Pueblo de los Arrecostaos". Proyecto Salon Hogar.
  8. ^ "Población de Puerto Rico por Municipios: 1930-2000". CEEPUR. Archived from the original on 2013-03-21.
  9. ^ "Encaminada la nueva Metropoli 2020". Primera Hora. August 2, 2012.
  10. ^ "Trujillo Alto Municipality - Municipalities - EnciclopediaPR". Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH).
  11. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico". USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS.
  12. ^ "Preliminary Locations of Landslide Impacts from Hurricane Maria, Puerto Rico" (PDF). USGS Landslide Hazards Program. USGS.
  13. ^ "Resumen hidrográfico de los ríos de Puerto Rico". 2013. Retrieved February 3, 2013.
  14. ^ "Lago Loíza at Damsite". U.S. Geological Survey. January 18, 2008.
  15. ^ Gwillim Law (20 May 2015). Administrative Subdivisions of Countries: A Comprehensive World Reference, 1900 through 1998. McFarland. p. 300. ISBN 978-1-4766-0447-3. Retrieved 25 December 2018.
  16. ^ 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.
  17. ^ "Map of Trujillo Alto at the Wayback Machine" (PDF). Retrieved 2018-12-29.
  18. ^ a b c "Trujillo Alto". Ediciones Digitales.
  19. ^ "Fundación Luis Muñoz Marín, Descripción". FLMM.
  20. ^ Santiago, Yaritza (March 1, 2014). "Un pueblo "dormitorio"".
  21. ^ "Leyes del 2001". Lex Juris Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  22. ^ "Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico" (in Spanish). 8 August 2011. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  23. ^ "Evoluciona el proyecto de Comunidades Especiales". El Nuevo Dia (in Spanish). 24 February 2017. Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  24. ^, Por. "Ya es ley Oficina para el Desarrollo Socioeconómico y Comunitario". El Vocero de Puerto Rico (in Spanish). Retrieved 24 June 2019.
  25. ^ "Trujillo Alto: Events". Encyclopedia Puerto Rico.
  26. ^ "Fiestas Patronales de Puerto Rico". Proyecto Salon Hogar.
  27. ^ "Iglesia de Trujillo Alto". Flickr. August 9, 1933.
  28. ^ Felices Sánchez, Fernando. "La Gruta de Lourdes en Trujillo Alto:ochenta años peregrinando en la Fe y la Caridad".
  29. ^ Piñeiro, Noel (February 11, 2011). "Luce bien Trujillo Alto". El Nuevo Día.
  30. ^ "El Maratón del Arrecostao". Trujillo Alto. November 25, 2009.
  31. ^ "Regresa el 5K El Arrecosta'o a beneficio del Hospital Oncológico". El Nuevo Día.
  32. ^ "Anuncian limpieza del Lago Carraízo". Regional Digital. September 28, 2012.
  33. ^ "Sitios para pescar".
  34. ^ "Embalse Carraizo". 2011.
  35. ^ "Lagos y Embalses de Puerto Rico". Proyecto Salon Hogar.
  36. ^ "Celebran Festival del Macabeo en Trujillo Alto". El Nuevo Día. December 15, 2012.
  37. ^ "Celebran Festival del Macabeo en Trujillo Alto". Primera Hora. December 1, 2011.
  38. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on April 26, 2015. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  39. ^ "Report of the Census of Porto Rico 1899". War Department Office Director Census of Porto Rico. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  40. ^ "Table 3-Population of Municipalities: 1930 1920 and 1910" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  41. ^ "Table 4-Area and Population of Municipalities Urban and Rural: 1930 to 1950" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2014.
  42. ^ "Table 2 Population and Housing Units: 1960 to 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 21, 2017.
  43. ^ "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: Trujillo Alto, Puerto Rico". US Census 2010.
  44. ^ Elecciones Generales 2012: Escrutinio General Archived 2013-01-08 at the Wayback Machine on CEEPUR
  45. ^ "Información General". Departamento de Transportación y Obras Públicas (DTOP).
  46. ^ "Trujillo Alto Bridges". National Bridge Inventory Data. US Dept. of Transportation. Retrieved 19 February 2019.

External links[edit]