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Municipio Autónomo de Arroyo
Town and Municipality
Road going up between colorful houses on either side, mountain in back
Street in Barrio Palmas in Arroyo
Flag of Arroyo
Coat of arms of Arroyo
Coat of arms

"Pueblo Grato"
"Los Bucaneros"
Anthem: "Arroyo"
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Arroyo Municipality
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Arroyo Municipality
Commonwealth  Puerto Rico
Founded December 25, 1855
 • Total 23.0 sq mi (59.6 km2)
 • Land 15 sq mi (39 km2)
 • Water 8.0 sq mi (20.6 km2)
 • Total 15,843
 • Density 688.5/sq mi (265.82/km2)
Demonym(s) Arroyanos
Time zone UTC−4 (AST)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 787/939
Major routes PR primary 3.svg PR primary 53.svg Ellipse sign 178.svg

Arroyo is a town and municipality located along the southern coast of Puerto Rico and bordered by the Caribbean Sea, east of the municipality of Guayama and northwest of the municipality of Patillas. Arroyo is spread over 5 barrios and Arroyo barrio-pueblo (the downtown area and administrative center). It is part of the Guayama Metropolitan Statistical Area.


The town of Arroyo was officially founded on December 25, 1855. However, it is believed that there were previous settlements on the area even previous to the Spanish colonization. It is believed that the name of Arroyo (which means "creek" in English) is derived from a small water stream where travelers stopped to freshen up before continuing on their way.

It has been said that the town came to be formed when a small group of people from the neighbor town of Guayama came to the region looking for a port to export and import merchandise. Still, a local newspaper called La Gaceta de Puerto Rico published in 1868 that Arroyo was founded in 1852. Between 1859 and 1860, City Hall signed agreements to open streets and build a town square and a sewer system for the town.

In 1858, Samuel Morse introduced wired communication to Latin America when he established a telegraph system in Puerto Rico, then a Spanish Colony. Morse's oldest daughter Susan Walker Morse (1821–1885), would often visit her uncle Charles Pickering Walker who owned the Hacienda Concordia in the town of Guayama. During one of her visits she met and later married Edward Lind, a Danish merchant who worked in the Hacienda La Henriqueta in Arroyo. Lind purchased the Hacienda from his sister when she became a widow. Morse, who often spent his winters at the Hacienda with his daughter and son-in-law, set a two-mile telegraph line connecting his son-in-law's Hacienda to their house in Arroyo. The line was inaugurated on March 1, 1859 in a ceremony flanked by the Spanish and American flags. The first lines transmitted by Samuel Morse that day in Puerto Rico were:

"Puerto Rico, beautiful jewel! When you are linked with the other jewels of the Antilles in the necklace of the world's telegraph, yours will not shine less brilliantly in the crown of your Queen!"

Two decades after being founded, Arroyo had a population of 5,575. In 1902, Puerto Rico's Legislative Assembly approved a law to consolidate certain municipalities. According to it, Arroyo would be merged with Guayama starting in July 1 of that year. However, the law was revoked in 1905 returning Arroyo to its municipal status.


Arroyo belongs to the alluvial plains sub-region of Ponce-Patillas known as the Southern Coastal Valley. The area is very dry although its plains are productive thanks to artificial irrigation.

Water features

The Nigua River crosses the municipality from north to south. Its hidrographic system is completed by a series of smaller rivers. There is also a mineral water spring in the Virella Colony.



The municipality of Arroyo is made up of 5 Sectors

  • Arroyo Pueblo
  • Ancones
  • Barrio Las Palmas
  • Pitahaya
  • Yaurel
  • Guásimas


Faro Punta Figuras (Arroyo, Puerto Rico)
Faro Punta de las Figuras, Arroyo

Among the places of interest in Arroyo are the Enrique Huyke Monument, dedicated to the educator and athlete, and the Samuel Morse Monument, dedicated to the American inventor of the telegraph.

Other landmarks are La Cora Hacienda, Las Palmas Beach, Punta Guilarte Beach, Punta de Las Figuras Lighthouse and the Arroyo Sugar Cane Train.


Festivals and events

The people of Arroyo celebrate a wide variety of festivals during the year. For example, a traditional carnaval is held during the month of February. Also, the "Fiesta Negra", which celebrates the African heritage of the island, is held during March. The Fiestas patronales for Our Lady of Mount Carmel is held in July and the "Festival del Pescao" is celebrated in November.


Although Arroyo doesn't have a professional sports team, it has several amateur teams in Class A category.


Arroyo's flag has two horizontal bands of equal size. The upper band is color orange, while the lower one is black. In the middle of the flag lies Arroyo's coat of arms.

The coat of arms is also split in two sections. The upper section features a church in a blue field a church with a rosary to the right and a flower to the left. The lower section features two silver telegraph poles on green hills. At the bottom, waving stripes of blue and silver, with a fish below them. Above the shield, lies a crown of three towers filled in with purple. Below there's a banner with the motto, Arroyo Pueblo Grato.


Mercedita Train 2
Tren del Sur
PR-3 Arroyo
Puerto Rico Highway 3 in Arroyo

During the peak of the sugarcane industry in the island, Arroyo was part of the railroad system of the island, with trains hauling production to other municipalities in the island. A small portion of that train remained in use until recently for tourism purposes, under the name of Tren del Sur.

To reach Arroyo, visitors have to take the Puerto Rico Highway 3. However, there are other rural roads available to reach the municipality.

There are 13 bridges in Arroyo.


Old sugar mill in Arroyo, Puerto Rico
Old sugar mill in Arroyo

During past centuries, Arroyo was known for the production of sugar in the Central Lafayette, a sugar mill.

In recent years, manufacture and pharmaceutical industries have taken control of the economy of Arroyo. Stryker Corporation, a developer of medical implants and other surgical equipment, has a production plant in the town.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 4,867
1910 6,940 42.6%
1920 7,074 1.9%
1930 8,199 15.9%
1940 10,746 31.1%
1950 12,936 20.4%
1960 13,315 2.9%
1970 13,033 −2.1%
1980 17,014 30.5%
1990 18,910 11.1%
2000 19,117 1.1%
2010 19,575 2.4%
2020 15,843 −19.1%
U.S. Decennial Census
1899 (shown as 1900) 1910-1930
1930-1950 1960-2000 2010 2020


Education is handled by the Puerto Rico Department of Education. Arroyo has seven elementary schools, three junior high schools, and one high school.

Notable people

  • Carmen Bozello y Guzmán, one of three known female Puerto Rican nineteenth-century playwrights who wrote a comedy entitled Abnegación y Sacrificio: Comedia en 2 Actos y en Prosa (which premiered on October 15, 1876, in Puerto Rico and was printed by Cayetano Sánchez y Vegas in 1876).
  • Juan Bernardo Huyke, former interim Governor of Puerto Rico.
  • Alberto A. Nido, former United States Air Force officer.
  • José Cruz, baseball player, former player for the Houston Astros.
  • Jake Rodríguez, former IBF light welterweight champion.
  • Génesis Dávila, beauty pageant, former Miss Mundo Puerto Rico and Miss Florida USA.
  • Rafael Román Meléndez, former Secretary of Education of Puerto Rico.
  • Celiangely Morales, sprinter, competed at the 2016 Summer Olympics.
  • Héctor Soto, known as Picky Soto, professional volleyball player, captain and former member of the Puerto Rico men's national volleyball team.
  • Monica Gonzalez Rivera, female boxer
  • Francisco Javier Amy, poet and prose writer who wrote and published a collection of poems entitled Ecos y Notas: (Colección de poesías.)
  • Max E. “Chuma” Sánchez, first athlete from Arroyo to obtain a medal in the Central American and Caribbean games in Panamá in 1938.
  • María Socorro Lacot, Secretary of the Department of Public Education 1979.

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