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Coamo, Puerto Rico facts for kids

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Municipio Autónomo de Coamo
Coamo from Cerro Picó
Coamo from Cerro Picó
Flag of Coamo
Coat of arms of Coamo
Coat of arms
"La Villa de San Blás de Illescas", "Los Maratonistas", "La Villa Añeja", "Ciudad de las Aguas Termales"
Anthem: "Allá muy cerca del pueblo"
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Coamo Municipality
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Coamo Municipality
Commonwealth  Puerto Rico
Founded 1579
 • Total 78.05 sq mi (202.15 km2)
 • Land 78.04 sq mi (202.13 km2)
 • Water 7 sq mi (0,017 km2)
486 ft (148 m)
 • Total 34,668
 • Density 444.174/sq mi (171.496/km2)
Demonym(s) Coameños
Time zone UTC−4 (AST)
ZIP Code
Area code(s) 787/939
Major routes PR secondary 14.svg PR secondary 138.svg PR secondary 143.svg PR secondary 150.svg PR secondary 153.svg PR secondary 155.svg PR secondary 238.svg Ellipse sign 154.svg
Church San Blas de Illescas of Coamo
Downtown plaza area

Coamo is a town and municipality founded in 1579 in the south-central region of Puerto Rico, located north of Santa Isabel; south of Orocovis and Barranquitas; east of Villalba and Juana Díaz; and west of Aibonito and Salinas. Coamo is spread over 10 barrios and Coamo Pueblo – the downtown area and the administrative center of the city. It is both a principal city of the Coamo Micropolitan Statistical Area and the Ponce-Yauco-Coamo Combined Statistical Area.

Coamo is a small town nestled in a valley about 10 miles (16 km) east of Ponce (about 25 minutes by car). It was named San Blas Illescas de Coamo by its first settlers. Saint Blaise (San Blas) was the Catholic saint who remains the town's patron. Illescas is the Spanish town where the town founders originated (nowadays in Toledo province, Castile-La Mancha, Spain).

There are several theories regarding the origin of the word "Coamo". Some think it comes from an indigenous word that means "valley" but it is also plausible that Coamo derives its name from Coamex (or Coamey), who was a celebrated local cacique (or "chieftain" in the Taino language). Archeological digs near the region have produced some of the best examples of the island's pre-Columbian cultural artifacts.

Coamo has a series of natural hot springs, Los Baños de Coamo. The Battle of Coamo was a decisive battle of the Spanish–American War (1898).


Founded on July 15, 1579, Coamo is the third-oldest settlement of the island's post-Columbian period (after San Juan in the north and San Germán in the west). By 1582, there were twenty families living in Coamo, in the same area where the Tainos had had their village of Guayama. Coamo officially became a town in 1616, and was given the title of "Villa" by Spanish Royal Decree in 1778.

Coamo was the administrative center that encompassed most of the southern half of the island during the early colonial period. As the agricultural and sugar industries grew and became the mainstays of the colony's economy, the province would eventually subdivide into several distinct municipalities, and the administrative center of the region would later shift west to the coastal town of Ponce.

Coamo is the home of a series of natural hot springs, Los Baños de Coamo, which have attracted visitors since before the Spaniards landed. These springs were once rumored to have been Juan Ponce de León's legendary "fountain of youth". In the early nineteenth century, a system of pools of varying depths, sizes and temperatures was constructed at the site of these springs to serve as a spa for the colonials. During the North American invasion in the Spanish–American War (1898), this site was the scene of one of the decisive battles of that conflict (the Battle of Coamo). The American troops took possession of the island, and the spa was subsequently abandoned. Though the site lay in ruins for most of the twentieth century, it continued to be a landmark to the Coameños, who would often go to bathe in its healing thermal waters. The pools remain, but the old buildings which once hosted the island's affluent and colonial soldiers are gone, except for the remains of one central wall structure which has been preserved and incorporated into a fountain courtyard on the grounds of a popular tourist hotel and rest stop which has replaced the ancient Spanish ruins.



  • Coamo Arriba
  • Coamo Pueblo
  • Cuyón
  • Hayales                        
  • Los Llanos
  • Palmarejo
  • Pasto
  • Pedro Garcia                  
  • Pulguillas
  • San Idelfonso
  • Santa Catalina


Landmarks and places of interest

Banos de coamo
Los Baños de Coamo
  • Los Baños de Coamo (Coamo Thermal Baths) – near the Santa Isabel border
  • Historic Museum (Pico Pomar Residence)
  • Church San Blas de Illescas of Coamo, construction on the church began in 1661 and is one of the oldest parish on the island.


Festivals and events

Coamo hosts several annual events:

  • Patron Festivities - February
  • San Blas Half-Marathon - February
  • Flower Carnival - May
  • Yuca (cassava) Carnival - August
  • Juey (crab) Carnival - October
  • Bomba & Plena Festival - November


Coamo is famous for being the host of the San Blas Half-Marathon, a yearly world-class professional marathon that attracts the best competitive runners in the world. It was inaugurated in 1963 by Delta Phi Delta Fraternity in honor to the founder of the town. World-class international and local runners compete in a 21.0975-kilometre (13.1094 mi) half-marathon. It is Puerto Rico's biggest race, and the crowds are always large.

The Maratonistas de Coamo (from the BSN) is the only professional team which the town hosts. The team has played in Coamo with mixed success since joining the league in 1985.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1900 15,144
1910 17,129 13.1%
1920 17,749 3.6%
1930 18,125 2.1%
1940 22,772 25.6%
1950 26,485 16.3%
1960 26,082 −1.5%
1970 26,468 1.5%
1980 30,822 16.5%
1990 33,837 9.8%
2000 37,597 11.1%
2010 40,512 7.8%
2020 34,668 −14.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
1899 (shown as 1900) 1910-1930
1930-1950 1960-2000 2010 2020
Race - Coamo, Puerto Rico - 2000 Census
Race Population  % of Total
White 30,264 80.5%
Black/African American 2,165 5.8%
American Indian and Alaska Native 101 0.3%
Asian 25 0.1%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander 6 0.0%
Some other race 3,799 10.1%
Two or more races 1,237 3.3%



The flag of Coamo derives its colors from the coat of arms. Its colors are red, yellow, and black.

Coat of arms

The top left and the lower right have a red background with a gold Episcopal hat each. These parts of the coat of arms represent the old seat of San Blas de Illescas. The horse and the bull represent the cattle wealth of the population. The gold color that serves as background in contrast with the black color, recalls the yellowish reddish tone of the fields of Coamo during the droughts. The heavy border of the coat of arms contains the following figures: two flames; three bell towers with gold bells outlined in red; two red crosses with arms ending in three petals; and a circle with a surface divided by horizontal blue and silver-plated stripes.



Coamo is an agricultural center where mangoes, corn, guanabanas, tamarindo, quenepas, avocados, oranges and plantains are grown, and where poultry and cattle are raised.


Coamo is a trading center for machinery, aircraft radio components, and clothing.


Coamo's first school was built in 1901.


There are 31 bridges in Coamo.

Notable people

Some of its notable people include:

  • Lely Burgos, Olympic athlete,
  • Bobby Capó, singer, composer
  • Margarita Nolasco, senator and Vice-President of the Senate of Puerto Rico
  • Antonio García Padilla, former President of the University of Puerto Rico
  • Jose Garriga Pico, former senator
  • Willie Rosario, musician, composer and bandleader of salsa music
  • Alejandro García Padilla, Governor of Puerto Rico
  • Victor Caratini, Catcher for the Chicago Cubs

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Coamo para niños

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