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Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico facts for kids

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Aerial view of Santurce
Aerial view of Santurce
Location of Santurce shown in yellow
Location of Santurce shown in yellow
Country  Puerto Rico
District Santurce
Borough San Juan
 • Total 8.70 sq mi (22.53 km2)
 • Land 5.24 sq mi (13.57 km2)
 • Water 3.46 sq mi (8.96 km2)
 • Total 94,067
 • Density 17,955.7/sq mi (6,931.2/km2)
  (US Census 2000)

Santurce is one of the districts (or barrios) of San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States. It is also the biggest and most populated of all the districts in the capital. With a total population of 94,067, Santurce has a bigger population than most of the municipalities of Puerto Rico. As a result, it is also one of the most densely populated areas of the island (17,955.7 persons per square mile).


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

The 2000 U.S. Census recorded a total population of 94,067 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 17, 951.7 residents per square mile (6,931.2/km²).


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, "Puente Dos Hermanos" (Ave. Ashford), "Puente G. Esteves" (Ave. Ponce de León) and "Puente San Antonio" (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 (6) 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.



Santurce was originally settled by the native Indians and later by slaves of African ancestry who arrived from the neighboring Danish West Indies. Throughout the centuries, the district continued to grow due to its crossfade location between San Juan and its southern suburbs.

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 "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 neighboring Condado 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).

Treaty of Paris (1898)

The Treaty of Paris provided that Cuba would become independent from Spain but the U.S. Congress made sure it would be under U.S. control through the Platt Amendment. It ceded to the United States Puerto Rico, and other adjacent islands then under Spanish sovereignty in the Caribbean, as well as Guam and the Philippines in Asia-Pacific region.

The United States Army established the now historical 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 segregated U.S. Army Regiment which was later renamed the "65th Infantry Regiment". The base continued in operation until 1946, when it was finally closed and the Residencial Las Casas now stands.

The 20th century

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. Between 1937 and 1948, Santurce along with neighboring district Miramar becomes one of the most vibrant areas of the capital. However, by the 1970s, most of the district had begun to fall into decay, losing the luster and vibrancy it once had. 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.

The 21st century

After the September 11 attacks of 2001, Santurce saw a period of economic decline coupled with the financial crisis of the local banking & mortgage system. In 2009, the district began a period of cosmopolitan revival and economic growth as many local establishments such as bars, clubs, and restaurants opened their doors due to the importance of trade and tourism.


District of Santurce

Santurce has a community of 94,067 of inhabitants living in a land area of 5.24 square miles (13.6 km2). It is subdivided into 40 "sub-barrios" (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" have been the first "geo-political" division of Puerto Rico's municipalities, however presently they primarily serve for 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, which was a former United States Navy military base.

Densidad poblacional por sub-barrio de Santurce
Population density per sub-district of Santurce according to Census 2000.
For reference, see above locator map of "sub-barrios" (sub-districts) of Santurce
Ingreso per capita por sub-barrio de Santurce
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 94067 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)
4) including "Isla Piedra" one km off the Atlantic coast


La Concha
La Concha Resort


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

  • Central High School, Spanish Renaissance style building from 1925: Designed by Adrian Finlayson, Architect (Project I-5)
  • Colegio de Arquitectos, 225 Parque Street: Designed by Carlos del Valle Zeno, Architect (link)
  • Condado Vanderbilt Hotel, Spanish Revival style hotel from 1919
  • Convention Center, Isla Grande Boulevard
  • La Casabella, Spanish influence from 1898
  • La Concha Resort, a renaissance hotel: Designed by Toro Ferrer, Architects (link)
  • Residencia Aboy-Lompré, 1919 house designed by Miguel Ferrer

Public spaces

  • La Ventana al Mar (2004): Designed by Andrés Mignucci
  • Plaza Antonia Quiñones (akas: Plaza Stella-Maris; Placita del Condado; 2000); designed by Andrés Mignucci
  • Campo Alegre/Alto del Cabro (Santurce)|Plaza del Mercado - Farmers' Market for local vendors and a social environment with bars & restaurants.



  • Port of San Juan


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 terminal station is located in the southeast section of the district in the neighborhood of Martín Peña.

Santurce is a few minutes away by car from the country's main airport, Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, and from San Juan's secondary commercial airport, Isla Grande Airport.


Museums and galleries

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

Performing arts

Synagogues and cathedrals

See also: Jewish immigration to Puerto Rico and History of the Jews in Latin America

Santurce is home to one of the largest Jewish communities in Puerto Rico 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.

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. Some of them maintain elements of Jewish traditions, although they themselves are, or were raised as Christians.

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