Guanica

  (GWAH-nee-kah)

Guánica is known as "El Pueblo de las Doce Calles" (the town of the twelve streets). Guánica was founded in 1508. Guánica derives its name from the Taíno Indian term, which means "here is a place with water".

Guánica is the place where most historians concur Christopher Columbus landed during his second voyage to the New World in 1493, and later in 1898 became the site where General Miles and the U.S. troops landed to take Puerto Rico from the Spanish, during the Spanish-American War.

Guánica is located in southern coast, bordering the Caribbean Sea, south of Sabana Grande, east of Lajas, and west of Yauco. Its only river is Loco River, which rises in Yauco and flows into Guánica by the northeast and ends at the Guánica Bay. The annual precipitation is around 29 inches.

This small town is the home of Guánica Dry Forest Reserve, largest remaining tract of tropical dry coastal forest in the world and an International Biosphere Reserve. The dry forest has 700 plant species of which 48 are endangered and 16 exist nowhere else. Its forest along the coast and on low-lying hills host the greatest number of bird species on the island. The Forest was declared an International Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO because of its biological diversity. No camping allowed. The Punta Ballena Reserve is next to the Guánica Forest and is included in the Biosphere Reserve because of its coastal ecosystem. It contains mangrove forest, manatees, nesting sites for Hawksbill turtles, and crested toads.

The Caña Gorda Balneario and a lovely series of cays are located nearby.

Nearby is the Parguera Phosphorescent Bay ("Bahía Fosforescente"), where millions of luminescent dinoflagellates light up when disturbed by movement; a tiny form of marine life, which produce sparks of chemical light when disturbed.

The surrounding areas produces sugar cane and salt.

There are many well-known "guaniqueños", among them: Miguel A. Morciglio, Jaime Cancel, Domingo Bracero Hernandez, Pedro Santana, Domingo Suarez Cruz, Pedro Vargas Rodriguez, Agripina Seda, and Luis A. Nieves Lopez.

Land Area: 96 sq km (36.5 sq mi)
Water Area: 42.35 sq mi
Population: 21,889
Density: 230.6 per sq km (599.6 per sq mi)
Housing Units: 8,849
Housing Density: 238.5
Per Capita Income: $5,204
Source: 2000 Census
Hymn: América es jardín del mundo...
Wards: Arena, Caño, Carenero, Cié naga, Ensenada, Montalva, Pueblo and Susuá Baja.
Driving Distance: 101.3 miles *
Driving Time: 2 hours, 11 minutes *

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* The distance was calculated from San Juan.

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Did You Know?

Puerto Rico has a larger population in the western hemisphere than Jamaica, Costa Rica, Panama, and the same or more population than 30 of the 50 states of the US.