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.

Natural Bridge Guanica (Photo: Paul Olivelli)

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
  • Luis A. Nieves Lopez

Guanica is made up of 8 barrios (wards/districts):

  • Arena
  • Caño
  • Carenero
  • Ciénaga
  • Ensenada
  • Montalva
  • Pueblo
  • Susuá Baja

Things to See and Do In Guánica

Want to know what to see and do in Guánica? Discover few ideas for exploring and enjoying the city.

What to Do and See?

Where to Eat?

Where to Stay?

Festivals and Events

  • Festival del Pescao - April
  • Desfile del 25 de Julio - July
  • Fiestas Patronales de Santiago Apóstol - July
    Every year, Guanica celebrates a patron saint festival. The festivities include dances, food, parades and religious processions.
  • Celebracion Llegada de Juan Ponce de Leon - August


Guanica Flag Guanica Coat of Arms

Anthem: América es jardín del mundo...


There are 11 public schools in Guanica, education is handled by the Puerto Rico Department of Education.


10 Day Forecast

Demographics *

18,356 (July 2013 est.)

Land Area: 37.05 sq mi

Density: 524.3 per sq mi

Median Age: 37.2

Economics *

Per capita income (2013)
Puerto Rico: $11,068

Median household income: $13,031
Puerto Rico: $19,624

Persons below poverty line: 63.20 %

Housing, families and educational attainment *

Number of households
Housing units density: 260.9

Persons per household: 3.20

High school grad or higher: 66.1%

* U.S. Census Bureau 2010 data unless otherwise noted.

Map References

Coordinates: 17.9717° N, 66.9081° W

Zip Code: 00647, 00653

Driving Distance from San Juan: 101.3 miles

Driving Time: 2 hours, 11 minute


Did You Know?

Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States, therefore U.S. citizens do not need a passport and can travel freely in and out of the island without going through immigration or customs.