San Germán

(sahn her-MAHN)

San Germán is known as La Ciudad de las Lomas (city of hills) and La Fundadora de Pueblos (founder of towns). San Germán was the second city founded by the Spanish in Puerto Rico, as the island was divided into two jurisdictions: the northern, with Caparra or Puerto Rico (now San Juan) as its capital, and the southern division, with San Germán as the capital.

The original village was founded in 1511, but it was raided by the French in 1528, 1538, and 1554; the fleeing residents established a new settlement in the nearby hills.

Porta Coeli (Photo: Manuel Santiago)

On May 12, 1570, due the constant attacks and dangers, the Royal Audience of Santo Domingo ordered San Germán and Santa Maria de Guadianilla to be merged into a single city, under the name of Germain de Foix, the second wife of King Ferdinand of Spain. After several attempts the town was officially founded on 1573, on the hills of Santa Marta, next to the Guanajibo River. Its official name was Nueva Villa de Salamanca, named after the city of Salamanca, in Spain. However, the population refused to use this name and called the city San Germán el Nuevo (the New San Germán) instead. Eventually, the city was called the Villa de San Germán (the Village of San Germán). It's Puerto Rico's oldest settlement outside San Juan.

The Porta Coéli (Gate of Heaven) Church ; the town's most famous building is overlooking one of San Germán's two plazas, dates back to 1606 and is one of the oldest churches in the Western Hemisphere, the second founded on the Island and is the oldest under U.S. jurisdiction. Restored by the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture, the little church now serves as a museum of religious and containing Mexican colonial paintings and wood statuary of the 18th and 19th centuries. Porta Coeli Church is one of only a few buildings constructed with Gothic architectural style in the New World. Open Wed-Sun, 8:30am - 12pm, 1pm - 4:30pm. (787) 892-5845.

In the second plaza, the more elaborate San Germán de Auxerre church faces the traditional town hall. San Germán the second urban center founded by Spaniard on the island, has retained much of its original Spanish colonial charm and many lovely residences including a mansion converted into Parador.

San German Auxerre (Photo: Manuel Santiago)

In 1912 the Polytechnic Institute of Puerto Rico, later renamed the Inter-American University, was established in San Germán; it houses the International Institute of Music, which sponsors a summer music festival.

The town is a center for needlework and art and retains a colonial atmosphere.

San Germán is located in the southwestern region of the island, south of Mayagüez and Maricao; north of Lajas; east of Hormigueros and Cabo Rojo; and west of Sabana Grande.

The surrounding area produces sugar, coffee, fruit, and tobacco.

There are many well-known sangermeños, among them:

  • poet Lola Rodríguez de Tió
  • historian Aurelio Tió
  • writer and politician Francisco Mariano Quiñones
  • actor Benicio del Toro

San Germán is made up of 17 barrios (wards/districts):

  • Ancones,Caín Alto
  • Caín Bajo
  • Cotui
  • Duey Alto
  • Duey Bajo
  • Guamá
  • Hoconuco Alto
  • Hoconuco Bajo
  • Maresúa
  • Minillás
  • Pueblo
  • Retiro
  • Rosarío Alto
  • Rosarío Bajo
  • Rosario Peñón
  • Sabana Eneas
  • Sabana Grande Abajo

Things to See and Do In San Germán

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

What to Do and See?

Where to Eat?

Where to Stay?

Festivals and Events

  • Fiestas Patronales de San German Euserre - July
    Every year, San German celebrates a patron saint festival. The festivities include dances, food, parades and religious processions.
  • Festival del Anon - September
  • Festival de Navidad - December
  • Puerto Rican Women's Marathon - December
    Every year in february San German celebrates Puerto Rican Women's Marathon.


San German Flag

Anthem: San Germán es mi pueblo querido...


There are 15 public schools in San German, education is handled by the Puerto Rico Department of Education. San German is also home of 1 colleges and universities.


10 Day Forecast

Demographics *

34,317 (July 2013 est.)

Land Area: 54.5 sq mi

Density: 651.9 per sq mi

Median Age: 39.4

Economics *

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

Median household income: $15,696
Puerto Rico: $19,624

Persons below poverty line: 46.50 %

Housing, families and educational attainment *

Number of households
Housing units density: 292.1

Persons per household: 3.12

High school grad or higher: 67.4%

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

Map References

Coordinates: 18.0000° N, 67.0000° W

Zip Code: 00636, 00683

Driving Distance from San Juan: 111.8 miles

Driving Time: 2 hours, 23 minutes


Did You Know?

Puerto Rico is home to one cultural site on the UNESCO World Heritage List, La Fortaleza and San Juan National Historic Site in Old San Juan.