Barranquitas is about one hour by winding roads from San Juan, the capital. It is nestled amid hills and mountains, and nearby, between Barranquitas and Aibonito, is located the "cañón de San Cristóbal" (Canyon of Saint Cristopher); one of the deepest canyons in the Indies. For years, the overlook was used as a municipal garbage; in the last decade, the refuse was removed and the site restored.
Barranquitas's local Taino Indian Cacique (Chief) was called Orocobix and his yucayeque or tribe was known as the Jatibonicu Taino.
The town was founded in 1803 by Antonio Aponte Ramos.
Early in the 20th century, Barranquitas residents, known as Barranquiteños, had a short but legendary territory war with residents of the city of Comerío.
The Municipality of Barranquitas sits on the middle of the Cordillera Central of Puerto Rico, which is the main mountain range that crosses the island from west to east. It is bordered by the municipalities of Corozal, Naranjito, Coamo, Aibonito, Orocovis, and Comerío. Barranquitas has a surface area of 34 square miles (88.4 km2).
The terrain is mostly mountainous. Some of the peaks found in the municipality are La Torrecilla and Farallón. Barranquitas is also the site of the San Cristóbal Canyon.
The following rivers pass through Barranquitas: Río de Barranquitas, Río Grande de Manatí, Piñonas, Río Hondo, and Río Usabón.
The municipality of Barranquitas is divided into eight barrios.
Barranquitas is the burial place of two prominent Puerto Rican politicians, Luis Muñoz Rivera (who was born in town) and his son, Governor Luis Muñoz Marín (who was born in San Juan). This has made Barranquitas a popular tourist attraction among Puerto Ricans. The birthplace of Muñoz Rivera has been turned into a museum. The mausoleum of the Muñoz Rivera family is another place of interest. Among those buried are Muñoz Rivera and his son and daughter-in-law, Luis Muñoz Marín, and his second wife Inés Mendoza de Munoz.
Other known places of interest in Barranquitas are the San Cristóbal Canyon, and the ruins of Hacienda Margarita. El Cortijo Castle is an old, historical structure, which is currently a museum. Also, Camp Morton is a popular spot for activities and retirements.
Among the annual festivities celebrated in Barranquitas are: The Festival del Apio (The Apio Festival. Apio)held in April. The apio(from the legume Apios tuberosa / Apios americana) is a plant considered in the family of the celery. The Festival de la Vega, held in May. Another one is the festivity in honor of Saint Anthony of Padua, the town's patron saint, are held in June. The most famous festival is the annual Artisans Fair, the oldest one in the island, with over 50 years, and it's held on mid July.
Barranquitas has no professional sports teams, but there are some amateur sports teams based in the city. The most popular amateur sport is baseball. The team of Barranquitas is known as the "Proceres" (is an adjective for an important person in history)due to the fact that the town has been the birthplace for many historical figures. The other popular sport is the volleyball.
Some of the crops grown in Barranquitas are coffee, fruits, and vegetables. The main crop in Barranquitas is the Apio. The Apio is a root vegetable (from the legume Apios tuberosa / Apios americana), and it is eaten like potatoes. Not to be confused with celeriac.
Barranquitas manufacturers include footwear and clothing.
Many of the Puerto Ricans born in the town are known to have light-colored eyes and have strong European features. Some also have an apparent mestizo look to them. The reason for this phenomenon is due to the migration of many Taino Indians during the Spanish colonization. Many Tainos fled to the mountainous region to escape slavery. Many poor Spanish and other European immigrants moved to this region as well and settled as coffee growers. Eventually, the Taino and European immigrants intermarried and created what is called the "mestizo".
All municipalities in Puerto Rico are administered by a mayor, elected every four years. The current mayor of Barranquitas is Francisco López, of the New Progressive Party (PNP). He was elected at the 1996 general elections, and re-elected for the last 4 general elections.
The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district VI, which is represented by two Senators. In 2012, Miguel Pereira Castillo and Angel M. Rodríguez were elected as District Senators.
All schools in Puerto Rico are administered by the Puerto Rico Department of Education. The schools located in Barranquitas are the following: