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Isabela, Puerto Rico

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Country  Puerto Rico
Area  238.15 km2

Founded  1819
Population  45,669 (2011)
Isabela, Puerto Rico in the past, History of Isabela, Puerto Rico
Colleges and Universities  University of Turabo at Isabela, Escuela de Peritos Electricitas de Isabela

Unemployment rate  12.0% (Dec 2014)
Mayor  Hon. Carlos Delgado Altieri (PPD)

Map of Isabela, Puerto Rico

Isabela ([isaˈβela]) is a municipality of Puerto Rico (U.S.) located in the north-western region of the island, north of San Sebastián; west of Quebradillas; and east of Aguadilla and Moca. Isabela is spread over 13 wards and Isabela Pueblo (The downtown area and the administrative center of the city). It is a principal city of the Aguadilla-Isabela-San Sebastián Metropolitan Statistical Area.


Isabela, Puerto Rico Beautiful Landscapes of Isabela, Puerto Rico

The town is known as the "Jardín del Noroeste," the "Garden of the Northwest," because of the many wild flowers in its landscape. It is also knowns as el "Pueblo de los Quesitos de Hoja", the "town of Leaf Cheeses," for its production of this typical fresh white cheese wrapped in banana plant leaves, reputed to be the best. It is also known as la Ciudad de los Gallitos or the "City of the Fighting Cocks." Since the 18th century, cock fighting was very common throughout the island, and the town became famous and well known for the quality of its fighting cocks and special breeding and training techniques used by its people.

Isabela, Puerto Rico Culture of Isabela, Puerto Rico

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Isabela, Puerto Rico Festival of Isabela, Puerto Rico

The chief Mabodamaca, one of the most important chieftains of the Island of Borinquen (name for the island of Puerto Rico) during the firsts decades of the 16th century, ruled the region of the 'Guajataca' (Taíno name for the northwestern region of Puerto Rico) where Isabela was founded. Although the actual date of the origins of the first Spanish settlement is not precisely known, a small settlement/hermitage is known to have existed by the end of the 17th century or beginning of the 18th century in a great extension of land into what encompass today the municipalities of Isabela, Camuy and Quebradillas. The settlement bordered to the east with the shoreline of the Guajataca River and was located on the grounds of an earlier Taíno settlement.

Around 1725, José Antonio de Mendizábal y Azares, Governor of the Island of Puerto Rico granted authorization to base a population on the existing hermitage/village. Its given name, San Antonio de La Tuna, derives from the avocation of the Spanish settlers to the saint San Antonio de Padua and in honor of a wild cactus growing in the region (Tuna is the Spanish name for cactus). At the end of the 18th century San Antonio de la Tuna had a church, more than sixty houses, and almost 1,200 inhabitants, which was a considerable population for those times.


Prompted by economic and health factors, the decision to relocate the hermitage to a more favorable location was pursued. Around 1818, the village obtained authorization from then Governor Salvador Meléndez to transfer the population to a new location closer to the coast. . Meléndez approved the transfer request and a new town was founded the following year on May 21, 1819. In this same year the construction of the church began, which finished in 1824. In 1918 the church was damaged during a strong earthquake that affected the western region of the island, it was rebuilt soon after.


It could be said that Isabela is a hybrid town of sorts, with the rarity of being a coastline city that has beaches but is also known for its mountains (with peaks of over 1,000 ft [300 m] above sea level), rivers (surface and submarine), lake, caves (surface and submarine), cliffs, coastal flats and forests (Tropical and Mangroves).

Geographically, the municipality of Isabela belongs to the Northern Coastal Plains. Running through the south, the Aymamón mountains, a prolongation of the Jaicoa Mountain Range that begins in the neighboring town of Aguadilla, boasts peaks of over 1,000 feet (300 m) above sea level. The most prominent hills that are part of these mountains are La Bandera (Galateo Alto ward) at 1,207 ft (368 m); La Silla (Arenales Alto ward) at 1,106 ft (337 m); El Sombrero (in Galateo Alto) at 1,083 feet (330 m); Indio (Planas ward) at 1,017 feet (310 m); and Monte Encantado (in Arenales Altos) at 919 feet (280 m) of elevation above sea level. The central part of the territory, which consists mostly of flatlands, the mountains does not surpass 656 feet (200 m) of height; the coastline flats (Bajuras), is slightly above sea level.


One of present Isabela's main industries is tourism, because it's a coastal city with several beautiful beaches, outstanding panoramic views and other diverse attractions such as its rainforest, rivers, lake, cordillera mountains, submarine rivers and caves and archaeological sites among others. It is visited by many local tourists as well as those seeking some sun and fun from the United States mainland and other countries.

Landmarks and places of interest

  • El Pozo Brujo (The Bewitched Well)
  • Jobos Beach & Pozo de Jacinto
  • Montones Beach
  • San Antonio de la Tuna Ruins
  • Punta Sardina
  • La Poza de Punta Sandina
  • La Princesa Beach & Blow Hole
  • Centro Empresarial Playero - Villa Pesquera
  • Shacks Beach
  • Río Guajataca
  • Guajataca Tunnel
  • La Cara del Indio (The Indian's Face)
  • La Posita de Teodoro
  • Middle Beach
  • La Posita de Montones
  • Casa Parroquial
  • Parroquia San Antonio de la Tuna
  • La Posita de la Princesa
  • Shore Island Beach
  • Paseo Lineal
  • San Antonio de la Tuna Museum
  • La Pocita de Isabela(Poza de Teodoro)
  • La Cueva de las Golondrinas
  • Cueva los Vientos (Bosque Guajataca)
  • Photo Museum of Isabela
  • Alcaldia de Isabela
  • The Pink House (Casa Rosada), (Demolished in 2014 by the Municipality to be transformed into a museum) [1]
  • Bajura Beach also known as Shacks Beach known for the best wind/sail surfing in the world. In front of the Villa Tropical Apartments is the "Blue Hole" Coral Reef. A favorite for snorkelers, scuba and free divers and underwater caverns enthusiasts.
  • Agriculture

    The early economy of the hermitage had been based mainly on cattle ranching, its derivative products and hogs products, but trading was limited because of many factors: its inland location and topography, the settlement was posted above a hill overlooking the river (now river Guajataca) and it made difficult the use of the river as a trading route as did the location's propensity to disease and outbreaks.

    After the transfer to the present Isabela the economic realities that resulted from the new land and property opportunities that were readily available, the healthier environment formed due to the wide open plains and prevalent northern winds, and the proximity to the coast and the natural sea port at the bay of 'Punta Sardina' prompted for the diversification of the agricultural products and an increase on trade. The cultivation of sugar cane, coffee, tobacco, cotton, yuca, coconuts and fruits was stimulated further, Isabela has continued to flourish until recent years with the island's economic crisis, the closing of important factories, and the rising crime rate.


    Isabela also has and hi-tech plants, a higher education institution, a world-renowned agricultural research center and a major shopping center, Plaza Isabela.

    Festivals and events

  • Three King Day Festivities - January 5,6 with the "Reyes Cantores Isabelinos".
  • Isabelino Fighting Cock Festivities - February
  • Weave Festival - May
  • Kite Festival - May
  • Patron Festivities - June
  • Isabela Muscle Cars Auto Show - August
  • Isabela Tango Fest - June - 3 days of Tango.
  • Las Noches de la Puertorriqueñidad - November
  • Feria de Autos Clasicos y Antiguos del Noroeste Inc. - November
  • Isabela Has Flavor - November
  • Innocent Saints Day - December
  • Sports

    Isabela is also well known for its world-class surfing spots, and was the host site for two World Cup Surfing Championships, as well as some of the Rip Curl Pro competitions.

    Isabela had a basketball team that played at the Jose "Buga" Abreu Coliseum, the Isabela Roosters ("Gallitos de Isabela"). The team had average success. In 1987, one of its superstars, Frankie Torruella, was diagnosed with heart disease, and the trading of another star player, Edwin Pellot, to the Coamo team, hastened the team's fallout. In 1984, the team lost the championship, four games to two, to the Canovanas Indians team ("Indios de Canóvanas"). Between the mid-1970s and mid-1980s, the Bantams were serious championship contenders. In the late 1970s their star player, Mickey Coll, died in a motorcycle accident. The first home team's court was named after him. The Bantams where Isabela's home team until October 2005 when they moved the franchise to Guaynabo. The Playeras, a female volleyball team, played in Isabela for 2 seasons until they as well moved to Aguadilla becoming Las Divas.

    Isabela have the first Muscle Cars Club in Puerto Rico, is called Isabela Muscle Cars Club. They celebrate their annual event since August 25, 2002, their Auto Show in which unites all the lovers for Classic Cars and Muscle Cars. Is one of the most busy events on town. On August 28, 2016 they celebrate their 15th Anniversary on the famous Coliseum Jose "Buga" Abreu.

    The town also have their own classic cars club, called "Club de Autos Clasicos y Antiguos del Noroeste" (Classic and Old Car Club from Northwest). They also celebrate their own Exhibition of Classic Cars on the famous Coliseum on November.

    The local basketball team was called the "Gallitos" ("Little Cocks," in reference to the slim, lightweight body of the fighting variety) due to the town's fame for quality fighting cocks. The name was translated literally into English as "Bantams", a variety of dwarf cocks.

    The town has a cockfighting arena, traditionally called a "Gallera." Fights are customarily held on Sunday mornings, and the bet and stakes are controlled by the government of Puerto Rico, and pay prizes based on the fighting record of the cocks.

    Isabela also has amateur baseball teams. Also Isabela is well known for its Fine Step Horses ("Caballos de Paso Fino") and its world class board, wind and kite surfing spots.


    Like all municipalities in Puerto Rico, Isabela is administered by a mayor. The current mayor is Carlos Delgado Altieri, from the Popular Democratic Party (PPD). Delgado was elected at the 2000 general election.

    The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district IV, which is represented by two Senators. In 2012, María Teresa González and Gilberto Rodríguez were elected as District Senators.


    Isabela's flag derives its design, colors and symbolism from its Coat of Arms. It consists of three horizontal stripes of equal width. The top and bottom stripe are yellow and the center one green. The Coat of Arms may be superposed on the green stripe in the center.

    Coat of Arms

    The town's coat of arms, dated 1819, is divided an olive tree in its center, symbolizes the first inhabitants of Isabela and of the island of Puerto Rico, the Igneris Indians. The gold represents the Taíno Indians (they made extensive use of gold), who lived in this area about two hundred years before the discovery of the island. The gold bell represented in the center stripe between two cactus is a symbol of the town of San Antonio de la Tuna. The two cocks represent the bravery of the inhabitants and Isabela's famous fighting cocks. The horse represents the cattle wealth of the region and honors the fine step horses (Paso Fino) for which Isabela is famous. The coat of arms is embellished with a mural crown having three towers, the standard emblem at the time for formally established 'pueblos' (townships) under Spanish rule. A new Coat of Arms is shown here; it depicts a revised mural crown with five towers to represent a city, but historically, only 11 communities in Puerto Rico were conferred this title under Spanish rule.

    On the occasion of the celebration of 186 years of Isabela was necessary to adopt an ordinance to establish properly and historical veracity heraldic elements of the emblazoned shield and official seal of the City of Isabela. Next, information drafted pursuant to Ordinance Number 3, series 2005-2006 approved by the Municipal Legislature on August 5, 2005:


    "The Mural Crown: Current mural crown that has the coat of Isabela has three towers. Due to population increase of over 50,000 inhabitants who had Isabela in this last decade, the HUD office in Washington DC, conferred status as a "city" to Isabela last year. Given this demographic reality and focused on the mural crown that represents the spirit of unity and growth of the inhabitants of our city of Isabela, we understand appropriate that the crown mural consists of "five" distinct towers that symbolize the passage from town to city."

    THIS IS PUBLISHED IN A PAMPHLET EXPLANATION OF THE LEGISLATURE REGARDING THE MUNICIPAL COAT OF ISABELA. SAME WAS PREPARED BY GLORIA M PEREZ Secretary of the legislature in 2009 ....... Information courtesy of Adrian Augusto and Manuel Abreu

    Notable people from Isabela

    The following are notable Puerto Ricans from Isabela:

    1. Manuel Corchado y Juarbe - poet, journalist and politician
    2. Justo Mendez Cabrera - politician, first elected mayor of Isabela.
    3. Manuel V. Domenech - politician and engineer.
    4. Rafael Chaves - pitching coach of the Seattle Mariners in 2006 and 2007.
    5. Félix Mantilla Lamela - former Major League Baseball player.
    6. Victor Manuelle El Sonero de la Juventud -Cantante de Salsa
    7. Johnny Ortiz - Compositor de "Catalina la "O" y otra amalgama de canciones escritas de Salsa. Juan Ramón "Johnny" Ortiz González conversó largo y tendido con "Raíces Latinas" ( sobre su trayectoria de 45 años en el arte de componer canciones y en el periodico Nueva Hora (
    8. Luisito Quevedo - Luis Quevedo Alfaro, uno de los mejores pianistas puertorriqueños y uno de los más virtuosos pianistas nacionales con una capacidad indiscutible para tocar todos los géneros, desde salsa, danzas, boleros, rumbas y guarachas. En el transcurso de su vida artística Quevedo Alfaro participó en más de 600 discos, además de haber actuado como pianista de plantilla en las orquestas Canayón, Sentimiento 25 de Cheo Feliciano y Mario Ortiz. Tuvo la opportunidad de grabar para muchísimas orquestas de renombre como Roberto y su Nuevo Montuno, Tito Rojas, Roberto Roena, Frankie Ruiz, Willie González, Puerto Rico All Star y Latin Tempo entre otros. También acompañó a Danny Rivera, Lucecita Benítez, Chucho Avellanet, Sophy, Marco Antonio Muñiz, Tavín Pumarejo y al famoso Plácido Domingo.
    9. Noel Estrada - composer of "En mi Viejo San Juan", one of the most famous Boleros in Puerto Rico.
    10. Calixto Calero Juarbe - Senator
    11. Carlos "Papo" M. Rodriguez Cordero - Owner of the Impossible Dream (Racing Car), recognized mechanic and car lover.
    12. SFC. Agustín Ramos Calero - awarded 22 decorations and medals from the U.S. Army for his actions during World War II.
    13. Rick Jeschke Deliz - Guitarist who has backed many International Latin, Pop and Rock bands such as: Green Jelly, El Vez, Pastilla, Sergio Arau, Vilma Palma, Belinda, Carlos Ann, Christian Castro, Ha*Ash, Magneto, Mercurio, The Melovskys, Mongol Gol Gol, Satélite, The MiGs, Secret Agent, Malú, Aneeka, Carla Mauri, Alfonso El Pintor, Sandoval, MDO, Joy Enriquez, Paulina Rubio, Carina Ricco, Luis Fonsi and Ardnaxela, among others.
    14. Henry Melon Lopez Legion of Merit awardee from the U.S. Army in 2003 and Director of Human Resources Fort Dix, New Jersey.
    15. Lcda. Aura Lydia Gozález Ríos ←Secretaria del Trabajo, Puerto Rico de 1993-2001 y editora de el Periódico El Sol de Isabela.
    16. SFC. Rafael Angel Chaves Jr. He is a direct descendant of the original founding families of Isabela, he served in the US Army for over 20 years and served in multiple combat tours before and after 9/11, he completed two master's degrees and MPM (project management) and an MBA, his the founder and CEO of various corporations, Steadfast Logistics Inc. Hydrodog Mobile Pet Grooming, and is expected to become the wealthiest Puerto Rican in present history and within the next 3 to 4 years is tracking to become the first Puerto Rican to be listed in Forbes Billionaire list.
    17. Enrique "Kike" Calero - Played professional baseball in the Houston Astros organization.
    18. Ramon "Moncho" Beniquez - A businessman that is best known for making the cities most delicious traditional Puerto Rican style roasted pork.
    19. Jose De Leon - Professional baseball pitcher in the Los Angeles Dodgers Organization.
    20. Jose A. Corchado - pro baseball player, played in the minor leagues with the Oakland Athletics organization.


  • Isabela Economy (18th Century)b- *[2] Colección de Tesis: Tesis de maestros presentadas en el Departamento de Historia Universidad de Puerto Rico, Recinto de Rio Piedras: Colón, Maria Judith, Historia de Isabela vista a traves de su desarrollo urbano, 1750-1850. (1985), 288 pp.
  • References

    Isabela, Puerto Rico Wikipedia

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