Visit Puerto Rico’s Pineapple City
Located on the Atlantic coastline, with Florida to the south, Arecibo to the west and Manati to the east, Barceloneta municipality is divided into six barrios with nineteen sectors. As a reference to the vast fields of pineapples growing in Barceloneta, it is commonly referred to as La Ciudad de las Piñas – Pineapple City. Visitors to Barceloneta will find a number of landmarks and attractions to enjoy. Nature lovers may want to include the Cambalache Reserve and the Caño Tiburones Marshland, as well as Las Criollas and Palmas Altas beaches to their list of places to visit, while history and culture enthusiasts will find the Centro Cultural de Barceloneta of great interest. The Sixto Escobar Museum is another attraction in Barceloneta worth visiting, as it pays tribute to the legendary Puerto Rican boxer who was born in this picturesque part of Puerto Rico, as well as providing electronic educational resources to the public.
Caño Tiburones Marshland is Puerto Rico’s largest wetland and is home to a wide variety of fauna and flora species. Situated on the north coastal plain between Barceloneta and Arecibo, the wetland covers around 7,000 acres and receives fresh water from the inland karst areas which mixes with the salty water from the ocean. This blend of water creates an unusual habitat which supports many plant and animal species. In response to the problem of industrial waste and municipal sewage polluting the wetlands, in October 1998 the Puerto Rican government declared almost half of the wetland to be a protected area, with a view to implementing measures for conservation, preservation and restoration.
Barceloneta was founded by Bonocio Llenza Feliu on July 1, 1881 and named after his hometown Barcelona in Spain. With the Río Grande de Manatí flowing through Barceloneta into the Atlantic Ocean it has historically been an important port. With the closing of the sugarcane processing plant in 1963, the municipality turned to growing pineapples and other fruits. In the 1970s, pharmaceutical companies started to set up operations in Barceloneta, in order to tap into the area’s supply of pure water held in vast natural underground reservoirs. There are currently as many as fourteen pharmaceutical companies in Barceloneta, to the benefit of the local economy. Tourism is also important to the economy, and the area’s natural resources, such as the karst caves, wetlands and blue beaches (due to the high iron content in the sand) attract many visitors each year.