Canovanas is Puerto Rico’s Horse Race Town

The town of Canovanas is known by three different names to locals. It is often referred to as "La Cuna de los Indios", meaning "Indian Cradle". This is because of the large population of Indian and African slaves that arrived and settled here. The second name, "La Ciudad de las Carreras", means "Race Horse Town". Since 1972, Canovanas has been home to the only horse racetrack in Puerto Rico, the El Commandante. And lastly, "Pueblo Valerosa", that means "Valiant Town", as a local chief was killed here during a battle between the Taínos and the Spaniards.

The name, Canovanas, was derived from the name of a local Taíno chief, Canovanax. This beautiful destination in Puerto Rico is located near the towns and cities of Loiza, Carolina, Rio Grande and Juncos. It has an estimated population of 43,000 and the town covers an area of approximately 73 square kilometers. Canovanas was established by Juan Calderon in the year 1909. The town, along with most of Puerto Rico, was a large sugar cane producer but over the years has seen less and less sugar cane production taking place. Although there are scattered sugar cane fields in the area, the local community concentrates mainly on fruit, cattle, poultry and coffee production.

Conovanas’ industrial focus is on retail, bars, restaurants, liquor stores and supermarkets. Visitors will also notice auto repair shops and gas stations and most of the frequent visitors to Canovanas are attracted by the racetrack. Locals are also responsible for the production of electronic equipment, chemicals and footwear.

Canovanas is also a destination in Puerto Rico with a diverse variety of attractions. Recommended sights include the El Comandante Racetrack (now known as the Hipodromo Camerero), El Espanol Bridge, Villaran Park, the Central Canovanas Ruins and the Old Dairy called Antigua Lecheria. Quite a few famous people have had their roots in Canovanas. These include Luis Sanchez Cappa, Milagros Carillo, Julio Jimenez and Franciso Mundo.

Visitors will find Canovanas to be a very fascinating and beautiful town, with many activities, festivals and attractions to enjoy. The landscape is spectacular and the locals are very friendly. From good food, quaint shops and stores, to noteworthy sights and heart stopping horse racing action, Canovanas has it all.

back to Eastern Region