Cabo Rojo
Municipio Autónomo de Cabo Rojo
—  City and Municipality  —
Collage of Cabo Rojo


Coat of arms
Anthem: "Mi Cabo Rojo Querido"
Map of Puerto Rico highlighting Cabo Rojo Municipality
Commonwealth  Puerto Rico
Founded December 17, 1771
 • Mayor Jorge Morales Wiscovitch (PNP)
 • Senatorial dist. 4 - Mayagüez
 • Representative dist. 20
 • City and Municipality 177.40 sq mi (459.5 km2)
 • Land 70.35 sq mi (182.2 km2)
 • Water 107.05 sq mi (277.3 km2)
Population (2010)
 • City and Municipality 50,917
 • Density 666.8/sq mi (257.5/km2)
 • Metro 136,212
 • CSA 251,260
Demonym Caborrojeños
Time zone AST (UTC−4)
ZIP Codes 00623, 00622
Area code(s) 787/939
Major routes PR secondary 100.svg PR secondary 101.svg PR secondary 102.svg PR secondary 114.svg Ellipse sign 103.svg

Cabo Rojo (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈkaβo ˈroxo]) is a municipality situated on the southwest coast of Puerto Rico and forms part of the San Germán–Cabo Rojo metropolitan area as well as the larger Mayagüez–San Germán–Cabo Rojo Combined Statistical Area.


The area near Las Salinas (salt flats) has been inhabited since 30 BC and AD 120 according to archaeological evidence. Punta Ostiones, listed in the National Register of Historic Places as an archeological site, was home to a large group of Archaic Indians.[2]

Despite the threat of pirates and natives, the Spanish settled the area of Los Morrillos around 1511. By 1525, salt mining was an important industry in the area. In 1759 the first request to establish itself as a town was denied. Cabo Rojo was founded on December 17, 1771 by Don Nicolás Alfonso Ramírez de Arellano y Martínez de Matos, a descendant of Spanish royalty and nobility, with the approval of Governor and Captain General Miguel de Muesas. According to Fray Iñigo Abbad y Lasierra by the end of the 18th century, Cabo Rojo had a population of 1,215 people.

Cabo Rojo (Red Cape in English) derives its name from both the reddish color of its salt-flats and the reddish tint that characterizes the seaside cliffs along its southern coast. According to legend, the name was given by Christopher Columbus himself. The first church, founded in 1783, was called San José. The present-day main Catholic church is called San Miguel Arcángel Church located in the town's square.


The municipality of Cabo Rojo lies on the southern-west corner of the island of Puerto Rico, on the Western Coastal Plains. It is bordered by Mayagüez and Hormigueros to the north, San Germán and Lajas to the east, the Caribbean Sea to the south and the Mona Passage to the west. Cabo Rojo has a surface area of 72 square miles (187 km2).[3]

Cabo Rojo's terrain is plain. However, some notable peaks are Mariquita, Buena Vista, Vargas, and Peñones de Melones.


Subdivisions of Cabo Rojo

Like all municipalities of Puerto Rico, Cabo Rojo is subdivided into barrios. The municipal buildings, central square and large Catholic church are located in a small barrio referred to as "el pueblo", near the center of the municipality.[4][5] Cabo Rojo is a principal municipality of the San Germán–Cabo Rojo metropolitan area as well as the larger Mayagüez–San Germán–Cabo Rojo Combined Statistical Area.

  1. Bajura
  2. Boquerón
  3. Cabo Rojo barrio-pueblo[6]
  4. Guanajibo
  5. Llanos Costa
  6. Llanos Tuna
  7. Miradero
  8. Monte Grande
  9. Pedernales

People from the El Combate community in barrio Boquerón are known as mata con hacha ("those who kill with axes") based on an old folk tale about a fight over the salinas, where those from Cabo Rojo fought with axes against people from the adjacent town of Lajas. The latter apparently fought back by throwing stones and are thus known as tira piedras ("those who throw stones").[7]


Barrios (which are like minor civil divisions)[6] and subbarrios,[8] in turn, are further subdivided into smaller local populated place areas/units called sectores (sectors in English). The types of sectores may vary, from normally sector to urbanización to reparto to barriada to residencial, among others.[9][10][11]

Special Communities[]

Comunidades Especiales de Puerto Rico (Special Communities of Puerto Rico) are marginalized communities whose citizens are experiencing a certain amount of social exclusion. A map shows these communities occur in nearly every municipality of the commonwealth. Of the 742 places that were on the list in 2014, the following barrios, communities, sectors, or neighborhoods were in Cabo Rojo: Ballajá, Colacho, El Fuego y Las Piedras (Guaniquilla), Hoyo Bravo, Las Quebradas en Monte Grande, Pedernales, Puerto Real, and Sector Corozo.[12]


Climate data for CABO ROJO (Average and Records: 1910–2010)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 91
Average high °F (°C) 87
Daily mean °F (°C) 75
Average low °F (°C) 62
Record low °F (°C) 44
Rainfall inches (mm) 2.51


Puerto Rico was ceded by Spain in the aftermath of the Spanish–American War under the terms of the Treaty of Paris of 1898 and became a territory of the United States. In 1899, the United States conducted its first census of Puerto Rico finding that the population of Cabo Rojo was 16,154.

Historical populations
Census Pop.
1900 16,154
1910 19,562 21.1%
1920 22,412 14.6%
1930 23,792 6.2%
1940 28,586 20.1%
1950 29,546 3.4%
1960 24,868 −15.8%
1970 26,060 4.8%
1980 34,045 30.6%
1990 38,521 13.1%
2000 46,911 21.8%
2010 50,917 8.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[14]
1899 (shown as 1900)[15] 1910-1930[16]
1930-1950[17] 1960-2000[18] 2010[19]


Playa Sucia in Cabo Rojo

There are 127 beaches in Cabo Rojo, including Playa Sucia.[20]

Its tourism industry has flourished with the development of hotels and marinas, but local and international environmentalists are concerned that this development will endanger Cabo Rojo's rich and beautiful beaches, sunsets and natural resources. Cabo Rojo is also well known for its fishing, particularly the Puerto Real fishing village, and its many seafood restaurants, most of which are found in the barrio of Joyuda.

Landmarks and places of interest[]

The San Miguel Arcángel Church, in the town plaza, was built between 1773 and 1783. The famous Cabo Rojo lighthouse, Los Morrillos Lighthouse, known by locals as El Faro, was built in 1881 over limestone cliffs that rise 200 feet above sea level. This old lighthouse was automated and electrically charged in 1967 and is considered to have some, if not, the most spectacular ocean views on Puerto Rico's west coast. The lighthouse has undergone recent renovations which has created controversy because of the quality of the work. According to locals and scholars, the internal structure was gutted leaving nothing of historical significance behind.

View of Puerto Real in Cabo Rojo, at night

The lighthouse is located near the Salinas, or salt mines. These salt mines are reported to be the oldest industry in the New World. Salt has been mined in this site non-stop since the time of the Taínos. Near the Salinas, a local civic group Caborrojeños Pro Salud y Ambiente run a visitor's center known as the Centro Interpretativo Las Salinas De Cabo Rojo don Efrén Pérez Rivera. They offer free guided tours of the local area, which is rich in flora and fauna.

  • Boquerón Beach
  • Cofresí Cave
  • El Combate Beach
  • Joyuda Beach
  • Joyuda Lagoon
  • Market Plaza
  • Club Deportivo del Oeste
  • Nautical Club
  • Punta Arenas Beach
  • Puerta Real Beach
  • Isla de Ratones
  • Buyé Beach
  • The Lighthouse (El Faro) Beach
  • La Playuela in Los Morrillos (El Faro)

Monument to Ramon Emeterio Betances, 2007. The monument includes inscriptions honoring him on behalf of the Dominican Republic and Cuba. His remains, returned from France in the 1920s, are buried underneath the monument.

National protected areas[]

  • The Cabo Rojo National Wildlife Refuge is home for a number of native bird species including the endangered yellow-shouldered blackbird also known as la mariquita de Puerto Rico or capitán.
  • The Boquerón State Forest is one of seven state forests managed by the Puerto Rico Department of Natural and Environmental Resources.[21]


Festivals and events[]

Cabo Rojo celebrates its patron saint festival in September. The Fiestas Patronales de San Miguel Arcangel is a religious and cultural celebration that generally features parades, games, artisans, amusement rides, regional food, and live entertainment.[3][22]

Other festivals and events celebrated in Cabo Rojo include:

  • Pescao Festival - March
  • Años Cuarenta Festival - April
  • Chigüero Festival - April
  • Betances Festival - April
  • Oyster Festival - May
  • Boquerón Bay Crossing - July
  • Watermelon Festival - July
  • Retorno a la Arena - July
  • La Pileta Festival - December
  • Le Lo Lai Festival - December


Cabo Rojo had a BSN basketball team, Los Turistas de Cabo Rojo (the "Cabo Rojo Tourists") from 1989 to 1993.

Indias de Mayagüez, female Volleyball team from Liga de Voleibol Superior Femenino played the 2009 season at the Coliseo Rebekah Colberg Cabrera, because their home ground, Palacios de los Deportes, was under remodeling.[23]



All municipalities in Puerto Rico are administered by a mayor, elected every four years. The current mayor of Cabo Rojo is Jorge Morales Wiscovitch, who beat incumbent Bobby Ramírez Kurtz at the 2020 general election.[24]

The city belongs to the Puerto Rico Senatorial district IV, which is represented by two Senators, and the Puerto Rico Representative District 20, which has one representative. In 2020, Ada García Montes and Migdalia González were elected as District Senators, while Kebin Andrés Maldonado Martiz was elected the District Representative.[25][26]



The flag contains elements of the coat of arms, excluding the sword, the anchors and the crown.[27]

Coat of arms[]

The point or red triangle symbolizes the "Cabo Bermejo" (Vermillion Cape) in Los Morillos. The blue and white, with the anchors, represent the sea that "bathes our coasts". The flaming sword, is an attribute to Archangel Saint Michael, the town's patron saint. Finally, the crown, which heightens and distinguishes the shield, stands for the status of Cabo Rojo.[27]


The anthem of Cabo Rojo is a composition with music and lyrics by Carlos Weber Asencio.


Although Cabo Rojo lacks an airport, it is approximately 11 miles from the Eugenio María de Hostos Airport (MAZ), a commercial airport that serves direct flights to and from San Juan. Cabo Rojo has grown tremendously in the last few years as evidenced by its recent accreditation as a city. Cabo Rojo's nearest airport servicing international destinations is forty-five minutes away in Aguadilla's Rafael Hernández Airport (BQN). This airport was part of the now deactivated Ramey Air Force Base.

PR-100 is the main highway in the city, connecting northward to PR-2 between Hormigueros and Mayagüez, and southward to the Boquerón sector. Other mayor roads include PR-101, which connects to Lajas, PR-102, connecting to Mayagüez and San Germán, PR-103, an older road which parallels the newer PR-100, and PR-301, connecting to El Combate sector and the Los Morrillos Lighthouse.

There are 20 bridges in Cabo Rojo.[28]

Notable Caborrojeños[]

Statue of "El Pirata Roberto Cofresí" in Cabo Rojo

The following is a list of notable Caborrojeños:

  • Antonio Fas Alzamora is the longest serving member of the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly.
  • Ramón Emeterio Betances y Alacán (1827–1898) was a nationalist and a medical doctor. He was the primary instigator of the Grito de Lares revolution and, as such, is considered to be the father of the Puerto Rican independence movement and, as well, the Father of the Country.
  • Dr. Salvador Brau y Asencio (1842–1912) was a journalist, poet, writer and also a historian.
  • Roberto Cofresí y Ramírez de Arellano (1791–1825), better known as "El Pirata Cofresí", was a pirate.
  • Elisa Colberg (1903–1988) was the founder of the Puerto Rican Girl Scouts, the first troop of which formed in 1926 in Cabo Rojo.
  • Efrén Pérez Rivera is a former college professor and noted Puerto Rican environmentalist leader.
  • Colonel Carlos Betances Ramírez (1910–2001), was the only Puerto Rican to command a Battalion in the Korean War.
  • Dra. Rebekah Colberg (1918–1985), is known as "The Mother of Women's Sports in Puerto Rico".
  • Ramón López Irizarry (1897–1982) was an educator and scientist who invented an easier way to extract the cream from the coconut pulp and developed the original formula of "Coco Lopez"


See also[]

Puerto Rico
  • List of Puerto Ricans
  • History of Puerto Rico
  • National Register of Historic Places listings in Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico


  1. ^ "Archived copy". 
  2. ^ "Inventory of Historic Light Stations National Park Service". 
  3. ^ a b "Cabo Rojo Municipality". Fundación Puertorriqueña de las Humanidades (FPH). 
  4. ^ Gwillim Law (20 May 2015). Administrative Subdivisions of Countries: A Comprehensive World Reference, 1900 through 1998. McFarland. p. 300. ISBN 978-1-4766-0447-3. 
  5. ^ "Map of Cabo Rojo at the Wayback Machine". 
  6. ^ a b "US Census Barrio-Pueblo definition". US Census. 
  7. ^ "Página Oficial Municipio Autónomo de Cabo Rojo". 
  8. ^ "P.L. 94-171 VTD/SLD Reference Map (2010 Census): Cabo Rojo Municipio, PR". U.S. DEPARTMENT OF COMMERCE Economics and Statistics Administration U.S. Census Bureau. 
  9. ^ "Agencia: Oficina del Coordinador General para el Financiamiento Socioeconómico y la Autogestión (Proposed 2016 Budget)" (in es). 
  10. ^ Rivera Quintero, Marcia (2014), El vuelo de la esperanza: Proyecto de las Comunidades Especiales Puerto Rico, 1997-2004 (first ed.), San Juan, Puerto Rico Fundación Sila M. Calderón, ISBN 978-0-9820806-1-0 
  11. ^ "Leyes del 2001" (in es). 
  12. ^ Rivera Quintero, Marcia (2014), El vuelo de la esperanza:Proyecto de las Comunidades Especiales Puerto Rico, 1997-2004 (Primera edición ed.), San Juan, Puerto Rico Fundación Sila M. Calderón, p. 273, ISBN 978-0-9820806-1-0 
  13. ^ "Monthly Averages for Cabo Rojo, PR (00623)". 
  14. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. 
  15. ^ "Report of the Census of Porto Rico 1899". War Department Office Director Census of Porto Rico. 
  16. ^ "Table 3-Population of Municipalities: 1930 1920 and 1910". United States Census Bureau. 
  17. ^ "Table 4-Area and Population of Municipalities Urban and Rural: 1930 to 1950". United States Census Bureau. 
  18. ^ "Table 2 Population and Housing Units: 1960 to 2000". United States Census Bureau. 
  19. ^ Puerto Rico:2010:population and housing unit counts.pdf. U.S. Dept. of Commerce Economics and Statistics Administration U.S. Census Bureau. 2010. 
  20. ^ "Las 1,200 playas de Puerto Rico [The 1200 beaches of Puerto Rico"] (in es). April 14, 2017. 
  22. ^ "Puerto Rico Festivales, Eventos y Actividades en Puerto Rico" (in es). 
  23. ^ "Beltrán aprueba usar cancha Mario Jiménez de Guaynabo" (in es). Primera Hora. January 7, 2009. Archived from the original on 2014-04-21. 
  24. ^ "Cabo Rojo Results". December 31, 2020. 
  25. ^ "Senatorial District Results Mayagüez IV". December 31, 2020. 
  26. ^ "Representative District 20 Results". December 31, 2020. 
  27. ^ a b "CABO ROJO" (in es). 19 February 2020. 
  28. ^ "Cabo Rojo Bridges". US Dept. of Transportation. 

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