Cayey, Puerto Rico

Cayey, Puerto Rico


Coat of arms
Nickname(s): Ciudad de las Brumas", "Ciudad del Torito", "Ciudad del Coquí Dorado"
Anthem: "Alma Boricua"

Location of Cayey in Puerto Rico
Coordinates: 18°06′42″N 66°09′57″W / 18.11167°N 66.16583°W / 18.11167; -66.16583Coordinates: 18°06′42″N 66°09′57″W / 18.11167°N 66.16583°W / 18.11167; -66.16583
Country United States
Territory Puerto Rico
Founded August 17, 1773
  Mayor Rolando Ortíz Velázquez (PPD)
  Senatorial dist. 6 – Guayama
  Representative dist. 29
  Total 50.20 sq mi (130.01 km2)
  Land 50 sq mi (130 km2)
  Water 0.004 sq mi (.01 km2)
Population (2010)
  Total 48,119
  Density 960/sq mi (370/km2)
Demonym(s) Cayeyanos
Time zone AST (UTC-4)
ZIP code 00736, 00737

Cayey (Spanish pronunciation: [kaˈʝei]) is a mountain municipality in central Puerto Rico located on the Central Mountain range, north of Salinas and Guayama; south of Cidra and Caguas; east of Aibonito and Salinas; and west of San Lorenzo. Cayey is spread over 21 wards plus Cayey Pueblo, the downtown area and the administrative center of the city. It is part of the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo Metropolitan Statistical Area.

Cayey is notable for its surrounding mountains. The city has been actively growing since the 1990s, evidenced by its designation as a Metropolitan Area by the U.S. Census Bureau. It has experienced significant growth in commerce, and many major retailers, such as Wal-Mart have opened stores in this city. Industries in Cayey also includes sugar, tobacco and poultry enter and also a summer resort for fun. For tobacco there is a well known company called Consolidated Cigar Corp.[1] A new coliseum and hospital facilities have also been built. Coca-Cola is a major corporation that has a manufacturing facility in the town. Cayey is also host to one of the campuses of the University of Puerto Rico, the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey.


Cultivating tobacco at a Puerto Rico Reconstruction Administration experimental area, 1941

Cayey was founded on August 17, 1773, by Juan Mata Vázquez, who became its first mayor. It is said that Cayey derives its name from the Taino Indian word for "a place of waters". Its original name was "Cayey de Muesas" in honor of Miguel de Muesas, the then governor of Puerto Rico. The town is located in a valley nestled between Puerto Rico's Cordillera Central mountain range and the Sierra de Cayey at roughly the midpoint of routes PR-1 and PR-52. The routes lead to a road that provides a panoramic view of the island.

Cayey's economy has and remains agriculturally based on tobacco, sugar cane and general fruits. Unfortunately, its agricultural economy that evolved starting in the 1950s has diminished considerably to date. Most of its agricultural products are imported from other islands in the Caribbean or mainland United States.

During the first half of the 20th century,[2] Cayey was basically an agricultural area of small farmers and local haciendas dedicated to the farming of crops for the local market. During the 1920s and 1930s farmers increasingly lost their land to absentee landowners, mostly American companies, that turned to the cultivation of sugar cane and, to a lesser extent, tobacco for export. In the 1950s and 1960s some manufacturing concerns established plants in Cayey taking advantage of tax incentives offered by "Operation Bootstrap", Puerto Rico's industrialization program.

An industrial base, in 1947 Cayey saw the beginning of industrial entrepreneurship. There were three factories in town, the Caribe Flower Co. in the Palo Seco neighborhood, a Baseball Factory in the Toita neighborhood, and a Uniform Factory in the back of the High School. These factories employed mostly females. By 1950 the men that worked agriculture became excess population and began to migrate to the United States or join the military. In 1950 with the approval of Fomento Industrial and Operation Bootstrap there was a boom of light factories in Cayey. The Gordonshire Knitting Mill in the Guayama road had twelve large building and ran two shifts with more than 1,000 employees, and the Consolidated Cigar Corporation across from the road from the Reparto Montellano neighborhood operated three shifts employing over 2,500 from Cayey and surrounding towns.

An education base that began in the early to mid-1950s when the Inter-American University opened a branch in Cayey providing teacher training through a night class scheme. In 1967 the University of Puerto Rico opened a campus in the former Henry Barracks Military Reservation, and in the early 1980s El Turabo University, subsidiary of the Ana G. Mendez conglomerate opened a campus in the old Tabaco Factory at the entrance of town. The Interamerican University will be opening a Graduate campus in front of the Plaza (Center of town), and there are conversations with a foreign educational concern to open a technology campus using the buildings left over by the Gordonshire Knitting Mills. There is three major private schools: Radians School, the long established Colegio de Nuestra Senora de la Merced and La Milagrosa School. Cayey's health care base expanded in the mid-1960s with the Mennoite Medical Center and a Municipal Hospital along with laboratories, and urgent care centers that cater to the poor and the elderly.

With the construction of the Interstate (route 52), Cayey has evolved into a "bedroom community" with gated housing developments, located just 30 minutes away from San Juan and 45 minutes away from Ponce. With pleasant weather and good private schools, Cayey has become a premium location for the affluent.

Impact of Henry Barracks Military Reservation

Henry Barracks Military Reservation was a lifeline for the residents of Cayey from 1901 to 1966, when it was declared excess land and passed to the General Services Administration for decommission. The property consisted of 439.92 acres ([3]). The property was divided into three prominent encampments: the Spanish Camp- Campamento Español (15 acres), Camp Henry or Henry Barracks, the Home of the third Battalion of the 65th Inf. Regiment that consisted of 372 acres, and 67 acres the Cayey Naval Radio Station (67 acres) [4]). This reservation is situated in the east of the town of Cayey. The Spanish Reservation containing an area of approximately 15 acres, known as Hospital Hill was set apart by Executive Order of June 30, 1903, under an Act of Congress approved on July 7, 1902.[5] The main army post was located in the northern part of the reservation, initially housing the Puerto Rico Volunteer Infantry Regiment.

The combined posts had approximately 1200 men who used the resources provided by the town people. Families moved into Punta Brava and Vieques neighborhoods. A laundry, show shop, and other smaller stores were located right outside the gate. By 1906 about 350 civilians had jobs in the two posts (Camp Henry and The Cayey Navy Radio Station).

The U.S. Department of the Navy submitted a proposal to raise three 620 feet tall masts as part of a global radio communication linkage. In 1916 the Department of the navy approved a budget of $40,000. At the time 300 men were hired to build the facility for a period of two year, the project was completed in 1918 [6]

On September 11, 1928, a category five hurricane called San Felipe destroyed the temporary buildings at Henry Barracks, and the Navy Radio Station.[7] A radio message was sent from the Cayey Navy Radio Station on 18 Sept 1928 to follow “All buildings Henry Barracks destroyed by hurricane September 13th”.[8] The Navy left Cayey and moved its station to Isla Grande and Stop 7 ½ in Puerto de Tierra. All the land held by the Navy included Magazine Hill (known in the community as "El Polvorin"), which was taken over by the U. S. Army. The 65th Infantery Regiment remained in the north side of the post. The south side was converted into two 1,000 feet shooting ranges[9] The decision was made to reconstruct all building for the regiment in the north side in concrete [10] One hundred and ninety buildings were completed, to include the north side of Henry Barracks.[11] Over 600 men were hired for a period of three years to work in these projects. During this period three large barrack buildings were constructed. The two one company barracks each had its own mess hall and kitchen and was occupied by an infantry company each. The two companies barrack located in the center of the quad occupied the Battalion Headquarters Co. and the Machine Gun Co.[12]

By 1953, the U.S. Department of the Army had reached the conclusion that Henry Barracks would be closed in the near future. A full compliment of maintenance personnel composed of professional, technical, and daily laborers were maintained in the Reservation. The growth of three major housing developments is evidence of the economic impact of the Reservation (Reparto Montellano, El Polvorin, Urbanización Aponte)[13] While the all-Puerto Rican 65th Inf regiment would never return to its home base, several other initiatives were undertaken, which had a direct impact on the economic development of the town and the region, one such initiatives was the commissioning of the Caribbean Signal Agency in 1959. Over the coming years several tenants occupied the lands comprised by the Henry Barracks Military Reservation, among them: These activities are as follow:


Mist in Cayey.

Cayey is located in a valley surrounded by La Sierra de Cayey, a mountain range where the Carite Forest Reserve is located, and the Cordillera Central, a mountain range that covers most of the central part of Puerto Rico. Because of its location, Cayey is known for its mountains, its cool weather and its misty mornings, especially in winter. During Spanish colonial rule, Spanish soldiers assigned to Puerto Rico were sent to Cayey, whose cool weather resembled that of Spain, while they became acclimated to the tropical weather. In winter, it is not unusual for the temperature to drop into the 50s °F.

The Carite Forest Reserve

Latitude 18° 6′ 42 N

Longitude -66° 9' 57″ W[17]


Cayey's climate is humid, rainy and mild compared to lower-elevation areas of the island, the area of the town is nearly 1,500 feet (460 m) high, so the climate is subtropical high. In summer average high Temperatures are around 82 °F to 88 °F and 70 °F to 78 °F in winter, and low around 68 °F to 72 °F in summer and 57 °F to 63 °F in winter. The record maximum temperature is 94 °F (34 °C) and minimum 45 °F (7 °C). The average annual rainfall is 100 inches (2,540 mm) and maximum rainfall record in 24 hours is 20.87 inches (530 mm) of rain.

Flora and fauna

The golden coquí (Eleutherodactylus jasperi; Spanish: coquí dorado) is a rare and possibly extinct leptodactylid frog species endemic to Puerto Rico. Native from Cayey, Puerto Rico, golden coquís have only been found in areas of dense bromeliad growth in the Sierra de Cayey of Puerto Rico between 647 and 785 metres above sea level. They get their name from the song the male coquis sing at night. It sounds like "cokee, cokee" so that is why they are called coqui in Spanish. The golden coqui is the smallest of the coqui frogs in Puerto Rico. Mature adult coquis are only roughly the size of a dime. Male coquis are more bright yellow where females tend to be more light yellow and brown. The golden coqui is the only frog species in the New World known to give birth to live young. These frogs are known around the whole island of Puerto Rico.[18]



Cayey Districts.
  • Buena Vista
  • Beatriz
  • Cayey Pueblo
  • Cantera
  • Quenepo
  • Cedro
  • Cercadillo
  • Culebras Altas
  • Culebras Bajas
  • Cuba Libre
  • Farallón
  • Guavate
  • San Cristobal
  • Jájome Alto
  • Jájome Bajo
  • Lapa
  • La Ley
  • Matón Abajo
  • Matón Arriba
  • Mogote
  • Monte Llano
  • Pasto Viejo
  • Pedro Avila
  • Polvorin
  • Piedras
  • Quebrada Arriba
  • Rincón
  • Sumido
  • Toita
  • Villa Polilla
  • Vegas[19]

Buildings and structures

Telemundo WKAQ TV Tower

The new Pedro Montañez Municipal Stadium in Cayey

Telemundo WKAQ-TV Tower, situated at 18°6'47"N 66°3'9"W, is a 1,105 feet (336.8 m) tall guyed mast for FM-/TV-broadcasting. It was built in 1971 and it is the second tallest man-made structure of Puerto Rico.

Pedro Montañez Stadium

The new Pedro Montañez Municipal Stadium in Cayey, Puerto Rico, proceeded by the first Pedro Montañez Municipal Stadium in Cayey, it is the home of the Toritos de Cayey Double A baseball team, and the Benigno Fernandez Garcia Jr. High School's field day competitions.

Cayey Pegasus Broadcasting WAPA-TV Tower

Just a few hundred yards away at 18°6'33"N 66°3'2"W, there is the third-tallest structure of Puerto Rico. It is a guyed mast owned by Hemisphere Media Group with a height of 1,091 feet (332.5 m), which was built in 1966.


Landmarks and places of interest

"Tetas de Cayey"


Festivals and events

Cayey's Matron Festivities "Nuestra Señora de Asunción" are one of the most popular festival events in Puerto Rico. These festivities are celebrated during 10 days consecutively, bringing singers and bands from around the island. Cayey's Matron Festivities always pop out a surprise during the final days, such like Wisin & Yandel and others.


Monument to The Three Kings in Guavate.
Race – Cayey, Puerto Rico – 2000 Census[21]
Race Population % of Total
Black/African American1,8343.9%
American Indian and Alaska Native890.2%
Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander240.1%
Some other race2,6025.5%
Two or more races9862.1%


All municipalities in Puerto Rico are administered by a mayor, elected every four years. The current mayor of Cayey is Rolando Ortíz, of the Popular Democratic Party (PPD). He was elected at the 1996 general elections and has remained in office through all intervening elections since.

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.[22]



The flag derives its design and colors from the Coat of Arms, which is in the center of the flag encircled by a solid black ring. The centered Coat of Arms and has four triangles pointing to it, two white and two red.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms has a three tip mountain, a red bull, and a waving blue stripe representing the abundant water in the zone and also in reverence to the primitive matron of the town of Cayey. The shield is topped with the silver lamb symbol of San Juan of Puerto Rico, and a red book.


Cayey has direct access to Puerto Rico Highway 52 and its downtown/business area is served by Puerto Rico Highway 14, which grants access to Aibonito to the west and is the main route to the University of Puerto Rico in town, and by Puerto Rico Highway 15 which grants access to south Cayey and Guayama. Puerto Rico Highway 1 Bypass runs through the town's business area. The municipality has good paved roads and is easily accessible from San Juan, being only 25 miles (40 km) away, as well as from Ponce, being only 38 miles (60 km) away. Due to its proximity to Caguas and easy access via PR-52, Cayey has seeing significant growth in the last years.


Higher education

Health care

Notable natives and residents

Sister cities

See also

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cayey, Puerto Rico.


  1. The Columbia Encyclopedia. Columbia University Press. 2016 via Credo.
  2. Life in Cayey during the first part of the 20th century, and the last part of the 19th century, is exquisitely detailed in "Obras Completas" by Cayey's native son Miguel Melendez Muñoz
  3. FUDS (27 Sept 2006). Project Fact Sheet-August 2005. Jacksonville, FLA: Army Corps of Engineer
  4. (Department of the Navy (1915). Map showing boundary lines of the original Spanish Reservation and the present reservation February 7, 1903: Washington, D.C.: Bureau of Yards & Docks, Department of the Navy
  5. Executive Order of June 30, 1903, under an Act of Congress approved on July 7, 1902
  6. (Hopper, S.C. (1922) Development of high power radio and its practical applications in the Services of the United States Navy. Radio Broadcast Magazine 1(3), 484-489).
  7. Fassig, O.L. (September 1928). San Felipe-the Hurricane of September 13, 1928, at San Juan, P.R. San Juan, Puerto Rico: Station Report Weather Bureau Office-San Juan
  8. (Adjutant General 600.913).
  9. ( Parsons, Inc (2010). Site Inspection Report: Henry Barracks Military Reservation. Norcross, Georgia: U.S. Army Corps of Engineers-FUDS Project 102PR097902).
  10. (Quartermaster (July 31, 1929) Completion Report at Henry Barracks, Puerto Rico. Governors Island, New York: War Department.
  11. (Smith, C. (July 15, 1930). Completion Report for the construction of one two-company barracks and two one-company barracks at Henry Barracks, Cayey, Puerto Rico: Quartermaster Constructing Report. U.S. Army).
  12. (Smith, C. (July 15, 1930). Completion Report for the construction of one two-company barracks and two one-company barracks at Henry Barracks, Cayey, Puerto Rico: Quartermaster Constructing Report. U.S. Army. p.4
  13. Personal communication with Maj. Manuel Rivera Garcia (ret.) and Harry Benett, J.D.(August 24, 2014)
  14. El Mundo, 26 de enero 1965, p.7-8
  15. San Juan Star, Sunday Magazine p. 4 Agosto 1966
  16. Silva Gotay, S. (1967). Proposal for the development of the Instituto de Desarrollo Comunal de Puerto Rico. Funded by the Office of eEconomic Opportunity, Washington, D.C. under the Community Action Programs
  17. Line, Pictures On. "Geographical coordinates and cartography Cayey - Puerto Rico US". Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  18. "Natural history". Retrieved 2016-05-05.
  20. IIWINC. "Cayey Attractions | Caribya!". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
  21. Ethnicity 2000 census
  22. Elecciones Generales 2012: Escrutinio General Archived December 3, 2012, at the Wayback Machine. on CEEPUR
  23. Am Psychol. 2008 Nov;63(8):818-20
  24. "IMDb: Most Popular People Born In "Cayey/ Puerto Rico"". IMDb. Retrieved 2016-05-05. External link in |title= (help)
  25. "Cities: Sister Cities (How many?) (rates, places, America, Los Angeles) - City vs. City - City-Data Forum". Retrieved 2016-05-06.
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