Santurce, San Juan, Puerto Rico

For other uses, see Santurce.
Barrio of the Municipality of San Juan

Aerial view of Santurce

Location of Santurce shown in yellow
Country  Puerto Rico
District Santurce
Borough San Juan
  Total 8.70 sq mi (22.53 km2)
  Land 5.24 sq mi (13.57 km2)
  Water 3.46 sq mi (8.96 km2)
  Total 94,067
  Density 17,955.7/sq mi (6,931.2/km2)
  (US Census 2000)

Santurce is one of the districts (or barrios) of San Juan, Puerto Rico, United States. It is also the biggest and most populated of all the districts in the capital. With a total population of 94,067, Santurce has a bigger population than most of the municipalities of Puerto Rico. As a result, it is also one of the most densely populated areas of the island (17,955.7 persons per square mile).[1]


Santurce is one of the top ten most-populated areas of the island. It includes the neighborhoods of Miramar, Loíza, Isla Grande, Barrio Obrero, and Condado, which are cultural hot spots for art, music, cuisine, fashion, hotels, technology, multimedia, film, textile and startups.

The 2000 U.S. Census recorded a total population of 94,067 people living in an area of 5.24 square miles (13.6 km2). It is the most populous borough (barrio) in Puerto Rico and one of the most densely populated areas of San Juan, at 17, 951.7 residents per square mile (6,931.2/km²).


Geographically speaking, Santurce is a peninsula that is attached to the mainland in the east, where it borders with the Isla Verde district of Carolina. It is 7.6 km long from west to east, and up to 3.0 km wide in the eastern part. The peninsula is bounded by the Atlantic Ocean in the north, with more than five km of beaches from the Condado peninsula in the west, to a point 600 m east of "Punta Las Marías", where it borders on the Isla Verde area, and "Laguna San José" and its northern embayment, "Laguna Los Corozos" to the east.

To the south is the Martín Peña Channel, which separates Santurce from the northern barrios of former municipio Río Piedras: Hato Rey Norte, Hato Rey Central, and Oriente. To the west is San Juan Bay, where three bridges, "Puente Dos Hermanos" (Ave. Ashford), "Puente G. Esteves" (Ave. Ponce de León) and "Puente San Antonio" (Ave. Fernandes Juncos) connect Santurce with "La Isleta" (small island) where Old San Juan is located. It has a total area of 8.70 square miles (22.5 km2) composed of 5.24 square miles (13.6 km2) of land and 3.46 square miles (9.0 km2) of water area.

The topography is mainly flat with low hills toward the central areas and swampy areas to the south along the Martín Peña Channel and to the east near the Laguna San José (San José Lagoon). The highest point is at Monteflores with 23 meters (75 feet).


Santurce is located along the north-eastern coast of Puerto Rico. It lies south of the Atlantic Ocean, east of Old San Juan and west of Isla Verde. The district occupies an area of 5.24 square miles (13.6 km2) of land and 3.46 (8.96 km2) of water. It is surrounded by six (6) bodies of water: San Juan Bay, Condado Natural Lagoon, the Martín Peña Channel, San José Lagoon, Los Corozos Lagoon, and the Atlantic Ocean with its respective beaches and estuaries.[2]



Santurce was originally settled by the native Indians and later by slaves of African ancestry who arrived from the neighboring Danish West Indies. Throughout the centuries, the district continued to grow due to its crossfade location between San Juan and its southern suburbs.[3]

Spanish influence

In 1876, an engineer from the port town of Santurtzi in Spain's autonomous Basque Country region known as Pablo Ubarri arrived on the island to help in the construction of a railroad system and a steam tramway between San Juan and the town of Río Piedras through the center of "Cangrejos" which prompted the gentrification of the district. Many years after his arrival he was granted the title of Count of Santurce (which is the Hispanicized equivalent of Santurtzi) by the Spanish Crown. With his newly acquired title and influence, the district was renamed after his title (a decision that has caused controversy ever since). The neighboring Condado also received its present-name from Ubarri's title, as the district's name literally translates to "county" (which in medieval tradition is land granted by a monarch to a count).[4]

Treaty of Paris (1898)

The Treaty of Paris provided that Cuba would become independent from Spain but the U.S. Congress made sure it would be under U.S. control through the Platt Amendment. It ceded to the United States Puerto Rico, and other adjacent islands then under Spanish sovereignty in the Caribbean, as well as Guam and the Philippines in Asia-Pacific region.

The United States Army established the now historical Camp Las Casas, in the area of "Las Casas" in 1904. The camp was the main training base of the "Porto Rico Regiment of Infantry" (on January 15, 1899, the military government changed the name of Puerto Rico to Porto Rico and on May 17, 1932, U.S. Congress changed the name back to "Puerto Rico") The Porto Rico Regiment of Infantry was a segregated U.S. Army Regiment which was later renamed the "65th Infantry Regiment". The base continued in operation until 1946, when it was finally closed and the Residencial Las Casas now stands.[5]

The 20th century

In the 20th century the conurbation of the San Juan metropolis expanded rapidly beyond its walled confines of Old San Juan to incorporate the boroughs of suburban Miramar, Santurce, Isla Grande, and Condado, along the coast, as well as industrial Hato Rey, with its large sports stadium and modern financial district, and the college town of Río Piedras, immediately to the southeast.[6] Between 1937 and 1948, Santurce along with neighboring district Miramar becomes one of the most vibrant areas of the capital.[7] However, by the 1970s, most of the district had begun to fall into decay, losing the luster and vibrancy it once had. By 1980 the San Juan metropolitan area included the surrounding municipalities to the east and west and had about one-third of Puerto Rico's total population; that proportion has grown to two-thirds of the population.[8]

The 21st century

After the September 11 attacks of 2001, Santurce saw a period of economic decline coupled with the financial crisis of the local banking[9] & mortgage system.[10] In 2009, the district began a period of cosmopolitan revival and economic growth[11] as many local establishments such as bars, clubs, and restaurants opened their doors due to the importance of trade and tourism.[12][13][14]


District of Santurce

Santurce has a community of 94,067 of inhabitants living in a land area of 5.24 square miles (13.6 km2). It is subdivided into 40 "sub-barrios" (sub-districts).


For centuries "barrios" have been the first "geo-political" division of Puerto Rico's municipalities, however presently they primarily serve for statistical purposes for both the U.S. Census Bureau & the Puerto Rico Planning Board. The most densely populated area lies to the southeast bordering the San José Lagoon and the Martín Peña Channel, while the least densely populated areas are found by the mangrove swamps to the south surrounding the Martín Peña Channel, and the western area of Isla Grande, which was a former United States Navy military base.

Population density per sub-district of Santurce according to Census 2000.
For reference, see above locator map of "sub-barrios" (sub-districts) of Santurce
Per capita income by sub-district of Santurce according to Census 2000.
Nr.Sub-barrio Land Area
(Census 2000)
1Alto del Cabro15671711647427.4
2Barrio Obrero10342001146711087.8
5Buenos Aires44698613032915.1
6Campo Alegre1230619427654.7
15Isla Grande1)2039968753369.1
16La Zona37968712803371.2
17Las Casas2)80350067758431.9
18Las Marías24222311724838.5
19Las Palmas31617127728767.4
22María Moczó106196196418494.1
24Martín Peña1856924152234.9
30Ocean Park4)52089119763793.5
32Pozo del Hato176987137774.1
34Sagrado Corazón34547216464764.5
35San Juan Moderno91500108311836.1
36San Mateo168864198911778.7
39Tras Talleres168076245314594.6
40Villa Palmeras163389264816206.7
1) recently named Puerto Rico Convention Center
2) including "Isla Guachinanga" in the "Laguna San José"
3) should be attributed to Merhoff Sub-Barrio (22) [15]
4) including "Isla Piedra" one km off the Atlantic coast



Structures of architectural value and historical importance are located mainly throughout Avenida Ponce de León, Ashford Avenue and Avenida Fernández Juncos.

Public spaces




Santurce is served by a rapid transit system called Tren Urbano (Urban Train). The main station is located on the southeast section of the district next to Sagrado Corazón and Monteflores. Bus lines (locally known as guaguas) are operated by the Metropolitan Bus Authority (Autoridad Metropolitana de Autobuses).


Museums and galleries

Santurce is the main residence of two major museums on the island.

Performing arts


Santurce is home to some of the most prestigious private education institutions in Puerto Rico.

It also includes notable public schools:

Synagogues and cathedrals

Santurce is home to one of the largest Jewish communities in Puerto Rico with over 1,500 people attending two local synagogues. Jews were officially prohibited from settling in the island through much of its history, but many managed to settle in the island as secret Jews.[16]

Many arrived from France, the Netherlands, Saint-Barthélemy and Curaçao after World War II. A minor portion are descendants of Jewish Cubans who came to establishment after Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution of 1959. Like in many former Spanish colonies founded soon after the Spanish Inquisition, there are some Puerto Ricans who are Crypto-Jews. Some of them maintain elements of Jewish traditions, although they themselves are, or were raised as Christians.


Santurce has the most modern swimming facilities in the Caribbean and fourth in the world. It is an Olympic aquatic sports facility used to host local and international events such as the 2nd A.S.U.A Pan American Masters Swimming Championship. The San Juan Natatorium is located in Santurce's Central Park.

The district also has a baseball and a basketball team both known as the Santurce Crabbers (Cangrejeros de Santurce) because of the original name of the township. They have been part of the community for over 70 years. Both teams have enjoyed great domestic success, the baseball team is regarded as the ‘New York Yankees of Puerto Rico’, largely in part to the accomplishments of its legendary players, such as Roberto Clemente and Willie Mays.


Santurce has an extensive healthcare network which includes two of the finest hospitals on the island, Ashford Presbyterian Community Hospital and Pavia Hospital.


Santurce experienced significant economic growth following World War II. During this period the district underwent an economic revitalization. Tourism is also a key industry based on Santurce's proximity to Puerto Rico's main international airport, Luis Muñoz Marín International Airport, and the smaller Fernando Luis Ribas Dominicci Airport. The concentration of hotels are primarily located in the Condado area where there are numerous luxurious hotels including La Concha Resort, Marriott and the Conrad Hotel.

Notable residents


  1. "Link to Puerto Rico - San Juan". Proyecto Salón Hogar (in Spanish). Retrieved November 29, 2012.
  2. Bliss, Peggy Ann. "A walking tour of Santurce". Puerto Rico Daily Sun. Retrieved 2010-03-29.
  3. Bliss, Peggy Ann. "A walking tour of Santurce (Part II)". Puerto Rico Daily Sun. Retrieved 2010-04-05.
  4. Cangrejos - Santurce - Authors; Aníbal Sepúlveda, Jorge Carbonell, Centro de Investigaciones CARIMAR, Oficina Estatal de Preservación Histórica.
  5. "Historia Militar de Puerto Rico"; by Héctor Andrés Negroni; pg. 370; ISBN 84-7888-138-7
  6. Teleview Productions (Emerson Yorke Studios). "Report on Puerto Rico, U.S.A. (1955)". Prelinger Archives. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
  7. A. Sepúlveda. Cangrejos: Historia ilustrada de su desarrollo urbano. (1987) p. 45.
  8. Encyclopædia Britannica. "The Contemporary City". Encyclopædia Britannica. Retrieved 2010-07-07.
  9. Kotoky, Anurag (2009-05-04). "U.S. banking regulators move to clean up the financial mess in Puerto Rico". Reuters. Retrieved 2010-05-04.
  10. Dash, Eric (2010-04-29). "Puerto Rican Lenders Face Their Own Crisis". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
  11. Peggy Ann Bliss. "$400,000 fund makes music for Santurce". Puerto Rico Daily Sun. Retrieved 2010-08-11.
  12. Schwartz, John (2001-04-30). "The Internet Bubble Bursts on the Screen; Documentary Shows Brief Life Of a Dot-Com". New York Times. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
  13. Egan, Kathleen (2010-03-16). "The 2.0 Report: Williamsburg Is The New Williamsburg". The New York Times Styles Magazine. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
  14. Dalton, Stephen (2009-10-17). "The rise and fall of Josh Harris? The Twitter generation's voice from the bunker". The Times. Retrieved 2010-07-14.
  16. Society For Crypto Judaic Studies, Harry Ezratty, Profile,; accessed March 18, 2015.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Santurce.

Coordinates: 18°26′27″N 66°02′50″W / 18.44083°N 66.04722°W / 18.44083; -66.04722

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