Orocovis, Puerto Rico

Orocovis, Puerto Rico

Heart of Puerto Rico

orocovis matrullas
Matrullas Lake

Orocovis (o-ro-KO-vis) is known as the “Heart of Puerto Rico” and the “geographic center of Puerto Rico” because it is located precisely in the center of the island. The patron saint is San Juan Bautista.

Orocovis is bordered on the north by the municipalities of Ciales, Morovis and Corozal, on the south by Juana Díaz, Villalba and Coamo, on the east by the municipalities of Barranquitas and Corozal and on the west by Ciales.

Geographically, the municipality is part of the region known as the Cayey Range in the central mountain range, which is a mountainous zone. The municipality’s highest elevations are found to the south, on the border with the municipalities of Villalba and Coamo.

Coffee, tobacco and fruits are grown in Orocovis. There are also livestock farms, small industries producing food products, and a factory that makes electrical equipment. Sport fishing is popular in the municipality in El Guineco and Matrullas Lakes, where shrimp, sunfish and bass are found.


Before Orocovis foundation with approximately 75 families was a ward (Barros) of >Barranquitas. After the beginning of the last century the neighbors had made arrangements to found a town separate from the head of district.

On May 25, 1825 the population empowered Don Juan de Rivera Santiago to request from the governing authorities approval to found a population center on the site of Barros. It is here where the pupulation of district bought fourteen acres of land from Doña Eulalia de Rivera, who then donated an additional acre, so that the inhabitants could erect the Mayorship and other municipal structures. But lamentably the location was not suitable for settlement because of the distance from the water sources that the settlers would need.

For such reason the population asked the government for authorization to transfer the site to a place closer to water sources. The Governor, General Miguel de la Torre, granted the foundation of the new Barros municipality on November 10, 1825.

In 1838 the San Juan Bautista de Barros Parish was created, the same one was blessed and inaugurated October 29.

In 1875 a great fire destroyed the church, the mayorship, the priest’s house and large number of houses of the population.

In 1928 the Legislative Assembly of Puerto Rico approved a Joint Resolution by which the name of Barros was changed to Orocovis, name of the Taíno Chief Orocobix who governed this territory.


mapa orocovis Located in the area that is known as “The Heart of Puerto Rico“, it is bordered by: Ciales, Morovis and Corozal to the north; Juana Diaz, Villalba and Coamo to the south; Ciales to the west; and Barranquitas to the east.


163.8 sq km / 63.0 sq mi


23,844 (census 2000)

Population Density:

145.5 per sq km / 378.4 per sq mi

People are known as


Orocovis is also known as:

Corazón de Puerto Rico (Heart of Puerto Rico)
El Centro Geográfico de Puerto Rico (The Geographic Center of Puerto Rico)

Wards: Orocovis, Puerto Rico

barrios orocovis

Census 2000:
Population by Wards – Orocovis
Ala de la Piedra418
Bauta Abajo1,651
Bauta Arriba908
Damián Abajo746
Damián Arriba893
Mata de Cañas487
Orocovis Town851
Total 23,844

Source: Censo 2000


San Juan Bautista
San Juan Bautista Parish
PO Box 2114
Orocovis, Puerto Rico 00720-2114
(787) 867-2210
Founded: 1838
Patron’s Day: June 24

orocovis iglesia
Parroquia San Juan Bautista


Most of its terrain runs through the Central Mountain Range. The greater elevations are found in the south, between the limits of the municipality with Villalba and Coamo. Its highest elevation is the Mogote hill.


It is bathed by the Toro Negro, Sana Muertos, Orocovis, Matrullas, Bauta rivers and the Doña Juana, Palmar y Cacaos gorges among others. Its hydrographic system is made up of two dams or lakes: El Guineo Lake, which is formed in the channel of the Toro Negro river and the Matrullas Lake which is formed in the channel of the river of the same name, in the Bauta ward.


Agriculture: coffee, tobacco, fruits and cattle. It also has several small nutritional product industries and a electrical equipment factory.

Average Salary:

$243.11 weekly (1998)


orocovis bandera La bandera de Orocovis está formada por cinco franjas verticales, dispuestas de la siguiente forma:
* Two green at the ends
* A blue one in the center divided by two narrower stripes

The green stripes represent the territories of Aibonito and Barranquitas and the two small white stripes represent those portions of territory yielded by the municipalities of Barranquitas and Morovis for the formation of the Barros municipality, in 1825, that is the present municipality of Orocovis. The central blue strip represents the regional dominion Chief Orocobix, previous to the colonization. On this stripe appears an oval with seventeen rays that represent the territorial demarcations. The sun, like the central body of our planetary system, was chosen to symbolize the position of this municipality as the geographic center of Puerto Rico.

Coat Of Arms:

orocovis escudoThe oval is symbol of the letter “o”, initial of the name of the town. In each quadrant appear representative elements of the town. In the left superior quadrant an Indian bust, symbol of the great “Chief Orocovix”, in silhouetted in gold on a silver-plated background. The Indian bust faces towards the star or sun that appears in the superior right quadrant, which is in gold on a blue background and represents the territorial municipality with its seventeen rays or demarcations. In the inferior quadrant a plantain plant is observed, silhouetted in gold on a silver-plated background. A bridge also silhouetted in gold on a blue background, above the river appears in the left inferior quadrant.

The Indian represents the Taíno roots and the noble courage of its people. The sun is symbol of the municipality as the geographic center of the island of Puerto Rico. The plantain plant represents the main source of subsistence, the fecundity of the soil, the love for the land and the nature and work. The bridge is symbol of the hospitality, communication and friendship with the neighboring towns. It is also a main physical characteristic that distinguishes the municipality. The three tower gold crown above the shield, is symbol of the category that corresponds to the town.

The colors of the shield also have their meaning. The green represents the physical color of nature in the fields, it is symbol of the hope of progress and abundance that emanates of its soil. The blue symbolizes spiritual sincerity and nobility. The silver-plated and the gold are indicative of precious metals. They are symbols of the security and spiritual wealth that characterize the people. “Orocovis”, a town equipped with great human and spiritual values!

Places To Visit:

  • Indian Cave
  • Lake Matrullas
  • Orocovis Museum
  • Taíno Refuge


  • Children’s Theater Festival – April
  • Patron Saint Festival – June
  • Shrimp Festival – July
  • Artisan Fair – September
  • Youth Festival – October
  • Puerto Rican National Meat Pie Festival – November

Distinguished Citizens:

  • Father Efraín Rodríguez Otero –Served as parish priest at the Caridad Church in Hato Rey and was secretary of social communications media for the Catholic Church in the Archdiocese of San Juan.
  • Marcos Colón – Poet and prose writer. Contributed to numerous periodicals, some of which he founded. He wrote two books of verse: Pullas y pullitas and Volcán activo. He was elected as a member of the Provincial Academy of Fine Arts of Málaga, Spain (1923).
  • Ismael Rodríguez Bou – date Educator and writer. Rector of the University of Puerto Rico from 1974 to 1978. Member of the Puerto Rican Academy of the Spanish Language. He was permanent secretary of theCouncil of High Education, director of the Office of Pedagogical Research, advisor to UNESCO, president of the General Council of the Puerto Rico Conservatory of Music (1987-1989) and president of the Educational Reform Committee (1988). He took part in educational missions to India and Latin America. He is the author of various works on the topic of education. Selected as Humanista del año in 1992 by the Puerto Rican National Endowment of Humanities.
  • Agustín Burgos Rivera – Distinguished Puerto Rican politician. He was a delegate to the first Pro Independence Congress (1943) and the Constituent Convention of the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico. An active member of the Popular Democratic Party, in 1944 he was elected to the House of Representatives, where he presided over the Commerce Committee, and he was senator from 1949 to 1964.
  • Jenaro Collazo Collazo – Sociologist. He was a professor at the Mayagüez Campus of the University of Puerto Rico and senior member of the social sciences Faculty at the Río Piedras Campus of the same university. He served as secretary of the Department of Social Services in the administration of Governor Carlos Romero Barceló.
  • Celestino Avilés –Artisan. He carved saints from wood. He was the organizer of the Encuentro Nacional de Santeros that was held annually in Orocovis from 1983 on. In 2001, he won the National Heritage Prize granted by the National Endowment for the Arts.
  • Andrés (El Jíbaro) Jiménez – Singer and songwriter of Puerto Rican folk music. Represented Puerto Rico in the Tenth Youth Festival in Germany and the First Latin American People Sing Festival in Cuba.

Public Schools sorted by educational levels.

Orocovis District

Name Level Telephone Address
ÁNGEL G. RIVERAElementary(787) 867-5488PO Box 1842
DAMIÁN ABAJOElementary(787) 867-5466PO Box 1842
NELIDA MELÉNDEZ MELÉNDEZElementary(787) 867-2840PO Box 1605
ROMÁN DÍAZ AVILESElementary(787) 867-0011PO Box 1842
VISITACIÓN PAGÁNElementary(787) 867-5383PO Box 1693
GATO IIntermediate(787) 867-2410PO Box 1693
ALBERTO MELÉNDEZSecondary(787) 867-3353PO Box 644
ANA DALILA BURGOS ORTIZSecondary(787) 867-0106PO Box 1841
BONIFACIO ALVARADOSecondary(787) 867-4633PO Box 1202
BOTIJAS ISecondary(787) 867-2260PO Box 2115
BOTIJAS IISecondary(787) 867-0411PO Box 136
MATRULLASSecondary(787) 867-3966PO Box 2115
SALTOS CABRASSecondary(787) 867-4686PO Box 1575
SANAMUERTOSSecondary(787) 867-1175PO Box 2124
JOSÉ ROJAS CORTESHigh School(787) 867-2630PO Box 2112


By Celestino Avilés, hijo

Mi patria es una bella isla
y Orocovis su corazón
y a ese pueblo que me dio la vida
hoy le canto con todo mi amor.

Rodeado de verdes montañas
vigilado por un árbol de mangó
centinela y fiel testigo de su historia,
de su gente, de su honra y su valor

Fue en tu suelo que nació
el gran Cacique Orocobix
y muchos hombres que le han
dado tanta gloria a mi país.

Y es por eso que hoy
doy gracias al Señor
de nacer en este suelo…
¡Que orgulloso estoy!

De poder levantar tu escudo
y tu bandera y gritar a donde vaya…
¡Orocoveño soy!
¡Orocoveño soy!

How to get to Orocovis from San Juan.

direction orocovis


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