Carraizo lake

Carraizo lake

Trujillo Alto was founded in 1801 and dedicated to Santa Cruz. It is known as the “City of Springs,” the “Town of Eight Streets,” the “City in the Country” and the “Town of Learners”.

There are various explanations for the origin of the latter nickname. Some believe it comes from the appearance of houses built in the mountains of the town. They were so close to each other that they appear to be leaning on each other. Others believe that it could be related to an alleged habit of Trujillo Alto residents. Another version links it to a stone that resembled a cow and was formerly located in the town. It was a meeting point for residents, who leaned against it while talking. The stone was removed from the town and placed on the banks of the Grande de Loíza River.

Trujillo Alto’s population is 75,728 (2000 Census). The municipality covers an area of 54.6 square kilometers (21 square miles) and is divided into the sectors of Carraízo, Cuevas, Dos Bocas, La Gloria, Quebrada Grande, Quebrada Negrito, Saint Just and Trujillo Alto Pueblo.

Previously, the municipality’s lands were dedicated mainly to agriculture and raising livestock. Coffee, sugar cane, guava, rice and tobacco, among other crops, were harvested. In recent decades, however, the municipality has experienced accelerated development marked by an increase in the construction of housing and a proliferation of commercial establishments.

The Doña Inés Park in Trujillo Alto was born from a desire to preserve green areas and nature in the town and was a project of the Luis Muñoz Marín Foundation. Its objective is to create an urban lung and to propagate endemic species that are in danger of extinction.

Also, in an effort to preserve rural traditions, the municipality recently began an initiative to create a new musical form, the “seis trujillano“. The verses recorded for the first of these folk songs allude to the neighborhoods, traditions, customs and culture of Trujillo Alto. The municipality is also the site of the a young folksingers school.

Trujillo Alto is the site of an important reservoir that supplies water to various surrounding towns. The Carraízo dam, built in 1954, also provides the principal source of water for the metropolitan area.


The municipality of Trujillo Alto is located in the northern part of Puerto Rico. It is bordered by San Juan on the north and west, by Caguas and Gurabo on the south and by Carolina on the east. It is part of the northern coastal plain and the karst zone. The vegetation is typical of tropical humid forests. Trujillo Alto is mostly hilly and the region is humid. Its highest elevations reach to between 656.16 and 1,640 feet (200 and 500 meters) above sea level. These are located mainly in the southern part of the municipality in the Quebrada Grande sector. According to data from the U.S. Geological Survey, elevations along the Grande de Loíza River range from 32.8 and 65.6 feet (10 to 25 meters).

Bodies of water in Trujillo Alto include the Grande de Loíza River, which crosses the municipality from the south to the east, and the Colorada, Infierno, Limones, Naranjo, Grande, Pastrana, Haya Fría and Maracuto streams, as well as the Carraízo Reservoir. This lake is the largest in Puerto Rico, covering 533 square kilometers (206 square miles). Its original capacity was 20,000 foot-acres, nearly 25 millions cubic meters. It stores potable water for the San Juan metropolitan area.

Santa Cruz church

Santa Cruz church

During the 17th century, the Spanish Crown granted Miguel Díaz, a native of the town of Trujillo in Spain, a large ranch that extended along both banks of the Grande de Loíza River. This territory, which belonged to the Taino region called Cayniabón and ruled by the Chief Canobaná, became known as Trujillo Alto and Trujillo Bajo.

The residents of the areas that today are part of the jurisdiction of Trujillo Alto approached the bishop and the governor of Puerto Rico to request permission to build a chapel. The river’s periodic floods made it difficult for the residents to travel to Río Piedras to attend mass. The establishment of a church was the first step toward obtaining authorization to found a village.

The residents on the left bank of the Grande de Loíza River were opposed, because if the right, or eastern, bank was settled, they would still be unable to cross the river during floods to reach the town. In the end, the residents on the right bank won and on January 8, 1801, the new municipality was officially constituted with the name Santa Cruz de Trujillo Alto.

In 1826, communications with Trujillo Alto improved notably with the construction of the first two bridges: one over the Piedras River and another over the Grande River. On September 13, 1828, the Hurricane San Felipe destroyed the town’s Catholic church and it was rebuilt in reinforced concrete. Three years later, Trujillo Alto was organized into six sectors. It consisted of the sectors of Carraízo, Cuevas, Quebrada Grande, Quebrada Infierno and Trujillo Alto Pueblo.

In 1844, the Kings House was built and, ten years later, the first school was founded with an enrollment of 49 students. In the following years, the population fell notably due to the deaths caused by the cholera epidemic of 1855.

The economy of the region, which in the early years was based mostly on raising livestock, grew with the cultivation of sugar cane and fruit. Also produced in Trujillo Alto are sugar, syrup, brandy, rice and corn.

In 1902, the Puerto Rico Legislative Assembly approved the law for the consolidation of certain municipal terms and eliminated the municipality of Trujillo Alto and incorporated all of its sectors into Carolina. In 1905, a new law passed by the legislative assembly repealed the previous law and restored Trujillo to its status as an independent municipality.

In 1910, a public lighting system was created in Trujillo Alto. The system consisted of sixteen gas lanterns. Three years later, in 1913, they were converted to electricity. In 1939, the United States Army built an iron bridge over the Grande de Loíza River to be able to mobilize troops to Gurabo.

Today, the municipality has factories producing food products, wood products, cloth, metal, and electric and electronic machinery. There are also quarries where stone is mined, fruit orchards, and livestock farms. Deposits of marble also exist in the municipality.



The current flag of Trujillo Alto consists of a white background with part of the image of the municipality’s coat of arms in the center.

Coat of Arms

On a field of silver are three green mountains, placed on a band on which stands a Latin cross (blue). In the blue border are eight waterfalls, silver in color. The seal is topped with a crown wall of gold with five towers. Under the seal is a ribbon with the inscription: Trujillo Alto.

City Hall

City Hall

• 1801 – Juan Francisco Carazo
• 1802 – Víctor Fernández
• 1803 – Francisco de Andino
• 1806 – Pedro Díaz
• 1812 – Buenaventura Quiñones
• 1814 – Lino M. Valldejuli
• 1818 – Manuel Díaz
• 1821 – Nicolás Vizcarrondo
• 1822 – Juan Villalobos
• 1823 – Mateo Ramos and Buenaventura Quiñones
• 1824 – Antonio Caparrós, Tomás Ruiz and Juan Rodríguez
• 1825 – Juan Colón
• 1826 – Manuel Díaz and Juan Dolores Morales
• 1827 – Juan B. Ramírez
• 1829 – Andrés Vizcarrondo
• 1830 – José Joaquín Díaz and Gaspar de Andino
• 1832 – Manuel de Rivera and Tomás Ruiz
• 1834 – José Ramírez de Arellano
• 1836 – José María de Rivera
• 1838 – Juan B. Ramírez
• 1839- Mateo Ramos
• 1840 – Juan Pablo de Rivera
• 1841 – José María de Torres
• 1842 – Mateo Ramos
• 1843 – José María de Rivera
• 1846 – José Joaquín Díaz
• 1847- Carlos Landrau
• 1848 – José A. Díaz and José C. Carrión
• 1849- José Balbino de Torres
• 1850 – Fausto García
• 1851 – Eusebio Colón
• 1853- José Balbino de Torres
• 1857 – José R. Aguirre
• 1858 – José Martínez Díaz
• 1859- Juan R. Aguirre
• 1860- Mauricio Arias
• 1861 – José Tomás de Sárraga
• 1864- José Tomas de Sárraga
• 1866 – José Ruiz
• 1867 – Ramón Sánchez López and José Estarache
• 1870 – Emiliano Díaz, Manuel Mellado Romero and Joaquín Aldeay Berenguer
• 1872- Andrés A Hernández, Felipe Rivera and José Torres Vallejo
• 1874 – José B. Torres, Lorenzo Ferrer and Ramón Sánchez López
• 1876- Manuel Mellado and Segundo Sehy
• 1877- Manuel Mellado and José Torres Vallejo
• 1879 – Manuel Mellado Romero
• 1885 – J. Antonio García
• 1890 – Ramón Sánchez López
• 1891- Diego Betances
• 1892 – Ramón Castro, Vicente Izquierdo, Sebastián del Valle and José Ramón Carmoega
• 1893- Lorenzo Ferrer
• 1894 Felipe Pastrana
• 1895-1897- José Ramón Carmoega
• 1898 – José Gonzalo Díaz
• 1899 – José Monserrate Monge
• 1900 – Francisco Nemesio Díaz
• 1905 – Andrés Valcárcel
• 1928- Andrés Valcárcel Reyes
• 1932- Andrés Valcárcel Reyes
• 1937 – Ricardo Viera and Fermín Viera
• 1941 – Luis Cruz
• 1944 – Jusina Viñas
• 1945 – Natalio Aponte Valentín
• 1958 – Isabel Díaz de Díaz
• 1962 – Heriberto Zayas Montañez
• 1969 – Arturo Crespo Valentín
• 1973 – Elsie Calderón de Hernández
• 1977 – José Viera
• 1981 – Pedro A. Padilla Ayala
• 1993 – Ramón Rivera
• 1997 – Brunilda “Brunnie” Soto Echevarría
• 2000 – Pedro A. Padilla Ayala

2008 – currently José Luis Cruz Cruz

Carraizo Reservoir

Carraizo Reservoir

Hon. José Luis Cruz Cruz

Places of Interest 

• Luis Muñoz Marín Foundation
• The Grotto of Lourdes
• Family park
• Town plaza
• Carraízo Lake and Reservoir
• San José Carmelite Convent
• La Montaña spring
• Doña Inés park

Illustrious Citizens

Emilio Díaz Valcárcel – writer

Tulio Larrinaga 
– civil engineer and resident commissioner

Medardo Carazo
 – educator

José Fermín Díaz Viera – historian

Manuel Rivera Morales
 – sports announcer and commentator

Yolandita Monge – singer and actress


o Agricultural Fair – February
o Patron Saint Festival – May
o Arrecostao Marathon – September
o Paso Fino Festival – November
o Macabeo Festival – December

Note: These articles have been edited and checked by academics and specialists in History. Discrepancies may exist among historians regarding some data.

Author: Grupo Editorial EPRL
Published: June 14, 2015.

Images Gallery of Trujillo Alto

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