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Dorado, Puerto Rico

Dorado (do-RAH-do) is a small tourist town in the northern coast of Puerto Rico, 15 miles west of San Juan and is located in the northern region of the island, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, north of Toa Alta, east of Vega Alta, and west of Toa Baja. Dorado is spread over five barrios and Dorado Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). The town is probably best known as a tourist destination with world-class golf courses, hotels, and a beautiful municipal beach.

In the early 1900s the Rockefeller family purchased huge plots of land in the northwest region of the municipality of Dorado where they built a huge private vacation compound. Laurance Rockefeller would later use this land to create Dorado Beach Hotel and Golf Club, which later became the Dorado Beach Hyatt Hotel and Casino and is now the Hyatt Hacienda Del Mar. Dorado Beach Hotel and Cerromar both plan to reopen in 2010.

The Dorado Airport was operated from 1942 to 1996. The airport began as a military landing strip, then became a civilian airport in the 1960s with Caribair and Dorado Wings flights operating until 1980 and 1982 respectively. The airport operated as a private landing strip throughout the 1980s and then fell into disrepair. In 1996, the airport was rezoned as residential land and redeveloped.

Dorado has upscale neighborhoods and a small downtown area with a plaza (Spanish town square), as other Puerto Rican municipalities. The town's patron saint is Anthony of Padua, and patron saint celebrations are held at the plaza every year on June 13.

President Gerald Ford once stayed in Dorado during his presidency, for a 1976 meeting with other heads of state from the Caribbean.

Dorado has been voted Puerto Rico's cleanest town several times throughout its history.

History

In 1831, Dorado existed as a barrio (or ward) of the town of Toa Baja. Over several years, the ward grew and established its own town center called the "new pueblo" to differentiate itself from Toa Baja, which became known as the "old pueblo." Over several years, the wards that currently make up Dorado grew and the people of the "new pueblo" wanted to separate themselves from Toa Baja.

On November 22, 1842, Jacinto López Martínez, the Sergeant at Arms for the ward of Dorado, petitioned the Spanish Governor of Puerto Rico, Santiago Méndez Vigo, to establish the municipality of Dorado. The governor authorized the founding of the town pending the construction of public works, including an administrative building and a church near the town square. In 1848, the construction of the public works were completed and López Martínez became the first mayor of Dorado.

In the beginning of the 20th century, after the U.S. Invasion, Dorado was again appended to Toa Baja, but that changed again after a few decades.

Symbols

Flag

The flag is composed of three stripes of equal width: the upper and lower stripes are golden, and the center one is brown. A brown, equal-sided triangle is placed with its base at the hoist.

Coat of arms

The crown is gold with brown windows. The three towers mean that Dorado is a town, a properly constituted municipality. Underneath the crown, there are five disks that form a Tau.

Geography and topography

Climate

Dorado's climate is very hot in the summer months and cool in the winter. Temperatures range around 50°F to 80°F in the winter and 75°F to 95°F in the summer.

Geography

Much of Dorado's geology consists of alluvial and coastal/estuarine sediments of Quaternary age and limestones of Tertiary age. The limestones are mostly in the south part of the municipality, in Espinosa, Maguayo and Rio Lajas Wards. These limestones exhibit mature karst topography of great beauty. Unfortunately it has been subjected to extensive quarrying, which have left unsightly scars in the landscape. Some local communities have gathered efforts to minimize quarrying and improve land management to protect the remaining karst topography and the fauna and flora that lives in it.

Bodies of water

Dorado is the site of some important bodies of water. Some of them are:

  • Rivers: Cocal, Lajas, La Plata, and Rio Nuevo
  • Mata Redonda lagoon
  • Punta Fraile marsh

Demographics

Barrios (districts/wards)

Dorado is divided into barrios:

  • Dorado Pueblo
  • Espinosa
  • Higuillar
  • Magüayo
  • Mameyal
  • Río Lajas

Housing developments (Urbanizaciones)

Dorado is also known for its upscale neighborhoods, serving Puerto Rico's high-end class, such as:

  • Dorado del Mar
  • Dorado Beach East
  • Quintas de Dorado
  • Sabanera de Dorado
  • Dorado Reef
  • Paseos de Dorado
  • The Fairways
  • Haciendas del Molino
  • Treasure Point
  • Los Montes
  • Jardines de Dorado
  • The Greens
  • Dorado Estates
  • The Cottages
  • Casa Mata Redonda
  • Breñas Estates
  • Plantation Village
  • Urb.Martorel
  • Palma Dorada Village by the Sea
  • Haciendas de Dorado

Anthem

By Juan Alegría Rivera

Por fin, en las riberas
del Dorado querido,
las corrientes del Plata,
que corren sin cesar,
traen a sus orillas
sus perlas y corales,
que emergen adornando
desde el fondo de la mar.
Que emergen adornando
desde el fondo de la mar.

Son lindas sus montañas,
que alegran el paseo,
aspirando las brisas
que vienen desde el mar,
y en las noches de calma,
reciben las caricias,
de las pampas alegres
en que duerme el terrenal.
De las pampas alegres
en que duerme el terrenal.

Los días de mi vida
que ufano consagré
al culto del estudio
con incesante afán.
Hoy, son óptimos frutos
que en generoso empeño,
al pueblo doradeño
aquí vengo a brindar.
Al pueblo doradeño
aquí vengo a brindar.

Economy

Business

Commerce Tourism

Industrial

Manufacture (clothing & medical equipment)

Tourism

Dorado has long been known as a golf haven. Its tourist industry includes the Dorado Beach Resort, the Hyatt Hacienda del Mar, and a recently opened Embassy Suites in the Dorado Del Mar neighborhood.

Landmarks and places of interest

  • Bazar Park
  • Casa de Rey Museum
  • Cerro Gordo Beach
  • Distinguished Doradeños Plaza
  • Juan Boria Theater
  • Ojo del Buey Regional Park
  • Sardinera Beach
  • Santuary Christ of the Reconciliation (with the third largest Christ statue in the Caribbean in a temple)

Festivals and events

Transportation

  • Public Trolley
  • Dorado has a form of shuttle services for handicapped people.

Education

  • Dorado Academy
  • TASIS Dorado
  • Jose S. Alegria High School
  • Pedro Lopez Canino Elementary and Middle School
  • Luis Muñoz Marin Elementary School
  • Ricardo Arroyo Middle School
  • Marcelino Canino Canino - Middle School
  • Luisa Valderrama - Elementary School

Sports

Some of the sports played in the town are:

  • Volleyball
  • Baseball
  • Golf
  • Basketball

Notable "Doradeños"

References

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