, picturesque Adjuntas is a small agricultural town of 19,000 inhabitants located in the mountains of the Cordillera Central, 25 km Northwest of Ponce. Founded in 1815 by Don Diego Maldonado (the first person to be married in its Catholic church) it is the highest municipality in Puerto Rico, with the town sitting at approximately 520 m (1700 ft) above sea level. Therefore, it has one of the highest points of the island, the Guilarte Peak (1200 m or 3953 ft), located in the verdant rain forest reserve by the same name. From its top you can admire some spectacular panoramic views of both Ponce and San Juan without the aid of binoculars.
Better known as “La Ciudad del Gigante Dormido” for the sleeping giant silhouette of its surrounding mountains, Adjuntas is also referred to as “La Tierra de los Lagos” due to its many lakes, and “La Suiza de Puerto Rico” (the Switzerland of Puerto Rico) because of its rather chilly weather when compared to the rest of the tropical island. A temperature of only 7 degrees Celsius (44 Fahrenheit) is the record low established in February 1975. The cool weather draws a good number of tourists during the hot summer months.
As a mountain town,
is one of the easier to reach in Puerto Rico due to the new road (PR10) that takes you straight from Ponce in less than 20 minutes. Many important Puerto Rican rivers, including the island’s largest (Río Grande de Arecibo) are born there. Lake Garzas with its inspiring waterfall and the Guilarte Forest Reserve attract visitors from all over who enjoy some excellent trails for hiking and interacting with nature. Leisurely explore while admiring the 70+ species of birds (like the emblematic migratory “Julián Chiví” or Vireo altiloquus) and 220+ species of trees identified in the jungle; including some rare endangered specimens like the West Indian walnut or “nogal” and the endemic fern “Polystichum calderonense”.
After the mid-19th Century the region welcomed many immigrants from the Mediterranean islands of Corsica and Mallorca who established large coffee plantations in the area. By the 1880’s, the locally produced coffee was proudly renowned and exported to the world and most especially to the Vatican. Elegant estates like Hacienda Luz de Luna (formerly Hacienda Mayol) and Hacienda Oliver are some historic coffee landmarks worth visiting. Still essentially an agricultural community, the town is nowadays said to be the largest citron fruit (cidra in Spanish) producer in the world. Each year, the much anticipated Cidra Festival takes places in the month of March. The patron saints for Adjuntas are "San Joaquín" and "Santa Ana" with corresponding festivities known as Fiestas Patronales annually celebrated each August.
Curiously, Adjuntas has the distinction of being the postal area with the lowest numerical ZIP code in the United States Postal Service (00601). It was visited by US President Theodore Roosevelt back in 1906. The Plaza de Recreo or main square at the town center was honorably named after its illustrious son Dr. Arístides Moll Boscana (1883-1964), versatile and multifaceted poet, precursor and best example of the modernist literary movement in Puerto Rico. Another notable among its many distinguished citizens is Dr. Fernando Rodríguez Vargas (1888-1932) an odontologist, scientist and US Army Major who discovered the bacteria that causes dental cavities.
While in the area plan to visit Casa Pueblo, an Adjuntas community based NGO formed in 1980, that endured a successful 15 year fight against governmental and private mining interests pretending to commercially exploit the region’s rich copper and other mineral deposits. Since then they have become the respected standard bearer of Puerto Rico’s conservationist and ecological movement. Recipient of the prestigious Goldman Environmental Award in 2002, Casa Pueblo currently operates from their own, carefully restored historic headquarters.
Among their varied visitors offer they boast a cultural center complete with artisan shop, library, antiques room, historic photos gallery, solar energy and hydroponic systems, organic greenhouse, a butterfly garden and eco-laboratory. They also sell their own branded artisanal coffee (Madre Isla), run a community based radio station and administer the same forest reserve that they managed to protect from mining, now better known as Bosque del Pueblo.
View the expanded version of our Ponce Map, and check the user friendly icons conveniently indicating the exact locations of all the Ponce attractions mentioned in your guide, including the perfect spot for appreciating Adjuntas' gentle sleeping giant figure (best viewed from kilometer 3.6 of road #PR-129).