Famed explorer Juan Ponce de León entered the island of Puerto Rico from the Bay of Añasco. Before bequeathing his title as governor to a fellow Spaniard, Ponce de León faced one of his greatest challenges, the Taíno Uprising of 1511. The details of the story vary depending on whom one asks, but tradition tells of a rebellion made possible by the native taínos’ discovery that the Spaniards were not immortal. It was within the municipality of Añasco that the crucial drowning of a Spanish colonizer is rumored to have taken place. Thus, Añasco carries the nickname of City Where the Gods Died.
The Plaza Jose Adolfo Pesante, one of the largest plazas in the island, features a sculpture in commemoration of this fateful event. In a nod to the future, though, the tree-lined plaza is also outfitted with free wi-fi internet access. Other important events and figures in Añasco’s history are also represented here, among them a bust of revolutionary Mariana Bracetti, nicknamed “Brazo de Oro” (Arm of Gold), whose temerity made her one of the island’s leaders of the independence movement during the late 19th century.
The conquistadors might have met a cruel fate here, but the natural scenery of Añasco is still as enchanting as ever. Large waves hit the seemingly endless coastline full of beaches ideal for surfing. Also popular is the Balneario Los Tres Hermanos, a public beach frequented by locals from all over the island. It features extensive facilities including picnic tables and a basketball court, as well as emergency services. Further inland, a lookout tower called El Mirador de Añasco provides great views of the bay.
Añasco’s fishing village is still an active locale welcoming visitors who want to sample the catch of the day. This town specializes in the clam known as “chipe,” celebrated in an annual festival held during the month of September. Añasco’s other famous festival honors the town specialty of hojaldre cake, sweet temptation spiked brandy and spices. Visit the Fábrica de Hojaldre Añasqueña to sample the delicious dessert.