The municipality of Barceloneta was first established in 1881. As such it is one of the last towns founded during Spanish rule in Puerto Rico. This northern coastal town is known as La Ciudad de las Piñas, since a great percentage of its land consists of pineapple plantations. The town is also known for the music of its “trovadores.” These troubadours compose “décimas campesinas,” a ten-line verse form used to sing about important political or religious topics.
Barceloneta is the birthplace of famous bantamweight boxing champion Sixto Escobar. His family’s former residence in the town now houses a museum of Sixto memorabilia, as well as an electronic library. Escobar was the first Puerto Rican boxer to win a National Boxing Association championship and is considered a hero around the island.
One of the island’s most acclaimed and fun forest reserves lies within this municipality. The Bosque Estatal Cambalache features camping facilities and nearby access to a beach. Campers should note though that rainfall is frequent except during the dry season (February-March). Cambalache has several mountain bike trails as well as eight hiking trails. Playa Puerto de las Vacas and Playa las Criollas are two of the more popular beaches. The latter hosts several celebrations including a weeklong beach festival around the Día de San Juan (an island-wide party onto itself) in early summer. The abudance of black sand in these parts is due to its high iron content.
Barceloneta is also blessed with underground reservoirs with very pure water. Since these waters don’t require a lot of treatment for use in pharmaceutical products, a large number of drug companies have migrated here and now comprise one of the biggest pharmaceutical complex in the world.