Passport to Puerto Rico

by Ashley, age 16

72839Hometown: Mayaguez, Puerto Rico

What makes my hometown special:
My hometown is special because it is small and big at the same time. I could easily get lost in my hometown, but I know I will always find a way back home. Everything is so familiar to me, even the things I have never seen before. Everyone seems to know each other and sometimes act like total strangers to each other. I find it to be a very funny, but a weird thing to do.

What I like most about my town:
I like it because it is the only place I have ever lived in and it is the only place I know. I have grown accustomed to my hometown’s hectic ways and I even enjoy it. I like to go out on cloudy days, but mostly nights, and walk to my cousin Mara’s house. We talk for a few hours, we laugh like crazy, and sometimes we walk around my neighborhood.

What can visitors do in your hometown?
They can go to the mall, to the movies, to food courts and to fancy restaurants. I prefer the mall the best. There are many stores you can go to, and an inside food court and a few restaurants outside the mall. The movie theater is also good; the movies usually arrive a day before its release date and the food stands are not THAT expensive. As for the fancy restaurants, I have never been to one, but my friends tell me that most of the restaurants are good.


The weather is mostly semi-cloudy, but even the really cloudy days have their special shine.

One of the big landmarks I know of is La Plaza de Colon. It is a small plaza with a fountain with a statue of Christopher Columbus on the top. Around that are small stores and right in front of the Columbus statue is a huge chapel that is beautifully decorated every year.

Local History:
I did not know much about my hometown’s history, so I read more of it and found out that the founding of Mayaguez happened on July 19, 1760 by a group led by Faustino Martínez de Matos, Juan de Silva and Juan de Aponte. It took place at a hill located about one kilometer inland from Mayagüez Bay and the outlet of the Yagüez River. It was officially founded on September 18, 1760. “Mayguez” was the indigenous name for this river (the word means “clear water” in the language of its original inhabitants, the Taíno). “Mayagüez” is a variation on this name, which means “Land of Clear Waters” and eventually gave the city its nickname.

Cultural Celebration:
My hometown is small, so there are not many cultural events that go on, or that I have heard of. The only cultural event that I know are the Fiestas Patronales. The Fiestas Patronales are festivals thrown to celebrate different things; around my birthday (January) there are Fiestas Patronales thrown to celebrate the Candelaria Virgin. This festival is held around a central park in my hometown. There are machines, liquor kiosk, food kiosk, kiosk where you can buy different things, and there is even a schedule for many different artists who go and perform for entertainment.

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