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Introducing Guayama

A few miles up the hill from the Caribbean coast is Guayama, Arroyo’s bigger, less attractive older sister. The two cities have been linked since colonial days when the shadowy brokering of Arroyo’s ports fattened the wallets of Guayama’s society families. In the century since, these sisters have grown apart, with the sprawling asphalt parking lots of big box stores and commercial development offering evidence of how Guayama has left ragged little Arroyo behind.

Today, Guayama’s 44,000 residents pay the rent with jobs at pharmaceutical factories that lie west of town. The place once called the ‘City of Witches’ (a result of Santería worship brought here by African laborers) suffers from the contemporary spells of hasty development and heavy traffic.

During the first weekend of March the upscale Feria Dulce Sueño draws equestrian zealots for a Paso Fino horse race. Otherwise, there are a couple of impressive cultural diversions in town and some great eateries in the dreamier nearby fishing village of Pozuelo, from where you can embark on boat trips to cays and glimpse the endangered manatee (sea cow).