Puerto Rico, officially the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, is a self-governing unincorporated territory of the United States located in the northeastern Caribbean, east of the Dominican Republic and west of the Virgin Islands. Puerto Rico is composed of an archipelago that includes the main island of Puerto Rico and a number of smaller islands and keys, the largest of which are Vieques, Culebra, and Mona. The main island of Puerto Rico is the smallest by land area and second smallest by population among the four Greater Antilles (Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica, and Puerto Rico).
Puerto Ricans often call the island Borinquen, from Borikén, its indigenous Taíno name. The terms boricua and borincano derive from Borikén and Borinquen respectively, and are commonly used to identify someone of Puerto Rican heritage. The island is also popularly known as "La Isla del Encanto", which translated means "The Island of Enchantment."
Puerto Rico consists of the main island of Puerto Rico and various smaller islands, including Vieques, Culebra, Mona, Desecheo, and Caja de Muertos. Of these last five, only Culebra and Vieques are inhabited year-round. Mona is uninhabited most of the year except for employees of the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources. There are also many other even smaller islands including Monito and "La Isleta de San Juan" which includes Old San Juan and Puerta de Tierra.
The Commonwealth of Puerto Rico has an area of 5,325 square miles (13,790 km2), of which 3,425 square miles (8,870 km2) is land and 1,900 square miles (4,900 km2) is water. The maximum length of the main island from east to west is 110 miles (180 km), and the maximum width from north to south is 40 miles (64 km). Comparing land areas, Puerto Rico is 8/10 the size of Jamaica and 8/100 the size of Cuba, the next smallest and the largest countries in the Greater Antilles, respectively. Compared to U.S. states, it is larger than Delaware and Rhode Island combined, but slightly smaller than Connecticut. The main island is mostly mountainous with large coastal areas in the north and south. The main mountain range is called "La Cordillera Central" (The Central Range). The highest elevation in Puerto Rico, Cerro de Punta (4,390 feet; 1,338 m), is located in this range. Another important peak is El Yunque, one of the highest in the Sierra de Luquillo at the El Yunque National Forest, with an elevation of 3,494 feet (1,065 m).
Puerto Rico has 17 lakes, all man-made, and more than 50 rivers, most originating in the Cordillera Central. Rivers in the northern region of the island are typically longer and of higher water flow rates than those of the south, since the south receives less rain than the central and northern regions.
Located in the tropics, Puerto Rico enjoys an average temperature of 82.4 °F (30 °C) throughout the year. Temperatures do not change drastically throughout the seasons. The temperature in the south is usually a few degrees higher than the north and temperatures in the central interior mountains are always cooler than the rest of the island. The Hurricane season spans from June to November. The all-time low in Puerto Rico has been 39 °F (4 °C), registered in Aibonito.
Dorado (do-RAH-do) is a small tourist town in the northern coast of Puerto Rico, 15 miles (24 km) west of San Juan and is located in the northern region of the island, bordering the Atlantic Ocean, north of Toa Alta, east of Vega Alta, and west of Toa Baja. Dorado is spread over five barrios and Dorado Pueblo (the downtown area and the administrative center of the city). The town is probably best known as a tourist destination with world-class golf courses, hotels, and a beautiful municipal beach. It is part of the San Juan-Caguas-Guaynabo Metropolitan Statistical Area.
In the early 1900s the Rockefeller family purchased huge plots of land in the northwest region of the municipality of Dorado where they built a huge private vacation compound. Laurance Rockefeller would later use this land to create Dorado Beach Hotel and Golf Club, which later became the Dorado Beach Hyatt Hotel and Casino and is now the Hyatt Hacienda Del Mar. Dorado Beach Hotel and Cerromar both plan to reopen in 2010.
The Dorado Airport was operated from 1942 to 1996. The airport began as a military landing strip, then became a civilian airport in the 1960s with Caribair and Dorado Wings flights operating until 1980 and 1982 respectively. The airport operated as a private landing strip throughout the 1980s and then fell into disrepair. In 1996, the airport was rezoned as residential land and redeveloped.
Dorado has upscale neighborhoods and a small downtown area with a plaza (Spanish town square), as other Puerto Rican municipalities. The town's patron saint is Anthony of Padua, and patron saint celebrations are held at the plaza every year on June 13.
President Gerald Ford once stayed in Dorado during his presidency, for a 1976 meeting with other heads of state from the Caribbean.
Dorado has been voted Puerto Rico's cleanest town several times throughout its history.
In recent years, Dorado has been known for its development of upscale neighborhoods. Several known politicians and artists (i.e. Ricky Martin, Carlos Romero Barceló) live or own properties in the city.
Dorado has long been known as a golf haven. Its tourist industry includes the Dorado Beach Resort, the Hyatt Hacienda del Mar, and a recently opened Embassy Suites in the Dorado Del Mar neighborhood.
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