Loíza (loo-EE-zah) is known as "El Pueblo de la Cacica". Loíza is located in the northeastern coast, north of Canóvanas; east of Carolina; and west of Río Grande. The surrounding areas produces sugar cane, fruits, and coconuts.
Loíza was proclaimed a town officially in 1692 and named in honor of Yuisa or Luisa, one of the women caciques on the island when the Spanish conquerors arrived. Settled by Nigerian slaves of the Yoruba tribe in the 16th century, Loíza is a center for African-inspired traditions, retaining one of the highest percentages of African descendants of all island towns. Its San Patricio Church (begun in 1645) is the oldest on the island still active as a parish church.
One of Loíza's barrios, Loíza Aldea, is famous across Puerto Rico because it has been a talent pool for dancers and artisans. Formerly a center for black Puerto Rican music, it is said to be the traditional birthplace of the musical form known as "plena" along with Ponce.
Each July Loíza celebrates the "Fiestas Patronales" a celebration where people parade around wearing Máscaras de Vejigante. Máscaras de Vejigante are a type of mask made in Loíza. They are made of coconut and painted in multiple colors. The nine days of this carnival pay homage to Loízas patron saint, St. James. Salsa dancing, masquerades, colorful parades and rich Puerto Rican food make this festival a classic.
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Carr 187, Km 10.7
Barrio Mediania Baja
Loiza, PR 00772
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