Manatí is located on the north coast of Puerto Rico and measures 119 square kilometers (46 square miles). It is known as the "Athens of Puerto Rico," an appellation that arose from the development of the towntown, founding: A group of vecinos that wanted to found a town had to grant a power of attorney to one or more other vecinos to represent them before the governor and viceroy. This person could authorize the founding of the town and the establishment of a parish. The grantors of the power of attorney had to be a majority in the given territory and more than ten in number. Once the case had been made, the governor appointed a capitán poblador or settlement official to represent the vecinos and one or more delegates, who usually lived in nearby cabildos vecinos to receive the necessary documentation. Proof was required that the settlement was so far from a church that it was very difficult for the settlers to partake of sacraments and municipal services. In general, proof was provided of the absence or bad condition of roads and bridges. If the petition was approved, it was required that the vecinos mark off the new municipality and build public works such as a church, a parish house, a government house (Casa del Rey), a slaughterhouse, and a cemetery, and to set aside land for the town square or plaza and the commons (ejidos). The vecinos were expected to cover the cost of building these works by levying special assessments. Usually one of the land owners donated some land for the founding. Once the requirements had been met, the governor authorized the founding of the town and the parish, and he appointed a Lieutenant at War who usually was the same capitán poblador. as a cultural center during the first decades of the 20th century. The town is comprised of Bajura Adentro, Bajura Afuera, Coto Norte, Coto Sur, Manatí Pueblo, Río Arriba Poniente, Río Arriba Saliente, Tierras Nuevas Poniente, and Tierras Nuevas Saliente wards. According to the 2000 census, there are 45,409 manatieños or atenienses.
Version: 07121802 Rev. 1
Manatí has many beaches, the most famous of which are Mar Chiquita and Los Tubos. There is a beach festival in July, and the festival in honor of the town's patron saint, Our Lady of Candlemas, is held in February. The principal industry of the town is pharmaceutical manufacturing. Other factories include electronics, electrical equipment, scientific instrumentation, footwear, and clothing. Manatí has fertile land irrigated by several aquifers, which has allowed for agricultural development, especially pineapples, coconuts, and other fruit. The cattle sector showed sales of more than $10,000,000 in 2002. Other sectors of the economy include commerce, Manatí being the urban center of the North Central region, services, and tourism.
Manatí is located on the north coast of the island and is bordered on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the south by Ciales and Morovis; on the east by Vega Baja; and on the west by Barceloneta and Florida. The town is in the northern coastal plain and the karst area, the latter including may caves, haystack and sinkhole formations. Caves include La Jiménez and La Cueva del Agua (Tierras Nuevas Saliente ward), which are the most attractive, as well as the Las Golondrinas cave (Coto Sur ward ). The Pelota ridge in Río Arriba Poniente ward at 250 meters (820 pies) above sea level is its highest point.
The town of Manatí is irrigated by the Río Grande de Manatí river, which runs across the municipality from south to north. Located between Manatí and Barceloneta, it is the third largest river by volume on the island and the fourth largest that runs into the Atlantic Ocean. The watershed of the river measures 580 square kilometers (224 square miles) and runs through the towns of Barranquitas, Ciales, Corozal, Naranjito, Morovis, Orocovis, Florida, Barceloneta, and Manatí. The Tortuguero Lagoon is also located in the municipality, and extends partially into Tierras Nuevas Saliente ward.
Manatí, Boquilla and Chivato Points are located in the municipality. The first two have several small keys. Boquilla and Chivato are at either side of Tortuguero inlet. Mar Chiquita Beach is considered one of Puerto Rico`s most attractive beaches.