Lares is known for growing coffee. Today, other agricultural products are also grown, including oranges, bananas and (hydroponic) tomatoes, as well as fruits such as plantains, and root vegetables such as yautia and ñame. Its economy is also based on manufacturing of leather products, clothing and shoes. Raising livestock is a secondary activity.
The municipality also has manganese deposits which are inactive today because of intense exploitation in the past. According to historian Mario Villar Roces, important deposits of copper have also been found in the earth of Lares.
Lares is located in the west central region of the island. It is bordered to the north by the town of Camuy, on the south by Yauco and Maricao, on the west by San Sebastián and Las Marías and on the east by Hatillo, Adjuntas and Utuado.
Geographically, the municipality is part of the zone known as the central mountainous interior. Its highest elevations are found in the south, as the central mountain range extends through this area. Lares has an average temperature of 75 degrees F and annual precipitation of 97 inches.
The highest elevations are the Santo Domingo peak in the Bartolo sector which rises to 700 meters (2,296 feet) above sea level; the Malo peak in the Río Prieto sector, at 640 meters (2,100 feet); La Torre peak in the Mirasol sector, at 579 meters (1,899 feet) and La Mina peak, at 671 meters (2,200 feet). Between the Río Prieto sector of Lares and the Indiera Alta sector of Maricao rises Las Mulas peak, at 500 meters (1,640 feet) and in La Torre sector La Torrecilla peak rises to 430 meters (1,411 feet) above sea level.
Four important rivers form in this municipality: the Blanco River, the Culebrinas River, the Camuy River and the Guajataca River. The Blanco River is also known as the Grande de Añasco or the Guasio and empties into the Mona Channel. Among its tributaries in Lares are the Achiote and Grande streams, which empty into the Guayo River. The Guayo and Prieto lakes are found in the watershed of this river. The lake or reservoir called Guayo is formed by the course of the river of the same name, on the border of the Bartolo sector of Lares and the Indiera Alta sector of Maricao. The lake is used to produce electricity, for irrigation, and for fishing.
The Culebrinas River forms in the Espino sector and empties into the sea in the municipality of Aguada, after having run 44 kilometers or 28 miles. Among its tributaries in Lares are the Juncal River and the Infierno creek. The Camuy River, which forms in the Lares sector and empties into the Atlantic Ocean in Camuy, is 35 kilometers or 22 miles in length. The municipality is also irrigated by tributaries of the Piedras and Angeles rivers.
The Guajataca River forms in the Buenos Aires sector and empties into the Atlantic on the border between Aguadilla and Isabela. Its approximate length is 40 kilometers or 25 miles. The tributaries of the Guajataca River that pass through Lares are Anón and Los Muertos streams.
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