If you’re heading west on the Ruta Panorámica from Reserva Forestal Carite, your travels will take you south of a place residents like to call the ‘Switzerland of Puerto Rico’ or ‘El Switzerland del Caribe.‘ Once the de facto capital of Puerto Rico, after the Spanish governor Romualdo Palacios González established residence there in 1887, Aibonito has long been a retreat for the island’s political leaders, its religiously devout people, and the most wealthy. The town has a number of other claims to fame that include being the island’s highest town (at about 610 m), the site of the island’s lowest recorded temperature (4 °C in 1911) and the home of an impressive flower festival.
The town hasa euphonious name that suggests a Spanish exclamation “¡Ay Bonito!” meaning “Wow, how beautiful!” But the name is probably derived from a Taíno word that the first Spanish settlers heard when they arrived there in the 1630’s.
Aibonito-lovers claim that the weather in their town is perpetually spring-like (which kind of makes me think of the town of Cuernavaca in Mexico). They are not exaggerating: The average temperature is 22 °C.
Video in Spanish