The Real Utuado

Utuado, located in the mountains near the center of Puerto Rico, is a beautiful lush destination that is home to lakes, forest reserves, and a lovely central plaza. It was my father’s home until he moved to Chester, PA with his parents and two siblings when he was 8 years old. Like Mariana, I still have many second, third, and fourth cousins, great aunts and great uncles, living in Utuado.

I’ve visited Utuado twice, and it was great to meet my relatives, see the church and school my dad attended, tour Dos Bocas, and  get a glimpse of what my life would be like in an alternate reality where my grandparents chose to stay in their hometown.

Since the publication of AMOR AND SUMMER SECRETS, Puerto Rico, specifically Utuado, has fallen on hard times. Ravaged by Hurricane Maria in September 2017, the island is still struggling to come back. Many of my family members lost their homes, and their safety was greatly compromised. Trying to send aid to them was a challenge that will remain with my family forever. You can read about our experience in the Op-Ed I penned for the Philadelphia Inquirer.

For more information on Utuado, visit:,_Puerto_Rico 


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