This relatively small, mountainous province is centered around the town of Bonao (one of the original forts built by order of Christopher Columbus in the 1490s to protect the gold routes), with its fertile valleys and nearby nickel mines. The region is famous for its sweets—you’ve got to try “dulce de leche,” a rich milk fudge—and for being the site of first radio tower in the country, which was built for La Voz del Yuna, owned and operated by Petán Trujillo, the infamous dictator’s brother.
A popular meringue about a “jarro pinchao” (a special kind of drinking-water jug that is typical of the area) is still sung, a song that recalls Petán’s courtship of a local girl. Today, locals enjoy the recreation area created by the dam at Rincón, sandwiched between the Cibao Valley and the Sierra of Yamasá.
In his second trip the Hispaniola Admiral Christopher Columbus ordered two expeditions to view the operation of the island, one towards the east and other towards the south. The two expeditions returned optimistic to the Isabela, giving account to Columbus of the fair treatment they received from the natives, of the exuberance of the nature beauty and of possible gold deposits.
The colonists headed south by the Hidalgos Pass, founding the Jánico fort, the Magdalena fort, the Santo Tomás fort and La Concepción fort. Continuing their route, they crossed the plains known as Sabana de Bonao. Excited with the good climate, the good earth, the extended plains surface, readily accessible hills, the wealth of the flora and the fauna and the abundance and crystal waters, they decided to found Villa de Bonao there. Bonao, the fourth villa founded in the island, was originally located 10 kms, towards the south of its present location. There the colonists discovered the first gold mines of the island and grew sugar cane, producing for the first time sugar in that land.
Villa de Bonao occupied the sixth place between the urban centers of the island in 1518 and constituted the center of the sugar industry of the time. Nevertheless, that blossoming and prosperity were of short duration, due to the reduction of the Indians who provided gratuitous work and to the many expeditions that left for other territories of the continent. The municipality of Bonao is located in the center of the Dominican Republic. It has plain surfaces, propitious for agriculture. The great fertility of some grounds and a normally high percipitation favors the forest and agricultural development.
The municipality enjoys the privilege of its abundant rivers. The patron saint celebrations are celebrated in honor to San Antonio de Padua.
These patron saint celebrations were obscured during the last decade of the Trujillo tyranny, since they were practically substituted by the celebrations of San José, celebrated in honor to General Jose Arismedi Trujillo (Petán). Bonao was in 1942, the cradle of the Voice of the Yuna, a radio station founded by Petán, brother of the tyrant. Today it is Radio Television Dominicana. Bonao is poetically called "La Villa De Las Hortensias", due to the many flowers in the area.