Carolina, led since the 1980s by mayor Jose Aponte, is one of Puerto Rico's most important touristic centers. Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, while wrongfully credited to San Juan, is actually located in an area, Isla Verde, that is geographically a part of Carolina. Also located in Carolina are a large group of hotels, which sit by Carolina's large beach area.
Carolina also is home to many large housing projects and to Plaza Carolina, one of Puerto Rico's largest malls. In recent years, Carolina has seen the building of the Ciudad Deportiva Roberto Clemente or Roberto Clemente Sports City, a sports and recreation facility that aims to become a sports school for the youth, and the Roberto Clemente Walker Stadium, host to many entertainment events and to the 2003 Caribbean World Series. In addition to that, it has the Coliseo Guillermo Angulo, where the BSN's Gigantes de Carolina play, as well as the Gigantes of Puerto Rican women's professional basketball, the Gigantes of men's professional volleyball, and the Gigantes of women's professional volleyball.
The Gigantes of professional baseball use the Clemente Walker stadium.
Famous natives from Carolina include: mayor Jose Aponte, former world boxing champion Wilfredo Benitez, his father and trainer Goyo Benitez, his mother Clara Benitez, fellow former world boxing champions Esteban De Jesus and Alfredo Escalera; Roberto Clemente, and the man after whom all the sports teams in Carolina are named: El Gigante de Carolina (The Carolina Giant), who is believed to have been, at 7 plus feet, the tallest Puerto Rican in history. There is a statue dedicated to him in Carolina.
Carolina was also the home of Jesus T. Pineiro, the first Puerto Rican governor to be appointed in that position by the occupation forces of the United States.