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Hacienda La Esperanza
A great, informative tour of a restored Sugar Hacienda. You may also trek through wetlands, mangroves and a black sand beach. A must see!
Among the varied things to do in Puerto Rico is exploring and learning about the history of the island. Hacienda La Esperanza, located in the Porta Atlántico (north region) town of Manatí, Puerto Rico, is run by Para La Naturaleza - a unit of the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico.
The Conservation Trust is continuing with its work of restoring and preserving the most important Sugar Hacienda in Puerto Rico during the latter part of the 19th Century.
The Hacienda and Coastal Nature Preserve covers over 2,200 acres and tours are conducted by knowledgeable experts. Their knowledge and insight is extensive so don't be afraid to ask lot's of questions.
There are several tour options available including the 'Land & Nature Tour', a 19th Century 'Bomba, Mofongo and Bembé Tour' and the 'History Tour'. The history tour will have you visiting the main hacienda house that has been fully restored from information painstakingly sourced by the Conservation Trust. The second level of the house has been left open with markings of the original rooms etched on the floor. The open space is used as a conference and exhibit area where you can learn about the history of the slave labor that was unfortunately used in the production of sugar at the time. There is an impressive collection of machetes and a thought provoking lace cloth depicting complaints that slaves presented against their overseers.
The tour continues to an imposing steam powered sugar mill built in New York in 1861 and according to the guide, quietly imported to Puerto Rico by the hacienda owner. This machine allowed the hacienda to increase sugar production and become the dominant hacienda in the region. The restored mill is now a National Historic Mechanical Engineering Landmark.
After the mill you will tour the ruins of the sugar mill and enter the drying house where the final process in the production of sugar was carried out. On display inside the drying house is and original wooden mill known as the 'Blood Mill' for the number of hands or arms that were caught in the rollers by those that had to feed sugar cane through to be pressed.
This is an extremely educational tour and well worth the approximately one and a half hours it takes to complete. Bring water and wear comfortable shoes.
Admission is $10 for adults and $7 for children, students and seniors.
Tours are conducted Thursday to Sunday at 10am, 1pm and 3pm, please call for the most up to date information.
Tours are by reservation and only the 1pm tour is in English.
If you have time to explore the area, the nature reserves coast is awe inspiring with majestic rock formations and one of only a few black-sand beaches in the world.
Best For Whom
- All Ages
Best For What
- Cultural Experience