Puerto Rico’s Historic Hacienda Plantation
The Hacienda Buena Vista Plantation is a down-sized 87-acre plantation that has been maintained well over the years, proving to be an excellent example of a mid-19th century coffee plantation. It was built in 1833 with a total of 200 hectares and continued to be in use till the 1950’s as a producer of corn, citrus and coffee. The Plantation was the first of its kind and was built to grow food products for the slaves working there. It helped open the way for humanitarian efforts to demolish slavery in Puerto Rico.
There was a time when the Hacienda plantation deteriorated to the point of needing serious renovation and that is when the non-profit “Fideicomiso de Conservación” decided to take on the responsibility of restoring it. The “Fideicomiso de Conservación” is a private organization that works towards the goal of preserving and maintaining any natural reserves and historical sites found in Puerto Rico. In this way it contributes to the history of the country and its vibrant past.
At the plantation you will find a group of buildings that take up about three acres of space. These buildings are made up of the main manor house, a carriage house, and two warehouses to store all the grains and coffee beans, a secondary house and an office for the caretaker, stables for all the horses and mules, slave quarters for the African and Puerto Rican slaves, a hurricane shelter and a corn mill. The coffee beans were stored in the warehouses to protect them from foul weather and from the dew until they had dried. This process could take between seven and ten days.
As you tour these buildings you will be delighted to see that they have been filled and decorated with artifacts that would have been commonly found here during that era, giving you a wonderful idea of how people lived in the 1950’s. If you would like to visit this intriguing and historical plantation and museum then head to Barrio Magüeyes, which is just north of Ponce. You can visit any time during the week but if you are keen for a guided tour then you will have to book ahead.