A Natural Registry Treasure – The Hacienda La Esperanza
Hacienda La Esperanza is an estate located in the rich farmland of Río Grande de Manatí located approximately 30 miles west of San Juan.
When travelling San Juan, and if you are looking for a place to enjoy nature and true peace and tranquility, then plan a day trip to the Hacienda la Esperanza. The name ‘Hacienda la Esperanza’ can be loosely translated as ‘the place of hope’ and it truly was with hope that this now large farm was purchased by Fernando Fernandez near the end of the 18th century. During a long and tedious process that took years, the farm land was carefully prepared so that it could produce fruitful yields. By the time that Fernandez’s oldest son inherited the 2,000 acre property, it was one of the most modern and productive sugar producers in Puerto Rico at its time.
Don Jose Ramon Fernandez Martinez was able to extend the boundaries of that original farm to include property on the north coast of Puerto Rico until the Hacienda la Esperanza was expanded to include approximately 85% of all the land found in the lower part of the valley east of the Manati River. The sugar cane industry continued – supported mainly by the hard work of black slaves – but also through the introduction of a very impressive machine that was imported from New York. Fernandez Martinez was later able to gain control of the harbor facilities in the mouth of the Manati River and this enabled him to avoid declaring customs and paying taxes. This massive empire started crumbling somewhat with the eventual abolishment of slavery, which left the farm virtually crippled. Eventually it was sold to Wenseslao Hut for $40 000 after being in the Fernandez family for three generations.
Over time the farm ended up in the hands of the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico in 1975. It is seen as being one of the most valuable assets that the Conservation Trust has, since it has virtually unlimited ecological resources. It features forests with unique plants and animals, bogs, karso formations and more. It also houses one of the few coastal forests that still exist on the northern coast of the island and it has an ancient ceremonial site that is thought to date back to 510 AD.
In 1976, the Hacienda la Esperanza was given national monument status and added to the national registry of historical places of the National Parks Service of the US. If you visit today you will be able to see all these wonderful natural and historical attractions for yourself. So try to arrange a visit to the Hacienda la Esperanza to ensure that you don’t miss out.