Day Trip Believers

You Never Know What You'll Find...

Sometimes our weekday adventures take us to offbeat and out of the way places. The location I’m writing about today is one of those types of side trips. Most would skip it, but we were in the neighborhood, so we thought we’d drop by and see what we could see at Hacienda Plazuela in Barceloneta, PR.

The history of the sugar cane industry in Puerto Rico dates back to the 1500s, when the Spanish began to colonize the island. Sugar was introduced as a cash crop in the middle of the16th century, and by the 18 century it was the primary export for Puerto Rico. 

The island's warm climate and fertile soil made it an ideal location for growing sugarcane, and the industry flourished for close to 400 years.

Hacienda Plazuela is a historical site that played an important role in the island's sugar industry. The hacienda was established in the early 1800s at the height of the sugar cane boom and was one of many sugar plantations that dotted the island at its peak. 

This particular hacienda was one of the largest producers of sugar on the island. When the Hacienda Plazuela was established, it initially covered hundreds of acres and employed hundreds of workers. The sugar cane was harvested by hand and processed on the site using a series of Mills and boiling pots. 

Initially, the Plazuela was owned by a British citizen who made Puerto Rico his new home.

After changing hands several times through the years, the Plazuela was purchased by Balserio and Georgetti and became known as Central Plazuela Barceloneta. 

The mill mechanized the process in the early 1900s and continued to be a major producer of sugar on the island. The remains of the conical shaped windmill can be seen at this location today. It is one of only five left on the island.

As the global market changed and other countries took the lead as sugar producers, the industry dwindled in Puerto Rico. In 1946, The Puerto Rican Land Authority acquired the mill and kept it in operation until 1963.

Today, you can still see the two large Plazuela Sugar Mill chimneys from the main road. If you head toward them, you will come to the town’s Public Works offices. 

You can park in this area. There is no official tour but an information sign is there telling a bit of the history. One side is in English, the other side is in Spanish. (See the first picture above.)

If you keep your eyes open and don't mind wandering down a few rabbit trails, you never know what you might find. It's fun to explore - I guess we just like discovering and wandering around places that aren’t well known. We enjoy the scenery, of course, plus we learn a bit more about the beautiful place that we are calling home. You might call us day trip believers!


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