June 1st, 2010
Central Roig, Historic Sugar Cane Plantation and Mill, Yabucoa, Puerto Rico, El Yunque, Rain Forest
Sightseeing around the southeastern side of the Island of Puerto Rico took me to Yabucoa. This town is in short proximity to Humacao, where I grew up. I just wanted to take a trip around this area and see what time had done to this beautiful part of the island.
I arrived at the remnants of the Central Roig, which is located in Yabucoa. Yabucoa is known as Sugar Cane City.
At one time in history there were 6 sugar mills operating in this area. The most important one was Central Roig. The name was changed to Central Roig when it was bought in 1909. It is a historic sugar cane plantation.
Yabucoa is a fertile valley that produces plantains and bananas. But, most of the valley was used for sugar cane growth.
Central Roig was one of the last mills that produced sugar in Puerto Rico.
During harvest it felt like it was snowing except that the flakes were black and the weather was warm. Hand harvesting accounted for more than half of production. It was done by using “machetes”.
The “colonos” of the sugar were the harvesters. They lived at the mill in small houses in a plantation atmosphere. My father grew up at the mill and my grandfather worked for the Central Roig. I remember him bringing me sugar cane. It was such a treat to chew on the cane and, oh, so sweet.
Another method of harvesting is using sugar cane combines. This is called a mechanical harvest, but the preferred method was with the “machetes”.
The sugar cane industry had been most important in Puerto Rico for 400 years and in 2000 the Central Roig closed.
I had to take the pictures of what was a very important part of my family’s past. Puerto Rico’s own governor’s mother grew up in “La Central”, as well.
The mill looked so sad and abandoned and as I took those pictures I kept thinking if only those buildings could talk.
On that same day I took off with my driver to El Yunque, the rain forest. You already met him in my previous blogs.
I had to go and visit because I also spent so much time there. You might not know but people do have homes inside the rain forest. They are beautiful homes in a most unique environment.
Approaching Rio Grande, which is where El Yunque is located, you could see that it was raining; 240 inches per year. The mountain is 3,543 feet high.
The little town of Palmer had not changed in all those years. It was great and I could not believe it. At least something has remained the same.
Driving up the rain forest I had to open the windows; the coolnest of the mountain and the mist were fantastic. In El Yunque there are 4 different forest vegetations. The mountain is also renowned for its unique Taino petroglyphs (rock engravings).
One of the “Kodak” moments of every tourist visiting El Yunque is the Coca Falls. Through the years I have taken pictures up on the rocks. I had to take some more and the falls looked exactly the same, as well. The sounds were unforgetable.
Not too long ago a friend reminded me that to reminisce is to live; definitely, so true.
Talk to you later….
Tags: Activities, Central Roig, Coca Falls, El Yunque, Historic Sugar Cane Plantation, Palmer, Puerto Rico, Rain forest, Rio Grande, Sugar Cane Mill, Things to do at the beach, What to do at the beaches, Yabucoa