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Abandones Places you Must Add to your Puerto Rico Venture

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Inter SG chapter.

Puerto Rico is, without a doubt, one of the loveliest islands in the world. Every beach is unique, with crystal clear waves crashing on the white sands that stretch out for miles; our food is seasoned to the point where we hear our ancestors say “para ya mija” and, for some, we are the life of the party. 

Not all is great though, as of recently we have had our fair share of misshapes on the island. We’ve been hit by two deadly hurricanes in 2017, Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria; the island  has faced years of corruption and just recently the people revolted against the former governor, Ricardo Rossello, in protests that lasted more than a week. 

Because of these unfortunate events sprawling throughout Puerto Rican history, and many other reasons, you can find forlorn places around the island.  

Here’s a look at a few:

The Lazaretto Ruins

Location: Isla de Cabra, Toa Baja, Puerto Rico

Built: 1876

The Lazaretto was one of the four buildings built to use as shelter and a hospital for the sick residents and travelers from the Island. During the 19th century, an eruption of various diseases, such as cholera and leprosy, were stagnant between the residents. The hospital was made to quarantine those who were sick in hopes of avoiding an epidemic. Unfortunately, because of low medical advancements, most patients died from their illnesses and inhumane conditions the hospitals had. 

The facility closed down in 1923 due to poor conditions and the patients were moved to a better facility in Toa Alta. 

This is one of the oldest sites on the island that still stands.

The Ruins of Central Aguirre

Location: Salinas, Puerto Rico

Built: mid 19th century

Hacienda Aguierre was founded by Ignacio Rodríguez Lafuente. It became one of the biggest and most successful sugar plantations in the Island. Measuring about 2,009 acres, 285 of them were used to farm sugar canes and press around 6,000 tons of sugar a year. Because of the rise on sugar demand, the land expanded and machinery was improved immensely throughout the years. 

During the 1960’s, labor and machine parts became expensive because of industrialization; besides this, cheap competition of other sugar brands made it difficult for the operation to continue. The factory ceased operations in 1990, leaving a big piece of land in abandonment.

Although the land was and still is, deserted, many historians will appreciate the valuable history of the Puerto Rican sugar cane industry. 

Levy Mansion, La Rambla

Location: Lares, Puerto Rico

Built: 1932

First constructed in hopes of becoming a hotel and casino, this building turned out to be Puerto  Rico’s first water bottling plant. Built by the Israeli architect Don Francisco Levy; he also turned it into his home. This plant is connected to a natural spring nearby, Santa Rosa, and to various tunnels all under the town of Lares. Thus, the name “Manantiales de Santa Rosa”.

Although the site is currently owned by municipal authorities, the locals of the area have shrouded the plant in myths and legends. The municipal authorities have been planning to transform the mansion into a hotel and casino, just how Levy had intended it to be.

Myth buster amateurs, this is the place for you.

Tanks at Flamenco Beach

Location: Flamenco beach, Culebra, Puerto Rico.

Flamenco beach resides in a nearby island of Puerto Rico named Culebra. It is known for its beautiful beaches and extravagant wildlife, but one particular artifact that stands out are military tanks on the coast. Besides its beauty, the history behind this tiny island holds an important asset in Puerto Rico’s military testing history.

During 1939, little before the Second World War, this beach was used for military testing and training exercises. These experiments went on until the 1970s. This led to protests amongst the residents in hopes the Navy would leave the island. After four more years, they finally did.

With their presence gone, various tanks were left behind to rust. Residents have taken care of these tanks, decorating them with pop art and graffiti, and making it an Instagram worthy site. 

The Intercontinental Hotel of Ponce, or “El Ponce”

Location: Ponce, Puerto Rico

Date: 1960

El Ponce was one of the first modernly constructed hotels in the city of Ponce. The American architect William B. Tabler had a futuristic style and designed the hotel with wide space and a gorgeous view of the mountains and the city. 

This hotel helped skyrocket  tourism in the south. Additionally, having hosted events for politicians and artists, the hotel was thriving. Sadly, this only lasted for 15 years when an unexpected ‘closed’ sign appeared. It came as a shock for most residents and while proposals were made to re-open, none have taken action.

For now, the building stands with its run-down halls and empty pool filled with graffiti art, yet the beautiful landscape in front of it stays the same. Definitely an adventurous site.

As previously noted, most of these buildings have been abandoned for many years and have been recognized as historical landmarks. Whilst government officials have claimed ownership of the lands, little to nothing has been done to reconstruct them. Many tourists and locals love to visit them because of the hidden history behind those run-down walls and rusty scraps of metal. In spite of these forsaken places, people will appreciate what these sites have to offer, whether it’d be an Instagram worthy picture or a delightful insight for your history project. 

It may also remind us of the hardships our ancestors faced, making us feel empathetic with them in comparison to what we are facing today.

Mariana Ferrer

Inter SG '22

Student with BA in English and a minor in Communications. Current writer and Social Media Manager of HC Inter SG.
Hi! My name is Nacelyn and I'm majoring in political science. I joined the HC Inter SG chapter about two years ago and have since continued to develop my writing skills. My writing interests include politics and social issues, among other things. Besides writing, I currently serve as co-correspondent for the chapter.