Hacienda Buena Vista Natural Protected Area
Ponce, Puerto Rico
The Hacienda Buena Vista Natural Protected Area (HBVNPA) is located in a mountainous area between the municipalities of Adjuntas and Ponce, in the Southern Region of Puerto Rico. The area was widely know as a cornmeal and coffee production hacienda during the 19th Century, and possesses invaluable ecological, historical, cultural and aesthetic assets.
Originally established by the Vives Family, Buena Vista features a Historical Site with a refurbished Manor House and restored 19th Century machinery, including a coffee pulp extractor and corn mill that are listed under the Historic American Engineering Record. The hydraulic turbine at Hacienda Buena Vista was designated a historical monument by the American Association of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) in 1994, and is the only existing model of the first reaction turbine invented in the eighteenth century. A hybrid between the original turbine
designed by Englishman Robert Barker in 1740 and the turbine patented by the Scottsman James Whitelaw in 1843, it is considered a key moment in the evolution of the hydraulic turbine during the nineteenth century.
A subtropical humid forest rich in plant and animal life dominates the area, with small plots of coffee, cocoa and various other fruit trees still growing under the shade of wood-producing trees, providing a safe habitat to a wealth of bird life, with its forest floor and the waters of its rivers further enriching its ecological diversity and significance.
The HBVNPA covers an area of approximately 460 acres, and is divided into two main management zones: The Hacienda Buena Vista Management Zone in the Magueyes Ward, Corral Viejo sector, and the Finca Marueño Management Zone within the Marueño Ward. The former lies within the humid subtropical forest life zone, while the latter contains both a humid subtropical forest and a very humid subtropical forest (at higher elevations). Both zones
teem with many species of birds, amphibians, reptiles, crustaceans, fish, mammals and several hundred plant species. The two rivers found in the area connect to Río Matilde, which flows into the Caribbean Sea thus interconnecting the HBVNPA with coastal ecosystems through their constant exchange with the sea.
In September 1987 the Hacienda Buena Vista Natural Protected Area became the first site of the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico to open a Visitor’s Center. Since then, this protected natural area has received an estimated 40,000 visitors every year. Interpretive trails and walks have also been designed by the Trust for the educational and recreational use of the public.