While driving through the Puerto Rican countryside, I spotted what looked like an abandoned factory building in the distance. Being a lover of urban exploration, I knew I'd have to check it out.
What it turned out to be is the remains of the Guánica Centrale, a sugar mill that was once one of the largest in the Caribbean. It was operational between 1900 and 1982 and owned by the South Puerto Rico Sugar Company of New Jersey. Today, it stands as a symbol of Puerto Rico's difficult colonial past.
Spanish settlers introduced sugarcane to the island, recognizing its suitability for growth in the tropical climate and fertile soil. By the 19th century, sugar had become a major export. Large plantations were established with enslaved labor driving their success. Under American colonial rule in the early 20th century, the industry continued to thrive, but later faced challenges, leading to its decline. Puerto Rico was forced to diversify its economy and move away from its dependence on sugarcane.
Guánica Centrale is just one of many sugar mills that were eventually shut down on the island. The two chimneys of the sugar mill that you see here are now historic monuments.
I visited the site in May of 2023. Here is the exact location on Google Maps. It was very easy to access and we did not encounter security or anyone throughout.
This was the entrance to get into the site. Easy-peasy!