Sunday, February 1, 2009

Destination: Barranquitas, Puerto Rico

Visiting the smaller towns in cities around Puerto Rico is something which I enjoy very much. It has been quite a while since our last roadtrip, and there are still many places in Puerto Rico which I have never been to. A family friend of ours had recommended a restaurant in a small town near Cayey, and so we decided to check it out for ourselves. As we were approaching the restaurant, I saw the sign Luis Muñoz Marin Ruta Panorámica. Curiosity took over me.

I had been on the panoramic route, which runs through the middle of the island, before but have never quite driven through much of it. After looking at a map, and seeing that Barranquitas was not too far away, I decided to just go. Although I was born in Puerto Rico, I was not educated here and I do not know much about Puerto Rican history. For this reason, I thought it would be an interesting place for me to visit, as it is the birthplace of one of Puerto Rico's most important political figures, Luis Muñoz Rivera. He helped negotiate the autonomy of Puerto Rico from Spain, and was subsequently elected the Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico in 1909.

Luis Muñoz Rivera was also the father of Luis Muñoz Marin, the first democratically elected governor of Puerto Rico. Barranquitas certainly did not disappoint. In order to get there, we had to drive through a long series of winding roads. Once we got to Barranquitas, we quickly found ourselves in the town's pretty and charming plaza. We visited La Casa Luis Muñoz Rivera, the house which Muñoz Rivera grew up in, and the Luis Muñoz Rivera mausoleum, which was just two blocks away from the museum. Both were interesting places to visit. The former is a tiny little wooden house, which contains a small exhibition with information on Muñoz Rivera's life. The mausoleum is the burial site of Muñoz Rivera and his son, as well as their respective wives. Just beyond their resting places, is a small exhibition commemorating the lives of two of the most important political figures in Puerto Rico. Please note: both exhibitions are in Spanish only. If you're going on a Sunday, all the shops and eateries in and around the plaza will be closed. However, there are many restaurants and kiosks along the panoramic route which will be open.

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