Historic coffee haciendas expected to bring a boost to Puerto Rico’s tourism business

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Add coffee to the list of attractions awaiting visitors to Puerto Rico. The Puerto Rico Tourism Co. unveiled a Coffee Zone on the island that includes 10 historic coffee plantations, known as haciendas, that are opening their doors to tourists.

The newly designated Coffee Zone will form part of the PRTC's marketing efforts for the island's Porta del Sol (west coast) and Porta Caribe (south) regions and will be promoted through events and plantation tours.

"Puerto Rico's coffee growers now are an integral part of our agrotourism offerings," said Terestella Gonzalez Denton, the PRTC's executive director. "The Coffee Zone is intended to stimulate agrotourism and draw attention to a local industry that generates $60 million a year for Puerto Rico."

The coffee plantations certified by the Department of Agriculture and the PRTC are the Cafe Bello and Sagra in Adjuntas; Anna Coffee Estate, Hacienda Gripinas and Hacienda San Pedro in Jayuya; Cafe Laredo in Lares; Palma Escrita/La Casona in Las Marias; Hacienda Buena Bista and Hacienda Patricia in Ponce; and Hacienda El Jibarito in San Sebastian.

Gonzalez Denton also introduced a new seal of quality for Puerto Rico's coffee, based on evaluations by certified coffee experts who classified the island's coffee into three categories: Type II (good), Type A (excellent) and Special Coffee (exceptional).

The Special Coffee category includes the Hacienda San Pedro brand, which is planted, harvested and processed by Puerto Rican workers at the 19th-century Hacienda San Pedro in Jayuya, in the mountains north of Ponce. That brand is being exported to Italy and Japan as part of a long-range plan to broaden awareness of Puerto Rico's historic and burgeoning coffee industry.

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