Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Travel Tuesday- Yabucoa, Puerto Rico

Since I am in Puerto Rico for Spring Break I decided to rent a car and live out my long genealogical dream of traveling around the island to see the towns my family are from. Now, I didn't and won't get to visit every single town or barrio on this trip but just being in the actual town was an amazing first step. Having a car has been such a blessing on this trip and hopefully on another trip I'll be able to rent again and travel some more around the island. Today, I'll talk about my visit to Yabucoa - La ciudad del azúcar. 

Yabucoa, Puerto Rico [GozateaPR]
My grandmother was born in Yabucoa but a few short years later her parents decided to move to San Juan to find work since Yabucoa was (still is?) a fairly rural town. Her family has lived in Yabucoa for many years dating back to the early 1800s, and mainly lived in the barrio of Calabazas but other cousins have moved into the barrios of Guayabota, Playa, and I think even to Aguacate. Our family there has worked on sugar cane fields/farms and worked their own land to grow food for their families. My grandmother says that neighbors would share food with each other such as a pig since sometimes a whole family couldn't finish it and instead of it going to waste they would bring some over to their neighbors.

Getting to Yabucoa was fairly easy with the help of a GPS! The roads are windy in certain parts but nothing too treacherous I would say, I've only been driving for 6 months so if I can do it, you can too! There are some very small roads that barely fit two cars but luckily I had no problems along the way. The drive was very beautiful and weather-wise we were very lucky, I even stopped a few times along the road to get some shots. Here's one below!

Driving to Yabucoa! [Personal Photo]

Our first stop in the town was the church since it was in the actual 'pueblo' itself. The earliest record I have of my ancestors is in the year 1876 when Benito Orozco and his wife Dolores de Santiago Burgos married in this church, so it was pretty cool seeing the church and being able to walk inside.

Iglesia Santos Ángeles Custodios [Personal Photo] 

Santos Ángeles Custodios [Personal Photo]

Prepping for Semana Santa [Personal Photo]

After, we took a trolley to get around the center but we really didn't see much so we decided to head over to Calabazas. It was pretty cool being in Calabazas and seeing how green it was compared to San Juan. There were parts where you could overlook the town and look down even seeing the coast, my grandmother says she remembers that her father mentioned them living high up in Calabazas. 

Welcome to Barrio Calabazas [Personal Photo]

View from Yabucoa down to the coast! [Personal Photo]

"Please do not tie your horses" [Personal Photo]

View of the island [Personal Photo]

View of the island [Personal Photo]

I know there are some cousins around in Yabucoa and my next visit will probably be reaching out to them and visiting them to see the lands our family worked. For now, it was pretty amazing to just see the town itself and share that moment with my grandmother. I've been doing some traveling so some more Travel Tuesday posts will be coming your way! And maybe some Travel Thursday posts to not fall behind. 

1 comment:

  1. This has been a dream of mine for sometime now. I'm glad I was able to read & see you experience first. I'll make sure when my time comes to rent a car.