Hacienda Buena Vista (Carr. 10, km 16.8, 787/722-5882 or 787/284-7020, fax 787/722-5872, www.fideicomiso.org , Fri.–Sun. except holidays, two-hour tours start at 8:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., and 3:30 p.m., reservations required, $7 adults, $4 children under 12) is a carefully restored 19th-century coffee plantation just north of Ponce  and part of the network of historic sites operated under the auspices of the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico.
Established in 1833, Hacienda Buena Vista was one of the most successful of the 50 plantations around Ponce. It was founded by a Venezuelan, Salvador de Vives, who started out as a small cash-crop farmer growing corn, plantains, yams, pineapples, and coffee. Eventually he added a corn mill, a rice husker, a cotton gin, and a coffee depulper to the operation. As Puerto Rico ’s coffee industry boomed, so did Hacienda Buena Vista, due in large part to the labor of as many as 57 slaves.
When the island’s coffee industry went bust in 1897, the plantation was converted into orange groves and remained operational until the 1950s, when the land was expropriated by the Puerto Rican government and distributed in small lots to local farmers. Termites destroyed most of the original buildings, and the farm machinery was left to rust for many years, but in 1984 the Conservation Trust of Puerto Rico began an extensive restoration project using 19th-century construction techniques.
In addition to the restored structures, mill, and machinery, the plantation’s lush natural setting is worth a visit. On the Canas River, the property features mature vegetation filled with a variety of birds, including the mangrove cuckoo and Puerto Rican screech owl, as well as plenty of coqui and lizards.