Puerto Rico // Porta del Sol //

Palacete Los Moreau

Further inland along PR-2 from Aguadilla is the Palacete Los Moreau (T787/830-2540), lording it over a swathe of parkland like a mini French castle. The house is tucked away 2–3km along PR-464 from the highway (follow the signs), and is now the artfully restored cultural centre and museum for Moca municipality. This enchanting mansion was once at the heart of one of Puerto Rico’s largest coffee plantations, established by the Peugeot family in the nineteenth century. The estate was inherited by Frenchman Juan Labadié in 1860, but it wasn’t until 1905 that the house you see today was completed, a grand criollo adaptation of French château style. The mansion appeared in the 1935 best-selling novel La Llamarada by Enrique Laguerre – it was renamed in 1993 to honour the fictional Moreau family from the book, and the author was buried in the garden on his death, twelve years later. Inside, the first-floor museum contains bits and pieces related to Moca, while a more absorbing collection of black-and-white plantation photographs can be found on the second floor. The house and grounds are far more engaging than the collections on display, however, and the beautifully restored wooden floors, stairs, rails and upstairs bedrooms give a rough idea of what it must have been like to live here.