A mountain town rich in history — and coffee.
Situated more than 3,900 feet (1,200 meters) above sea level, Lares is a scenic hamlet in west Puerto Rico. Lares is bordered by several other municipalities, including Camuy, Hatillo, Utuado, Yauco, and San Sebastián. Travel from San Juan is about 90 minutes along scenic, winding roads.
Lares’ high elevation provides crisp air, verdant landscapes, and breathtaking vistas. To enjoy the scenery, head to Mirador Mariana Bracetti, a spectacular vantage point located in Parque el Jíbaro that offers panoramic views of both the city and the mountains.
A Legacy of Liberty
Lares played an important role in the political history of Puerto Rico, a heritage that is still celebrated today.
On September 23, 1868, an armed uprising known as El Grito de Lares brought together roughly 1,000 rebels to fight against oppressive Spanish colonial rule. While the revolution was ultimately quelled, the effort led to important reforms in the way Spain governed the Island and the rights granted to its citizens.
In honor of the revolution, the municipality hosts a festive celebration each year on September 23. Thousands of people descend on the town for this annual event, including artists, musicians, and athletes.
From Bean to Brew
Caffeine lovers can easily get their beloved brew in Lares, which has been a major center for coffee production for more than a century. The geography, soil, and tropical climate make ideal conditions for producing robust, rich beans.
The town is home to a handful of farms that actively grow, roast, package, and sell high-quality varieties of coffee beans. Many of these coffee farms are open for tours and tastings. And hey can be a great spot to grab tasty souvenirs you can enjoy at home.
You can easily spend a day hacienda-hopping around the area, stopping at outposts that offer their own unique appeal. Be sure to check out Café Oro, whose coffee is easily recognized in stores by its gold metallic packaging; Café Lealtad, which operates a revived a 19th-century hacienda; and Café Lareño, an estate run by fourth-generation coffee producers.
Save Room for Dessert
In-the-know residents and visitors with a sweet tooth line up down the block for a taste of ice cream from Heladería Lares. This beloved ice cream parlor has been a town-square staple since 1968. The shop is still owned and operated by the same family and has become famous for its unusual homemade flavors.
Over the years, the shop has experimented with more than 500 unique flavors. Many draw inspiration from local produce, like sea grapes, corn, and sweet potatoes. These artisan ice cream makers have a knack for turning traditionally savory Puerto Rican dishes into delicious sweet treats.
We recommend ordering a cone filled with unexpected combinations, like arroz con salchichas (rice with sausages), beer, or bacalao (codfish).