Puerto Rico's capital of lace
On the northwestern coast of Puerto Rico is the landlocked municipality of Moca, known locally as the Capital of Mundillo, a type of bobbin lace made by artisans of the town. Moca was named after the Andira indermis, or moca tree, which blooms thick with pink-purple flowers. There are several historic spots to visit around the town, including the lace museum, and don't miss out on the opportunity to try some of the best donuts on the island.
Museo del Mundillo
Since 2004, this small museum tells the history, and keeps alive the tradition, of lace making, which is an integral part of the town's identity and economy. Master artisans make jewelry, clothes, and decorative pieces out of the delicate bobbin lace called mundillo, using elaborate patterns woven with bobbins, pins, and string. The museum offers weekly mundillo making workshops.
Every November the town celebrates the Mundillo Festival featuring artisan exhibits, weaving demonstrations, live music, and even a lace-centric fashion show.
Palacete Los Moreau
A French chateau stands proudly on several acres of land like a monument to a bygone era. This two-story manor, now a museum, is flanked by two towers and each floor has a long metal balcony along the front.
The house has several names: Hacienda Iruena Manor House, Hacienda Labadie, and Palacete Los Moreau. This last moniker is in honor of the famous Puerto Rican novel “La Llamarada” by local writer Enrique Laguerre, who was inspired by the house and the family that lived there. His remains are interred in a mausoleum on the property.
A guided tour will give you a glimpse into life when coffee and sugarcane made the fortunes of European families on this part of the island.
Hacienda Museo Enriqueta
Hacienda Enriqueta was the only sugar mill ever built in Moca. Its founder was Heinrich Kleibring, a German mechanic who came to Puerto Rico in 1830 to work at the Coloso Sugarcane Plant in Aguada. He developed the hacienda into its own sugar manufacturing plant and named it after his daughter, Enriqueta. She eventually inherited it and with her husband doubled production and acquired 70 acres of land. The property was sold in 1925 and turned into a museum in 1967.
The museum has beautifully kept grounds, historic buildings, and relics from the colonial period which serve as a window into Puerto Rico's past.
Supreme Donuts is a little donut shop unique in both the quality and sheer variety of donuts on offer, from classic glazed to seasonal inventions topped with elaborate designs including unicorn donuts and Peppa Pig donuts, along with exotic flavors like guava and cheese, chocolate-coconut, or Nutella-stuffed. They also sell cookies and cupcakes by another local company called Sweet Velvet Cakes by Jeysa. With a side of strong Puerto Rican coffee, there's no better pit stop.