The municipality of Sabana Grande is located in the western coastal valleys of Puerto Rico. This small town is surrounded by public forest land and packed with history and architectural gems. Nicknamed the Town of Petateros in honor of the many artisans that make petate, a mat woven from a specific type of palm leaf, Sabana Grande is also known as the Town of the Prodigies, being the birthplace of numerous notable Puerto Rican writers, musicians, comedians, and athletes.
La Virgen del Pozo
One of the most notable sites to visit in Sabana Grande is the Virgen del Pozo sanctuary. In 1953, three children collecting water at a nearby pozo (in English, a natural well) witnessed the appearance of a young woman carrying a rosary, levitating above the ground, and dressed in a white robe, blue veil, with a crown of seven stars over the head. She identified herself as the Virgin of the Rosary, a manifestation of the Virgin Mary. She appeared numerous times over the next month and in honor of the miraculous appearance a chapel and sanctuary were erected in her honor.
The chapel has gorgeous stained glass windows and a shrine to the Virgin. Nearby is the original building of the rural public school the children attended. There is also a small museum with testimonies of the people who witnessed the apparition of the Virgin.
In the month of May, the sanctuary is also the starting line of the Virgen del Pozo 10K, a foot race that began in 1954, the year after the miracle occurred and the oldest continuously-run race in Puerto Rico.
The main square of Sabana Grande, officially named Plaza de Recreo José A. Busigó, is surrounded by a number of historic buildings with unique architectural styles. The oldest building in the town is the San Isidro Labrador and Santa Maria de la Cabeza Church, constructed in 1844, which preserves the neoclassical features of the facade, free standing dome, and tower. Nearby is the San Isidro Parish House and Logia Igualdad, a Masonic lodge. Sabana Grande has the island’s only Masonic cemetery.
Next to the pink City Hall building is a mint-green Spanish Colonial building locally known as the "Famous Corner," featuring an elegant wooden balcony that goes around the entire second floor. Also located around the square are the Twin Houses, also known as the Castillo Residence, two identical Spanish colonial homes with elaborate detailing and brightly colored facades. The most famous house in Sabana Grande is Casa Barco, or the Boat House, a prairie-style mansion shaped roughly like a ship, with a wide and majestic entrance and notable Art Deco details, designed by Puerto Rican architect Rafael Bofill in 1926.
On the square there is also a monument to the fallen Puerto Rican soldiers of World War II and the Korean War, an acoustic shell decorated in murals, and a statue of the most famous petate weaver of the town, Doña Monserrate Montalvo.
Susúa State Forest
For some outdoor fun visit Susúa State Forest, a subtropical forest with recreational facilities, campgrounds, and visitors center. It's 3,240 acres are located on the foothills of the Central Mountain Range of Puerto Rico and is a transitional forest between the Guanica Dry Forest on the south and the Maricao humid forest to the north. Visitors can spot rare birds and native trees throughout the woods as well as red bats, the only native mammal of the island.