A relic of a once prosperous past can be viewed near the shores of the Atlantic in Puerto Rico’s Porta del Sol region. El Túnel de Guajataca stands as a remnant of the island’s not so distant past when steam engines rolled into this tunnel and out, bridging the distance between opposing coasts with speeds hitherto unseen.
Begun by the Spanish in the late 19th Century and expanded further by the American Railroad Company of New York, the railroad facilitated the transport of sugarcane and passengers around the island. The trains that ran along the now disappeared tracks were an essential cog in the development of the sugarcane plantation economy that dominated Puerto Rico since the arrival of the United States in 1898 until the train’s last ride on September 20th, 1953.
Now just a curiosity bored unto the side of the region’s majestic karst hills, visitors can walk through the tunnel, following the old railroad’s path along Quebradillas’s rocky coast. A nearby beach offers the chance to gaze out into the endless horizon while surrounded by the forceful, crashing waves and the uninterrupted trade winds coming in from the open sea.