Casa Roig Museum

Casa Roig is more than a museum, it is a glimpse into the life of a wealthy sugar plantation owner, an architectural first in the region, restoration in progress, as well as a lovely exhibit hall for local artists.Casa Roig Museum in Humacao Puerto Rico

Sugar production shaped the Caribbean culture in many ways including wealth distribution and overall agriculture.  Casa Roig is a unique Prairie House style architecture build by renowned Czechoslovakian architect Antonin Nechodoma in the Frank Lloyd Wright influenced style of building.  This house was unique to the region and would appear modern, futuristic even compared to the local buildings at the time.

Located in the heart of Humacao, Puerto Rico, Museo Casa Roig is hidden on a small street.  A street that I have hurriedly driven down, not noticing this delightful two story former plantation owner’s home now restored and converted into a museum and art gallery.

The exterior tiles around the house are in mid-restoration while the house itself looks like construction was just completed.  The interior offers dark wood floors and walls, polished to a shine.  It is the bright colored stained glass windows all around the house that will wow and delight visitors.

Casa Roig Stained Glass Windows
Casa Roig Stained Glass Windows

Visitor’s are taken through the house room by room learning about the owners, architecture, restoration process, and viewing of the current art exhibition in the upper rooms.

Casa Roig Museum Kitchen
Casa Roig Museum Kitchen

The kitchen is my favorite part of the house.  The butter yellow stain glass above the window, honeycomb tile floor, and white tiled wood burning stove are all original to the house.  Stepping into the kitchen I can almost hear the bustling sounds of preparing meals and the smell of wood burning mixed with the local root vegetables simmering on the stove.

Be sure to watch my video tour until you can visit this treasure for yourself!

Tours can be reserved by calling ahead (787-852-8380), or take a chance and show up Monday through Friday 10 am until 3:30 pm.  There is small parking lot in back of the Museum.  Parking, museum entrance, and private guided tours are FREE!  There is a small donation box for guests that want to contribute to operations and restoration fund.

The house and surrounding property was donated to the University of Puerto Rico in 1977.  Adjacent to the former plantation home, is a new building that functions as administrative and research facilities.  There is a small dedicated research room for preservation of original photos, the history of the Roig family and sugar plantations around Puerto Rico.

Casa Roig Museum Research room
Casa Roig Research room

Despite sugar production being a major influence in Puerto Rico, there are not many preserved sites like Casa Roig to learn about the history and see the artifacts of the time.

Casa Roig Museum History Plaque
Casa Roig Museum History Plaque

In my attempt to learn more about sugar production in the area, I went to the ruins of the Hacienda la Lucia sugar mill site in Yabacoa,  15 kilometers south of Casa Roig along the east coast in Puerto Rico.  What remains of a corner wall and a couple large rusted gears are the only items on-site.  Without bolt cutters, I was unable to walk any closer than this sign and the barbed wire fence behind it.

Lucia Sugar Mill Sign as seen behind the fence
Lucia Sugar Mill Sign as seen behind the fence

I had better results with my drone and was able to get close enough to capture this image of the site.  That is all that remains of this sugar mill that was so critical to the economy.

Lucia Sugar Mill, Yabacoa Puerto Rico
Drone close up photo of the Lucia Sugar Mill, Yabacoa Puerto Rico

A better preserved site is the Water Pump station located in Humacao Natural Reserve.  The rusted pipes and pump housing is accessible to allow anyone to get up close and walk around the remaining gears and pipes.

Where ever you go in Puerto Rico, keep a look out for evidence of the sugar plantation history, it is lurking all around the island!

31 thoughts on “Casa Roig Museum”

  1. Puerto Rico is such a stunning place. We have always dreamt of going to Puerto Rico. We love museums and would definitely love to visit this place. Hope we can visit Puerto Rico soon.

    Love the way you have written such a detailed post with tour timings, phone numbers and the historical background.

  2. That house is really interesting, I love old houses and especially stained glass windows! The kitchen is also quite charming. I never realized that the sugar industry had such deep roots in Puerto Rico. I am certainly intrigued to learn more!

  3. Lots of money in sugar plantation it seems! That’s a beautiful mansion. I wonder how many people were suffering for this family to live like kings 🙁

  4. The experience of learning about sugar plantation is something i’l look forward to. The stained glasses look so beautiful. It give a cheerful light to the otherwise gloomy room. Beautiful.

  5. I had no clue sugar played such a crucial role there. It’s great that you went to this attraction and got to learn a little more about the history!

  6. Casa Roig looks very interesting! I liked being able to go inside the museum on a virtual tour through your video and hear the explanation. I’ve been inside a couple of FLW buildings, and the windows do remind me of Wright. I hope to see this part of Puerto Rico someday!

  7. This is cool! I’ve been to PR but I didn’t do anything artsy or even indoors so it’s good to know that this is an option. I like that it used to be a house but they converted it to a museum/art studio. Thanks for sharing!

  8. I haven’t been to Puerto Rico but fresh sugar cane is so yummy! It’s interesting to learn about all the history behind the industry that effected so many people. Oh and I want that tile wood-burning stove in my kitchen!

    1. Puerto Rico was “discovered” by Spain before the USA. There is so much history and culture, sadly, like this museum it takes a deep search to find.

  9. I love house-turned museums because it adds a personal touch to history. Instead of just facts, there’s a story about a family that goes with it. Looks awesome and is easy to see that the home was influenced by FLW. Thanks for sharing!

  10. I have never been to Porto Rico, but this place sounds quite interesting. It helps understanding and/or discovering some history of the country, which is always important when you visit somewhere!

  11. This article is really fascinating! I love that you went above and beyond to find some other old sugar plantation sites. It’s pretty cool that the Casa Roig museum still stands! Thanks for sharing all this great info!!

  12. You’ve just given me another place to visit in Puerto Rico, I’ll probably have to spend more time on the Island than on my cruises! I need to get into drone photography, it’s still quite rare to see drone photos and I certainly haven’t seen any of Puerto Rico. I’ll check out the Casa Roig on my visit, maybe without a drone though.

    1. Only the ruins of sugar mills needed the drone, the other sites are available to explore and walk around. There is so much to see beyond the port in Old San Juan.

  13. Interesting to hear that even though sugar plantation history has played such a huge role in Puerto Rico’s story that it’s not necessarily prominent – Museo Casa Roig sounds like a great hidden gem to check out while there, as do the ruins 🙂

  14. I love history and this sugar plantation looksso cool to me. It’s funny though because when I think of plantations, I always think of the Southof the US. I never think about the plantations in the Carribean and Puerto Rico. Thanks for sharing.

  15. I love it when a house is turned into a museum. It’s so interesting to see how this person’s living quarters were especially if they were a wealthy sugar plantation owner. I really like the tiles in the kitchen as well 🙂

  16. So nice that it is free. What a great way to learn about something that is so important to the culture. I also love the stained glass.

  17. I have been to Puerto Rico several times and have never taken the time to learn about the sugar production. Thanks to your article and video, I will make sure to visit this home next time I visit. It would be interesting to get a glimpse of how life was lived there and some knowledge of plantation history. Nice, unique post.

  18. This seems like a fantastic place to learn more about the local sugar plantation-related history, and what a bonus that private guided tours are free! I always find that when that’s the case, I end up donating about the same as I would have paid anyway, simply because I appreciate the fact that it’s free to begin with! Such a great idea to use your drone to take closer photos of somewhere you couldn’t get to on foot – I’d never thought of that before!

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