Its full name was “The Hacienda Florida de San Pedro Alejandrino” but, perhaps, to save us from a mouthful, it’s now called the Quinta de San Pedro Alejandrino, which many now just call “La Quinta.” Whatever its name, the truth is its beauty rivals its fascinating history.
Centuries ago, where now the colorful Botanical Gardens are located, the extensive and golden sugar cane plantations covered the ranch. Here panela, honey and rum were produced. Today, visitors can appreciate the mill where the workers of the De Mier family elaborated these products that were commercialized and distributed throughout the Caribbean.
Due to its rich history and illustrious proprietors, it had an estimated 20 owners during its production period, this has been declared a National Historical Monument.
The most interesting piece of historical information is that here is where the Liberator, Simon Bolivar, saw the end of his days. The story of Simon Bolivar in la Quinta has a lot to do with the checkered history of the Great Colombia. After renouncing his presidency and looking for exile, Bolivar sought refuge en la Quinta. Unfortunately, after 11 days, he fell ill and died.
From this incredible legacy, we have the footprint of history and the liberation of the Americas in Santa Marta. The building is of ochre, and its style is a true representation of the Colonial period. The most important places in this historical monument are found in the main house where, Simon Bolivar died. You can appreciate a bed, bedside table, chair and desk where Bolivar wrote his last proclamation. There’s also a bathroom, chapel, library, the independence room, Bolivarian room, century room, kitchen and stables.
In these significant spaces, the visitor can observe objects that illuminate who people lived at the time, and even how the people ate. What stands out are the well-conserved furniture of the XVII century as well as other personal effects that make you feel like you’ve slipped into the past and are watching the last days of Simon Bolivar as the clock that hangs on the wall from centuries ago was stopped, instants after his death. It’s a fascinating journey into Colombian and American history.
Today, this important bulwark of history and art, is administrated by the Bolivariano of Contemporary Art Museum Foundation. It is open to all public for a modest fee. Those who visit must follow protocol and wear appropriate clothing.