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DISCOVER THE MOST IMPORTANT INDIGENOUS TOURISM DESTINATION IN THE CARIBBEAN

To get to know Puerto Rican culture, first you must learn about the culture of our Taíno ancestors. Without a doubt, the best way to discover Puerto Rico’s indigenous side is through “Ruta Taína”, a sacred tour through the land of Taínos.


Ruta Taína

Experience a magical journey that will take you through various towns from north to south. La Ruta Taína will give you direct access to the great variety of indigenous culture so that you can enjoy it at your pace:

  • Sacred ceremonial grounds
  • Petroglyphs
  • Archaeological sites
  • Graves
  • Legends
  • Caves
  • Museums
  • Trails
  • Monuments
  • Beaches
  • Rivers
  • Nature reserves
  • Impressive sceneries


Did you know?

Almost 50% of Puerto Rico’s municipalities have Taíno names. Also, many rivers, fruits, foods, and traditions are of indigenous origin, including “canoa” (canoe), the first Taíno word officially accepted into the Spanish language.


Ruta Taína

Jayuya

Renowned as the indigenous capital of Puerto Rico, Jayuya comes from the Taíno name Hayuya.

Jayuya Town Square

787.828.1241

Renowned as the indigenous capital of Puerto Rico, Jayuya comes from the Taíno name Hayuya. Here you’ll find a monument of chief Jayuya, a mural depicting the Jayuya Sun, and the First Grave of the Puerto Rican Indian.

Jayuya Cultural Center

25 San Felipe Street
Monday to Friday, 8am-4:30pm
787.828.2220

Indigenous artifacts exhibition.

The Written Stone Recreational Center

Road 144, Km. 2.3
787.828.1241

A monumental stone with important petroglyphs by the Saliente River. A popular spot for bathing in the river.

Maboití Art and Culture Center

Road 144
Monday to Sunday, 8am-4pm
787.828.1241

This center is located in the neighborhood of Coabey, a Taíno word that means “world of the ancestors.” It houses the Cemí Museum, an exhibition of archaeological pieces, the first Taíno sanctuary featuring the burial site of an indigenous ancestor, indigenous villages and a store with Taíno crafts. Enjoy the impressive view of the sacred mountain at the Tres Picachos Forest.

Centro de Arte y Cultura Maboití

Zama Mural

Road 527, Km 9.3
Tours by appointment
787.718.1838

Petroglyph mural featuring the iconic Jayuya Sun at Cerro Punta, the highest point in Puerto Rico.

Adjuntas

This town in the central mountainous region of the island is known for its relatively cool temperatures during the winter, its Taíno legacy in the villages, and petroglyphs that survive to this day.

Batey Vegas Arriba and Bosque del Pueblo

Casa Pueblo
Requires appointment.
787-829-4842

Indigenous village at the top of a forest with a spectacular view.

Sun of Adjuntas Mural

Plaza Pública del centro urbano

Petroglyph mural of the Sun of Adjuntas located at the beautiful town square of Adjuntas, the town of the Sleeping Giant.

Arecibo

This town in the northern coast of the island is named after chief Arasibo, who lived in these lands. Arecibo also hosts a great cavern system, among which there’s Cueva del Indio (Indian’s Cave), one of the most visited in the country.

Cueva del Indio Nature Reserve

Road 681, Km. 8.1

This coastal and submarine reserve has the open cave with the largest concentration of petroglyphs in the island. We suggest caution, as this is rocky terrain, and recommend the services of an official tour guide from the list in this section.

Reserva Natural Cueva del Indio

Arecibo Ligthhouse & Historical Park

Intersection of roads 681 and 655
787.880.7540

http://www.arecibolighthouse.com/

This theme park in Arecibo’s Lighthouse has a beautiful ocean view and recreates the main elements of Puerto Rican culture and history, from an indigenous village until Spanish and American colonization. It also has a water park and a small aquarium.

Arecibo Ligthhouse & Historical Park

Antiguo Caney del Abacoa

Ave. José de Diego, Plaza del Abacoa

Ancient village where chief Arasibo lived. It has a beautiful view of the Río Grande de Arecibo (Great River of Arecibo).

Fishing Indian Monument

Road 2

A monument by the Río Grande de Arecibo depicting a Taíno fisherman.

René Marqués Museum of Art and History

Archaeological Hall
298 Ave. Santiago Iglesias
Monday to Friday 9am-4pm
Saturday and Sunday by appointment

This collection contains indigenous artifacts from archaeological findings in Arecibo, among them the “Dujo de Oliver” (Oliver’s seat), considered the most important archaeological item in Puerto Rico.

Cueva Ventana (Window Cave)

Road 10, Km.75
Monday to Sunday, 10am-5pm
787.322.3554

This forest cave system has indigenous petroglyphs and trails, as well as one of the most impressive views of the island.

Dos Bocas Lake

Road 123, Km. 68.2
Monday to Sunday, 9am-6pm
787.879.1838

This natural area is surrounded by gorgeous scenery and offers boat rides and several restaurants with a beautiful lake view.

Lago Dos Bocas

Río Abajo State Forest

Road 10, Km. 4.4
Monday to Sunday
787.999.2200 ext. 5612/5613

Hike through old indigenous forest trails and visit a cave adorned with petroglyphs. Camping grounds are available every day. Groups of more than 9 people require a permit from the Department of Natural Resources.

Ponce

The second largest city in Puerto Rico is also known for its Taíno heritage, especially for the Tibes Ceremonial Center that attracts thousands of visitors every year.

Cerrillos Lake

Road 139
Wednesday to Sunday, 6am-6pm
787.259.1425.

Recreational lake in a scenic natural reserve.

Jácana Archaeological Complex

Portugués River Reservoir

Important archaeological complex of what used to be an indigenous village.

Tibes Indigenous Ceremonial Center

Road 503, Km. 2.5
Tuesday to Sunday, 9am – 4pm
787.840.2255

One of the oldest and most important indigenous archaeological complexes in the Caribbean. It houses a museum with archaeological artifacts found nearby.

Utuado

This mountainous town in Puerto Rico’s central region is named in honor of chief Otoao, whose name means “among mountains.”

Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Center

Road 111, Km. 48.7
Monday to Sunday, 8am-4pm
787.894.7325

The most important Taíno ceremonial center in the Antilles. It hosts a museum that exhibits important archaeological pieces and a gift shop with handmade crafts. There’s also a view to the iconic Cemí Mountain, sacred to the Taínos.

Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Caguana

Tanamá National Park

Road 111, Km. 48
Tours available by reservation
787.484.3860

Exotic nature and adventure experience. Features river rafting, caves adorned with petroglyphs, indigenous trails, and gorgeous scenery.

Parque Nacional del Río Tanamá

Petroglyphs at Salto de los Morones Rock

Road 10
787.894.3460

Petroglyph mural at the Río Grande de Arecibo. Exercise caution when hiking by the river.

Batey de Salto Arriba Village

University of Puerto Rico, Utuado Campus
Road 123

This was an indigenous village that housed a unique geoglyph in the Antilles, similar to the Nazca Lines in Peru. Here you can see a petroglyph mural that features the famous Utuado Sun.

Monument to Chief Don Alonso

Utuado Town Square
787.894.3460

A monument that honors Utuado’s chief Otoao, which means “among mountains” and gives the town its unique name.

Caonillas Lake

Road 140, Km. 20

Recreational area with beautiful scenery.

Lago Caonillas
Tours

Don’t miss any fact about our indigenous culture. Request a guided tour with one of our experts.

Lodging and Agrotourism

Ruta Taína goes through some of the most beautiful sceneries of Puerto Rico’s central mountain region. That’s why you’ll get the most of it if you travel at a leisurely pace, taking advantage of the many inns and tourism attractions along the route. It’s definitely one of the best ways of enjoying our island’s great natural beauty, as it used to be when it was inhabited by our Taíno ancestors.

If you wish to extend your journey through Ruta Taína across a couple of days, here you’ll find several options for lodging and ideas for other activities you can enjoy, such as a visit to one of our agrotourism farms.

Hotels and inns along Ruta Taína

  1. Caño Tiburones Guesthouse

    Arecibo 156 Julián Sánchez Street 787-563-0062 https://www.facebook.com/ctguesthouse/
  2. Hotel Casa Grande

    Utuado Road 612 787-894-3939 https://www.hotelcasagrande.com/
  3. Lago Caonillas Vacation Center

  4. Hacienda Gripiñas

    Jayuya Road 144 787-828-1717 http://haciendagripinas.tripod.com/
  5. Parador Villas de Sotomayor

    Adjuntas Road 522, Km. 0.2 787-829-1717 https://www.facebook.com/ParadorVillasSotomayor/
  6. Hilton Ponce Golf and Casino Resort

  7. Holiday Inn & Tropical Casino

  8. Hotel Bélgica

    Ponce 122 Villa Street 787-844-3255 http://www.hotelbelgica.com/?w=1440&h=815
  9. Hotel Meliá

    Ponce 75 Cristina Street 787-842-0260 http://meliacenturyhotel.com/

Agrotourism: Coffee Plantations

  1. Café Gran Batey

    Utuado Road 6102 787-636-5442 http://granbateycoffee.com/
  2. Café Nativo

    Jayuya Road 140 787-315-7881
  3. Hacienda Tres Ángeles

    Adjuntas Road 129, Km. 38.4 787-360-0019 http://www.haciendatresangeles.com/
  4. Hacienda Pomarrosa

    Ponce Road 511 787-844-3541
  5. Café Lucero

    Ponce 46 Marisol Street 787-848-8387 http://cafelucero.com/
Taíno 101

“Barbacoa,” “huracán”, “Boricua” (barbecue, hurricane, Puerto Rican), words Puerto Ricans use every day that come to use from our Taíno ancestors. This glossary contains some of the most well-known phrases, frequently used to name everything from our foods to our flora and fauna. If you want to learn more Spanish as spoken by Puerto Ricans, you’ve come to the right place.

  • Ají: spicy pepper
  • Ama: river, body of water
  • Ana: flower
  • Arepa: cornbread
  • Areito: ceremonial song and dance
  • Atabey: Mother Earth
  • Barbacoa: a platform with four wooden legs
  • Barbicú: a techinique for roasting meats, using a hole in the ground filled with hot coals and a “barbacoa” as a platform to hold the meat
  • Batata: sweet potato
  • Batey: sacred ceremonial ground; sacred ball game played in these grounds
  • Bibi: mother
  • Bieke: small land, origin of the name for Vieques island
  • Boriken: great land of the brave and noble Lord
  • Bojike: Great Lord of Land and Forest; shaman, the tribe’s medicine man
  • Bohío: round house
  • Boricua: brave people of the Sacred House
  • Cabuya: thin string used for fishing, made from the fibers of the maguey plant
  • Cacike: chief
  • Caguana: Mother of Fertility, also known by the name of Caguana’s Woman
  • Caney: long house, where the chief or tribe elder lived
  • Canoa: small boat
  • Carey: green sea turtle
  • Caribe: brave people
  • Cayo: pass between islands, a key
  • Cemí: totem, Lord
  • Coa: wooden agricultural instrument
  • Cohoba: sacred ceremonial dust made from the seed of a cojobana tree; also the name of a sacred religious Taíno ceremony
  • Cokí: tree frog; spirit of the tree
  • Colibrí: hummingbird
  • Conuco: farm or garden
  • Cucubano: luminous and nocturnal insect with four wings and two lights
  • Chágara: small, black river crab
  • Choreto: abundant
  • Dujo: a ceremonial seat for the chief of a Taíno village
  • Fotuto: trumpet made from a sea conch
  • Guaba: spider
  • Guácara: cave or birth place
  • Guaitiao: friend or friends
  • Guateke: bring together the People of the Earth in celebration
  • Guama: large, shady fruit tree
  • Guanín: gold medal worn by the chief; symbol of authority
  • Guanime: cornbread
  • Guaraguao: red-tailed hawk
  • Guatiao: name exchange ceremony; an adopted person
  • Guay: statement of emotion, admiration or pain
  • Guayo: table used to grind yucca used to make casabe
  • Guazabara: war or warrior
  • Haití: original name of the island of Hispaniola
  • Hamaca: hanging bed made from cotton
  • Huracán: center of wind
  • Iguaca: green parrot
  • Iguana: large green lizard
  • Já: sound used to express emotion or admiration
  • Jagua: fruit tree that produces ink
  • Jaiba: river crab
  • Jicotea: land turtle
  • Lukiyo: spirit of the White Earth mountain; a sacred mountain and forest in Puerto Rico
  • Macana: war stick
  • Manatí: sacred sea cow
  • Maraca: percussive musical instrument
  • Mime: small fly
  • Múcaro: owl, night bird
  • Piragua: long boat, often used for war
  • Yucayeque: village or town