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The symbology and imagery of the original Taino Indians has become a popular motif in Puerto Rican art and culture over the last years. Taino symbols can now be found everywhere – from the mundane such as tattoos and car stickers, to local souvenirs and art. However, sometimes you want to see them for themselves – it is an interesting part of Puerto Rico’s history and the symbols carved into rock are one of the more enduring things left behind by the Tainos. Over the years in our road trips throughout the island we have encountered several places to see original Taino symbols carved into rock. If we forgot any good ones on this list, please add them to the comments section!
Cueva del Indio – Arecibo
This cave is located along the ocean in Arecibo. It is theorized that it was once a natural amphitheater and seat of the Caciques (chiefs)- used for spiritual ceremonies. You can get there by taking Highway 22 to Highway 10 north and finally to Highway 681 (km 7.9). As soon as you see a Total Gas Station on your right, slow down because the entrance to the parking area just after on your left.
La Piedra Escita – Jayuya
There is a lovely descending wooden walkway that brings you down to the river in Jayuya where you can see Taino symbols carved into the rocks in the river. Bring breakfast or lunch with you and picnic along the riverside and soak up the fact that there have been people enjoying this river spot for more than a century! Piedra Escrita can be found on Route 144 (between KM 7.7 and KM 8 ) in Jayuya. There is a good-sized parking lot right next to the ramp that leads to the river.
Park in Las Piedras – Las Piedras
There is a small cave here with a park that has original petroglyphs. More information on how to get there can be found here
Rio Blanco – Naguabo
There are many petroglyphs to be found in Naguabo on the east side of Puerto Rico, but a guided tour is best. Robin Philips offers excellent hiking tours along the river and into the Rainforest to view them. He can be reached at 787-874-2138.
There are many more petroglyphs to be found throughout Puerto Rico – many are not catalogued or protected at this point. There are many locations within EL Yunque Rainforest that have petroglyphs but they are not available to the public. The key to finding them is to keep your eyes open around water sources as the Tainos loved within short ditances to freshwater, so many are found along rivers and such.