Fun Taino Facts about Puerto Rico

taino facts

Who doesn’t love a good factoid?  Here are some of our favorites about the Taino Indians, the native population found in Puerto Rico.  If we missed Taino fact please comment and let us know!

Taino Fact #1:

  • Men sailed the seas in great discomfort before the Caribbean islands were discovered. When they slept, they did so on the floors of their ships. Beds and hammocks were not known then. Here they are, bodies aching and sore, only to see the Taino Indians, relaxed, in a netting bed floating above the ground. Have you ever thrown yourself in a Hammock? If you have, congratulations! You have partaken of a Taino innovation.

Taino Fact #2:

  • We can thank the original Taino inhabitants for words like hurricane (Huracán) and barbecue (Barbacoa).

Taino Fact #3:

  • Puerto Ricans often call the island Borinquen, from Taino word Borikén, which means “Land of the Valiant Lord”.

Taino Fact #4:

  • Many people thought that the Taino Indians were exterminated in Puerto Rico. Scientists recently discovered through DNA studies that Tainos continued on.  Therefore, it is possible that they hid in the mountains and later melted into the population.  This has been tracked mostly through matrilineal DNA.

Taino Fact #5:

  • El Yunque National Forest was considered a sacred space.  Petroglyphs have been found at lower elevations along the rivers.  Many of the carvings are anthropomorphic, meaning they represent stylized versions of people, spirits, or ancestors with human shapes. You can read more about them on El Yunque’s website.


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