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Taino Historic Sites In Puerto Rico

Updated on November 11, 2013
Froggy213 profile image

A Gringo who moved to Puerto Rico, Greg loves writing about the island he now resides on. He and Maria also wrote several bilingual books...



As an American who has made Puerto Rico his home now for the last 2 years, I find that this beautiful island located between the Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea has a lot to offer.

Puerto Rico has a very diverse mix of cultures. You will find people who have relatives that are Spanish, African, Irish, American and many more. When you come to Puerto Rico, you will find that everyone who is from here relates to any or all of those, but it is guaranteed they all will relate to one group who isn't listed here.

Just like in the United States, Puerto Rico had a native group that everyone here relates to. The difference between Puerto Rico and the United States in this is: the Native Americans still exist and thrive. The native Puerto Ricans which were called Tainos, are presumed extinct. Now there is a group or two that would argue that. They claim to be full-blooded Tainos. I will not debate that; as a matter of fact, I applaud them for keeping the Taino history alive and breathing.

You will find there are many words and terms used here that are of a Taino background.

I have been studying the Taino history and I have come to feel a strong sensation that I wish I lived as one.

The purpose of this hub is to share with you discovered places in Puerto Rico that were once Taino habitats or playgrounds. I have not as yet visited all these locations, but you can bet your sweet biffy that I will.

Scroll down and find the Taino sites to visit when you fly or sail into Puerto Rico. You will be welcomed warmly in this Borinquen land that the Taino once called home.

Before I tell you the sites though, let me explain the Taino history just a bit.

There is also a fictional book that we published that has Taino history within its pages. You can purchase a copy through the link provided.

Some Taino History

It is believed that the Taino migrated to the Greater Antilles (Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola, and Puerto Rico) from Venezuela around 700 AD. They grew their own fruits and vegetables and made communities on all these islands. Their society was primarily democratic and very religious.

The Taino made huts that were round and would survive hurricanes for the most part. These huts were called bohios. They slept in beds called hamacas. This is where we get hammocks from. They made pottery, weaved baskets and carved wood and stone.

In the democratic fashion, the Taino would place a "chief" at the top. The "chief" was called a cacique. Below the cacique were medicine men, subchiefs and then the workers.

The Taino also knew how to have fun. They built parks where they played a game that was a lot like soccer. While playing the game with a rubber like ball, other Tainos played drums that were a lot like the modern bongo drums.

The Taino were used as slaves by the invading Spanish. Many were given diseases by the influx of other cultures. Deaths of Tainos came by disease or being killed as a slave or fighting for their freedom or land.

Many Taino words were incorporated into the Puerto Rican language and some even made it to the English language. Below are some of the Taino words. Can you figure out which picture coincides with the Taino word?

Click thumbnail to view full-size
MaracasManateesHammockIguanaHurricaneCeiba Tree-The National tree of Puerto RicoYuca
Maracas | Source
Manatees | Source
Hammock | Source
Iguana | Source
Hurricane | Source
Ceiba Tree-The National tree of Puerto Rico
Ceiba Tree-The National tree of Puerto Rico

Taino Words

These are all words that came from the Tainos. Take a look at the different pictures and see how we use them today.

  • hamacas
  • maracas
  • yucca
  • iguana
  • manatí
  • ceiba
  • huracan

show route and directions
A markerArecibo, Puerto Rico -
Arecibo, Puerto Rico
get directions

B markerUtuado,Puerto Rico -
Utuado, Puerto Rico
get directions

C markerPonce,Puerto Rico -
Ponce, Puerto Rico
get directions

D markerJayuya,Puerto Rico -
Jayuya, Puerto Rico
get directions

E markerEl Yunque,Puerto Rico -
El Yunque, El Yunque National Forest, Río Grande 00745, Puerto Rico
get directions

Taino Sites In Puerto Rico

There are many places on this island that have Taino history. Many are tourist spots and I believe there are probably still places that haven't been found. I think it would be amazing to go on a adventure into some of the deep foliage in the mountains of Puerto Rico looking for Taino discoveries. I sometimes dream of doing this and coming upon a cave where Taino Indians still are living. The Gringocua finding a tribe that was still alive in a cave high in the Central mountain Range. I could see the headlines now.

Here are some places you can visit here in Puerto Rico that have Taino history and relics:

Cueva Ventana

This cave is located in Arecibo. There is a $3 cost to enter. It was a dwelling area and place of refuge for the Taino.

Cueva Del Indio

This is also in Arecibo and has Taino carvings inside.

Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Caguana

This is a ceremonial Taino site that was discovered. It is open to the public and is in Utuado.

Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Tibes

Here is another ceremonial site that is located in Ponce.

Museo del Cemí

This museum that holds many Taino relics is located in Jayuya. In November, that municipality also has a festival in honor of the Taino heritage.

El Yunque

This rainforest that we can see from our home was supposedly very sacred to the Tainos. If you follow this link, you can enjoy a Taino ceremony performed at the top of El Yunque.


These are just some of the wonderful places you can visit on this enchanted island that will show you how the Tainos lived. As you go throughout Puerto Rico, you will discover Taino Indian roots and heritage everywhere.

There have been some studies done and it is believed that at least 50% of the people who were born here have the DNA of the original Tainos. Yes, my lovely wife thinks she is of African descent, but I am about to tell her that she is Taino,

Below are two links to sites that the Taino people have made. The Tainos have become webmasters and have their own websites.

Come visit Puerto Rico and see the Taino heritage. You are welcome to visit the Borinquen Land!

© G.L. Boudonck

© 2013 Greg Boudonck


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    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 4 years ago from Will soon return to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      Thanto both of you and for more words IslandBites.

    • dilipchandra12 profile image

      Dilip Chandra 4 years ago from India

      A well written informative hub. This is great, i enjoyed reading. Thanks to you.

    • IslandBites profile image

      IslandBites 4 years ago from Puerto Rico

      It's nice to see the interest you have in the Island history. Another words: barbacoa, canoa, caribe, caiman and guayaba.

    • Froggy213 profile image

      Greg Boudonck 4 years ago from Will soon return to an Isla Del Sol - Puerto Rico Will Rise Strong

      Thank you honey.

    • Lastheart profile image

      Maria Magdalena Ruiz O'Farrill 4 years ago from Borikén the great land of the valiant and noble Lord

      Very well done. I am a mix...very mixed. I have Taino, of course they were first here in this island. I have African, indubitable, deep in my heart. I have Spanish and Irish blood also. I am a culture mix Borikua! Thanks for loving my island.