Journey into the past on this full-day tour of Puerto Rico's human history. Your small group (no larger than 6 people) will be guided by an archaeologist through the 5000 year human history of the island, where you will learn firsthand about the culture and mythology of Puerto Rico's indigenous past. You will visit two emblematic caves, Cueva del Indio and Cueva Ventana (both located in the town of Arecibo) where you will see petroglyphs and evidence of early human history. You'll also be able to visit the most important archaeological park in the Caribbean, Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park in Utuado. Hotel pickup and drop off in included in this tour.
Your tour starts at 8am with pickup from your hotel. From there, you'll travel ~45 minutes on Highway 22 towards the town of Arecibo, and then down the coast another 10 minutes to Cueva del Indio. A short hike leads to the beach where you can see some of the magnificent cliff formations of the coast. It's here on these formations that you'll find the opening into the cave. This cave was formed underwater millions of years ago and used by the indigenous cultures of the island as a special ceremonial spot. Here they carved hundreds of different petroglyphs on the walls of the cave. Your guide, who has a master´s degree in archaeology, will guide you through the cave and teach you about the culture, art and religion of the Taínos. You'll be able to explore for about 40 minutes before leaving to your next location.
It's time to head south on Highway 10 towards Cueva Ventana, which is located in the Karstic mountain region of Arecibo. The ride from the coast is a short 20 min, where you'll arrive at the cave and hike through the forest for another 20 minutes. During the hike, you and your guide will talk about the fauna and flora of the forest and the geological properties of the area that create all the hundreds of caves that are dispersed throughout the Karstic mountain region. You then arrive at the first of three caves where you can appreciate the petroglyphs that the indigenous people of the island carved more than five hundred years ago. These caves were used for many purposes, but the main one was ceremonial: the Taíno culture believed that the world and all life in it came from a cave. This part of the experience ends when you arrive at the famous Cueva Ventana and it´s marvelous window view of the Arecibo river valley.
For the next and final leg of the tour, you'll keep heading south on Highway 10 towards Utuado and the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park. First, it'll be time for a stop for lunch in a local restaurant called La Familia that specializes in mofongo (mashed fried plantains with oil, garlic, and spices). After lunch, it's a short ride to the park. Once there, you'll visit the small museum and talk about the importance of the park and how it was discovered. Finally you will head out into the archaeological site to see the the rectangular "bateyes", or plazas, that were used to play the rubber ball game called batú or for other kinds of public ceremonies such as the Areyto.
After your visit to the park, it's time to head back to the San Juan metropolitan area and your hotel. The ride back is about 1.25 hours and you should arrive no later than 5pm.