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Day Trip to Arecibo: Lighthouse, Cueva del Indio and Christopher Columbus Statue

Posted by Cassie

This weekend we met up with a friend and decided to take an excursion up to Arecibo. We’ve been to the Observatory and Camuy Caves, though they probably merit another trip since it’s been more than 10 years. This trip, however, the main goal was to see the Cueva del Indio (Taino Indian Cave). From what I’ve read this cave was a sacred place for the Taino Indians and unlike many other caves in Puerto Rico, it is located right on the seashore. We met up in San Sebastian and headed up through the island with a few stops along the way.

One stop was a photo opportunity at Salto Collazo which was flowing with much more water

Along the way we got stuck in a couple of political caravanas, but it wasn’t too bad. For the next three weeks or so I have a feeling it’s going to get more and more intense around here. People line the roads and hang out their cars waving flags and playing music in support of their party or politician of choice.

Parades of noisy cars with their team -er- political colors and symbols

When we arrived in Arecibo we stopped at the Lighthouse aka Faro Los Morrillos.

Lighthouse Park

We came around to where there is a Lighthouse Park. It looked like a kids’ amusement park without any real rides or anything. Parking was $3 and the entrance fee is $12! Pretty high. For $39 there are many other things I would rather do. Many people, including us, went up to the gate and then turned around. I mainly just wanted to see the lighthouse.

Beach side of the Lighthouse Park

We drove around to the other side of the Faro (which the clerk didn’t tell us we could do) and saw a better view of the lighthouse and also an awesome beach that had waves crashing and slamming into plumes of salt foam. This beach is called Pozo del Obispo.

cassie-and-lighthouseOn the playa side of the faro

Splash! At Playa Pozo del Opispo, Arecibo. The rock outcropping provides protection and creates a gentle swimming cove

View looking down at the beach area

And from there we could see one of our next stops! The huge and controversial Christopher Columbus statue that was dismissed from many other potential homes before arriving in Puerto Rico. You can see it a little in the above picture, but zoomed in you can definitely make it out. This statue is controversial because though Columbus is an important historical figure, he was also kind of a crappy human being who inflicted a lot of pain on people. Especially indigenous peoples like the Taino Indians who lived on the island before it was “discovered” by the Europeans.

Christopher Columbus Statue in the distance

Daylight was precious so we headed over to the caves. It gets dark around 6:30pm so we wanted to make sure to see the caves. When we arrived to the “official” entrance the clerk said we had missed it by 15 minutes! They close parking at 5pm!

Cueva del Indio sign
“Official” looking entrance

We were super bummed to be turned away, especially missing it by only 15 minutes. But onward and upward. We headed down the road about 2 blocks and found the huge Christopher Columbus statue. I found it especially ironic or at least coincidental that this huge statue of the mass murderer of many indigenous people would be literally walking distance down the road from the sacred caves of the Indians.

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Up close and personal with Columbus

We paid $2 to sit in the parking lot under the statue and make ourselves a drink. We were lamenting not seeing the caves when a man we had seen at the lighthouse asked us if we had seen them yet. We said no, that we just missed it. He said that all we needed to do was find a different entrance and we could go in and that the coast, where the caves are, is free and public. He said that he and his friend found a little snipped part in the fence and they just snuck right in and nobody said anything. Hey, we’re all for adventure! So we were off to see the caves after all! He said that they were charging $5 per person to enter through the official way, but that if you go yourself it’s free! Even better!

Just down from the official entrance we had seen earlier there were some houses on the road and so we parked just outside of there. We found the little hole in the fence and snuck right through. We climbed the sharp rocky rough ground for about 3 minutes and arrived to a beautiful sea scene with boulder arches and active waters.

Rock arches

cueva-del-indio-2 cueva-del-indio
Sort of horse-skull looking formation

We wandered about the rocky coast for a while and then saw a few people descending. This must be where the cave of the Indian is, we thought. There were rocky steps that seemed to be perfectly cut just for that reason. It almost felt like a den room.

Descending into the cave

Then we came upon the ladder that would take us deep into the heart of the cave where the cave touches the sea. The sacred room of the Tainos.

It’s just an old wood ladder, but appeared to be strong and sturdy

Cool old ladder has groove marks in the wood where many hands and feet pass

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Cool ceiling complete with bats! Looks like a space craft!

It was really cool seeing all the Taino petroglyphs. I have read that this cave has more petroglyphs than any other site in Puerto Rico! I don’t know what they symbolized but it reminded me that this island has so many layers of history to it. Long before Columbus landed, the island was thriving.

Taino Petroglyph

Whole rock walls covered in petroglyphs

For being so open to the elements and visitors I thought it was remarkably well-maintained. I always find it so interesting that in Puerto Rico for the most part things are just left to the people to explore. A very populist notion of live and let live that I find really appealing, especially to my sense of adventure and freedom.

Since we were the last ones there we had a few minutes before dark to take a few fun shots. It would be an awesome place to do a proper photoshoot.


Then we were off! We snuck out through the same gate that we entered.

Squeezing through the gate

Later that night we went out to have shrimp pizza in Hatillo under the light of a brilliant full moon.

Another magical day in Borinken

Here’s a little video of our time at the caves and statue. Enjoy.


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Caving with Katrina, Jeff and friends

Posted by Britton

We arrived late Saturday night/ Sunday morning in Aguadilla and drove to Katrina and Jeff’s house in San German arriving around 2:30 in the morning because of a small delay. They had said they were planning a cave that next day and we were welcome to stay at their house or go with them. We said we’d go as long as they weren’t leaving too early. We had a great day out hiking through the jungle of someone’s property and then exploring a couple of parts to a cave. I am not sure what they call this cave, but it was just the right cave for both of us who are novice cavers. Here are a few pictures!

We saw lots of crazy, creepy things in the caves like neat formations and lots of bugs, bats, rats, and toads. Definitely not a good place to bring the easily scared. :-) We were good with everything except the bats flying by our heads almost hitting us! Check out how many there were!

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