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Taino civilisation shines in Puerto Rico's new cultural tour

Puerto Rico Tourism Company recently launched a brand new route for nature lovers and visitors who wish to get to know more about the island’s ancestral culture. The new experience goes by the name of “La Ruta Taina” and passes through several interesting towns before arriving at the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park in Utado. This tour takes travellers to stunning sceneries and shows them some of the islands traditional Taino customs.

Taino civilisation shines in Puerto Rico's new cultural tour

In addition to its impeccable white-sand beaches and paradisiacal landscapes, Puerto Rico boasts a rich and vast culture.

Though its catchy salsa rhythms and colonial history are some of the best known aspects of the island, Puerto Rico is also proud of its first inhabitants who left traces of an interesting and unique civilisation.

Taking the country’s natural beauty and Taino culture into account, tourism authorities recently launched a new cultural experience: "La Ruta Taina" at the Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park in Utuado.

Travellers who sign up for these amazing tours will be able to learn about Puerto Rico’s heritage and indigenous traditions as well as hike through impressive natural sites within the stunning Modelo Forest. Running from Arencibo to Ponce, each journey departs from north to south and passes through charming towns of Utuado, Jayuya and Adjuntas.

Executive director of Puerto Rico Tourism Company, Ingrid Riviera Rocafort, expressed what an honour it was to be able to show visitors some of the country’s most ancient traditions:

“We are thrilled to launch la Ruta Taina because it invites the world to take an in-depth look at our roots. This new addition highlights our commitment to develop niche markets as we continue to diversify our tourist offerings for the enjoyment of visitors to the island.”

The route comprises several stunning destinations such as, Cueva del Indio and Cueva Ventana Indio in Arecibo; Centro Ceremonial Indígena Caguana and Cacique Don Alonso monument in Utuado; Piedra Escrita de Jayuya and Museo del Cemi in Jayuya; and Centro Ceremonial Indigena de Tibes in Ponce.

The entire experience was designed with the utmost respect for nature and focusing on Puerto Rico’s indigenous traditions; archaeologists Osvaldo Garcia Goyco, Norma Medina and Reniel Rodriguez, worked together with the Institute of Puerto Rican Culture and other conservation groups to meet this end.

The Tainos were the indigenous people of the Caribbean and Florida. At the time of European contact in the late 15th century, they were the main inhabitants of most of Cuba, Jamaica, Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic), and of course, Puerto Rico. Tainos’ achievements included the construction of ceremonial ball parks whose boundaries were marked by upright stone dolmens, development of a universal language, and creation of a complicated religious cosmology.

Whilst they take part in the tours, tourists will appreciate the most pristine flora and fauna, as they make their way through caves, beaches and natural reserves, as well as discover the remainders of the rich Taino culture and the oldest ceremonial centres in the Caribbean, filled with indigenous petroglyphs, villages, tombs and museums. A well-trained guide will inform visitors about the island’s ancestral identity and during stopovers, travellers can continue to dip into Puerto Rico’s culture by tasting some of its most delicious traditional dishes.

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