A Mesmerizing Exploration of La Cueva del Indio en Puerto Rico

Cueva del Indio en Puerto Rico

La Cueva del Indio en Puerto Rico is a must see for outdoor lovers or anyone looking to escape the city for an afternoon. It is one of the most famous of the more than 2,000 caves in Puerto Rico, having appeared in movies like: “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011),” “Runner, Runner (2013),” “Treasure Island (2012),” and “Perfect Getaway (2009).”

Take a walk along the cliffs overlooking the blue waters in Arecibo, and pair this site with a visit to the Arecibo Lighthouse and Las Cavernas de Rio Camuy National Park for a perfect day trip from San Juan.

About Cueva del Indio en Puerto Rico

The caves were formed over millennia by the erosion of the natural limestone by ground water and the pounding surf. The indigenous people of the area, the Taino, discovered and used the caves as meeting places. Many of their carvings are still visible. In fact, La Cueva del Indio has the largest collection of petroglyphs in the area.

The site is public and maintained by the Department of Natural Resources. There is no fee for entry. However, parking is very limited due to the narrow width of the road. Enterprising locals have created parking lots adjacent to the site. They charge $5 a person to park but are not officially affiliated. It’s an easy and secure spot to leave your car, but please note that the lot owners only accept cash. The nearest ATM is a 15-minute drive from the caves, so don’t forget your dollars.

Also don’t forget your water, you’ll need it. There’s no shade or cover. When we were there, the lot manager had a cooler of water bottles for sale for $1 each, but don’t count on that. 

Follow the sandy path up to the rocks and climb to the top of the cliffs. The former entry to the cave itself was a ladder that has since been removed. It’s still possible to access the cave, but the entry is not for the claustrophobic or the faint of heart.

Entrance to Cueva del Indio en Puerto Rico
Entrance to Cueva del Indio en Puerto Rico 2

It’s about six feet off the ground which requires a small climb or someone to give you a boost. Then it’s a matter of maneuvering your body through the tunnel until it opens to a further climb down.

We opted to walk the cliff tops and take photos from above. There’s a beautiful trail to follow that leads to a beach and some tidepools. If you walk far enough, you can even get a view of a massive statue called Birth of the New World a little further inland. I’d recommend it for older children if you have a family in tow. There are no guard rails, and the footing is uneven.

Getting to La Cueva del Indio en Arecibo

Getting to the caves is easy with a rental car, no groups or tours necessary. It’s located at Km. 8.0 on PR-681. Plug the destination into Google and follow the directions. The exact geo-coordinates are 18°29’34.1″N 66°38’31.4″W if you need them. It’s about ninety minutes from either San Juan or Aguadilla so you can access it from either end of the island easily.

Is Cueva del Indio en Arecibo worth the visit?

If you’re an adventurer, climber, historian or casual tourist, Cueva del Indio en Arecibo Puerto Rico is on my top ten list of places to visit on the island. It’s something the whole family can enjoy. Bring a hat, sunscreen, plenty of water and maybe a picnic for a fun and interesting day out.

Have you ever visited the Cueva del Indio en Puerto Rico? Let me know in the comments!

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