Visit The Historical Park Maria de la Cruz in Loiza

Maria de la Cruz Cave Loiza

Loiza is a town just east of San Juan, on the northern coast of Puerto Rico, and it is one of the earliest-settled areas on the island. Evidence of pre-Columbian cultures was discovered in Maria de la Cruz cave (Cueva Maria de la Cruz), a cave close to the center of Loiza. Following the completion of the archaeological studies of the cave, the cave and surrounding land were turned into a community area for everyone to enjoy. It has become an Historical Park, where you learn a little about the area’s cultural history. It’s not a big park, but it is worth a quick stop if you happen to be in the area (say, on your way to or from Piñones). In 2018, they have made this area more of a destination- with guides and artisans, music and educational information about the history/culture. Now called Parque Histórico Cueva María de la Cruz.

Some History

Maria de la Cruz Cave Loiza

In 1948, archaeologist Dr. Ricardo Alegría found evidence of very early human inhabitants in the area of Maria de la Cruz cave. He undertook a huge archaeological dig, and discovered human artifacts dating back through a number of periods — from possibly as far back as 4000 BC on up to 100 AD. These findings are evidence of the first (most-likely nomadic) human inhabitants of Puerto Rico.

Río Grande de Loiza

Also in the area of the cave, archaeologists found artifacts from the Taino people — who were also a pre-Columbian culture, though a much later and more advanced people. The Tainos left behind pottery, tools, bones and shells of all types, and burial sites.

In later years (post-Columbian), the cave was used by both free and slave Africans for shelter. It is believed that the whole area near the river (Río Grande de Loiza) might be archaeologically significant, so preservation and further study is needed.

Our Visit

Maria de la Cruz Cave Loiza

This cave is more of a large open area than a deep cave system. The cave measures 50 meters wide, 25 meters deep, and 30 meters high. Because it is open, there is light inside and you can get some photos. There are a number of bee hives on the ceiling of the cave, so just be quiet when inside the cave and they shouldn’t bother you. They now give guided tours of the cave and surroundings.

The tour of this cave is interesting, and it is very historically significant. They have a few of the items found in the cave on display here, though many more of the archaeological findings are displayed in the museum of the University of Puerto Rico.

In addition to the cave visit, they have cultural experiences going on through out the day (something happening every hour). A Bee Keeping talk, a workshop on how to tie turbans in your hair, and a Bomba presentation about the different types of Bomba music and dance around the island. There are restrooms in the office building, some artisans, food stands and some playground equipment in front of the cave. There is also an Art Gallery of local artists in the area.

Details

Maria de la Cruz Cave Loiza

Tickets available at the office. A guided tour of the cave and talks/workshops is $6 per person. Art Gallery is $2 pp.

The Park is open Wednesday through Sunday. The workshops are available from 9am-12, 1-4pm.(Bee 9a and 1p, Turban 10a and 3p, and Bomba at 11am and 2pm). The guided tour of the caves are available on demand from 8a-5pm. Most are in Spanish, but interpreters are available.

This little park is used by the Loiza community. You can call for some more info (but it may only be in Spanish) 787-876-1014, extensiones 2201, 2202 y 2203.

This cave is located east of Piñones. The new entrance is off of RT 188 (you will see the sign). Or if you are on Road 187 in Loiza, turn onto Calle San Patricio (there is a Total gas station on the corner).

We are in the process of updating the maps we use on our web site. While we're working on that, you can click on the GPS coordinates below to view the location on Google Maps ...

PuertoRicoDayTrips.com assumes no responsibility regarding your safety when participating in the activities described in this article. Please use common sense! If your mother or that little voice in your head tells you that you are about to do something stupid … then don't do it! Read more about Safety →

Comments & Discussion Leave a Comment »

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Great visit right off of 187 and there were signs leading to it. It is just a cave, but the facts and known history behind what this cave means and was is truly worth the visit. We even had a chance see the bomba dancing in the little rec center and use the facilities for a quick break. Great photos and even our three year old was amazed by the size of this place . The people of Loiza are so friendly and even though the towns getting there are poor looking, don't judge this book by its cover. So much rich history here.

Comment by on 20 Jul 2014

It is too bad you could not find it. We were just there a few weeks ago. I don't know if the road by the gas station is actually called San Patricio, that is Google maps for you. But there is a sign (in both directions) on Rd 187 for the Cueva and there is a small road right at the gas station as you come over the bridge into town. Maybe next time you will see it.

Comment by Gwenn on 22 May 2014

I tried finding this place last weekend.....and if you are considering going then i have some advice. FORGET IT!!!!! This review is total BS. The place is not sign posted. There is no Total Gas Station. The San Patricio road indicated in the road is nowhere near where the map indicates the place is.....i went to both and no cave to be found. The place indicated on the map is simply not where it is. The locals do not have a clue what this place is or even that it exists (I asked numerous people in the area and none had even heard of it before). I wasted 2 hours driving around trying to find it and ended up driving away. I had a feeling that even if i found the cave that it would end up being a massive disappointment. Will not try finding it again. Loiza is horrible place at the best of times.

Comment by James Powell on 22 May 2014

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