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Puerto Rico Day Trips Travel Guide

Discover El Yunque History in the Río Espíritu Santo

Cara del Indio

Why is it that we never make the time to see the stuff that is closest to our own homes?

We travel all over the island exploring and seeking out all sorts of cool things, yet we had never managed to stop to see the pre-Columbian petroglyphs that we drive right past multiple times every week.

Seriously … the area we have lived in for years is called Cara de Indio (literally translates to Face of the Indian) due to a bunch of petroglyphs in the river that our road crosses over. Yet we had never stopped to see them. But every time we cross the bridge we say “You know what we should do …”.

Cara del Indio

We finally we made a point to just stop at the bridge and check out these pieces of local history. They were easy to find, and there was a nice pool just below below them for enjoying a cool day in the river.

The El Yunque area has multiple sites that have pre-Columbian petroglyphs. Some of them are on private property and/or are hard to get to. But “our” petroglyphs are located just off the road, in the river. They can be quick stop while in the rain forest area.

Our Visit

We knew these etchings were there, but we weren’t sure exactly where they were. But, as it turns out, they are very close to the road, just a few steps downstream from the bridge that crosses the Río Espíritu Santo.

Cara del Indio

Once in the river, there is a large rock in the middle, just to the north of the bridge. The petroglyphs are on the north and west side of this rock. There are supposedly 14 or 16 of them, though we were able to locate about 8 or 9.

Some of them are really cool, while others are not very impressive. A number of them are difficult to find. But it is fun to try to find them — kinda like a life-size Highlights™ Hidden Pictures™ puzzle.

Cara del Indio

Some of them we have never seen elsewhere on the island. Check out the 2 little “babies” inside the large bundled baby’s face. And there were some butterflies.

If you make the stop at our lovely river, stay for a while and enjoy the nice natural pool right below the rock with the pertroglyphs. You can swim and enjoy the little water cascades.


From Route 3 in Río Grande, turn onto Road 186 (just east of the intersection with Route 66 — El Verde BBQ Restaurant is on the corner). Continue on Road 186 for about 1 mile, then turn left onto Road 966. Just about ¼ mile up the road you will cross a bridge (currently painted on sides) — this is it!

Cara del Indio

While you could park on the west side of the road (on the right) by the bridge, this would require you to trudge down river (through some deep spots) to get under the bridge to the rock. If you park on the left side, there is a fence, but someone has made a hole in it for river access. This way is easier than across the road (no river trudging).

The best viewing of these are from the area below this rock (in the water), which is a nice swimming pool. So a swimsuit suit, water shoes, and waterproof camera are required!

And when you’re finished, stop into El Verde BBQ for lunch. We highly recommend it!

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 →

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I found this link for her: http://talleryagrumo.com/contacto/ It is old, but has some contact info. It looks like she also sells at an online store called Calle Luna Arts - maybe write to them for her info: http://callelunaarts.com/contact/ Good luck!

Comment by Gwenn on 24 Jan 2015

Very much enjoyed your article. Several years ago we visited Puerto Rico and I bought two Taino ceramic wall hangings (5 or 6 inches across). I just sent them to a daughter in Baltimore who teaches and wanted to use them for display in her school's International Week. Much to my dismay, one of the tiles broke in transit. I have been looking for a way to replace them, but cannot find a store/site. Is there any way you can help me find a replacement? My fervent hope is to someday return to Puerto Rico, but I don't know when that will be. Further info on the tile is that it was made by a Debbie Delgado. Thank you, Kathie K.

Comment by Kathie Kropschot on 24 Jan 2015

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Other Puerto Rico Resources …

Coqui's Hideaway Rainforest Villa in Rio Grande Located in the Foothills of El Yunque
San Juan Bus Map - learn about public transportation in the San Juan metro area

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