Monument to El Jibaro

Jibaro Monument

The hardworking pioneers (farmers, wood craftsman, hunters) are hardly ever honored for their contribution to a nation. These poor country-folk (Jíbaro in Puerto Rican Spanish) lived simple lives, working the land, and caring for their families with what little they had. They were the backbone of every society.

But in Cayey, on a prominent place along the main highway, there is a beautiful statue honoring the Puerto Rican Jíbaro. This monument, called Monumento al Jíbaro Puertorriqueño, was sculpted by Tomás Batista.

While today most Puerto Ricans work in officies and enjoy the finer things in life, the Jíbaro made a lasting impression in the Puerto Rican culture. You can see the Jíbaro influence of simple farm-living all around modern-day Puerto Rico.

Jibaro Monument

Traditional celebrations, such as each town’s Patron Saint festivals (Fiestas Patronales), the adapted musical instruments (cow bell, guiro), and much of the "local" food (simple seasonings, many root vegetables … even pasteles) of the culture have Jíbaro roots. Even the tools — many people still use a machete for everyday yard maintenance. We have even seen oxen teams working the slippery, rocky slopes of El Yunque farms.

The spirit of the Jíbaro of the past is still alive today in what their values and traditions mean to today’s Puerto Ricans. This statue is a monument to that strong Puerto Rican spirit.

Jibaro Monument

While I would not make a special trip to see the monument, if you are traveling from the north coast to the south coast through the center of the island on Route 52, it is just along the way.

The drive down Route 52 is an easy one, and it is very beautiful to see the changes in vegetation as you climb up and over the central mountain range (the Cordillera Central) — the north side is lush and green, while the south side is dry and scrubby with cactus.

The monument is located on Route 52 between KM 47 & 49 on the southbound side. It is situated so that you can easily see it from the road, and there is a parking area (called a rest area, but there are no facilities) so you can safely pull off the highway, park and walk up to the statue.

As an extra bonus, the two mountains that some people say look like breasts (locally called Las Tetas de Cayey) can be seen from this parking lot / statue area! Seriously … we couldn’t make this stuff up if we tried!

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When I was little and we would go visit my hometown from the States I would know we were near to our destination because of the "tetas". Memories!!!! :)

Comment by Aidigita on 06 Aug 2013

Thank you for writing an article about this monument! I too love the drive down rt 52 and the views from the monument... including las tetas de Cayey!!! LOL!

Comment by on 29 Jan 2012

Thank you for this article bringing attention to my people ---- the poor, humble, hard-working Puerto Rican people that are my ancestors. Yeah, there are some Puerto Ricans with affluent heritage, but like most of us, EL JIBARO is where we come from. Hearing stories from my grandparents and older aunts, makes you appreciate the modern conveniences that we have today. Cooking with fire (el fogon), and running down to the creek/river to wash clothes, quickly puts things in perspective. Life was hard, but their hard work and struggles should be honored, like you have done with this article, and how El Monumento al Jíbaro Puertorriqueño does. Great job. The only thing missing from the article is a picture of LAS TETAS DE CAYEY. I have one that I took from the monument a few years back, but I don't have the ability to post.

Comment by Josh on 06 Jan 2012

I love this monument, it's like a "whisper to the past" and when visiting and exploring the island, it's these "whispers" of the past that are assurances that some things on this island will always be. It is VERY fortunate that it is indeed an island, it's because of this, so many of the wonderful things of the past haven't completely faded away. "Assimilation" has never been a problem of island people and I so love and admire how the Puerto Rican people hold onto two they are with strength, and with pride. I love the Puerto Rican's!!!

Comment by Amy T. on 30 Dec 2011

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