What is Jayuya’s Festival Nacional Indígena?
Jayuya is definitely one of my favorite places to visit in Puerto Rico.The town located in the central mountains of Puerto Rico. This weekend, it is celebrating its 50th Festival Nacional Indígena (National Indigenous Festival). This festival honors Puerto Rico’s Taíno legacy with a traditional Taíno ceremony, Batey (Taíno ball game) and a Taino costume pageant on Saturday evening in which many local schools participate. Expect local food, traditional music and over 75 local artisans. Always scheduled the weekend near November 19 (Discovery of Puerto Rico). It is one of the few remaining truly cultural fairs on the island.
I’ve participated as an artisan in the festival for over 15 years to sell our handmade soaps and bath products from Caribbean Soaps. I’ve enjoyed seeing local residents year after year and seeing local kids grow up.
Jayuya definitely deserves a couple of days visit. Especially, as it is a grueling 2 hour drive from San Juan along a winding mountain road. Some activities to consider are:
A must visit it the Piedra Escrita (Written Stone). A huge rock in the middle of the Saliente river with petroglyphs on the top. You can see all kinds of shapes like spirals, some faces and other beings.
Follow down a beautiful wooden walkway down to the river and rock. Plan to spend a couple of hours checking out the carvings, taping a dip in the cool mountain water and drying out in the sun afterward.
Jayuya is coffee country so there are many coffee plantations and a couple that can be visited.
Although in nearby town of Adjuntas, Hacienda Tres Angeles is worth a visit.
A fairly new attraction is the first Aerostatic Balloon of Puerto Rico, located in the Mameyes area. The balloon rises 500 feet from the launch area which is already 3,200 feet above sea level!
Be sure to check out Las Delicias waterfall nearby.
Cemí Museum and Casa Canales
In the Cedetra area, the Cemi shaped museum displays archeological pieces from the Taíno culture.
Next door, visit Casa Canales museum. It depicts the Canales family life, work and political beliefs.
From the area look out for the Tres Picachos, a mountain range symbol of the “Tierra Alta (High Land)” of Jayuya.
So plan a visit to Jayuya! Maybe we’ll see you at next year’s Festival Nacional Indígena.