In the picturesque central town of Jayuya, Puerto Rico, visitors will find La Tumba del Indio. La Tumba del Indio is a gravesite where a Taíno is buried in a mausoleum. The burial site was placed in a glass box where visitors can view the remains.
The monument adjacent to the town square of Jayuya pays homage to the Taíno culture of Puerto Rico. The Taínos were the indigenous inhabitants of Puerto Rico. Due to the diseases and forced labor, the Taíno population quickly dwindled throughout the Caribbean.
However, Taíno roots are strong in Puerto Rican culture. Several monuments and museums highlight the indigenous roots throughout the Island.
Sculpted by the famous Puerto Rican sculptor Juan Batista, La Tumba del Indio was unveiled in 1969 during the first Festival of the Taíno in Jayuya. The sculpture consists of a bust of Taíno leader Hayuya, placed at the top of the steps that lead to the tomb. Mosaic tiles with words inscribed on them greet visitors. The inscriptions are the Taíno names of Puerto Rican towns.
The monument is relatively small but well worth the visit. Next to La Tumba del Indio, visitors will find the Centro Cultural de Jayuya (Jayuya Cultural Center). This center offers photos, artifacts, and information about the town’s history. On the other side, is the Jayuya town square, which is often home to festivals or live music.
Know Before You Go
La Tumba del Indio is open to the public 24/7, but the mausoleum is currently closed. However, you can still see the tomb from the window area. The roads to Jayuya are narrow and curvy, and you may get motion sickness. Weekends are the busiest time to visit. Early in the week is very quiet and many restaurants are closed.