The municipality of Utuado, located in the scenic Central Mountains of Puerto Rico, is home to the Caribbean's most important archaeological site, as well as a variety of outdoor adventures and some of the Island’s top coffee farms.
Utuado is located about an hour and a half from San Juan and about an hour away from Ponce, making it an easy day- or overnight trip destination.
Here are some of the top things to do in Utuado when you visit:
Along the Rio Tanamá (Tanamá River) you’ll find a range of activities available, whether you want an adventure or to simply enjoy beautiful natural environments.
Through companies like Tanamá River Adventures you can go cave tubing, rappelling, caving, kayaking, jumping off the waterfalls, and hiking through the forest to see caves. Meanwhile, with Batey Zipline Adventures you can choose between hiking across a hanging bridge, ziplining, horseback riding through a picturesque coffee farm, and more.
These are all family-friendly activities guided by experienced professionals whose priority is the safety of their group, first and foremost. Keep in mind that there are alternatives to choose according to the level of challenge you want. If you want to have fun in an environment away from the beaches, definitely consider one of these tours.
Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park
Studies estimate that this site was built more than 800 years ago by the Taínos, Puerto Rico's native ethnic group. Today, Centro Ceremonial Indígena de Cagüana (Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park) features a small museum with Taíno artifacts, a gift shop, more than 20 large, well-preserved petroglyphs, and 10 plazas — known as bateyes — that were used for ceremonial purposes or to play games around 300 years before the Spanish arrived.
Caguana Indigenous Ceremonial Park is thought to be the largest ceremonial site created by the Taínos anywhere in the Antilles. This is a beautiful and quiet place where you feel a connection to a much deeper history of the region.
The park is open daily from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.
One of the most beautiful places in Utuado (or anywhere in Puerto Rico, for that matter) is Cañón Blanco. A short hike from the small parking lot brings you to this stunning landscape of white, prehistoric-looking rocks, where the Rio Caonillas flows through and feeds natural swimming pools. Keep your eyes peeled for Indigenous petroglyphs etched into some of the rocks.
The Horizonte farm is a slice of paradise owned by the popular Puerto Rican singer and composer Draco Rosa. You can book a tour to go horseback riding through the 100-acre farm and taste the amazing organic coffee grown on the property. The horseback riding trip can be catered to different experience levels, so you can ride at your own pace and enjoy the experience. At Finca Horizonte you can learn about local flora and fauna, sample local coffee, and get to know more about the lifestyle of the Puerto Rican jíbaros (farmers).
Café Gran Batey
Café Gran Batey is another coffee farm in Utuado that belongs to a family that has worked the land for more than 45 years. Here, you will meet a local family, take a tour to learn everything about the coffee-growing and roasting process, and then taste an exquisite cup of fresh Puerto Rican coffee paired with a slice of homemade cake. The visit, tour, and coffee sample are all free of charge. At the end of the tour, if you wish, you can buy coffee to take home with you, which makes a great souvenir!
The farm is open to the public from Tuesday through Saturday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Río Abajo State Forest
Straddling the border of Utuado and Arecibo, Río Abajo State Forest is another excellent destination for outdoor lovers. A camping area can accommodate around 40 campers, but you'll need to arrange your stay in advance through the Puerto Rico Department of Natural Resources. There is a large lake, Lago Dos Bocas, as well as hiking trails, caves, and more. This is an especially great place for avid birders, as the Puerto Rican parrot is one of the forest's treasured inhabitants.