Discover spectacular scenery and living history in the Central Mountains.
An aura of tranquility pervades the air in Jayuya, an idyllic municipality set high in the Cordillera Central mountain range in the middle of Puerto Rico. Nature is at its most impressive here, from the unmistakable shape of the towering Los Tres Picachos (“The Three Peaks”) to the crisp, refreshing waters of the Río Saliente.
Bordered by Ponce and Juana Díaz to the south, Ciales to the north and east, and Utuado to the west, the drive to Jayuya is steep, sinuous and undeniably beautiful. For the best views in town, take a ride in El Globo, an aerostatic balloon that soars 2,800 feet (854 meters) above sea level and provides vistas that stretch from the north to the south of the island. Jayuya is a two-hour drive from SJU airport and an hour from PSE airport in Ponce.
Hikers and adventurers often make camp in Jayuya before and after trekking through the mountains, while travelers who prefer to fall asleep in a comfortable bed stay at the charming Hacienda Gripinas.
Several sites throughout Jayuya pay homage to the area’s importance throughout Puerto Rico’s history.
La Piedra Escrita (“The Written Stone”), a massive rock carved with 52 petroglyphs, dates back to between 600 and 1200 AD, when the Taino Indians originally inhabited the island. As you walk down the wooden boardwalk that leads to the river bed where the stone sits, modern distractions seem to melt away, leaving you free to gain a deeper understanding of the peoples that once lived here. A close inspection of the relic reveals etchings of animals, abstract shapes and other symbols that the Tainos used to communicate.
A short drive down the road, the striking El Cemi Museum showcases ancient Taino artifacts found in the area. The building’s unusual structure is inspired by a three-pointed religious symbol meant to represent a god or spirit.
The Fight for Independence
Adjacent to the El Cemi Museum, the Casa Canales Museum highlights the area’s more recent past. The building was once home to the Canales family, who were instrumental in a 1950 freedom uprising by Puerto Rican Nationalists. The residence is set up as it was back then, complete with authentic furniture and décor, letters, and memorabilia.
Nearby, El Museo de Nuestros Martires (“The Museum of Our Martyrs”) is dedicated to the people who sacrificed their lives in the fight for Puerto Rican independence. Several rooms contain artwork, photographs, news clippings, books, and other materials that honor these local heroes and offer a glimpse into an often-overlooked aspect of the island’s tumultuous past. The museum occupies part of a private home whose owner, Ernesto, had five family members imprisoned for the cause.
Ready to jumpstart your day? You’ve come to the right place. Jayuya is renowned for the coffee farms that dot the mountainous landscape.
Lauded Puerto Rican brands like Hacienda San Pedro, Café La Finca, Café Hacienda Tres Picachos, and Café Hayuya cultivate, roast, and package their coffee here. Many haciendas welcome visitors and include on-site cafes where you can enjoy a hot cup of joe just steps from where the beans were grown and harvested.