Maricao is an agricultural town full of spectacular views and some delicious coffee. The origins of the area’s name are somewhat disputed: some attribute its name to a tree, others cite a Taíno chief or a Spaniard with a similarly pronounced name.
Yet another legend tells the story of how, during Spanish colonization, the territory of Maricao became a refuge for the Taínos escaping the Europeans thanks to its secluded location in the high mountains. This is why Maricao has the nickname of “Town of the Indian Villages.”
Located in the western central mountains, the small municipality offers astonishing views of the Mona passage with a background of harmonious bird songs. Idyllic is a word that might come to mind.
A Diverse Rainforest
Vegetation in the area is said to be among the most varied among the forests in Puerto Rico. The area provides habitat for dozens of bird species, including 15 that are endemic. There are miles of trails where you can enjoy the local biodiversity. Spectacular views stretch to the coastal plains of southwest Puerto Rico, and you can find a plethora of waterfalls throughout the region as well.
Stay in the Mountains
To spend quality time in nature, the Monte del Estado Ecological Park offers options for camping, as well as some trails through the mountains. Within the park, you’ll also find the Centro Vacacional Monte del Estado, if you prefer sleeping indoors rather than under the stars. The complex of modest villas has a swimming pool, basketball court, and recreational areas for the whole family, along with panoramic views to the south.
For a distinctly local experience, check out the Parador Santa Juanita, which is the only historic coffee hacienda restored as a parador (a smaller, family-owned inn that offers a more intimate, traditional setting). This is spot is a wonderful example of Puerto Rico’s golden era of coffee production during the 19th century. Cultural events are celebrated during nights and weekends for the community.
The renowned Puerto Rican poet Luis Lloréns Torres once said: "with Maricao coffee, until the devil’s unveiled." If you are a coffee lover, the town is known for producing one of the best quality coffees in Puerto Rico. During the month of February, the municipality celebrates the Fiesta del Acabe del Café, a coffee-centric festival where more than 200 artisans exhibit their harvest, along with dozens of traditional food and beverage kiosks, and live music.