Exploring La Cueva del Indio in Arecibo, Puerto Rico

La Cueva del Indio is one of over 2,000 caves on the island of Puerto Rico, and arguably the most famous. You may recognize the idyllic setting from movies like The Goonies and Pirates of the Carribbean.

Perched on a strip of beach in Arecibo, you can pair this site with a visit to the Arecibo Observatory for the perfect day trip, exploring Puerto Rico’s varied photography, from beaches to jungles.

Taino Indians

Cueva del Indio

The caves are made of natural limestone and originally served as a meeting place for Taino indians, the indigenous people of Puerto Rico prior to the arrival of Christopher Columbus in 1493. Today, the walls still hold their drawings, which look to me like the earliest emojis.

In fact, La Cueva del Indio has the largest collection of petroglyphs in the area and is a lure to tourists and vandals alike. While it’s sad to see ancient carvings spoiled by modern key scratches, the island attempts to preserve the area as much as possible.

The site is public and not run or maintained by any official organization or agency. The owners of the parking lot adjacent to the beach have set up a makeshift entrance and charge $5 a person to park, but they are not officially affiliated with the site. If you can park elsewhere, you can enter for free.

That said, parking is limited in the area. If you want an easy and secure spot to leave your car, go for it. Note the parking lot owners only accept cash and the nearest ATM is a 15 minute drive from the caves.

How to get to La Cueva del Indio

Getting to the caves is easy and can be done without a tour or group, best with a rental car. Just plug the destination into your GPS (Americans will be happy to know there is no need to use roaming or international data plans in Puerto Rico) and follow the directions. In case you need it, the exact geo-coordinates are 18°29’34.1″N 66°38’31.4″W. It’s about an hour and a half from either San Juan or Aguadilla so you can access it from both coasts.

Cliff jumping

Cueva del Indio

Since La Cueva del Indio largely unregulated, the rocks can be perilous. There are no guard rails and you descend into the cave on a wooden ladder, so wear the appropriate shoes and tread carefully. The tide is unpredictable in the area and while some daredevils dive off the cliffs, I certainly wouldn’t recommend it as there are rocks in the water. This is a good place for exploring and sunbathing, not necessarily swimming.

The natural rock formations are unlike any other on the island, and provide ample photo opportunities. Unfortunately, the site leaves much to be desired with regards to organized visits or guides so it’s tough to learn details about the area and its history. Hopefully, as the place grows in popularity, an organization will come in to regulate the area and ensure its preservation.

Is Cueva del Indio worth the trip?

Cueva del Indio

Whether you’re a fan of geology, native culture or off the beaten path destinations, Cueva del Indio should be on your list of must-see destinations. It makes a great day trip from San Juan and allows you to see a different side of the island than just the cruise port.

Go ahead, have an adventure! Till next time, safe travels.


Like this post? Pin me! Cueva Del Indio  La Cueva del Indio, or Indian Cave, is a cave in Arecibo Puerto Rico with Taino Indian Petroglyphs, cliffs and beautiful blue waters. Don't miss this cave while visiting Puerto Rico!

2018-05-06T22:43:52+00:0010 Comments


  1. Ameeta May 6, 2017 at 5:46 pm - Reply

    I went to this place a few years ago and we paid the 5$ per person fee 😀 It was almost end of day so we couldn’t stay for long inside the caves but just being there hearing the waves crash against the rock as the sky turned darker was amazing 🙂

    • Jen on a Jet Plane May 10, 2017 at 2:04 am - Reply

      So glad you had that experience, and that you found this little oasis on the island!

  2. Ashlee May 7, 2017 at 12:33 pm - Reply

    Lovely photos and looked like you had a great time. I am hoping to go to Puerto Rico in the coming months, so I will definitely want to take a trip here.

    Ashlee | ashleemoyo.com

    • Jen on a Jet Plane May 10, 2017 at 2:04 am - Reply

      You’ll love it Ashlee! Hope this information helps you get there, enjoy! 🙂

  3. Penny May 8, 2017 at 3:36 am - Reply

    When you look back in time it is odd to realize that we have changed so much and yet not at all. I think your comment on the earliest emojis really brings that into focus. I would love to take a picnic basket and just chill here. Is outside food allowed?

    • Jen on a Jet Plane May 10, 2017 at 2:06 am - Reply

      Thank you Penny, such an insightful comment! I don’t know about a picnic basket but generally regulations are pretty lax on the island, so long as you take out what you bring in I don’t see why it’d be a problem 🙂

  4. Anna July 10, 2017 at 7:19 pm - Reply

    It looks like a very interesting place to visit.

  5. Kasia July 24, 2017 at 8:44 pm - Reply

    This looks really cool. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos.

  6. May Larios August 13, 2017 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    We still haven’t been to the caves. There’s so much to do here in Puerto Rico! But I’m particularly excited about Vieques. See you there in a few days! 😀

  7. Rebecca Lopez September 28, 2018 at 1:55 am - Reply

    It was an incredible experience. Beautiful and so rich in history and culture. I really do wish an organization would be formed to preserve it and teach our history to those interested. It’s such an important part of Our story. Worth the trip. Especially if you’re brave enough to climb down. Breathtaking inside.

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