Puerto Rico’s unheralded mountain ‘capital’ lies a few kilometers north of the Ruta Panorámica in an isolated steep-sided valley overlooked by three of the island’s highest peaks – Cerro de Punta, Cerro los Tres Picachos and Cerro Maravilla. Verdantly beautiful, the precipitous geography here has protected many of the island’s traditions. If you’re bent on finding Puerto Rico’s last authentic jíbaro (country person), this is a good starting point.
Steeped in Taíno legend, the original settlement of Jayuya had little contact with the rest of the island until 1911, when it was declared a municipality. Efforts to keep Taíno culture alive include several related sights such as the quirky Museo del Cemí, plus a festival of music, food, games and a Miss Taíno pageant.
Jayuya has long had a reputation for coffee production and, more recently, moonshine rum – visitors will have a chance to sample both.