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from the trenches
Destination Volume 60 Number 2, March/April 2007

Caribbean vacations and archaeology aren't mutually exclusive. University of Florida archaeologist William Keegan has a tip for your next trip to Puerto Rico:

Caribbean archaeological sites tend to lack obvious drama, but there are a few exceptions. One of my favorites is Puerto Rico's Caguana. About a 90-minute drive from San Juan, Caguana dates to A.D. 1200 and is a spectacular Taíno site with numerous ballcourts on a hill overlooking the Río Tanamá. The property is a national park, extremely well maintained and just reopened to the public after significant renovations to the interpretation center and entrance. Don't miss the petroglyphs carved on the large stones that form the boundaries of Plaza A.

Caguana is one of the most beautiful and archaeologically significant sites in the Caribbean. Yet it is rarely visited since it's so far off the beaten tourist path.

Along the way you can stop at the Arecibo Observatory (featured in the movie Contact). For lunch, dinner, or a hotel room check out El Buen Café in nearby Hatillo (across the street from the Sam's Club), the food is excellent.

The truly adventurous can leave Caguana and head south to the city of Ponce, where they will find another marvelous Taíno ballcourt park called Tibes.

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© 2007 by the Archaeological Institute of America
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