Nestling on the banks of the Río Grande de Jayuya, deep in the Central Cordillera, the mountain town of JAYUYA might seem unremarkable, but it’s come to occupy a central role in the mythology of modern Puerto Rican identity. Littered with low-key but enigmatic reminders of the island’s past, the town is the closest thing Puerto Rico has to a Taíno spiritual centre, most vividly expressed during the annual Festival Nacional Indígena. Traditionally regarded as the stereotype of hicktown by sophisticated sanjuaneros, Jayuya’s symbolic importance was recognized in 1950, when independentistas briefly occupied the town and proclaimed the Republic of Puerto Rico. Like Barranquitas, Jayuya also has a reputation as an arts and crafts centre, and more recently, the area has been rebuilding its reputation as one of Puerto Rico’s top coffee-producing regions.


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