Caguana ceremonial ball courts site, located in the rainy west central mountains on the east side of the Tanama River, in Barrio Caguana, Puerto Rico, northeastern Caribbean.

This archaeological site is considered to be one of the most important in the Caribbean, was built by the Taíno, and dates from Puerto Rico’s late prehistoric and early contact era. This is the most complex and largest ball court ceremonial site in Puerto Rico and the West Indies, where about 30 courts (bateyes) have been identified. It is believed that this game of batey first originated in Mesoamerica, and was played in the Bahamas, Hispaniola, Cuba, the Virgin Islands, and Jamaica. This was more than just a sport, the game had huge ceremonial significance, as the game’s outcome influenced important Taino decisions.

[The Taíno site of Caguana is] set near the Tanama River in a limestone landscape whose many caves and rock shelters may have had spiritual and mythological significance for the Taíno. […] Caguana appears to have been a ceremonial center, with little evidence of habitation other than perhaps some chief’s houses and temple remains. […] Caguana is dominated by specialised architecture in the form of plazas and courts where ceremonial dances, processions, and the ball-game took place.

-The Peoples of the Caribbean: An Encyclopedia of Archeology and Traditional Culture.

Photos courtesy & taken by Jbermudez Alessandro Cai. When writing up this post, the National Park Service website was of great use.

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    I can’t explain to you the weird mix of emotions I had seeing this place.
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