Reserva Antropológica El Pomier
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In Reserva Antropológica El Pomier (15 kilometers north of San Cristóbal, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily) there is a series of 57 interconnecting caves, the most significant collection of rupestrian art found in the Caribbean. The drawings and carvings (the latter are found only in the front of the cave where the sunlight is) in this anthropological reserve are from not just the Taíno Indians, but the Igneri and Carib as well, and are estimated at as much as 2,000 years old. For the Caribbean, this is tantamount to what the pyramids of Egypt are for the Middle East.
The caves contain over 4,000 paintings and 5,000 rock drawings. Cave One contains 590 pictograms alone. Most of the paintings depict animals and birds with some that are believed to be representative of deities.
The caves that will be open to the public (five total) are undergoing renovation complete with walkways and electric lighting for viewing. The caves are also home to thousands of bats. In 2009 the caves were closed to the public for said remodeling. However, there are always some unofficial “guides” (Spanish only) hanging around ready to take you through the first and easiest one if you tip them.
It is an easy walk because so far, the walkways are smooth and wide giving you an easy stroll through a very dark cave. The electrical system was not working, so definitely take your own flashlight. This is a unique cave experience regardless. Claustrophobics may not have fun with the lights being out.
Getting to Reserva Antropológica El Pomier
The best way to get to the caves is by taxi or motoconcho, but make sure the driver knows that you need a ride back so that they either wait for you or come back. If you decide to drive, follow Avenida Constitución (in front of the cathedral) all the way out of town. It will lead you past the Casa de Caoba. Keep going until you see a sign to turn left to the cuevas (before the La Toma turnoff) at the fork in the road.
© Ana Chavier Caamaño from Moon Dominican Republic, 4th edition