Aldea Taína: Cuba before Cristopher Columbus
There is probably no better place to know about the origins of Cuba and its aboriginals than the Taino Hamlet. Located in Guamá Village, which is part of the popular Ciénaga de Zapata (Zapata’s Swamp), one of the biggest natural reserves in the country, in the province of Matanzas, the place constitutes an open-air museum that reproduces the life of the Tainos, the first inhabitants of the island before the arrival of Christopher Columbus.
The exhibit in the Hamlet is made up of 25 statues molded in clay and cement by the prestigious Cuban artist Rita Longa. The images represent the aboriginals in their daily tasks, such as hunting, agriculture and fishing, as well as the methods and instruments they used for all of them. Equally, the place holds replicas of the Taino dwellings, called bohio (hut) or caney (rudimentary dwellings roofed with palm leaves), depending on their size.
Besides all of the above, and since the Hamlet was created with the purpose of promoting Cuban cultural roots, they also offer live shows to portray traditions and legends existing around these, our first dwellers.
Likewise, one of the greatest attractions of the Hamlet is the Laguna del Tesoro (Treasure Lagoon), which separates it from solid ground by about 8 kilometers. Thus, the only way to get to it is by launch or boat, which accentuates the magic around it.
Place: Aldea Taína, Laguna del Tesoro, Guamá, Ciénaga de Zapata, Matanzas.
Text by: Claudia Edith G. Posada
Translation: Beatriz Rodríguez