Our homes

Bohios- Bayahonda, Dominican Republic 1920- photo by Irka Mateo
Afro-Indigenous Cuban Guajiro by his elevated Bohio- Camaguey, Cuba- Photo by Jose Barreiro
Bohios- Boriken circa 1903

BOHIO

Unless an individual hails from the Caribbean the word Bohio does not conjure up any images in his or her mind. Simply it is not a part of your consciousness. But for those native to the region, images of rest, safety and home immediately come to mind. It has been so since pre-Hispanic contact in the region.

Bohio is the Taino word for thatched roof home  of which there are actually three styles. One is a lean-to called  Guariquiten. Easily constructed, made when a quick shelter is needed. Another style is called Caney, more specifically a Cacique (Chief’s ) home. In the days of the Classic Taino these were made in a square or rectangular fashion. Lastly there is the bohio which the Spanish chroniclers wrote were rounded homes for the Naboria villagers.

Across the Cir-cum Caribbean as well as deep into the Amazonian Rain forest one can observe Amerindian villagers living in these tropical dwellings.  If one is going to live and thrive in the tropics,  a bohio style home makes the most sense. Perhaps this is why these homes have persisted up to modern times. The rounded style Bohio can still be found in Cuba, Kiskeya and Jamaica, but for the most part the square Bohio (caney) is the most common thatched roof home found throughout the Caribbean today.

 Jorge Baracutei Estevez

Afro-Indigenous style Bohio- Haiti
Bohio in Janico- 2009 Dominican Republic- By Jorge Estevez
Bohio-Cuba- Photo by Jose Barreiro
Bohio School- Cuba- Photo by Jose Barreiro
Bohio Caney- Caridad de Los Indios, Cuba- Photo by Jose Barreiro
Bohio under construction is from the Toa River Valley, Baracoa, Cuba- Photos by Jose Barreiro
Building the Haitinal (roof) -Documented by A. Hartmann, January, 2012, CILP project collaborative with the Office of the Historian, Baracoa
The family constructing the Bohio identifies as indo-descendant.
Rope made from the native Cabuya plant is used to secure poles.
Indo-Caribbean family's bohio nears completion.
Bohio en la Montaña- Cuba
Bohio in the early 1900's- Puerto Rico
Bohio today- Jamaica
Round style Bohio- Caney in the Provinice of Higuey, Dominican Republic