Sunday, March 3, 2013
Puerto Rico has 20 State Forests and 28 Nature Reserves and most of them are open to the public for hiking, bird watching, and camping. Here are a few to visit:
El Yunque National Forest - Located in Rio Grande, Puerto Rico, 45 minutes east of San Juan, El Yunque is the only tropical rain forest in the U.S. National Forest System, and is well-known for its incredible biodiversity. El Yunque has 28,000 acres, four forest types, and is a great place for hiking. El Yunque has many hiking trails, and picnic facilities. From the trails visitors can see lush foliage, waterfalls and rivers. El Yunque is home to the endangered Puerto Rican parrot and to thousands of native plants, and small wild life species.
Guajataca State Forest - Located in the town of Isabela, about two hours from San Juan, has a great recreational area, 27 miles of trails, and 70 species of birds. Camping is availaibe for a fee, and you need a permit from the Department of Natural Resources. Guajataca has a lookout tower, canyons, waterfalls, and caves.
Maricao State Forest - Located in the town of Maricao, is often referred to as Monte del Estado. Maricao has 10,490 acres, and visitors do not need a permit for hiking. From the forest you can get great views of the island of Puerto Rico. It gets cooler in Maricao, so make sure you bring a jacket. There are 60 species of fauna and 1,141 species of plants. Maricao has many birds including the Puerto Rican Emerald Hummingbird. Maricao has wide trails, and a lookout tower near the campgrounds and cabins that are run by the Puerto Rican National Parks Company.
Enjoy the forests of Puerto Rico. Take a look at this video of Guajataca Forest: