Sunday, June 24, 2012

Mona Island, Puerto Rico

Mona Island (Isla de la Mona) is located 41 miles west off the coast of Puerto RicoMona Island is the third-largest island of the archipelago of Puerto Rico, after the main island of Puerto Rico and Vieques.  It measures about 7 miles by 4 miles, and is the largest of three islands located in the Mona Passage, the other islands being Monito Island and Desecheo Island.

Mona is an ecological reserve and is not permanently inhabited.  Rangers from the island's Department of Natural and Environmental Resources reside on the island to manage visitors and do research projects.  Mona Island has caves and is surrounded by sea cliffs.  Many caves have drawings that were left behind by the Taíno Indians, the island's original inhabitants.  With an arid climate many endemic species inhabit the island, such as the Mona Ground Iguana.  The island serves as a retreat for Puerto Ricans and nature enthusiasts from all over the world.  Scientists, ecologists, and students have visited Mona Island to explore its distinct ecosystem. 

Often compared to the Galápagos island, Mona Island and the surrounding waters have plenty of sea birds, more than 270 species of fish and many endangered sea turtles.  Mona island is known among divers for its vibrant reefs and crystal clear waters.  The lighthouse in Mona Island was built in 1900, and was one of the first two lighthouses built by the U.S Government in Puerto Rico.  In 1981, the Mona Island Lighthouse was listed on the U.S. National Register of Historic Places as "Faro de la Isla de la Mona."  Tours to the island are available from Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico.  Another way to get to Mona Island is by private yacht.

Here is a video of Mona Island:


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