Guanica Forest Hikes
|It takes a couple of days to walk them all.|
Thirty-six miles of hiking trails and old roads help penetrate the 9,900 acres of the Guanica Forest. These 12 trails are in the eastern region.
Length: 2 km. Time: 20 minutes each way. Difficulty: 1-2.
Trailhead: On Route 333 near Punta Baleena.
This old road passes through a mahogany plantation near the forest office and ends up in dry limestone scrub with cactus. At 1 km a sign points to an interesting side trail into a cool, moist canyon where trees are able to keep their leaves all year. And some do quite well, as the 700-year old Guayacan tree and its six-foot girth demonstrate.
Length: 1.5 km. Time: 20 minutes each way. Difficulty: 1. Trailhead: Drive to the parking lot at the end of Rt. 333. The trail is on the left.
You begin in a coastal forest of seagrapes and tree-size milkweed with purple flowers to reach agave and large prickly pear cactus. Butterflies are common along this trail. You may also hear the “troo-pial” call of the orange and black troupial bird. The hike ends where it meets the Lluberas Trail, one of the forest's longest.
Length: 3.5 km. Time: 45-60 minutes each way. Difficulty: 1-2.
Trailhead: Go to the parking lot at the end of Rt. 333. Go through the gate and head east along the coast.
You'll have the chance to see how rugged the coast is here. With rocky headlands and sandy coves making up your route, you will end up in a remarkable “bonsai” forest of dwarf white mangroves, buttonwood and cedar. Though small because of the pruning action of salt spray and wind, these trees many be over a century old. Look for brown pelicans, frigate birds and the beautiful white tropicbirds. This walk bordering the Caribbean is one of the reserve's best.