Guanica Dry Forest Hikes
|The birding and views start getting better.|
Length: 1 km. Time: 20 minutes. Difficulty: 1-2. Slightly hilly at the start. Trailhead: Located 0.25km north of the forest headquarters on Rt. 334.
A short trail, but exceptionally good for birdwatching. Forty resident and migratory species have been banded here. Lots of tall trees here, including guayacan, mesquite and violet. Rather than retracing your steps, you can return to forest headquarters on a section of the Lluberas Trail.
Length: 1 km. Time: 20 minutes each way. Difficulty: 1. Trailhead: About 0.5 km. north of the forest headquarters on Rt. 334.
In the 1950s this area supported plantations of mesquite, zarcilla and campeche. Part of it was also cow pasture. Today, the forest is reclaiming it. This hike also connects with the next one, the Cobanas Trail.
Length: 3.5 km. Time: 30 minutes each way. Difficulty: 1-2. Trailhead: Off Rt. 334, 2 km. northwest of the forest headquarters.
This old road follows a ridge through a deciduous forest. The last 0.5 km. is an abandoned plantation of campeche trees, once used for both dysentery and black dye, a truly strange combination. The road ends at the eastern forest boundary.
10. La Hoya
Length: 2.5km. Time: 45 minutes each way. Difficulty: 2. Sometimes hilly. Trailhead: Starts at 0.1 km. on the Cobanas Trail.
You'll enter a narrow ravine flourishing with uvilla, an evergreen that is kin to the coastal seagrape, Coccoloba uvifera. The uvilla is noted for the diverse size of its leaves. The ones near the canopy are about 1.5 inches long to minimize water loss; leaves growing lower down are 4 to 6 inches long. This walk also has 15-30-foot high ucar trees, agave and a good population of yellow and black and purple and brown butterflies.
11. Ojo de Agua
Length: 1.5 km. Time: 25 minutes each way. Difficulty: 2.Hilly. Trailhead: 1.2 km. west of forest headquarters off the Fuerte Trail.
Yes, there are freshwater springs in this dry land, and this short trail goes into a well-nourished evergreen thicket with tea trees whose crushed leaves and flowers actually smell of lemon. This highly flammable tree was often used for torches.
Length: 1 km. Time: 15 minutes each way. Difficulty: 1. Trailhead: Begins on the Lluberas Trail 1 km. northeast of the forest headquarters.
A short trail but it offers a lot. This tree-shaded walk takes you to Crillo 2, the highest point in the forest. It's also appropriately referred to as the vigia after the Spanish name for a ship's crows nest. In this case the crow's nest is actually the edge of a cliff that offers an excellent view of the northern sector of the forest, the Rio Loco Valley, and the different types of forest within the reserve.
Turkey vultures like to fly on the thermals above the valley. You'll also enjoy a good view of the Cordilla Central and the town of Yauco.