Puerto Rico Adventure Article

Puerto Rico is a diverse country – a true Mecca for adventure travel

Puerto Rico adventure article words by Travel Writer Linda Jackson

Read this Puerto Rico adventure article to discover just how diverse this country is. Puerto Rico adventure travel ranges from hiking up the highest peak in Puerto Rico (Cerro Punta, 4,415ft) to night-time swimming in a Vieques’ Phosphorescent Bay. You’ll find great scuba diving off Cayo Diablo with colourful fish, moray eels, octopus and an occasional manatee, and exhilarating rappelling, high ropes courses, and ziplining (zip wiring) courses through the Puerto Rico rainforest canopy. There is a plethora of adventure activities in Puerto Rico to tempt adventurers to the country.

Extreme sports holidays and rainforest zip wires in Puerto Rico

ToroVerde is a new ecotourism park, opened in 2010, where visitors can enjoy beautiful landscapes, try extreme sports and interact with nature. The park boasts an eight-line zip wire course through the rainforest canopy, plus The Beast Tour, where travellers enjoy a bird’s eye view from the same position as a bird – lying horizontally in a special harness as they soar through the air. Rappelling, rock climbing, mountain biking and high ropes courses are amongst the other adventures on offer.

One of Puerto Rico’s most memorable experiences is night swimming in Puerto Rico’s Bioluminescent Bays. The bays are home to large colonies of dinoflagellates that light up like fireflies and provide the experience of a lifetime as they produce incredible glowing waters best seen in the light of a full moon. Two of the most spectacular bays are the Northeast’s Mosquito Bay in Vieques and Laguna Grande at Las Croabas, Fajardo.

Dive sites in Puerto Rico and Caribbean scuba diving holidays

Scuba diving and snorkeling experiences, for beginners and experts alike, are the reason why Puerto Rico is often called the Caribbean’s best kept underwater secret. Off the southwest coast, from the village of La Parguera to the city of Ponce, lie some of the island’s most extraordinary dive sites, including Black Wall, home to the Caribbean’s rarely seen black coral, and Hai Lite, where jewfish, trumpetfish and giant tube sponges take up residency. Another noteworthy spot is Mona Island, often referred to as the Galapagos of the Caribbean, off the west coast of Puerto Rico, home to three-foot iguanas, as well as sea turtles, dolphins, marlin and other marine life.

This Puerto Rico adventure article also covers windsurfing, kayaking, deep sea fishing and surfing

Another option is Gilligan’s Island, where visitors can enjoy the white sand beaches, mazes of mangroves and crystalline waters without crowds. The island is a haven for snorkeling in shallow waters and mangrove-lined channels that offer amazingly clear vistas brimming with marine life. For visitors looking to get close to the water, but not necessarily submerged in it, Puerto Rico offers various other water sports such as world-class surfing and windsurfing, sailing, kayaking and deep-sea fishing year-round.

Puerto Rico for birdwatching vacations and wildlife holidays in the Caribbean

For a completely distinct island experience, Culebra Natural Wildlife Refuge, home to over 1,400 acres of bird-nesting colonies and other wildlife, is the ideal location for amateur and professional naturalists concerned with preserving the ecosystem. The island is also a favorite destination for its secluded and pristine beaches.

Caving & rapelling in Puerto Rico

Another very popular natural attraction is Río Camuy Cave Park. There are only two other places in the world where you will find a cave system as massive or dramatic as this – and neither of them has an underground river thundering through it. Visitors can ride trams into the 170-foot high Cueva Clara, lined with dense tropical vegetation or up to a platform overlooking the 400-foot deep Tres Pueblos Sinkhole. You can walk the 205 steps into the Spiral Sinkhole and Spiral Cave, but the cave itself is off limits to all but experienced spelunkers. The sinkhole walls are covered with petroglyphs etched by the ancient Taínos. For the truly adventurous and advanced cave explorers, special tours and rappelling trips through undeveloped sections of the caves can be arranged.

Caribbean Nature Reserves and rainforests in Puerto Rico

Puerto Rico is also home to various nature reserves, and visitors looking for a challenging trail have many options to choose from. Puerto Rico’s most well-known hiking experience, one filled with cascading waterfalls and 26 varieties of animal species found nowhere else in the world, is in El Yunque. The only rainforest in the U.S. National Forest System and a United Nations World Biosphere Reserve, El Yunque is a must-see while in Puerto Rico. More than 100 billion gallons of annual rainfall account for lush plant life and an unusual tropical combination of sparkling leaves, glittery rocks and shadowy paths pierced by sunlight.

Puerto Rico for hiking & biking vacations

Not-so-wet adventures are also covered in this Puerto Rico adventure article… visitors can venture across 10,000 acres of dry land at Guánica Dry Forest Reserve. There, visitors will come across over 600 species of rare plants and unique fauna as well as 48 endangered species and 16 that can only be in the reserve. Also designated a United Nations Biosphere, the dry forest also serves as a haven for hikers and bikers with twelve well-groomed trails ranging from easy to rugged. For such a small area, Guánica is very diverse, offering opportunities to swim, hike and bike within a few miles.

In the Toro Negro Forest, located just north of Ponce, hikers can climb 3,650 feet to the top of Pico Doña Juana. The 7,000-acre reserve offers hiking trails at varying levels of difficulty. Puerto Rico’s highest peak (Cerro de Punta at 4,390 feet) and highest lake (Lago Guineo) are found in the Toro Negro Forest Reserve. Located in the central mountain region, this destination offers uninterrupted views of most of the island and the seas beyond. Lucky visitors may be able to take a dip in the natural hot springs that occur during the year or swim in the large freshwater pool at the Doña Juana Recreational Area and hike the trail that leads to the 200-foot Doña Juana Falls. All the trails in the Toro Negro Forest are rustic and often slippery, so the right gear is necessary.

El Faro, located within Las Cabezas de San Juan Nature Preserve in Fajardo, is just one of many lighthouses built by the Spanish in the 19th century around the perimeter of Puerto Rico. This one, however, is a jewel, both for its setting and the care with which it was recently restored by the Conservation Trust. Las Cabezas, which means “the headlands” is a nature-lover’s paradise. Visitors can follow trails and boardwalks while observing examples of most major tropical habitats that exist on the island. Trained guides, ample signs, demonstrations and special programmes and exhibits help visitors understand and appreciate its fragile ecology.

The Guajataca Forest is located in the northwestern region near Arecibo. A hike along its 25 miles of trails is a lesson in the flora and fauna of a humid subtropical ecosystem—and a memorable experience. Karsts are formed by the dissolving action of water on limestone and similar minerals: the process, occurring over many thousands of years, results in areas distinguished by sinkholes, vertical shafts, and disappearing streams. Hiking in Guajataca combines the joy of solitude (in contrast with El Yunque and other natural sites on the island, the forest has few visitors), with the excitement of seeing a rare and unusual topography.

Puerto Rico mangroves, bioluminescent bay, and dramatic sand dunes

Just 20 minutes from San Juan, Piñones Forest is a paradise of mangroves and pines, where a boardwalk takes visitors through the forest, wild stretches of beach with fine views of the San Juan skyline, a maze of mangroves, a small bioluminescent bay, dramatic sand dunes and exotic wildlife. Birdwatchers often record up to 46 species and snorkelers see many of the 36 fish species that are commonly found in its waters. If you continue east you will reach Vacia Talega Beach and its strange landscape of twisted rocks dotted with palm trees, the perfect place to end a Piñones adventure.

For your information, if this Puerto Rico adventure article inspires you to visit the country, there are several tour operators in Puerto Rico that can arrange visits to many of the island’s natural and ecological sites.

 

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