Visiting Caja de Muertos Island Nature Reserve
Just five miles south of Ponce you will find a beautiful little island known as Caja de Muertos Island. This small island is only about 2.75 km long and 1.85 km wide but it is home to an abundance of animal life. All 202 hectares of the island is a nature reserve and though there is a lighthouse situated on the landmass, it has no permanent inhabitants. During the week the island is mostly left in peace but on weekends a Ferry leaves from La Guancha in Ponce to take visitors to this tiny island paradise. Once here, they enjoy the scenic Caja de Muertos beach, the wonderful creatures living in the coastal shrubbery and may even choose to explore the waters around the island.
Caja de Muertos Island is also known locally as Coffin Island – mainly due to the resemblance that the island has to a coffin when it is viewed from a distance. The island was designated as a nature reserve in 1980 after a meeting was held in Puerto Rico by the Puerto Rico Planning Board wherein they considered the recommendation set forth by the Coastal Management Zone Program to turn the island into a protected wilderness area. Caja de Muertos Island has remained a protected area ever since. It is currently managed by the Department of Environmental Resources in Puerto Rico though it is not cared for according to a specific conservation plan.
When you visit the Caja de Muertos Island Nature Reserve, you will find that the island has beautiful mangrove forests, sandy beaches, coral reefs and rocky shores complete with mysterious caves. Visitors are allowed to explore these natural areas though they should obviously take the local flora and fauna into consideration and do their utmost not to disturb or damage the island and its animal inhabitants. Many visitors also enjoy looking over the side of the ferry to see what sort of marine life they may spot under the surface of the clear blue Caribbean waters while some with private arrangements may want to spend some time scuba diving or snorkeling in this area.