The Coastal Forest of La Parguera Nature Reserve
Situated near the popular La Parguera village and resort, the La Parguera Nature Reserve has plenty to offer. The nature reserve is run by the DRNA (Department of Natural Resources of the Government of Puerto Rico) and as of yet, does not allow camping. However it does have excellent snorkeling opportunities, boat rides and hiking trails that are enough to keep you busy for the entire day. There is even a great wind surfing area nearby, which is rare for this sort of protected environment. The nearby village and resort support the tourism generated by the reserve and often enjoy a holiday-like atmosphere.
The La Parguera Nature Reserve is mainly a coastal forest area that features mangrove swamps, estuaries and coral formations. What’s more, the water in the area has a high level of clarity so even if you are not that keen on getting wet, you will be able to see plenty of activity in the water. Most visitors prefer to take a ride on one of the small boats available to visitors, making their way through the mangrove canals and seeing as much of the local flora and fauna as possible. In this manner it is often possible to see monkeys as they make their way through the shrubbery overhead and you may even see one or two of the giant iguanas which live on the UPR Cay. The area has excellent snorkeling opportunities at ‘The Wall’ – a 20 mile coral reef wall – and snorkeling at night when the bioluminescent bays have been gently lit up by the remaining plankton in the waters is a real treat. Unfortunately the biobay at La Parguera Nature Reserve has been negatively affected by pollution and so the bay is not as bright as it once was. There is still enough luminescent plankton in the area to light up the waters at night – especially when the moon is not too bright. It is a real treat that should not be missed.
A number of tourism companies have set up shop at the nearby village and so visitors are now offered an array of activities to enjoy whilst staying here. Visitors may try their hands at bird watching, mountain biking, horseback riding, sailing, kayaking, hiking, fishing and more. There are also many great restaurants where tasty fish is the main ingredient on offer. Visit this great reserve but be careful to have the utmost respect for the delicate balance of nature that has already been so badly affected by mankind. Perhaps your actions will help contribute to the preservation of this little gem of the Caribbean.