Exploring Cambalache Forest Reserve

The Cambalache Forest Reserve can be found east of Arecibo. It is just north of a cluster of coastal limestone formations that can be found in this part of Puerto Rico. The lush, thick forest lies specifically in the Holridge's Subtropical Moist Forest Life zone. The Reserve has great camping facilities, with areas in particular being provided for those who would like to spend a couple of days exploring the Cambalache Forest. The best time to camp here would be during the dry months between February and March. Otherwise you may very well be in for a wet holiday.

There are many things that you can do here to keep yourself and your family entertained. For instance there is a fun mountain bike trail that is about 3.5 km in length that you can enjoy with your whole family. For those who are not so keen on mountain biking, the eight hiking trails in and around the Cambalache Forest are a great way to take a closer look at the forest. There is also a spectacular beach close by the camping sites if you are keen for a refreshing swim after one of your many adventures in the forests.

The Cambalache Reserve features many hills that are covered in forests filled with mahoe, teak and eucalyptus trees as well as a lot of scrubby secondary growth. Some of the common trees that you will find there are the Cecropia, the Tabebuia heterophylla and the Didymopanax as well as two common palms that are widespread in the area: the royal palm or the Roystonea borinquena, which is easy to identify because of its smooth trunk that is gray in color, and the Gaussia attenuata, which you will normally find only near the top of the limestone hills. Another tree you can look out for is the clearly identifiable Zanthoxylum martinicense, which is part of the xeric species. You will notice this tree when you see its thick trunk made up of round thorns.

The Cambalach Forest Reserve ranges from five to fifty meters above mean sea level. It falls around two municipal areas – that of Arecibo and Barceloneta. The annual catchment area in this region gets about 1479.9 mm of rain, with December alone getting 136.4 mm. The weather in the area is great and there is not much of a change in temperature between January and December. In fact, the mean annual temperature is a lovely 25.3 degrees Celsius.

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