Maricao Forest Reserve
The Maricao Forest Reserve is situated in the western regions of Puerto Rico in the Cordillera Central mountain range. The Maricao Forest is one of a few forest nature reserves in Puerto Rico. It was acquisitioned in 1919, followed by Monte Guilarte in 1935 and Toro Negro in 1960. It has a great landscape that is diverse in flora due to the varied soil types found here and tree species. Visitors will need to obtain a permit from the relevant authorities if they want to set up camp in the Maricao Forest Reserve. They can also make use of the cabins that are available.
The woodlands of the reserve probably look typical of woodlands found in other nature reserves across the island, but on closer inspection you will see that the vegetation changes dramatically in different parts of the reserve. Things such as temperature, wind and rainfall also play a significant role in the preservation and creation of the green vegetation that is found along the slopes, ridges and forest floor. Environmentalists have found extremely rare reindeer moss growing in the reserve. Through various studies and research, it is estimated that the Maricao Forest has approximately 285 tree species on its grounds and 845 species of vascular flora. The forest is also home to 89 rare species of plants, some of which are listed as ‘endangered’. Another amazing natural wonder of the Maricao Forest Reserve is the widespread sightings of orchids that bring color this dense world of green. It is estimated that there are approximately 91 different orchid species in the reserve.
With so much beauty to experience and appreciate, it is easy to understand why so many visitors are attracted to this forest reserve. The Maricao Forest Reserve is also popular amongst the bird watching enthusiasts who visit the forest reserve to take advantage of the observation tower. This stone tower gives bird watchers a panoramic view of the forest and brings them closer to the breathtaking birds that grace the skies and fill the forest with song and life. Hiking through this reserve will transport you into another world, one of fantasy, wonder and awe. You may check available trails here.