Punta Ballena Reserve – An Important Biosphere Reserve
If you are looking for an escape from the usual hustle and bustle of life or you want to spend some time getting better acquainted with Puerto Rico's natural beauty, then Punta Ballena Reserve is for you. Puerto Rico boasts an abundance of varied habitats and a wonderful selection of wildlife inhabits the country's protected areas. Punta Ballena Reserve is certainly no exception. Its exceptional coastal ecosystem has lead to Puerto Rico's Punta Ballena Reserve being declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. Indeed, visitors to this marvelous natural escape will be thoroughly impressed by its sheer splendor.
Punta Ballena Reserve in Puerto Rico is situated right next to the lovely Guanica Dry Forest Reserve, which is also a biosphere reserve and a very important protected area. The reserve of Punta Ballena is best known for its mangrove forest. These forests form vital ecosystems that are home to many fascinating organisms. Interestingly, mangroves act as buffers, protecting the coast of Puerto Rico from oceanic action – particularly when hurricanes hit. Because of this it is important to protect these areas.
Bird watchers will be delighted with the array of bird life found in the Punta Ballena Reserve. Even if you aren’t an avid bird identifier you should bring along your binoculars. It is entertaining to watch these little creatures as they go about their business. This Puerto Rican reserve serves as a haven for several endangered species. These include the Puerto Rican night jar, yellow-shouldered blackbird, manatee, hawksbill turtle and crested toad. In fact, hawksbill turtles come to Punta Ballena to lay their eggs. Manatees, or sea cows, are said to gather at Punta Ballena Reserve. Perhaps while kayaking on the waters of Punta Ballena you will spot one of these unusual looking creatures. There are only a few thousand manatees remaining throughout the world, making them a very vulnerable species. Rather agile animals, they dine on mangrove leaves, grass, algae and water hyacinths. Manatees can reach sizes of more than 13 feet and a mass of about 3 500 pounds. So keep an eye out for these unique creatures.
Those who enjoy a bit of activity in the great outdoors can enjoy a walk along a pathway that leads to the beach. Alternatively you can kayak or snorkel in the waters of Punta Ballena. Unfortunately, no camping is permitted in the reserve.