Experience Nature in the Guilarte Forest Reserve
With its spectacular dense tropical forests featuring more than a hundred species of trees, the Guilarte Forest Reserve includes Monte Guilarte of the Cordillera Central mountain range of Puerto Rico. As the main mountain range of Puerto Rico, Cordillera Central stretches from east to west across the island, effectively dividing Puerto Rico into southern and northern coastal plains. The reserve incorporates parts of the municipal areas of Yauco, Adjuntas, Guayanilla and Penuelas and there are various points in all these areas where visitors can gain access to Guilarte Forest Reserve.
Standing at a height of 3953 feet, Monte Guilarte is one of the largest mountain peaks on the island. Visitors can enjoy drinking the crystal clear waters flowing in the mountain streams and the weather is usually temperate all year around. While there are no camping grounds within the Guilarte Forest Reserve, there are wooden cabins with very basic facilities, including running water, barbecue areas and beds, but no electricity. Visitors planning to stay overnight should be sure to make a booking. The cabins are located in the midst of eucalyptus trees and visitors can explore the network of hiking trails in the forest. There are a number of picnic spots for visitors to enjoy.
Twenty-six bird species have been recorded in the reserve, with ten being endemic to Puerto Rico. Endemic birds include the Puerto Rican Amazon, Puerto Rican Lizard-Cuckoo, Puerto Rican Screech-Owl, Puerto Rican Nightjar, Green Mango, Puerto Rican Emerald, Puerto Rican Woodpecker and Puerto Rican Tody. Commonly referred to locally as San Pedrito (Little Saint Peter), the Puerto Rican Tody (Todus mexicanus) is brilliant green with a yellow-white belly and red throat. They are found throughout Puerto Rico and favor forested areas with high insect populations.
Hiking trails lead to various lookout points on Mount Guilarte from which visitors can view the breathtaking scenery, and on a clear day may be able to see the cities of Ponce and San Juan. The Guilarte Forest Reserve offers the opportunity for visitors to enjoy some of the abundant natural beauty of Puerto Rico.